Baby shower is not a practice here in Japan, but my foreign and local friends who are cool and open to experiencing new things and other cultures made this event possible.
They organized a Bee themed baby shower for me last September 08, and it was a whole lot of fun. The party was from 2:30 to 6:00 pm at a karaoke bar in Hakui City.
Anyway, it was a potluck party, so we all brought food
and drinks to share with everyone. Most of us arrived at 1:30 pm to decorate the room and set up the food station!
Then, we started playing interesting games.
Make a baby bump
First, the boys were given 3 minutes to blow balloons and put them inside their shirt. The one with the biggest baby bump won the game.
Belly measurement game
Second, each person was given a string to guess the size of my bump. Afterwards, when they’re done figuring out how big my belly is, they all went to me with their string and we cut the difference. So the person with the shortest string won!
Old Wives Tales
Third, we answered the Old Wives Tales questionnaire together, and I asked them to guess if my baby’s a boy or a girl. Of course, we didn’t reveal the gender just yet.
Name that poop
Fourth, we asked the guests to identify the chocolate in each diaper! Gross, right? Hahaha.
The price is right
Fifth, we put baby items on the table and made our attendees guess their price! The winner was the one closest to the total price of all the items.
Also, in between games, we requested our guests to sign our guest book, write their advice for us and their wishes for the baby.
Then, we popped a huge black balloon to reveal our baby’s gender! Yay!
Shortly after, we gave everyone bee cupcakes that also revealed the gender of our baby.
And we opened the gifts that we received from everyone!
Lastly, we did karaoke from 4:30 to 5:30, and everyone
helped cleaning up the place (It’s Japanese
culture!) before we left the
Susumu and I are truly grateful to our family and friends here who make our married life colorful! And we are happy to have A VILLAGE, a very loving and safe community, to raise our child with.
My husband and I saved a lot of money by not asking the help of a gyouseisyoshi (行政書士) to process my VISA. We just read lots of articles online, prepared the necessary documents and submitted them by ourselves at the immigration office in our prefecture.
Based on our research, here is the list of documents that you need. You can get all of these from your city or town hall:
Residence Certificate: Juminhyo (住民票). This is a proof that you live together.
Marriage Certificate: Koninjiko Kisai Syoumeisyo (婚姻事項記載証明書)
Family registry of your spouse: Kosekitouhon (戸籍謄本)
Taxable income of your spouse: Juminzei Syotokukazei Syoumeisyo (住民税所得課税証明書) *current year
Residence Tax of your spouse: Juminzei Nouzei Syoumeisyo (住民税納税証明書) *previous year
Other documents that you have to turn in:
Copy of your Marriage certificate from the consulate/embassy
Copy of your residence card and passport
Copy of your spouse’s passport
One Application form (PDF, Excel) with a clear photo taken within three months. It should be 4cm×3cm with a plain background and no shadows. Also, in this picture, the applicant should be alone facing to the front without any head covering.
Three pictures or more. Don’t forget to include your wedding photos; they are extremely important to show the immigration officers that it is not a marriage of convenience! At least one group shot and 2 couple shots are required.
Supporting documents that are not required, but would definitely help your VISA approval:
Bank statement of your guarantor/spouse: Ginkō torihiki meisai-sho (銀行取引明細書). You definitely need to prove that your guarantor/spouse can support you.
Copy of your certificate of employment from your previous employer
Copy of your JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) Results
Remember, everything that you submit won’t be returned even the photos, so I, myself, printed a new set of pictures solely for this.
After 5 business days, I was asked to return to the immigration to pay the fees. It only cost us 4,000 JPY. Then, they released my new residence card right away! It was really quick; we only spent twenty to thirty minutes at the office.
Here is the thing, they gave me a 3-year work VISA for JET, but only 1 year for spouse VISA. Of course, we asked them why, and they said that it is pretty standard.
For newlyweds, they only issue 1-year VISA, then another 1 year for the second time. After that, they can give me 3 years. Then, permanent residency. So in other words, they are strict, and they want to make sure that my husband and I stay married for at least two years before they issue anything longer than a year. Well, I get it.
