This November, Akemi and I will be attending her sister’s wedding in Tokyo.  This will be our first Japanese wedding and, apparently, they’re full of customs covering everything from the particulars of the varied gift envelopes and their requisite knots (don’t make an ass of yourself by tying a Hanamusubi instead of a Musubikiri!) to the proper etiquette of cash gifts (don’t curse the happy couple on their wedding day by giving them an even number of bills!).  Akemi started studying up earlier this week and is already overwhelmed.  I am, of course, a simple foreigner so not much is expected of me outside of the obvious: making sure my money gift contains an odd number of bills presented in the proper envelope with a Musubikiri knot, no catcalls during the tea ceremony, and, perhaps most importantly, don’t show off your awesome dance skills.  Oh, and dress appropriately!  In Akemi’s case, she’ll be wearing a kimono for the ceremony, then switching to a fancy dress for the reception.  Last week, Akemi’s dad emailed me to ask what I would be wearing to the wedding (no doubt double-checking to make sure I don’t show up in jeans and a Neon Genesis Evangelion t-shirt).  He offered me a choice between a dark suit or a men’s kimono. I can rent the latter at the hotel and the staff will dress me.  Now THAT’S service!  I wonder if they’ll feed me for a little extra charge?

I considered the pros and cons.  Pro: It would be great blog material. Con: I’d look like an utter douchebag.  I responded to Akemi’s dad and informed him I’d be going with the dark suit.  He emailed back: “Ok.  I think it is better for you.”  I could almost hear him breathe a sigh of relief.

So, yes, I decided to go with the dark suit.  But after some consideration, I wondered if I was too quick to dismiss a great opportunity to celebrate Japanese culture in my own special way.  Yes, the kimono is one way to go – but there are many others.

Here is a quick rundown of the possible outfits guaranteed to make me stand out on someone else’s special day.  Check ’em out, then weigh in with your thoughts!

Men's kimono
Kimono Joe
Samurai Joe
Samurai Joe
Sumo Joe
Ninja Joe
Kabuki Joe
Dragon Ball Joe
Dragon Ball Joe

And some more causal but no less striking fashions via

Harajuku Joe
Harajuku Joe #1
Harujuku Joe #2
Harajuku Joe #2
Harajuku Joe #3
Harajuku Joe #3
Harajuku Joe #4
Harajuku Joe #4
Harajuku Joe #5
Harajuku Joe #5
Harajuku Joe #6
Harajuku Joe #6

Harajuku Joe #7
Harajuku Joe #7
Harajuku Joe #8
Harajuku Joe #8

So, whaddya think?

47 thoughts on “August 29, 2013: Japanese wedding advice!

  1. I am going to have some VERY disturbing dreams tonight. 😛

    (BTW – #7, most definitely. 😉 )


  2. Suit-Joe is probably the best route to go, I think. Though Kimono-Joe doesn’t look that bad either.

  3. You looked really good in that black Ba’al costume, but it was probably sold off years ago.

  4. Why agonize over which “one” to wear?
    You’re going to be there 14 days, right?
    There are 14 outfits…

  5. LOL! Someone went a little photoshop happy. Samurai Joe is pretty awesome looking, though.

  6. My daughter and I both picked “Sumo Joe”. I hear those sumo costumes are very comfortable.

    You better start now putting on the weight to make that one work.

  7. a suit is the way to go. especially since you’re going to be there as a foreigner. because it seems that if you (the general you) don’t get the native costume just right, that could be seen as an insult.

  8. Actually, chances are that if you get invited to the stag-party, you’ll no doubt end up in one of the above! — BTW, don’t forget to get a pedicure before going and new socks!

  9. I think all of those options are particularly frightening, especially with the superimposed face. Best to go with the “What do I know? I’m a foreigner” look.

  10. My vote is for Harjuku Joe #7.
    I base this purely on the fact that I have lived in Japan for 4 years now and I have yet to see a foreigner looking like this. Go Joe!!

  11. I was rather hoping you would go with the kimono. It looks sharp! But I also agree with the Harajuku #7. The hair sells it.

    I think the bigger question is what is the protocol about taking iPhone pictures during a Japanese wedding ceremony? Because you know the temptation will be there!

    No real change on the step-mom front. Hopefully today will be an improvement.

