What a year. I remember it starting out like any other year, but boy how quickly can things change.
Personally, it has been a year of many changes.
I got married and moved to the east coast. As the pandemic hit and the music gigs mostly gone, I shifted focus to teaching and engineering. At last count I taught over 180 students this year, and I have been developing code for a music technology start-up for the last few months.
Having a wedding in the midst of a pandemic was quite the experience. It was never our plan to have a big wedding, but with the borders of many countries closed, even some of our closest family members did not make it to the wedding. Notably, our parents were missing in action with the exception of my mother who got around the restrictions and managed to travel back and forth from her home in Kumamoto, Japan.
Speaking of weddings, did you know that the typical wedding in the US costs somewhere on the order of $20 to 30k nowadays? Well that is just completely nuts. If it’s common belief that a newlywed couple just about to start a family together should spend such a gigantic sum of money on a frivolous party as the first step in their marriage, our culture needs a serious reevaluation of what matters in life.
With the prevalence of social media, it can seem like every one of your friends is throwing fancy parties and going on vacations all the time. But before you join them on the miserable treadmill of keeping up with the Joneses, take a minute to consider what you’ll be giving up to live that life. For starters, try asking one of these friends, “so, are you really excited to go back into the office after your vacation?”. The sad truth is that a lot of people aren’t, yet they have no choice. Such misery could have been easily avoided only if people realized that the reason they have to work a job they don’t enjoy is because of their financial irresponsibility. If you had enough saved up to be able to simply say “fuck you” to anything that goes against your principles, many more doors that you didn’t even know existed will open up in your life. When you’re not having to do everything for the money, your work is more fun, and your life is more authentic.
Thankfully, nobody in our close circles has such misplaced values, so we were able to have a ceremony that was tiny, intimate, and very special. It sort of became a fun family project to put together, and every participant ended up helping out in some way.
Peera walked Pi down the aisle.
Satoko played the piano.
Yuki and Mike made the flower bouquets.
Kan broadcast the ceremony for families back home, and Rito helped tear down the equipment by carrying the tripod for a few feet. A major contribution considering his age.
Minae baked the most beautiful cake after 3 practice attempts at home and happy neighbors who got free cake.
After the ceremony, we had some delicious Thai take-out from a local restaurant.
We are so grateful for our families, and our marriage is off to a great start. I’m surprised at myself for saying this considering that I had no desire to get married just a few years ago, but if you are unsure whether marriage is right for you, I highly recommend that you think about it seriously. There is something very special about committing to share the rest of your life together with a partner who knows you all too well (even your flaws), through both good times and bad. Nothing in my life up to this point has given me the level of fulfillment I get from striving to be a better husband.
As far as the east coast life goes, I’m actually enjoying the crunchy leaves and the piles of snow in New Jersey. We are just an hour away from New York City, so if you are ever in the area, please hit us up.
May your 2021 be a year of purpose.