Saturday, July 23, 2005

Belated Congratulations

Brian and Kumi were married on the 2nd of this month at Tokyo Union Church in Omotesando. Omedeto to them! Brian was a classmate of Aogu's at CAJ, and would have been mine too, had I not returned to Oregon after my freshman year there and before he came in. Kumi was in high school at CAJ when I returned to Japan as an English teacher on the JET Programme. I was pleased to know her initially as a faithful participant in Hi-BA, which was a kind of Young Life program for high schoolers that I helped with on my spare time. We managed to keep in touch as she graduated first high school, then Bryn Mawr College and started her current career at Standard & Poor's. She is a beautiful young lady and a blessing to all who know her, most of all Brian, who has the great fortune of being her husband now. I wish them a wonderful life together, and pray that we can remain good friends, though they are most likely moving off to New York next month (the second set of friends in as many months to do so...can my very first visit to the city be close at hand? perhaps yes?).

Here's a little story about my personal experience at their wedding. Caveat: their wedding in general was a very happy one, and particularly so for them, I hope. However, this story is mostly a sad one. First, Aogu and I had been looking forward to attending their wedding together for more than a month, even carefully arranging for friends to watch Koji. Alas, the night before the wedding, Koji didn't sleep well and generally gave us reason to believe he was sick (I need a good English translation for the Japanese word "kazegimi," which means something like "cold-ish," not exactly down with a cold, but having symptoms of starting down that slippery slope. Sometimes Japanese is so convenient.). So, between not wanting him to fully fall ill and the fear his possibly malady would be transmitted to our friends' little girl, we reluctantly decided he should stay home.
So I was elected to go to the wedding alone with the camera and instructions to take lots and lots of pictures. But, when Kumi and her parents started walking down the aisle and I opened my bag to take out the camera and start doing my job, the camera wasn't there.
I'd like to think I didn't disturb things too terribly much, sitting in the otherwise empty third row and very frantically emptying the contents of my little bag onto the pew in a desperate attempt to prove to myself that I was mistaken and in fact the camera had just fallen to the bottom of my bag. I must not have, because no one sitting behind or in front of me asked me what I was doing. Sure enough, the camera, which I need to point out here is pretty much Aogu's prize possession, second in value only to Koji, was nowhere.
Apologies to Brian and Kumi, because it really isn't their fault at all, but the rest of their wedding ceremony was lost on me, in fact, it felt more like a cruel stumbling block to my true mission: find the camera before Aogu knows that I've lost it. I didn't hear or see anything of the sweet Bible readings, special hyms and tender vows that were swirling around me. All I could think was, I'm nearly positive I didn't drop it in the subway, and my bag is so small that if I had, I should have noticed, so where could it be? How many more times will I have to teach that Tuesday night English class before I'll be able to afford to buy another one?
I was miserable.
I seriously debated getting up and leaving the sanctuary so I could call Aogu, confess my sin and start my punishment earlier. Not that Aogu would actually punish me; however angry or frustrated he might be, it would still be better than the exquisite torture I was putting myself through, sitting there thinking how stupid and irresponsible I must surely be.
So, finally the torture, I mean the ceremony, came to an end. I stood up. The three women in front of me stood up. I can't remember exactly what we said to one another, but moments into the conversation, one of them dug into her bag and pulled out MY CAMERA!! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow...
She said that she found it under the pew before the ceremony started, but she didn't know whose it was and she didn't want to interrupt things by asking those around, so she put it in her bag, thinking she would give it to the MC of the reception and he could locate the owner.
I started to cry.
Too much relief at being released from all sorts of prisons and pain I had imagined for myself (did I mention I have a healthy imagination. well.) washed over me and out my eyes and down my face. I was utterly happy to have the prize back in my possession, so it didn't quite occur to me then as it did just a few minutes later to be somewhat annoyed at the woman. Why couldn't she have just turned her head and asked if I had dropped the camera? If the gutting of my bag onto the pew didn't bother anyone, I hardly think a little whisper around would have. And I would have been spared the agony, then also the ecstasy, that I suffered during Brian and Kumi's wedding.
Moral: the next time I find something someone else has apparently lost, I must make effort to reconcile said object with said owner sooner rather than later!!
Anyway, the reception was fun and well done by the couple's friends and family. And someone should give Erika a medal for all she did to make it a great day for them, including but not limited to baking five delectable cheesecakes! Otsukaresama deshita~


kumiko g. said...

oh Jamie, i had no idea you were going through such torture during the ceremony! eep! we were so happy and honored that you were there to celebrate with us, and we have some great pictures of you at the reception (ceremony deno pictures jyanakute yokatta!?)

and yes, thank you Erika!! she did SO much for us.

Ricardo said...

I wonder if there is an official psychological term for the fear of losing a camera... hmmm. Thanks for sharing the sad story with a very happy ending.

Pews should be made of transparent materials.


jamie christine said...

Kumi, I know, I wish I hadn't been in such anguish at your wedding...but fortunately it was just the first part! ~hope to see you soon?! Let's make some plans!

Mom said...

Ah, lost things. I always think of the parables Jesus told in Luke 15 about the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. So glad your story had a happy ending, too. The rejoice with me part becomes easier to understand!! I must warn you that losing stuff improves with age. Hugs!

Kari said...

I can relate to EXACTLY how you were feeling! I am SO glad you found it!