  12. You are going to hell. And if her parents and sister read your blog, you had better be careful to bring your own food and drink as you may get there soon.
    That said I am torn between Harajuku Joe #4 and Harajuku Joe #3.

  13. It was a hard choice, but since it is a wedding I vote for the formal look – Kabuki Joe. I have to agree with Ponytail though, 14 days is perfect to try out all the looks.

  14. I hope her dad doesn’t read your blog. He might be getting a little nervous about you. Plus, there could be some eligible bachelors invited to the wedding intended to woo Akemi away.

    I think that Ponytail’s idea is the best! Bring them all or better yet, FedEx them to Japan to await your arrival.

  15. I think you are probably smart to go with the sigh-of-relief dad choice. Insults are serious things in Japanese culture and if you ever consider marrying Akemi at some point in the future, you want the parents on your side. Although if does have a sense of humor you can punk him by pretending you’ll be coming in something else.

    You know, I think you can totally rock the hair cuts in Harjuku Joe #4 and #7. Fashion-wise, you know the rockster in me loves #7 but Kimono Joe is very classy looking.

  16. Dragon Ball Joe.

    You could even put Akemi’s name(in Japanese) on that patch on the chest. Just make sure you bring plenty of stuff to throw(the Dragon Ball guy throws stuff, right?).

    -Mike A.

    1. “”

      Damn. I don’t even remember that outfit. Wow. I can really rock a skirt!

  17. The Kimono. Definitely. I would strongly suggest you accessorize with a Stargate anti replicator gun. If you get bored you can start shooting people, pretending your cornered by an army of replicators.
    It would probably be only fitting that at some point you interrupt the ceremony and give your own speech on any random subject. Because that’s what we foreigner’s do. It must be, it’s in all the movies.

    I’m already looking forward to the blow by blow and the pictures.

    I’m curious, who pays for a Japanese wedding? These sound like expensive events when they are done right.

  18. Yeah, I had a feeling.

    You know me aaalllll too well, Joey. 😉

    All kidding aside, however, I would seriously consider wearing the kimono. It’s a once in a lifetime experience! I don’t think you’d look like a douchebag at all. ..or at least no more than when you’re sporting shiny silk shirts and gold chains like the don of Dons. 😉


  19. So many options… For me it is a tie between Kabuki Joe and Harajuku Joe #7. Now if you could do Kabuki Joe with the hairstyle from Harajuku Joe #7, that would be awesome.

  20. Harajuku Joe #5 is definitely “your look” Joe. And besides that, I really like plaids.
    How are the furry kids doing, all is well?

  21. @LJ:

    What is it with Stargate people and kilts?

    First I see Alexis Cruz at the Chicago convention sporting a kilt (and refusing to sit down because he apparently went authentic), and now Joe in a kilt? Not only that, but I see 2 out of seven Harajuku Joes are sporting kilts (maybe 3…I’m not sure about number 4; he could be “sucking it in”).

    So is there some hidden Vancouver-Celtic connection I’m not aware of?

    I guess I never knew kilts were so popular. Maybe I should dig up my Irish Clan Tartans and go get a kilt for myself.

  22. @JeffW:

    Who needs social norms when you’ve got hot legs to show off?! Wearing a kilt is the ultimate in confidence! So break out that Tartan, man! Join the movement of men around the world who just don’t care what other people think. (Plus, there’s a lot of ladies who think a man in a kilt is sexy. Just sayin’!)

  23. Geez…thanks, Joe. I just spent a half hour (when I was supposed to be working) scrolling through page after page of Japanese street fashion, and now I think I have a crush on ‘Tomoya’. 😛

    If I don’t get my work done I’m blaming YOU!


  24. I can’t even decide, because my mind is still getting over the fact that this is one of your best blog posts EVER.

    That said, Harajuku Joe #2 is killing me every time I look at it.

  25. Harajuku Joe #8 no question,
    I was thinking about your paintings and well as a future art therapist… thought I’d give it a whirl at analyzing you work. 🙂 Akemi, appears to be on a journey – her boat, cruise ship like, is sailing on smooth seas and she is enjoying it. Her outlook is bright. Joe… seek therapy. : )

  26. For the best reaction at the wedding, I suggest a Yakuza outfit LOL

    Nah on second thoughts, best not. It’d probably cause a few misunderstandings and the Japanese police would probably look at you more lol

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