You may have heard the popular Japanese saying deru kugi wa utareru, or “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” Due to this belief, unfortunately many people go to great lengths to hide what makes them unique or special in Japan. When I was an English teacher, I even had students returning from English-speaking countries who put on fake Japanese accents during class so they wouldn’t stand out in the classroom.
In this environment where it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd, it takes a lot of courage to do something different. In this past month we’ve seen two people with plenty of bravery hold unique weddings — one, a solo wedding and the other, a man marrying a fictional character. In both these cases the nail sticking out didn’t get hammered down, but instead received support and encouragement, showing that what makes people unique is slowly starting to be celebrated rather than discouraged.
One of these weddings was a “solo wedding” for writer Mariko Ohanabatake of women’s lifestyle and culture site YouPouch.
At YouPouch, they upload an article on days that end in “1” (like the 1st, 11th, 21st etc.,) with the theme ステキなぼっちの日, or “Lovely Singles’ Day,” where Mariko and other YouPouch writers discuss their experience doing some solo activities.
With Nov 11 (11/11) being comprised of all number ones and therefore an ultimate “Single’s Day,” Mariko decided to celebrate by having her very own solo wedding.
Rather than focusing on the boring (and expensive) parts such as the ceremony, invites and vows, she decided to keep it cheap and focus on the fun stuff — namely the consultation, trying on wedding dresses, hair and makeup, and a photo shoot. She found a photo studio in Omotesando where she could get all of this for just under ¥20,000.
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