Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy Anniversary To Us!

On May 5, 1990, my wife Yuko and I had a symbolic ceremony in St. Louis, Missouri at a rent-a-church my parents had found for us; meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Aya, Miyazaki, our Japanese friends submitted our already-signed marriage license to our City Hall to record our marriage officially.

So every year on Cinco de Mayo when most American are celebrating a man-made celebration the average Mexican has never heard (it's true, look it up) and when most Japanese are celebrating Childrens' Day (an actual holiday in Japan), we celebrate our wedding anniversary. This year is our 23rd, and it's a bit hard because my wife is back in Japan helping to take care of her parents.

Twenty-three years ago we had two ceremonies: one in my hometown, and one in hers. My relatives and American friends came to the one actually on May 5, then after we got back to Aya we had another ceremony for her relatives and our Japanese friends. The only people to attend both were my wife and I (of course!) and our best man and maid of honor, who travelled with us to the US from Japan.

The father of one of my best friends did the ceremony, presenting the traditional wedding prayer for us, which we had translated into Japanese and handed out to our Japanese guests. We gave every guest at our US reception a present for coming, which is a Japanese tradition. We had shipped nice lacquered trays to my parents' and handed them out on the day; they were a huge success and I know some of my friends are still using them to this day.

We didn't have a live band at our reception; instead we provided a "mixed tape" that played in the background as we walked around and socialized with our guests. I don't remember most of the music, but I do remember two things about the music. The first was that after my wife and I danced our first dance as a couple, I danced with my mom and Yuko danced with my dad (because her parents weren't there). Well, during that dance my dad made my new wife cry! He had evidently said something sweet and sentimental like, "Welcome to the family." With this heartfelt greeting, all the pressure and stress of our international marriage and the weddings themselves broke her up, and Yuko started crying. We laugh about it now, but it was the absolute perfect thing for my dad to say at that time.

Some of the songs we used include "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates, "I'm A Believer" by The Monkees, and "Wedding Bell Blues" by The Fifth Dimension. However, the other thing I remember about that day musically is *this* song. Whenever I hear Randy Travis' "Forever and Ever, Amen" I instantly flash back to our beautiful little reception and smile.

Happy Anniversary, "honey." :-)   


  1. Happy Anniversary to you and Mrs. Burbage, Russell! I hope you two enjoy about 20 or 30 more decades of wedded bliss! :)