David Chart's Japan Diary

November 1st 2005

Yesterday was great. I got lots of writing done, and a full complement of reading. And some other stuff. Today, of course, was not-so-great. Partly this is because I used lots of energy yesterday and am therefore a bit tired. Partly it's because I had to go into Tokyo to go to the bank. (I needed to deposit a writing cheque from the US, and while I can do all cash stuff locally I need to go to a branch for that.) Partly it's because yeterday's super-successful writing used up all the stuff I had planned out, so I came to a grinding halt today when I had to sort out what I was going to write next. Still, that has made progress, so maybe I'll have another good day tomorrow. It only needs to average out fine, after all.

I don't have a huge amount to report this week. The most significant event (and it was pretty significant) was that we filled out the marriage form. Yuriko went to her parents' over the weekend (more below), and while she was there got them to witness it. Obviously, we had to fill it in before that. Most of the bits were simple: name, address, is this your first marriage. Some bits were more complicated. There was a minor issue over who is the householder here; we both have official documents claiming it's us. In the end we went with me, for two reasons. First, I own the flat. That was a pretty strong reason. Second, I filled my side in first, and I'd said I was the householder. We'd have had to start all over again...

Another interesting bit was the name section. You get to tick a box to say whether the common name will be the husband's or the wife's. You also have to say whether you are starting a new family record. Japanese birth and marriage certificates are not individual documents; they go by household. Thus, when you get married, you can either start a new household, or continue to be part of your parents' household. (At least, I think that's what it means.)

The most interesting bit, however, was one of the questions. "How long have you been living together? Please count from either when you moved in together, or the wedding ceremony, whichever was earlier." That strongly suggests that it is generally expected that you will do the paperwork sometime after either or both of those. An interesting difference in social assumptions. (Of course, we're doing the paperwork before the ceremony, but then I'm a foreigner so we're allowed to be a bit different.)

I still have to translate my passport and birth certificate, but I want Yuriko's help with that. There are probably technical terms for most of the standard headings, and I want to make sure I use the right ones. Other than that, the paperwork is now all set.

Yuriko's trip home was not entirely to get her parents' literal seal of approval for the marriage. She also wanted to get some of her stuff sent from Nagoya to here. Apparently, her mother spent quite a lot of time suggesting that she should take some more things, too. "How about this? You could take this, as well." That sounded very familiar. "Get your junk out of my house!" they don't actually say, but you can almost hear them thinking it. I'm still working on getting my books out of England...

Anyway, as a result I was alone for dinner on Saturday, so I ordered delivery sea food pizza. Very batchelor-ish. And Yuriko isn't fond of shellfish, which is a shame because I really like it. On the other hand, she really likes curry rice, and I'm not at all keen. Fortunately, there's lots and lots of stuff that we both really like, particularly Japanese food. The recipe book I bought soon after moving to Tokyo is turning out to be a major success. It's lots of really easy meals that taste really good. Even I can cook them.

Well, that's quite short, but I think I'll see if I can slightly improve today's word rate on paid writing.