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Lesson Transcript

Sakura: 日本文化レッスンでございます。さくらです。
Yoshi: よしです。
Peter: Peter here. Japanese culture class #26. As always, we are brought to you by Erklaren, the translation and interpretation specialists. We are back with Sakura san and Yoshi san talking about weddings. Weddings part 3.
Sakura: Part 3. It’s long, isn’t that?
Peter: Do you think we are going to finish sometime soon Sakura san?
Sakura: I hope, I hope so.
Peter: Today is the day. Come on, no hoping.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: We know today is the day.
Sakura: Today we are going to, yes.

Lesson focus

Peter: And today we have a great topic. Sakura san, what are we talking about?
Sakura: 披露宴
Peter: Which is Yoshi san?
Yoshi: The Reception party.
Peter: Yes. This is where all the fun happens. Well, we got to be careful there. I think by the end of today’s lesson, you will know how all the fun really happens because the party itself, the reception party is actually not that long, right Sakura san?
Sakura: Two hours.
Peter: Two hours.
Sakura: It’s short.
Peter: In the US, the reception party, not at my way but the reception party for a normal wedding is from 5 to 6 to 7 hours.
Sakura: え~。長いね。 That’s long.
Peter: No US is short.
Sakura: ああ、そう。そっかぁ。
Peter: Well we are going to get into this discussion in a bit but let’s just have Sakura san tell you about a Japanese wedding reception. Sakura san お願いします。
Sakura: Okay very typical one is a two-hour long party held at a hotel or a wedding hall and friends and people from your company, workplace and relatives are there invited.
Peter: First thing I’d like to point out. In the US, if you invite your friend, you send them an invitation.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And it has number of guests and it’s kind of expected or it’s not unusual if that person was to bring a date. So for example, if I was to invite Yoshi to my wedding, I would expect that he would bring a date because as its 5 or 6 hours long, there is dancing.
Sakura: Hah!
Peter: There is someone you need to talk to.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: So we kind of expect that or again it’s not unusual that the person you invite brings a date. So when you are doing the list, if you have 50 friends, you have to kind of calculate for maximum a 100. Of course not everyone will bring a date but the amount of people that do is quite high.
Sakura: Hah! In Japan, that doesn’t happen. So every person invited gets an invitation card and that’s the number of people who is going to be there. Usually the couple lists up all the people they want to invite and usually they have to cut the numbers. You know, I can’t invite him, I can’t invite him because of the amount of people that the place can hold or the budget or whatever.
Peter: Yeah I think the budget is quite important right?
Sakura: Yes and its okay usually like 50 to 100. 100 maybe too many but like 50-70 or…
Peter: On each side or together?
Sakura: Together.
Peter: I see.
Sakura: Ah yeah maybe big ones can go over a 100 but like very typical ones.
Peter: Okay now I want to ask you this question. In the US, sometimes you invite people from your company but usually your friends. It’s not and I guess it depends on the person whether they invite the boss or not but I noticed something about Japanese weddings and the company involvement.
Sakura: Oh yes.
Peter: Can you tell us more about that?
Sakura: Well usually you invite your boss like you don’t want to offend him or her.
Peter: It’s a good strategy.
Sakura: そうなの。 Yeah and its kind of paying respect to them to invite your boss and maybe ask him or her to give a speech there.
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And this is one of the most unique things. Well let’s just finish it up here a bit more before we get into the speeches about who actually comes to the wedding. So you have about 50 to 150 people around that range and company people are – it’s kind of an obligation.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Don’t be bashful, don’t be bashful. Okay so we have that list and then your friends who are coming are not bringing in their friends.
Sakura: No.
Peter: Okay so we got the list. Now let me ask you about the negotiations for who is actually going to come to the wedding, getting that list down. Can you trade people or how does that work?
Sakura: You are usually expected to have about the same number of people on the groom's side and the bride side and you divide up this hall into two like on right hand side and left hand side and they are all gathered there like bride side.
Peter: The bride side is literally the bride side. Everyone is on that side.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And the groom side is literally the groom side.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Now I want to ask you about importance of seating. At the last wedding I went to, I was sitting with the boss in the company. Is that a good thing?
Sakura: Good.
Peter: Really?
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: That means you are in front like nearer to the couple. The couples is sitting at the center.
Peter: In the main table.
Sakura: At the main table facing the guests and…
Peter: Just the two of them?
Sakura: Yes and closer you are to the couple, you are more – you are regarded more important. Usually company people are closer. Relatives are their 身内 right. Their -
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: Yeah relatives are considered like one of your you know your people. So they are not as important as the special guests invited. So…
Peter: They are taken for granted.
