Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Getting married in Japan Part 9: The Seating Order...

I think that putting together the seating charts in a western wedding is quite challenging in how it strive to mix the guests up and alternate ladies and men to make sure everyone has a good fit in terms of seating partner and meets new people.

In one way the Japanese wedding is more straightforward; you got those six guy friends from your college baseball team? Sure! Whatever, just put them together at a table and let them entertain themselves, you don’t have to think about mixing in ladies or other guests. Seating the families is not that much of a problem either although I found it a bit puzzling (still do actually...) why the closest family members get seated at the tables furthest away from the main table of the newlyweds.

So to say that seating charts is a big issue in a Japanese wedding would actually be a lie, in theory it's quite simple since it's just a matter of squeezing in groups of friends together and mix up whatever stragglers you have at some loser table. But... since a Western wedding usually mixes guests up a bit and I, stupidly, thought it could be fun to try and implement a little of this practice at our wedding since our wedding by itself is a mix of cultures. Ms. Sunshine wasn't aggressively against the idea, in theory, but progressively as we tried to piece things together it turned out that some groups of friends would be next to impossible to separate or risk inducing terrible culture shock injuries.

In the end, what happened was that some of the larger groups got broken out into sub-groups and placed, trying to alternate men and women at least a little bit. In the end it turned out to be quite futile and some of the comments on the seating I received was:

From the group of consultant colleagues I split up under the stupid assumption that since they meet every f**king day anyway it would be more fun to split up a little at least and meet some other people: "(Whiny voice) f**k Salaryman, why can’t we just sit together?!"

From a friend who specifically had requested to be seated next to some hot chick and whom we placed next to a friend of Ms. Sunshine, known for her slightly loose morals assuming that it could be a good combination: "(Whiny voice) f**k Salaryman, why did you place me next to that woman- man-thing who just kept drinking, not eating the food and speaking in a loud voice when people were giving speeches?" (Ok, this was a slight miscalculation since I had been led to believe, by Ms. Sunshine, that this girl was of considerable hotness in addition to promiscuity and being a masseuses as profession, but turned out to look slightly transvestitish and being generally loud..).

From a friend I had placed next to a person with a common interesting in cooking, in response to a question from me whether they talk anything about food: "f**k Salaryman, there hardly was any time with all the events going on all the time”

I get one thing that is more simple at a Japanese wedding, but I guessed I dropped the ball completely on this one! In the end, it was a lot of work for nothing, we should have just gone with the groups from the beginning!

Coming up, one of the last installments in this series; the actual wedding...

8 comments:

meowies said...

When I had my wedding in Tokyo, I asked someone why the families sat in the back, near the doors. They told me it was so they could "be the first to see the bridge and groom when they make their grand entrance, and the last to see them as they leave."
Who knows if it's true or not though...

aimlesswanderer said...

My brother and his wife just plonked the groups on tables by themselves. So there was the mega relo table with our relos, the "work friends" table, a table of his friends, and a group of her friends. Her relos were on the main table, sister and parents only. I would have thought that they might mix up the seating if only a little, but nope.

Maartin said...

Great to hear that you got a taste of your own medicine for complaining about the seating order of My wedding >:-)

Mr. Salaryman said...

Meowies- Well, it doesn't sound completely unreasonable, I wouldn'T be surprised if this is the case.

Aimless - And this was in the US? Sounds very lazy, but htey did it Japanese style then!

Martin - Well, c'mon you knew what you were doing!

big bro said...

Salaryman - I think you are basing your Western weddding on experiences in Sweden - where everyone is mixed up quite a lot (You try to break up couples, for instance). We have been to weddings in Germany, Canada and the US, and you just gets plonked with family and the lovely lady sitting next to me is my wife... ! (all this interesting and nice people around you, and I got to sit next to my mother-in-law!) We tried to mix up things when we had our Canadian wedding ceremony thing, and we got people protesting since they didn't get to sit next to their spouse...

Mr. Salaryman said...

Hmmm, well what do you know. I'm sure that Bigger Brother is right in this since I've been to pretty few weddings to begin with and only in Japan or Sweden so I'm hardly an expert in the area even if I pretend to be...

aimlesswanderer said...

Nope, was in Australia. We're Aust Chinese and she's from Hongkers, but I think they couldn't be bothered with anything more complex.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Aimless - Oh, well, then you have a pretty complex cultural mix on your hands to begin with, but hey, the easy way out is always good

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