Weddings in Japan

2009年 5月 28日
作者: Andrew "Nick" Nichols

この記事は、岡山県北タウン情報誌「JAKEN」に掲載されました。ニック先生の日本の結婚式での体験や オーストラリアの結婚式との違いについて 是非原文で読んでみて下さい。 この記事の翻訳は「JAKEN」6月号の「ふしぎの國ジパング」のコーナーで紹介されました。

As June rolls around our thoughts may turn to ‘June Brides’ and the popular belief the warmth of summer brings the best time of year to get married. Every time I’m invited to weddings here, I always get a great sense of happiness sharing such a special day with two people starting their lives together. However, there have been a number of differences I’ve had to get used to with Japanese wedding customs.

I was initially surprised in Japan to learn that people give money instead of gifts, and at how much is considered appropriate. It is often believed in Australia that a gift of money shows you haven’t really thought about the recipients, what they like and what they need. A gift shows that you have made an effort to make the recipients happy and just giving money can be seen by some people to be a little thoughtless. But I’m happy to follow the custom in Japan; it makes choosing a gift really simple. I was, however, initially surprised by how much money is considered appropriate. It is usually much more than you’d pay for a gift for friends in Australia.

In wedding receptions in Japan, I am really struck by the theatricality of the whole event. The couple is treated like movie stars with a grand entrance under spotlights and dry-ice smoke, theme music and a standing ovation. In Australia we might limit ourselves to a standing ovation, but the reception is usually a much more low key, intimate affair.

Most brides in Australia wear the same wedding dress throughout the reception, some choosing to change into more comfortable travel clothes at the very end if the couple are heading straight off on their honeymoon. The number of costume changes I see in the modern Japanese reception is quite amazing. I’ve come to understand some of the symbolism of those costumes, but I always feel a little sorry for the couple as they are almost constantly changing into something new and can’t spend much time relaxing and chatting with family and friends, or even getting enough to eat or drink.

Receptions in Japan are very precise, timed down to the minute. Japanese punctuality is something I greatly admire, but at weddings, it feels a little uncomfortable. The strict two hour reception here is nothing like the receptions back home that often go on late into the night with a lot of dancing, drinking and laughter, even after the newlyweds have left the party.

One of the biggest surprises for me at Japanese weddings is that the guests receive really nice gifts at the end of the party. I’m used to leaving weddings in Australia with little more than a piece of wedding cake and some great memories, but in Japan I’ve received gifts that would be really valuable wedding gifts for a couple in Australia.

Despite the superficial differences, weddings ‘here and there’ share the most important common point; that of two people making a lifelong commitment to each other witnessed by the people most important to them in their lives.