Sakura: Yes, yes that’s right.
Peter: Because I noticed at the wedding, the family was actually all the way in the back.
Sakura: Yes that’s right yeah and your, like close family like you know brothers and mother, father, they are at the very end, they are far end.
Peter: Really interesting.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: But yeah we were at the table, the front table.
Sakura: Whoa! Important table.
Peter: Yes. Now let’s get Yoshi san’s input. Yoshi san last month went to a wedding.
Sakura: Yeah, yeah…そうだよね。
Yoshi: はい。
Peter: Yoshi san, tell us about the amount of people and also about seating. Where were you sitting? We really want to know that and kind of about the flow of the wedding.
Yoshi: Okay so the wedding ceremony I went to, that was my friend’s and it wasn’t a very big wedding ceremony. I think there were about like about 60 to like 65 or 70 people there and I was sitting in like the middle table with all my friends.
Sakura: Hmm…
Yoshi: So usually you have the tables for the special like people from the company or like you know your boss in the front. Then you have all the tables for the friends.
Sakura: Yes.
Yoshi: You invited. Then you have your family members.
Sakura: Yes.
Yoshi: In the back.
Peter: Interesting structure.
Sakura: うん。そうそう。
Yoshi: And they started with like showing up wearing this beautiful kimono, the traditional Japanese wedding dress.
Peter: Yoshi san when you say show up, are the guests already in the room and then they make their entrance or does everyone come in together. How do the bride and groom make their entrance?
Yoshi: I think first before we entered the wedding hall, the bride and the groom and the parents were standing like at the entrance like greeting everyone, thanking them for coming.
Peter: Ah!
Yoshi: And we all sit down first in the wedding hall and just like wait for the bride and groom to come in.
Peter: At the last wedding I went to, they actually had a kind of host like he would say, okay everyone, now we are going to have the bride and groom come in, everyone get ready, here they are announcing for the first time.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: So there was that person there.
Sakura: Usually there is a host.
Peter: And he is there throughout the two hours.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Okay so then they came in, what was next Yoshi san?
Yoshi: Then you know, they are placed at the front table, the main table and then I think we toasted.
Sakura: Usually very important guests does the very short speech for the toast first.
Yoshi: Yes.
Peter: right in the beginning.
Sakura: Yes in the very beginning.
Peter: Okay Sakura san, tell us more about these speeches. Who is giving the speeches?
Sakura: There is usually the very important guest for the toast speech and then after that, two bosses, the company bosses.
Peter: The company bosses.
Sakura: Yes like one from bride side and one from groom side and then friends, maybe one friend on each side.
Peter: And each speech is anywhere from about 5 to 10 minutes, kind of seven minutes I would say is the average, little long. So you have about 30 minutes of speeches, maybe a little shorter.
Sakura: Yeah it depends.
Peter: When someone like myself gets up there, I…I took a little while yes. Sakura san actually helped me out. I went to my friend’s wedding and I gave a speech in Japanese and Sakura san helped me write it.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Yoshi san, I should say Yoshi san helped me write it and Sakura san helped me rewrite it.
Sakura: Everybody has their own style. So yes…
Peter: Yeah but it’s quite interesting that they start off with speeches.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: You know, speeches in the US are kind of left to the best man and the maid of honor and just kind of two speeches, maybe a few words but usually just two but in Japan, you have kind of a series of people giving speeches.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And I think the fact that the boss gives the speech is one of the most interesting things because the boss may not even intimately know that person.
Sakura: Huh!
Peter: I went to another wedding. I went to quite a few Japanese weddings.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: And my friend had joined the company just a month before he got married and the boss still gave a speech.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: At the wedding.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: Now his speech was kind of I guess a stock-standard speech that bosses must pass around and circulate when they go to these weddings but the more recent one, my best friend who got married, his boss actually did a really amazing job with the speech. He asked questions before and he prepared it and he memorized it.
Sakura: Wow!
Peter: Which was – it made me look really bad.
Sakura: Ah!
Peter: That’s unusual right?
Sakura: うん。Unusual そうそう。. Usually you look at this, the draft.
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: But he memorized it which really left a nice impression on everybody there.
Sakura: Yeah because in Japan, you know your job – the people care about your job more than in western countries I suppose.
Peter: Sakura, what are you saying?
Sakura: No traditionally more. Not recently, but like parents generation, they often you know – the occupation or the job was very important part of that person. So you know, the bride’s parents would think whether the groom is good worker or…
Peter: So it’s kind of in this tradition leftover.