The good thing is now that I have SPOUSE VISA, there is no limit to the kind of work that I can engage in unlike my INSTRUCTOR WORK VISA before. I think, that is something to celebrate! Cheers to more freedom!
The process is a piece of cake, but the information posted online is not that sufficient. I even had to call the Philippine Consulate in Osaka several times to make sure that we were doing things right. Mind you, it takes forever for them to answer a phone call, and I wish to help you guys save time and of course, MONEY!
Anyway, based on the website of the Philippine Consulate in Osaka, these are the requirements:
Four (4) Report of Marriage (ROM) forms, filled out legibly in block letters or typed out and signed individually. Please make sure that your signature matches the one on your passport data page. Being in Japan for two years, where we stamp our hanko (personal stamp that acts as signature) instead of affixing our signatures, it felt a little weird. I actually thought I already forgot how my signature looked like. Good thing my hand remembers. And as for my husband, like most Japanese people, his signature is his way of writing his name in kanji, so it was rather easy for him.
This is tricky. The website says that
if submitted by mail, ROM forms must be notarized by a Japanese notary public (Koshonin Yakuba)
BUT it did not mention that you do not need the forms to be notarized if you already personally appeared at the consulate to get your Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage (LCCM) Certificate. Note that it costs about 11,000¥ to have one document notarized. Hence, four documents would cost about 44,000¥ . So I am glad that I called the consulate to clarify this.
Honestly, I see no reason to say that the ROM forms need to be notarized because
FIRST, LCCM is required to get married here in Japan and
SECOND, LCCM is only granted to couples who personally appear at the consulate.
In other words, people are bound to secure an LCCM certificate and go to the consulate anyway. Hence, skip the DATE, SEAL and NOTARIAL AUTHORITY part if you have been there for your LCCM.
Four (4) photocopies of valid passport (data page), that goes for you and your spouse
One (1) original and three (3) photocopies of the Kon-in Todoke Kisai Jiko Shomeisho, marriage certificate from your town or city hall.Just make three copies of the certificate itself. No need to photocopy the attached files.
If your spouse is Japanese, one (1) original and three (3) photocopies of his Kosekitohon, family register with details of the marriage.
If your spouse is a foreigner but not Japanese, one (1) original and three (3) photocopies of Kon-in Todoke Juri Shomeisho.
Self-addressed return envelope : A4-size envelope with 930¥ worth of postage stamps or Letterpack 510, which you can buy at the post office. The consulate will use this to send you your marriage certificate.
If you are reporting your marriage beyond one (1) year, you need to submit an Affidavit of Delayed Registration of Marriage.
How much do you need to pay?
Report of Marriage – 6,500¥ (including the 3,250¥ fee for the translation of the Kon-in Todoke Kisai Jiko Shomeisho)
Affidavit: 3,250¥ per document
Since we reported our marriage just two months after we filed the documents at our city hall and our wedding ceremony, there was no need for an Affidavit of Delayed Registration of Marriage, and we only paid a total of 9,750¥ . We put the money inside a (A) genkin kakitome envelope and sent it to the consulate via JP post, while the rest of the documents, including the self-addressed return envelope: A4-size envelope with 930 yen worth of postage stamps or Letterpack 510 , was put inside an (B) A4 envelope (the stamp cost depends on its weight).
Philippine Consulate General in Osaka
Attn: Marriage Section
〒540-6124 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Shiromi, 2 Chome−1−61 ツイン２１ＭＩＤタワー
There are additional requirements necessary like your NSO birth certificate etc. But then again, if you have been to the consulate for your LCCM, you don’t have to submit them anymore.
How long did it take for them to process the documents? We received our marriage certificate from the consulate by mail in just 10 business days.
My husband and I initially wanted to hold a separate wedding reception in the Philippines, and go to Boracay since he’s never been there. However, the moment we found out that we’re having a baby, we consulted with a doctor, and I was advised not to fly. I’m actually fine; it’s not a high-risk pregnancy, but I am in Japan, and doctors here can be very protective. Perhaps, that is the reason why it’s one of the safest countries in the world to give birth. They don’t only take extra care of the babies but their moms too.
