Now I know most here may not get the reference as they have never even heard of the man. Back in the 60s when I was a young wee whip snapper not yet dry behind the ears a comedian by the name of Jack Benny showed up on a lot of variety shows. He was obviously in his late 50s or early 60s but when asked his age always said 39. Well today I am 39…
years married that is. On this day in 1982 me and the Mrs. jumped the broom sticks as they used to say down in bayou country when a couple got hitched. But that was not your ordinary wedding. For one it was not even in the US. It was in Kyoto Japan at a place called Otani Honbyo a Buddhist Temple. Pics at the bottom.
Now even that is strange as weddings in Japan are 99.9% of the time done in shrines and 0.05% time done in a church when they choose a western style wedding. So that makes it really weird. Whats more was it was mostly traditional except for the location and the brigdegroom - me. Yep I was dressed in traditional wedding dress, kimono and hakuma. My wife was in the all white kimono with the fancy tradition white makeup and hair do and the special head covering like a western veil.
It was a sizeable get together as my parents flew over to Japan, my Marine brother and his Japanese wife with son were there and they brought her parents and I am glad they did. I will explain that in a moment. There was a missionary lady a very good friend who came to be interpreter for my parents. Sadly I lost her a few years back. Sweet lady. There were 3 other Americans that came with an elderly Japanese lady I knew from base when I was stationed there. She ran an in office coffee shop and we became very close friends. There was another friend there as well. I kind of cheated inviting him. He was the unofficial photographer. He love to take pictures but truly he is a close friend and we are still in touch to this day. He got married became a dentist but still stoops to be friends with low lifes like me. Lastly there were a mess of extended family on my wife’s side some I had met but other I had not.
Funny thing was we had been together for 3 years before we got married. I pretty much lived at her mother’s house when I was not on duty. So a lot of family came and went and I got to meet them. Even so there were many more I did not get to meet till wedding day. One elderly aunt was having a hard time trying to figure out who the bride groom was. As there were 3 of us Americans and not one of us looked like we were all nervous about getting married. That brought a laugh to all of us. Those that knew us knew we did not get all up in arms about getting married. It was just an official ceremony for what we already were long before that. Funny things was we fought like cats and dogs long before we got married even to the point my mother-in-law once commented that we were like a married coupled and finally asked if we had secretly gotten married. That was a good laugh.
So the wedding was held in one building where they have special ceremonies and we had to cross the court yard to another for the reception and it is also a tourist place. So we walk out into the court yard after the ceremony and head down the walk way when a couple of middle aged ladies saw us and freaked out. Speaking in Japanese they said, Look a foreigner is getting married here. It is the word for foreigner they used that got most of us laughing that understood what they said and that word is Gaigin. My parents were clueless as most all of us were laughing at their surprise because the was a sign at street level that announced it. They must have missed it. Anyway that was the official start to being married. We have been together for 42 years and I have known her for 45 in total.
This first picture is the steps from the street to the main gate of the facilityl
This is the main temple where it is said the remains of the founder of that version of Buddhism resides.
Off to the right next to the main temple building, you see a gray and white building over the main court yard and that is where the wedding ceremony was held.