I think I left you where we were getting booted out of the reception hall and it was only oh, about 2 in the afternoon. Weddings are strictly timed here (not as in, see how fast you can do it, but to ensure the whole thing fits within a set time slot, probably to make way for other suckers, I mean happy couples), so as soon as the lining up and crying and candle lighting was done, it was very clear that we were to, well, clear out. We grabbed our goody bags and had to go through whatever is the opposite of a receiving line, despite being family, providing yet another awkward opportunity to bob up and down at Baby Mama's parents. We did get mini cans of Asahi Super Dry though, which was a thoughtful touch.
Are you chewing on your hangnails to know about the gift bags? It is normal at weddings here to give a gift to every guest that is around twice what you predict will be received from them. If I were in charge of the world, I would say let's give the married couple half the amount and call it even. I have no need (or room) for photo frames and fugly crystal vases that are not my taste, although I did once receive a lovely set of Tiffany rock glasses. I buy so much already, I hate to receive stuff that I am not going to use, it is such a waste, not to mention this gifting system basically means you are buying a useless gift for yourself.
Inside each bag was a box of cakes and a nicely wrapped catalogue weighing several pounds. Apparently lots of couples do this - provide a gift catalogue with a pre-arranged label, and their guests can choose their own gifts. Later at home the beau and I scoured through the catalogue and I kept trying to guess whether everything cost the same. What a strange idea. The catalogue included food products, household items, clothing and even a small toolkit, and flipping through the pages was kind of depressing. Not because you shouldn't be allowed to buy questionable products from a mail-order catalogue, but because this was a result of some of the 70,000 yen we shelled out. I told the beau I didn't want to order anything, they could keep the money, but if you don't order something within a certain time period, the catalogue people will just send some consolation gift basket as everything is prepaid. And god forbid you don't walk away with something for your efforts. We ended up ordering a bottle of sparkling and a knife to replace the 100 yen store one I am several cuts away from slicing off a finger with. That's right, I will drop money on clothing and dinner and yet I have been using a $1 knife to cut with for the last three years. Moving on then.
I went to the bathroom on the way out and as I was washing my hands, I looked up to see a polished and sleek suited woman calling my name. I couldn't place her and yet she knew exactly who I was and was doing that wavy spazzy happy puppy thing Japanese girls do. Hopefully my look of complete blankness wasn't a dead giveaway, because the next moment I placed it: the suspicious sex friend from our unfortunate foray into the Saitama concrete jungle! Mama was looking fine! No longer wearing a too small and too short dumpy denim skirt that made her legs truly look like the beloved "daikon legs" one hears about here, she had her hair blown out and was wearing long strands of pearls with a black pantsuit (something I have never seen a woman wear to a wedding here). We had a happy little reunion while I silently wondered as to the true nature of her relationship with Baby Daddy, but I guess we will never know.
Back at the hotel we all stayed at, the beau's mom, aunt and I locked ourselves in an empty room to get changed. I didn't know an interrogation was also on the menu. You saw the pictures of these tiny women compared to my looming 5'6 frame, and yet, as they went about efficiently folding up their kimono and packing everything away, they managed to grill me about the state of my relationship with the beau. I don't think I should have to deal with questions from his family, so I tried to deflect the conversation on to him and suggested that they talk to him about it. This made them ask whether he was dragging his feet and that was what the hold up was. How could I possibly explain the myriad of reasons we would not be getting married the next month. His mother clucked that my parents must wonder what the hell I am doing over here, cohabiting with a strange man for so long (quite the opposite). His aunt started to fold up my kimono while I was getting undressed and we stopped a minute to laugh at how silly she looked running up and down the length of the bed to fold up all the extra fabric. With her own short frame, she can fold her own kimono while standing in one place but mine required her to go back and forth from collar to hem to get it all in place. The the beau's mom suggested that, if my parents ended up coming to Japan in December, why not just get married then? She is sweating for us to get married.
God I hope she doesn't think I feel bad that we weren't married first. I also hope she doesn't think I am going to get married quickly at some shitty hotel service with no dancing just so I can be married. I mumbled some crap about it being hard to plan an international wedding and they let me out of the room.
A short while later, BM and BD showed up at the hotel, having changed out of their frumpery and looking like a couple of teenagers. No honeymoon, no romantic send off, they spent their wedding night having dinner with us and then going back to Saitama. Sad face. Dinner was really nice actually, albeit a tad strange seeing as no one really knows BM and yet there we were, having dinner with her on their wedding night. In the elevator down to dinner, BD turned to the beau and I and with a shitty little smirk apologized for getting married first. Although he was just trying to be funny it took all my soul to smile back. Why does everyone think I want to get married!?
So there you have it gentle readers, that is about all I can remember from the most highly anticipated event this year. Now we can talk about what comes next.