For those who did not know, at the end of July while Tisha and I were visiting friends and family in the Northwest, I proposed to Tisha, and she accepted! For those who need proof, or a good chuckle, you can check out the video.
Well, just two weeks later we were living together in Ono, Japan. We, of course, knew that my tourist visa was only good for three months, and that we would need to find a way to keep me in Japan. With our parents' blessings, and guarantees of a big bash when we get back to the states, we decided to get the official paperwork taken care of, and to get married!
It turns out that getting married in Japan is a bit complicated (if you are not Japanese of course). We thought a trip to the consulate in Osaka would do the trick, but there we were informed that we would have to get the marriage license back in Ono. In Ono, we were told to come back with witnesses and given some paperwork as well. Tisha has met a lot of nice people in Japan, and we were able to wrangle two of them for the big day.
Mike and Fujikawa-san: witnesses
Our witnesses Mike and Fujikawa-san live in Ono. Mike is an English teacher, like Tisha. Fujikawa-san is the "tea lady", as Tisha puts it, at the first school she worked for in Ono. Here they are posing for the camera at the city hall on our big day.
At the city hall there were a lot of papers to sign, and I wasn't even sure which ones were which. After each paper I signed I would jokingly ask, "Are we married yet?" I think that this picture, is the actual moment I signed my soul away. Doesn't Tisha look thrilled!
Is Tisha smiling, or chuckling maniacally?
So that was it! The papers were all signed and we were married! But the fun was just beginning. Outside of city hall we ran into some teachers from Tisha's old school, who were shocked and delighted to hear the news. It turned out that all the teachers were meeting that day at city hall for a conference, and it had just let out. Of course, it wasn't long before Tisha and I were surrounded by Tisha's former coworkers who wanted to meet me, offer their congratulations, and of course take hundreds of pictures with their kei-tais (cellphones).
After many photo-ops and refreshments at a nearby cafe, we finally left the city hall. Getting married is hard work, and we had worked up an appetite, so we hit a local restaurant just down the street from our apartment for dinner. It's a small establishment, run only by a nice married couple. It has a bar and just two tables. The place is frequented mostly by the hard working men and women of Ono, who regularly stop in for dinner and a brew after work.
We took one of the tables, and before long, two middle-aged gentlemen took the other. After giving them a glance Tisha said that one of them looked familiar. After a while, these two fellows struck up a conversation, and as it turned out, that familiar looking man was none other than the mayor of Ono! Of course it wasn't long before the cat was out of the bag, and we had a free bottle of wine on our table, courtesy of the mayor, and his friend from the city council.
Tisha and I with the mayor of Ono (right) and the city council-man.
So we wound up chatting it up with these fellows. It turns out that the mayor has visited Seattle, including our alma mater, the UW. Before he was mayor, he worked for a wheel manufacturer and did a lot of traveling in America, visiting tire plants in Ohio, Arkansas and elsewhere. The city council-man was a nice man as well, who remarked that we were probably the only foreigners ever to get married in Ono. I'll have to put that in the Wikipedia article for Ono.
So there you have it, Tisha and James got married on August 27th, 2007 in Ono, Japan. While we didn't exactly have a wedding, it was a very memorable and wonderful day anyway.