Anyway, better safe than sorry! So we scrapped the original plan and decided to just drive around the Chūbu Region for five days for our honeymoon.
From our house, our first stop was the…
Tateyama Alpine Route (Toyama)
It’s a two-hour drive. Then, we took a cable car to the bus stop, and a bus took us up to Murodo Station where we saw these beautiful scenic spots. We walked around the area for an hour or two, and YES, our journey was longer than our stay there, but it was worth it. We felt really close to nature being so high up there surrounded by the Japanese Alps.
All in all, it was just a half day trip, and we went back home that night!
The next day, we went to one of UNESCO’s World Heritage site, a traditional Japanese village…
2. Shirakawa-go (Gifu)
The ancestors of the residents here helped each other build these gassho-zukuri farmhouses about 250 years ago.
After two hours of strolling around, we headed to . . .
3. Nagoya City (Nagoya)
We just visited the castle and the newest landmark in the area, Oasis 21 Rooftop. It’s at the shopping area of Sakae District. We stayed there for the night, so we had time to visit a pub near our hotel, and I was glad to talk to the manager who knew a lot about the Philippines.
The following day, we went to one of the best hotels in Shizuoka to see Mt. Fuji! It’s no other than the…
4. Nippondaira Hotel (Shizuoka)
I really enjoyed our stay here, and we are definitely coming back sometime during the winter when the skies are clear. We were able to see Mt. Fuji but only for a short time. It turns out that in the springtime, Mt. Fuji is only visible from dawn up to 8:00 or 9:00 am until the clouds get in the way. Nonetheless, it was a great hotel for a honeymoon & their food was great too. We had a French course menu, and our tummies were very satisfied.
In our attempt to have a closer look at Mt. Fuji, we drove to…
5. Fuji Shiba-sakura Festival (Yamanashi)
The clouds completely blocked Mt. Fuji, but we were pleased by the beautiful garden all the same.
6. Nagano City (Nagano)
Our last stop was Nagano City. It was a relaxing night. We pretty much just had dinner, massage and stayed at our hotel.
The morning after, we visited the Zenkō-ji Temple before we headed home.
There, my husband bought me an amulet for safe delivery. Then, we drew an omikuji, and I luckily got the best one, great blessing (大吉), yay!
Well, I really like this temple except for its pitch-black passage underground, where everyone is not allowed to use a flashlight. I know, it is a very spiritual thing for Buddhists; it is a purging experience, and I would have appreciated it if I weren’t pregnant. I just really panicked in there because I could see nothing, not even the floor and not even my husband. So I was little worried about the safety of my baby. But of course, if you are sure that you won’t have a heart attack while walking in the dark, by all means, try it.
There you go!
That’s all we did for our honeymoon! It was tiring, especially for my husband who did all the driving, but it was definitely fun!
As far as I remember, it cost us about 200,000円. The gas and toll fees were of course, pricey. And we splurged on food!
But our honeymoon is still cheap compared to most Japanese couples who go to Hawaii and France and spend about 1,000,000 円 .
This post includes a narration of our wedding day, and a list of things that we did that weren’t very Japanese. Since my husband and I are from two different cultures, we had to compromise.
Let me begin with the CEREMONY…
On May 12, the big day, we arrived at the salon at 8:00 am, then, it took the staff about two hours to do my hair, makeup and to dress me up. They also did the same for my aunt and my sister, but they finished way earlier. As for my husband, he did not need anything but assistance to wear his hakama.
I kinda gave the staff a hard time because my hair is really short, so it took them a while to put all the flowers in it but, I loved the way it was done. It looked very simple like my makeup. Plus, I’m glad that they did not pale me up. Well, before we even started, I definitely made it clear that I wanted to look as natural as possible, and my wish was granted. Yay!
At around 10:00 am, we moved to the shrine for a 30-minute pictorial and a 30-minute meeting. However, since I couldn’t understand the instructions well because they were all in Japanese, we asked the help of a friend to translate everything in English. As a consequence, the meeting was way longer than expected.
