Wedding Speech, Delivered by Neal Cropper at Rural Caprine Farm, April 21, 2019
(Written by Dave Olson with Neal Cropper)
<Neal> Dear assembled beautiful people, We come together today from all over the world, bridging countries and cultures, to witness the next chapter in an ongoing Okayama love story.
Indeed it was here at this lovely farm that Ryoko and Dave first met. Like all true love, there’s is a completely unique story / this Okayama love story features a drifting painter slash poet and a sunny arborist slash jazz singer finding each other at a friend’s farm at the exact moment that they were both ready to begin this new life.
Since then, the relationship has flourished into one of mutual respect, shared interest, many laughs, and sparking more love each day. Love stories are all different, but the great ones always share a foundation of working together with common interests and passions. In this case, a mutual love of art, music, nature, creativity, compassion, living slow and simple, and building a community of friends.
No doubt their gratitude for these friendships is evident through this wonderful celebration which they handcrafted, quite literally, over the past few months building to today’s Festivities. Over these past months, they built new households in Indonesia and Japan, furnishing their new life together through conscious and careful decisions, laying the bricks and mortar foundation for a life together. Indeed these simple acts of kindness are a tremendous catalyst for goodness in the world at large but also patience and sweetness are key to harmonious relationships which we see so to see the gentle looks on their faces as they gaze upon each other demonstrating true agape.
In this relationship, we are all also blending cultures, communities, countries without borders, friendship without boundaries. Much like Japan and Canada share a common symbol of the Maple leaf, both of these trees come from the same <name> family, and may look a little bit different, but inside they are still growing the same leaves and life for generations even if the soil is in different places.
Japan and Canada share the same symbol the Japanese Maple and the Canadian sugar maple unifying the two countries across the Pacific. These two wonderful people come together and build a family together in the same way that the Canadian maple and the Japanese maple are the from the same family of Acer trees. Beautiful unification of 2 separate trees of the same family. With these two souls, we see this feeling radiate and grow in tune with nature.
Together, we now witness this next step as they exchange vows and rings. Yesterday, they solemnized their marriage at the Munetade Shinto shrine participating in historic rituals at a place special to the Fujita family and witnessed by family and friends. Previously they certified and registered their marriage with the appropriate civil authorities of Canada & Japan.
Ryoko’s extended family has welcomed Dave with friendliness, grace, laughter and warmth. Ryoko has now met Dave’s brothers who are such an important part of his life. Also, the spirit of Dave’s dad and mom, both passed on, is evident in various artifacts and symbols as well as their wedding attire.
Now we will perform our part by witnessing their words to one another. Dave-san, now is your chance to express yourself to your beautiful wife:
Now Ryoko san, please say your words to your handsome husband:
Now as a symbol of you union, you have created special rings to wear together. Before you place the rings on each other’s fingers, i have the pleasure of asking:
“Ryoko do you choose to marry Dave?”
<Ryoko gives ring (From tray held by Lee)>
“and Dave, do you choose to marry Ryoko?”
<Dave give ring (From tray held by Lee)>
Now, it is my privilege as the representative of the friends and family gathered here and those afar to announce you to the world and invite you to go out into the world as “wife and husband”.
Douzo kissu shee-tay kudasai
Ladies and Gentlemen, may i present, Mr Dave and Mrs Ryoko Olson!
Now let’s start your forever future with a dance Omodeto gozaimasu (Ohh-Meh-Dei-Toe Goo-Zai-Mah-suu)