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.
What follow is documentation of the Honorary Canadian Consulate in Osaka, located basically in the parking lot of a pre-cut wood shop with lumber imported from BC.
I was the first person to sign the guest register this year
Walls were adorned with newspaper clippings from a decade or so ago
Signs encouraging “More fish and wood”
Several beautiful canoes (unused)
(Somewhat oddly) wooden pig roaster in the lobby
The location, as you likely as assumed considering it’s a lumberyard, is in an industrial park area (photo of street included) and required a variety of transportation schemes to get there including the “new tram”.
While the experience was a little bit surprising (I have a whole riff about the underutilization of consulates and embassies I’ll save for another time), I’m glad it exists as it saved us from a much longer (and more expensive and more hectic trip) to Tokyo.
By the way, the required paperwork was an official affidavit to say that I am free to marry 藤田良子 which we then present at the City Hall on 19th (assuming the certified version arrives by registered mail in due course — update: arrived in Tsuda Lumber Company envelope) to formally register our marriage on April 19th before Shinto ceremony on 20th then party and another ceremony on 21st.
Wishing safe and happy travels to all day international diplomatic renegades who are bringing their beautiful energy to this pleasant corner of Japan.
Also, sending my very finest thanks for all the good wishes coming in from so many wonderful people throughout my life. So grateful you have stuck with me through these turbulent years and are able to witness this life reinvention from wherever you abide.
So much more to say, but the to do list still has many small but important details and my delicate body needs rest to recoil some energy for the next several days of festivities and showing off my new hometown to miraculous pals.
In the meanwhile, note that every smoke signal is most welcome, well noted and will be reciprocated in due course.
Yours very fondly and fortunately, daveo/UW
Poster by Joanna / Gamamo Creative PS She is seeking her next gig. #HireHer#Tip#DRO420