The ceremony was supposed to be from 11:00-11:30, but we started at around 11:30…
and finished at 12:15.
So we only had another 10 minutes for picture taking because we had to go back to the salon, change clothes, and quickly go to the RECEPTION.
As far as I remember, we made it to the venue at exactly 1:00 pm. By that time, everyone had been waiting for us inside the hall.
The party started at exactly 1:15 pm, and it lasted for two hours, which is pretty standard because we also allot time for the nijikai or the AFTER-PARTY.
At 3:20 pm , everyone started moving to the Karaoke bar.
We sang our hearts out from 3:30 to 6:00 pm. Then, my family went back to our hotel. It’s also where the reception was held.
Anyway, after everything, you know, I realized that there was actually not enough time to take pictures with the guests from the ceremony to the after-party because of the short time interval, but aside from that, it was a stress-free and easy wedding. All we did was go with the flow and have fun.
But certainly, there were things that had to be discussed and agreed on:
1. In a traditional Shinto wedding, only the families of the couple attend the ceremony, but I wanted my friends to be there too, so my husband, Susumu, agreed to open it to everyone invited. In other words, my friends did not just party with us. They took part in the ceremony as well, which was great!
2. My local and foreign friends planned and organized the wedding party, so we had wedding singers, which a usual Japanese wedding reception won’t have.They don’t really play live music, but we had a band and they even brought their own instruments. Also, Susumu and his friends also sang. That was really fun.
3. Instead of a wedding video about us, we just showed a slideshow of our pictures in the background, and we played games during the wedding party like the newlywed game, and we also had a quiz, which everyone participated in. Of course, games are something that wouldn’t exist in a traditional reception but this was our way of letting our audience know more about us like the things we enjoy doing together, our engagement, the number of children we would like to have etc.
4. Our wedding dance. Initially, Susumu didn’t want to dance, but I eventually swayed him to do it. He told me that a Japanese wedding is very formal, the couple wouldn’t sing nor dance, but I couldn’t do that. I like being involved, so we practiced a simple dance the day before the wedding. It wasn’t perfect, but we enjoyed it.
5. The guests were so game. Most of them joined us on the dance floor though there’s usually no dancing at a Japanese Wedding reception.
6. Susumu’s father and mother gave separate speeches. My Japanese friends were very surprised becauseit rarely happens. Only the dads give speeches during weddings, so what we did was very unique. In fact, his mom’s speech was very heartwarming, and everyone was touched. I almost cried, but I stopped myself because I didn’t want to mess up my makeup. Anyhow, I know you would agree with me when I say that moms also have a voice, and they too, need to be heard. ;-)
7. Lastly, my Aikido friends had a 5-minute exhibition of the basic stuff that a beginner learns. Again, not usually happening in a formal occasion like this. But my A friends are really passionate about it, and we wanted to share and promote it to everyone. After all, it’s the ART OF PEACE, and it is something that we definitely want to have in our lives.
There you have it!
My husband and I made sure that our wedding was a compromise between two people. It was very important for us to hold a party that respected each others cultures, and at the same time showed our very own personalities.
I’ve come across a few articles online saying that the average Japanese wedding with 70 guests costs about 4 million yen, and I’m very happy and proud that we did not spend that amount of money to get hitched.
My husband and I live in a rural area here in Ishikawa, and we are very simple people. So an extravagant wedding ceremony and party are not really for us.
In fact, our wedding cost us NOTHING.
HOW WE DID IT?
It was intimate. There were only 40 guests because the shrine could only accommodate 40 people. Usually, only the family members attend the ceremony, but growing up Catholic, it is more important to me than the party itself, so my close friends were welcome to witness the ceremony as well.
Considering the small number of people expected to come, we just did everything mostly by ourselves.
Our invitations were ordered online. We got 30 pieces, and it only cost us a little over 10,000¥. It was reasonably priced, and I must say that the company really surprised me because the invitations really looked way better than its pictures online. It was worth it.
