I got married, and I'm very happy.
Getting married legally in Japan is the most heartless process you'll ever find, though. Here's a rundown of what happens.
1. The couple goes to city hall. Fancy are clothes not needed and you'd probably look silly wearing them.
2. You ask to have the partner written in on the family register as husband/wife.
3. The city hall employee has you fill out some paperwork to make sure all the information is right, then inputs it into the computer.
4. Finished. You are officially married.
5. You can get an official document printed out that shows the change has been made as proof of the marriage, which looks nothing different than the document they give you across the hall that proves you paid your taxes.
6. No congratulations are said, but after this is done, you are free to have any sort of ceremony you'd like, with anyone officiating. You're only subject to the rules of the facility you choose to have your ceremony in then.
We got paperwork married on March 19, 2012. It was a normal day of work, and we walked into city hall in our street clothes. After (I) being slightly disappointed by the above system of events, we went out to eat. During spring vacation, we went back to Michigan and had a wonderful, low-key party. It was wonderful to see family and friends, wear a cute *blue* dress, and eat some delicious food and cake (which were my only requirements for a wedding party. I'm such a bridezilla). Coming back to Japan, I was happy to hear the news that I was going to be teaching at the same schools I had been teaching at (the Japanese school year is April to March, thus it was the end of the school year), so I had a sense of relief as we settled in and started our life together. We've got a traditional Japanese shrine ceremony coming up June 9th, then we are trying to squeeze a honeymoon in during winter vacation. On top of my regular schools, I have a Saturday English club I'll start teaching soon, rounding out which I'll expect to be a very busy year. Oh, and I getting a new car soon.
Let the good times roll!
(This is my favorite shot because it was one of the few we weren't posing for the camera.)