Excitement, romance, intense love, fun, joy, the warmth of a supportive community of friends and family – our feelings as we, Bob, Glenda and Will Argo, shared in the wedding of our son/brother, Josh, and his best friend and love of his life, the beautiful Ayaka.
Josh worked for several years at Argo & Lehne while in school. After discovering a love of the Japanese language and culture at OSU, he wanted to experience it firsthand. Josh has been living and working for 5 years in Japan where he was introduced to Ayaka by a mutual friend (whom we got to meet). After that, no turning back – I believe it was, as they say, meant to be! Here is a brief timeline noting some charming differences from American weddings.
December 29th, 2015 – When Josh and Ayaka visited over Christmas, he chose an elegant princess cut solitaire engagement ring (from Argo & Lehne Jewelers, of course). Then he surprised Ayaka with a proposal at the Columbus Zoo Wildlights, a thoroughly romantic choice given the wonderful time they had at the zoo on their visit 1½ years earlier – and the lights were enchanting! The date was set for August 11.
August 6th – We packed our bags and set off on the 20 hour journey to Japan and the wedding, not really knowing what to expect. It was to be a true adventure!
August 9th – Josh and Ayaka filled out paperwork at the prefecture office to be married. According to law in Japan, at this point they were legally married and this is their anniversary. They wanted this particular day because it is also the 4th anniversary of their first date!
August 10th, 6:30 pm – The Kasuya and Argo families had dinner together, to meet for the first time, in a traditional Japanese restaurant serving excellent soba noodles. This turned out to be very enjoyable in spite of the language barrier, because they are such genuinely nice, down to earth people. It was not an actual rehearsal dinner because the rehearsal takes place right before the wedding. This is a picture of us at the wedding reception.
August 11, 12:30 pm – The American man and Japanese woman were married in a French restaurant/wedding chapel, in both Japanese and English, by Michael, a Baptist minister from Poland and friend of Josh’s. It was a western style wedding with Japanese touches. Wedding chapels are the preferred venue in Japan and this one, on the 2nd floor of the Moitie Moitie Restaurant, set on one of the canals of Nagoya, was perfect. The simple ceremony was moving – not many dry eyes!
August 11, 1:00 pm – Reception highlights:
The dress – At one point the newlyweds disappeared and came back in new outfits, he with a red vest and tie and she in the dress of a lifetime, a full skirted floor length gown inspired by the traditional Japanese kimono in a large flower print with big sash, bow and flower. Gorgeous x 10!
The drum – Josh and Ayaka took a large mallet and bashed a large drum releasing a shower of sparkling streamers into the crowd. I’m told that traditionally there would be sake in the drum. We did have lots of sake…
The speech – Bob was invited ahead of time to give a short speech welcoming everyone on behalf of both families and expressing our best wishes. Bob wrote the speech, Josh translated it into Japanese and coached him on pronunciation and Bob practiced it over and over. I can say, after hearing it so many times, I didn’t get tired of it – it was so eloquent and sweet. After giving the English version, he started into the translation, at which point exclamations and applause broke out. A definite high point!
The other speeches – Many people had given prepared speeches honoring the bride and groom. At the end of the first part of the reception, two people were asked without warning to give impromptu speeches, a childhood friend of Ayaka’s and Josh’s brother Will. Both rose beautifully to the occasion (she with many tears), expressing their love and admiration, and then escorted them from the room to change.
The clocks – The new Mr & Mrs Argo presented their families with hand-made clocks we were to take home and set to Nagoya time while they would set theirs to our time – a way to feel close while on different sides of the globe. So sweet!
The video shows – 1 – Pictures of Josh and Ayaka growing up (no dry eyes), and 2 – A humorous and touching video “Instruction Manual” prepared by Ayaka’s friends for Josh on the care and maintenance of Ayaka. They were nice to prepare a translation on paper for us.
August 11, 6:30 pm – The after party – a fun conclusion to a whole day of celebration! As you can see, Ayaka’s beautiful wedding gown went through several transformations with different accessories and hair styles at different times throughout the day.
“Tears and laughter” summarizes the whole experience, one of the most moving and uplifting of our lives. Definitely worth the long grueling trip! Thank you Josh & Ayaka for all of it. We know your love will grow and continue to inspire all those around you, just as it did that day!