We had a solemn Shinto Wedding Ceremony at Keta Taisha Shrine in Hakui, and we got a simple package that cost 150,000¥. This included hair and makeup, my kimono, my husband’s hakama, photographer, and a bridal car with driver and an assistant to help me throughout the ceremony. The wedding kimono is really heavy, and I needed assistance the whole time.
Aside from those, we paid 40,000¥ in total for my sister and my aunt’s kimono. That also included hair and makeup. Compared to other places in our area, I can definitely say that it’s really cheap, and it’s definitely a good deal.
For our change clothes, we just rented Susumu’s tuxedo for 35,000¥ and my wedding gown for 65,000¥. It’s actually a trend here in Japan to rent dresses, so people can save money and of course, help the environment. I’m glad that it’s an option because I didn’t really want to buy an expensive dress, which I would only use once.
Our wedding rings were five weeks in the making, and they cost us 215,000¥.
We just ordered our wedding cake at a local bakeshop near the hotel where we held the wedding reception, and they only charged us 10,000¥.
There was no professional wedding coordinator/planner. The person-in-charge at Keta Taisha Shrine took care of everything, while my close friends planned and organized the wedding reception. That means, we did not need to pay for them. We just gave them gifts after the event. Also, since we already had a photographer for the ceremony, we didn’t hire another one for the reception. Our friends just took many pictures, and we didn’t have a videographer either. I just compiled the pictures and videos together, then made a wedding video through magisto.
The total cost of the wedding reception including the decorations and my wedding bouquet was 250,000¥. The guests had a set menu, and they were free to order any alcoholic drink that they wanted.
Our hotel room, as well as my sister and aunts’, with dinner and breakfast cost 50,000¥. It means that it was just 12,500¥ per person.
We also had other expenses like the souvenirs my sister bought from the Philippines. We gave one for each guest. All of it was just 40,000¥.
Lastly, we went to a karaoke bar near the hotel for the after-party. There were 30 people present. It was all-you-can-drink with some really good snacks. There were fruits like strawberries, kiwis and some mixed nuts. Everybody seemed to have fun, and towards the end of the party, each guest paid 2500¥ for our two-hour stay at the karaoke bar. Hence, it was about 75,000¥, butwe just paid for ourselves because it’s how it is done here. The guests pay for the after-party if they decide to come.
To sum it all, the total wedding cost from the ceremony to the after-party was about 940,000¥ = 8,580 USD = 450,000 PHP .
Now, here’s the catch, it’s the Japanese tradition to give gift money during weddings.
The standard minimum amount of money that colleagues and friends give is 30,000¥, while bosses, family members and relatives give at least 50,000¥. This money covers the guest’s meal, and the return gift, which is sent to them a week or two after the wedding.
To make it clearer, a guest who gave 30,000¥ is entitled to a gift item worth 9,000¥, which is 30% of the gift money s/he gave. For this, we asked the help of a gift shop near our house. We just gave them the attendees’ names, addresses and paid them. Then, they contacted the guests by sending them a catalog of gift items that they can choose from. From there, they waited and sent the guest’s preferred gift a few days after the response.
As for the remaining money from the guests, if any, those are used to pay for other wedding expenses.
Since we had international guests, we didn’t impose anything. Everybody had the liberty to give us a gift item or money, but still, everybody gave cash.
We received different amounts, and we’re grateful that they covered all our wedding expenses. In other words, at the end of the day, we spent ZERO.
I find that great about the Japanese culture – that we didn’t break the bank to get married because everyone shared for the cost of the wedding, and the attendees’ greatest gifts to the newlyweds are their presence, love and support.
It’s the very first day of our new era! And today, Susumu and I decided to submit our marriage documents to the city hall. In other words, we are now officially husband and wife! Yay!
Anyway, I wrote this post to share with you how easy it is to get married here in Japan. The whole process in the city hall only took us 15 minutes maximum, but of course, we made sure that we had all the documents necessary beforehand.
The first thing that you should find out is if you need to apply for LCCM or your legal capacity to contract marriage either in Tokyo or Osaka. It depends on where you live. Since I am based here in Ishikawa, I am under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka.