Sakura: そうそうそうそう。
Peter: I wonder when this tradition started.
Sakura: I don’t know.
Peter: Umm we will have to look that up.
Sakura: Yeah. It’s more like a custom now, isn’t it?
Peter: Definitely.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Oh boy! Time is really moving here.
Sakura: It’s not #4.
Peter: Number 4, number 4. Okay Yoshi san, can you tell us about the rest of the wedding?
Sakura: Yes.
Yoshi: Okay so after the speeches, the bride usually changes her kimono or dress like usually like a few times, 3 or 4 times.
Sakura: 3, 4 times かな?
Yoshi: Maybe 2 or 3 times.
Sakura: Well at least…
Peter: But a few times.
Sakura: Once or twice is I think common but maybe in other place like different areas, they might have different customs.
Peter: So she actually leaves the reception hall.
Yoshi: Yes.
Peter: Is outside changing for a bit and then comes back in and usually the entrance is played up again by the person hosting the wedding.
Sakura: Yes.
Yoshi: And while you know, she is changing, the groom also will change. Also but while we are waiting, there is like performance done by the people from the company or from the friends.
Peter: On both the bride and groom side.
Yoshi: Right and they get pretty wild like people sing and dance and lot of them, you know they are already pretty drunk.
Sakura: Yes.
Yoshi: So they get really wild.
Peter: Now on the guys side, usually the groom will ask his close friends to do some kind of performance at the wedding. So they may sing a song karaoke style, they may sing – they may do a dance show. Yoshi san?
Yoshi: Yeah.
Peter: You were on the groom side or the bride side at the last wedding?
Yoshi: I was at the bride side.
Peter: Did the bride side do anything for the bride?
Yoshi: Yes.
Peter: What did you do?
Yoshi: I sang Elvis song.
Sakura: Oh!
Peter: Okay so we have these performances and they are towards the middle of the wedding.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And then we have the changing in between.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And how does the wedding wind down? Of course, there is dinner served in between.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: Usually a few courses. You have the first course, second course, third course.
Sakura: Full course でしょ。
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: Full course usually like French. French or….
Peter: French is really popular.
Sakura: Popular yeah. French course but you have wine glass, you have beer glass and you can have all these different kinds of alcohol right?
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: And when your glass is empty, people come pouring liquor.
Peter: Yeah. So the cup is always full.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Now the first wedding I went to, there wasn’t much room to get up and move around and talk to other people. It was kind of very formal. It was done and the food came to you. So you were kind of stuck with the people around you and the most recent wedding I went to, I was free to move around and socialize with the other people.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Yoshi san, what was your wedding like?
Yoshi: I could move around like go talk to other people on the different tables and bring them you know beer, sake to cheer...
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: That’s a really important thing. You bring the alcohol and when you bring it, you pour for yourself or what’s the custom there?
Yoshi: Oh you just bring the bottle and you can like go talk to the bride’s parents to say you know congratulations and like pour them beer.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And then toast together.
Yoshi: You can bring your cup too but I think you don’t have to.
Sakura: No.
Yoshi: It’s just like showing your respect.
Sakura: Yes bringing the bottle and pouring beer in that person’s glass is an act of showing respect to that person.
Peter: This goes for not just weddings but in general, if you go out to eat with Japanese people.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: If you grab the beer and start pouring for them, it’s just as if you were a Japanese person.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Because this – yeah so a lot of times, you go out to eat and you pour for them and then rather than pouring for yourself, they take the beer bottle back and they pour for you.
Sakura: That’s right.
Peter: Not an efficient way.
Sakura: I know.
Peter: To get your alcohol.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: But it shows respect for the customs.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And the culture.
Yoshi: One time I remember, I brought the bottle and I poured it to my relatives dad and I didn’t have my cup. I just poured it for him. Then he finished his beer and gave me his cup in return and he poured beer for me.
Sakura: Oh!
Peter: Very interesting.
Sakura: Interesting and usually in weddings, the bride and groom’s parents, they go around with this beer bottle. It’s quite common.
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: Yes. Around guests and say thank you for coming and you know, saying that.
Peter: And you know what, the bride and groom, when they come around to greet the tables, usually the table makes them drink.
Sakura: Usually I think the couple is mostly fixed at the center table and people have to go to the couple to say greetings and then they bring their beer bottle and they pour the groom beer so the groom gets lots of beer and they have to…
Peter: A lot!
