Friday, February 26, 2010
Getting married in Japan Part 12: Balancing the Cultures
So now finally I will put an end to this series of sensational posts about getting married in Japan with a thoughtful and insightful summary. As you might have figured out if you've read the posts up until now everything ended happily and well but with a fair share of challenges leading up to it. If anyone finds themselves in a similar situation or just out of general curiousity have a question just leave a comment here or send me a mail.
One of the things that we early on decided when we made the decision to have the wedding in Japan, was to not have a "typical" Japanese wedding and to make sure that Swedish culture and customs ere also properly represented. With this I don't mean a strongly traditional Swedish wedding reception/dinner (hey, I hardly know what that means), but a modern relaxed one, mirroring the modern Japanese wedding form we had chosen.
We wanted to have the wedding reception reflect both of us and also to have the foreign guests visiting Japan not feel too lost and give the Japanese guests a reason to let their hair down and be perhaps a little more relaxed than custom otherwise would regulate. Yeah, so that was the plan and in theory it was a great concept... But this approach was severely tested against reality.
Basically what happened was that each evaluation was performed according to something like the decision tree here:
I think you understand what the results of this mostly ended up as... For basically each item there existed a Japanese custom and when weighed against the Swedish/Western custom the Japanese turned out stricter and was therefore given priority... Despite our intent of having our two cultures reflected in the reception I very soon started to feel the scales weighing in very very heavy on the Japanese side and for a time there I was almost giving up.
But in the end, I think the balance turned out very good, we did have the toastmaster Japanese style, but having a foreign friend leading it in English made it more informal, we did have the obligatory gifts but we snuck in some Swedish stuff in there that made it stand out among other things. But having the balance right turned out to be one of the most difficult things during the planning.