Then, I prepared the documents and went there with my fiance. Note that personal appearance of both parties is required.
So aside from yourself and your partner, what else should you bring to the consulate?
Things that a Philippine National need in order to secure an LCCM:
Valid passport and a copy of the data page
Original PSA Birth Certificate authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
Two (2) passport size photos, mine had blue background, and they were accepted at the Consulate in Osaka, but if I remember correctly, it has to be white for the Embassy in Tokyo
Proof of visa status in Japan : One (1) copy of the residence card or Japanese visa
One (1) self-addressed envelope with stamps worth 930 yen or (one) self addressed Japan Post Letter-pack 510 envelope with your full name, mobile number and address on it
If you are single:
Certificate of Non-appearance in Marriage Registry (CENOMAR) issued by the Philippine Statistics Office (PSA) and authenticated by the DFA. When you request it, please write “FOR MARRIAGE” as its purpose.
If you are between 18-20 years old, submit an Affidavit of Parental Consent (together with the copy of the passport of the parents). Your parents may either file the affidavit with you at the consulate or submit an affidavit notarized in the Philippines and authenticated by the DFA.
If you are between 21-25 years old, submit an Affidavit of Parental Advice (together with the copy of the passport of the parent). Same as above, your parents may either file the affidavit with you at the consulate or submit an affidavit notarized in the Philippines and authenticated by the DFA.
If you are a widow:
Please submit a PSA death certificate of the deceased spouse authenticated by the DFA or a death certificate issued in Japan and a copy of the Kosekitohon of the deceased.
Include, a PSA Marriage Certificate with the previous spouse authenticated by the DFA
Also, you need an Advisory on Marriage issued by the PSA and authenticated by the DFA
Lastly, you have to remember that widows can only apply for the LCCM if 300 days has passed since the date of death of the spouse.
If you are divorced or annulled:
Philippine Judicial Recognition of Foreign Divorce or Judicial Decree of Nullity of Marriage with a Certificate of Finality issued by a Philippine Court and authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs
Annotated PSA Marriage Certificate with the previous spouse authenticated by the DFA
Advisory on Marriage issued by the PSA and authenticated by the PSA
As for your Japanese Partner:
Passport or driver’s license (present the original and submit 1 photocopy)
2 passport size photos
Now that you already have an idea of what you are supposed to bring, let me share with you the experience of going to the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka.
Well, honestly, our train ride, which was almost 5 hours was longer than our actual stay at the office. Last March 06, it was a Tuesday, we left our town around 10:15 am and arrived there at around 4:00 pm, and it was not busy at all. I only saw one person who applied for passport renewal, and another one applying for LCCM.
Just a tip though, you might see some staff on the glass window for passport renewal, but none for LCCM. If that’s the case, don’t just sit at the waiting area forever.You’d need to go to the empty glass window and call someone in that room to assist you. Then, give all the documents; they will verify it while you and your partner fill in another form. After that, you’d just have to pay. Once you’ve settled the bill, which is approximately 16,500¥, you may leave. It was really quick; I remember staying there for only 30 minutes.
In the span of two weeks, you will receive the document by post.
Having the LCCM in your hands, you and your partner can go to your city hall anytime within 120 days.
Don’t forget to bring everything inside the envelope sent by the consulate/embassy to you. Also, bring your passport, residence card, hanko and application form. On the other hand, your partner needs his residence card, kosekitohon and hanko.
By the way, you definitely have to get the form at the city hall a few days before. Fill it in with your partner, and ask two Japanese witnesses to write their names, address and stamp their hanko. You can choose anyone of legal age, but I think, if you prefer foreigner witnesses, they have to go with you when you submit your marriage documents, but Japanese Nationals don’t have to come. This is why Susumu and I asked two of his closest Japanese friends to do it for us.
One last thing, when your partner requests for kosekitohon from his hometown, tell him/her to ask for two copies because you need it for both (1) the consulate for your LCCM and (2) the city or town hall where you intend to get married.