Sakura: Yes. Sometimes he has this bucket underneath and pours it inside. Now he pours the beer.
Peter: Ah I thought – Okay I had a bit of…really?
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: I know at the last wedding we came to my friend, we made him a drink of – no one wants to drink this drink. Lots of different alcohols mixed together and he would go around from table to table drinking and drinking.
Sakura: 本当?
Peter: Yep.
Sakura: へぇ、すごいね。
Peter: Wow! This is really interesting.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: So again, it kind of depends on the wedding and the couple that’s getting married which will dictate what kind of customs are honored and what kind of new things they do. Okay we are getting towards the latter stages of the wedding. What takes place next?
Yoshi: There is of course a cake cut.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Sakura san, you like that?
Sakura: Always. I don’t know why but they always do that.
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: I did that as well. ケーキカットとキャンドルサービス。
Yoshi: はい。
Peter: Can you explain these?
Sakura: Candle service. You – the bride and groom holds this – like you know…
Yoshi: Like a special lighter.
Sakura: Really long lighter together and light the candle together. That’s the first thing you do together.
Yoshi: They go around different tables and…
Sakura: Ah yes, yes, yes….
Yoshi: Light everyone’s candles first…
Sakura: Yeah.
Yoshi: And then go back to the main table and there is usually, it is like huge
Sakura: Yes.
Yoshi: Beautiful candles set up.
Sakura: Yeah.
Yoshi: And they light it together.
Sakura: Yeah and everybody gathers around and takes pictures of the scene and also cake cut is also the same, isn’t it? Like holding knife together and cut into cake like it’s more symbolic. Like you don’t have to cut them in pieces. You know, just sink the knife in.
Peter: Now after that, when everyone goes to get dessert, this is followed by dessert and…
Sakura: That happens in the middle of the whole party and then the cake goes away to the kitchen and then you know, it’s cut and when the dessert is served later, the cake comes to the table.
Peter: It makes the return.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: It comes back.
Sakura: そう。
Peter: Come back cake.
Sakura: そう。 Finally the bride reads a letter for her parents saying thank you for raising me and…
Yoshi: Gives all the thanks in…
Sakura: Yes. Thank You Letter.
Peter: The Thank You Letter. That’s right.
Sakura: Yes and everybody cries. Yes its really touching and then you know, the parents are crying as well.
Peter: Did you cry Sakura san?
Sakura: Yes and you give flowers to the bride’s parents and groom parents.
Peter: Aha!
Sakura: And then groom’s father gives a speech to the guests.
Peter: Thanking everyone for coming.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And showing appreciation.
Sakura: Yes and then they go out and wait at the exit and guests go out and they hand this presents 引き出物 presents.
Peter: Speaking of presents.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Sakura san, what does an average person give at a Japanese wedding?
Sakura: If you are invited to a wedding reception, you are expected to give ¥30,000.
Peter: Ouch! Cash.
Sakura: In the special envelope.
Peter: So it’s kind of nice. You don’t really have to worry about what to get them but at the same time, it’s quite expensive.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: My wife and I, we went to a wedding.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: 30,000, 30,000.
Sakura: Really?
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: あ、本当?
Peter: But I think it was acceptable to knock it down to 50,000.
Sakura: 50,000 yes for a couple yes.
Peter: Yeah so for couples it was a little cheaper but still that’s quite an ordeal.
Sakura: Yeah odd numbers as usual, usually.
Peter: Yes key point. One gives odd numbers as it has to do with luck.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And the even numbers are bad luck.
Sakura: Yes 20,000 is recently becoming more acceptable to make it you know more reasonable but usually 30,000 and 50,000 for a couple and for relatives, 100,000 is okay. It’s even number but it’s okay.
Peter: 100,000.
Sakura: Yeah like among relatives.
Peter: Wow!
Sakura: Like to your niece or you know.
Peter: And the more amazing thing is the bride and the groom, they don’t make a profit.
Sakura: It goes to the fee right?
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: The cost for the wedding.
Peter: It probably doesn’t even cover everything.
Sakura: Umm maybe.
Peter: Okay Sakura san, your wish came true next week or the week after #4.
Sakura: Four.
Peter: But we are going to wrap it up soon. This is a little more interesting. There is a couple more interesting things with this. So…
Sakura: Such an interesting topic.
Peter: Really it is. It’s almost I mean what we are covering in 40 minutes, we can do a documentary about it.
Sakura: Yeah.


Peter: Okay with that said, that’s going to do it for today.
Sakura: またね。
Yoshi: またね。


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