September 23, 2008 in I'm Learning Japanese ... I Really Think So
As in the West, weddings are a huge industry in Japan. Thanks to the importation of Hollywood movies, Japanese weddings have come to have a lot of other things in common with the West, such as brides wearing white dresses and carrying floral bouquets. It’s common for young Japanese brides to channel Cher and undergo several costume changes throughout the day; donning the white dress for the ceremony, slipping into a traditional Japanese wedding kimono for the reception and then wearing another dress to cut the cake. There are often ads in the English language magazines trolling for Western men to “play” the minister to add that special Hollywood touch.
Plenty of Japanese touches and adaptations of Western traditions fill the day, such as eschewing wedding gifts for cash (always given in odd, indivisible denominations like 30,000 yen for good luck) and inviting the friends and family of the couple to perform at the reception. The Japanese are a bit smarter about planning the wedding than we are: their barrage of wedding options tend to end at the selection of a hotel, whose staff presents them with a wedding “package” and takes care of all the arrangements once the package is chosen.
A student of mine is a musician who performs at one of those ritzy hotels and often works weddings. According to her, popular wedding songs include “I Will Always Love You,” “My Heart Will Go On,” and “Beauty and the Beast.”