Meiji Jingu Newly-Weds

Mike Grist Japan, People / Culture 5 Comments

Last month my buddy Canadian Mike had his wedding ceremony. It was held in Meiji Jingu- the huge central shrine in Harajuku right next to Yoyogi Park- and I went along to check it out. Here are some of the highlights:

– Drinking sake during the ceremony.
– Mike telling me they took hours to strap him into his groom-kimono, even longer for his wife Kumi.
– Promenading around the shrine courtyard, a dude with a big red umbrella leading us.
– Getting gawked at by tourists (who scurried after Mike and Kumi like they were paparazzi)
– Being greeted by Mike’s folks: “Are you uk Mike?”

I had a good time, though it puzzled me they held the practise wedding ceremony right before the actual ceremony. I thought it was the real ceremony! But no, the real ceremony had a lot more jangling golden bells and priests with funky hats.

Here’s a few pictures:

Mike’s on the left with his parents, Kumi on the right with her parents. You can see one of Meiji Jingu’s gates in the background.

The happy couple.

The paparazzi descend! It was early in the morning, but still they were there in their droves.

Promenading behind a big red umbrella, paparazzi looking on.

After the ceremony it’s customary to have a reception party, and this was held at a bar near Meiji Jingu later that day. Mike’s family and friends turned up, filling one side of the room, Kumi’s family and friends the other. There was very little interaction- which was a bit odd, but I suppose there was not much to be done about it.


– Jason’s speech: “Hi, I’m Jason! (big laugh). I’ve known Mike for about 5 years, from frisbee. Uh, yeah. Um. Yeah. Ok, that’s it.” Priceless.
– Julie’s weird dance at the end.
– The sweet jungle tree we bought as a wedding gift.
– Almost winning the BINGO game alongside Jei.
– Mike’s Dad’s speech just ragging on him- “Mike was a really stupid kid, and I was worried he would always be stupid, especially after he stole the tomatoes in his trike! But now he managed to persuade a beautiful young woman to marry him, so maybe he’s not so stupid after all.”

Here’s some photos (shot by Yasuko, thanks Yasuko!):

This is Canadian Mike and friends. Left to Right: Me, Yasuko, Dale, Mike, Kumi, Jason, Hitomi, Jei.

This is Mike and Kumi cutting the cake.

Me and the jungle tree we bought as a wedding gift.


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Comments 5

  1. Post

    I was pretty nervous before going up to speak, but once I was up there I felt OK. I wonder if you feel the same way when you do stand-up?

  2. Post

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