Today a couple of our friends came round for the afternoon. They live just down the road (they walked here), he’s English and she’s Japanese, and their eldest daughter was born a week after Mayuki, in the same clinic. They’re even nice people. With that many coincidences, it has to be fate.
Anyway, we sat around and talked, and amused the babies. They aren’t really old enough to play together yet, but at least they didn’t burst into tears at the sight of each other. Mayuki was actually a really good girl for nearly all the of the afternoon, smiling at everyone and doing her press-ups when we put her down on her stomach.
It’s interesting to talk to them because, obviously, we face a lot of the same kinds of problems, and so we talked about registering births with the British Embassy, renewing passports, and trying to change your name in Japan. They decided to hyphenate their two surnames. In England, this can, apparently, now be done over the internet. In Japan, to get her name changed, they had to go to court, several times, and fight the bureaucracy quite hard. In the end they won, except that they need a document proving that hyphenated names are legal in the UK. At least it shouldn’t be too difficult to get… (I mean, won’t his passport do?)
It’s really rather strange, because there’s a lot of opposition in Japan to changing the law to allow a Japanese married couple to have different surnames. However, when an international couple want to make their surnames the same, they throw all these obstacles in their path.
Anyway, it was a good afternoon, so we’re looking forward to the next time we meet them.