Thursday, July 29, 2004

Marriage Across Cultures

This week I witnessed an event in which I had a personal, vested interest: the international marriage of a Western man and a Japanese woman. Not only is Peter Doebler my close friend from college days in Philadelphia, in marrying Yoshie he has also become my predecessor in a great adventure that, Lord willing, I will be embarking on together with Yuko next June. As is usually the case with international marriages involving a Japanese woman, Yoshie is the one who serves as a bridge between the two cultures. She is the one who has spent many years accustoming herself to a foreign culture and becoming fluent in a second language, in this case (as in most), English. Yoshie’s father, brother and sister arrived on Wednesday, and it was quite educational to observe Peter’s all-American family and Yoshie’s non-English speaking family acclimating themselves to one another.

The wedding was in his hometown Anacortes, Washington, near San Juan Island. For me this made for a very lovely weeklong pre-departure vacation. I was able to get together with my old college days “Group of Four.” The first time, in fact, that we have all gotten together since Rob’s wedding in Naples, NY. I guess the next time will be at my wedding next June in Sapporo. Among other things we took in the coastal views, watched Ichiro play for the Mariners, roamed Pike’s Place in Seattle, and took a long drive in the North Cascades.