A celebration of the two lives of Shelly and Nobuharu coming together and becoming one.
April 23, 2006
Here is the first edition of the Kinshachi Times! “What is a kinshachi?” you may ask… It is the symbol of Nagoya, and the name of the Suzuki Family website (the website is one of the many very cool gifts we’ve received for our wedding!).
2005 was a busy year. Nobuharu (or Su-san, as most people call him) and I (Shelly) became engaged in Japan on February11th, and the wedding party was held in October. Traveling on an airplane with a wedding dress is fun! Mom and Dad flew with me to Japan, and we stayed in a weekly apartment. My aunt Anna joined us there, and helped with the wedding preparations. In addition, Pamela and Preston, friends from our church in Massachusetts (North Shore Community Baptist Church in Beverly, www.nscbc.org) were able to arrange their schedules to be in Japan, and Sarita (whom I’ve known since I was very young) was able to travel from Kobe to Nagoya. It was really special to have them all be able to attend. Our friends John and Sheena (from the UK, currently living in Korea) came to Japan to be our Shounin couple (sort of “godparents” for our marriage). Su-san’s aunt came from Shizuoka. Su-san and I wanted the wedding celebration to emphasize people and community. Therefore, while we had a very small reception, we invited everyone to the ceremony. At least ten nations were represented.
Friends from NICA (Nagoya International Christian Assembly), NGC (Nagoya Glorious Chapel), Campus Crusade, my work, Su-san’s work, and from our Bible Study group in Japan all came to the ceremony; along with people we have known through other work and church activities. Many people from NGC helped with the details. The reception was at a Japanese restaurant, with a multi-course meal, speeches, a slideshow of Su-san and me as children, and music by friends. NGC also held an open house for us the day after our wedding, complete with a wedding cake baked by Carol Hall (Carol and Gary Hall pastor NICA).
For our honeymoon, we went to the American Embassy in Tokyo to apply for Su-san’s visa to come to America. At least, that was the focal point of our travels… We made the journey to and from Tokyo interesting. Actually, Su-san made it interesting. He planned everything. On the way up to Tokyo, we stopped in Toyohashi and saw the house where he was born. Then we went to Shizuoka and met his Aunt, Uncle and Grandmother. They surprised us. They had made reservations for us at a very nice ryokan, and also brought me to a store to choose my own summer yukata! Su-san is wise – he videotaped the process of putting it on, so we would be able to duplicate it here in the U.S.!
Our next stop was Tokyo and the Embassy. The paperwork was accepted, so we continued on our way and spent several days in the mountains. We stayed at an onsen ryokan in Hirayu, which has a large natural hot spa. We relaxed in the several of the hot spa baths, and tried many local foods such as gyusushi (raw beef sushi), hoba miso (traditional local cuisine made with miso, vegetables, and beef, grilled on a dried leaf of the Japanese Umbrella tree). We also visited Kamikochi, Norikura, and Takayama. Finally, we returned to Nagoya to visit friends and spend time with Su-san’s family. We even went to Venice. “Little Venice” in Nagoya, that is! After a few more days, and then… Shelly had to return to the U.S. It was hard to leave each other so soon!
Although we had heard that the visa could take 4 to 6 months, in our case things went very quickly. Amen! By December 9th, Su-san was here in America and we spent our first Christmas together in Maine. Since then, we’ve been on the go. We moved from New Hampshire to Massachusetts. My parents helped us get settled in – they even surprised us by traveling from Maine to Massachusetts one day when Su-san and I weren’t at home! They unpacked many boxes, put up shelves, and brought order to the kitchen.
With a Commuter Rail station a 10 minute walk from our house, Su-san found a school in Boston and began taking English classes and has taken the TOEIC (Test Of English for International Communication) exam. At the same time, Su-san got a temporary job translating a technical engineering document from Japanese to English, and is finding out what he needs to do to get his nursing license here.
In February, our friends Pamela and Preston arranged a reception so we could talk with (and share photos with!) people from NSCBC. We have visited the Japanese church in Boston, done some sight seeing around New England, found great grocery stores for buying Japanese food, learned to use Skype to talk with Su-san’s family in Japan, visited family in Maine, made new friends, enjoyed ‘bumping into’ friends in Beverly, and found several good Japanese restaurants. Two of them, in Rockland Maine, are even run by Japanese. One is actually named “Suzuki’s Sushi!”
In March we went to Maine for Su-san’s birthday. We stayed at a bed and breakfast in Freeport run by friends from NSCBC. After that we went to Rockland, and Su-san ate his first lobster! Su-san has been doing an amazing job with adjusting to life in the U.S.: different food, a very different climate, different allergens, driving on the ‘other side of the road’, and even different ideas between Japanese and American medicine.
Now, at last, it is time for our ‘official’ wedding reception in the U.S.! Many of you received our wedding announcement last year, and saw the “Save the Date” for June 11, 2006. The day is approaching fast! We’ll have a “Celebration of Marriage” (not exactly another wedding, but a ceremony that includes the heart of a wedding) at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship at 9 Foss Rd. in Lewiston, Maine (www.vcflewiston.org). As we did with our wedding in Japan, we want to share this celebration with friends and family. That means you! We’d love it if you (and your friends and family) can join us! Our celebration will be immediately after the 11:00 service. A reception will follow with a light lunch, cake and ice cream in the church’s café. We’ll have time to talk and take pictures with you, and to show a slideshow and photos of our Japanese wedding.
Thank you for all your encouragement and support for us as we begin our journey together!
Congratulations Shelly and Nobuharu! Wedding pictures can be found on the Photo Page, as well as directions what to do with photos you may want to give the bride and groom.