Ishihama-Johnson Wedding Plans

Hey everyone, welcome to my wedding page!!! 

I thought it would be fun to post Yohei and I’s journey on here. We will decide on a wedding date soon but for now we do know it will be sometime in July 2018. I started this website for three reasons: to share my personal experiences of dating a Japanese man with others that may be interested, to share things I learn about the Japanese culture, and to record my memories for my own personal reasons (Kinda like a diary/journal but, in my opinion at least, more fun). So naturally, now that we’re engaged, I thought it would be fun to kinda do a side blog on everything leading up to the wedding in a year. 
Everything I type about my wedding will be continually added to this page. I’m not sure yet how often I’ll add to this page but I’m sure I’ll add more as I get closer to the actual wedding date. I’ll always add the newest information to the top of the page so if you do decide to start following me- scroll to the bottom of the page and start there! 🙂
I’ll probably post random updates at first. Like ideas that I’m thinking about incorporating in the wedding or choices that I’m still trying to make. Later, I’ll probably just post more about how I’m feeling or how progress is going as we get closer to the day. Feel free to post your opinions though because I’d love to have them. Some of you reading this might have been to a Japanese wedding or Japanese-American wedding before and could give me ideas. Some of you might have married a Japanese person yourself and can share with me what you did or thought about doing. Some of you might be family or friends and simply just have an opinion. Whatever the case; it doesn’t matter. Any opinions at all are much appreciated! ;D
  • June 26th, 2017 – 5:35 PM (Kansas City, MO)

I’ve decided to have only three bridesmaids and am still working on a guest list. Right now we are looking at inviting a little over 100 people. For sure expecting at least 50 of those people to come. It gets tricky when so many of my friends and family live in different places. I’m also thinking about the colors at our wedding being white, green, and purple. We will try to keep it pretty simple. Mostly white with green and purple giving the wedding some color. Still for sure using 1000 origami cranes! (Below are some example pictures from Pinterest.)



  • June 7th, 2017 – 11:16 PM (Kansas City, MO)

I’ve been trying to research Japanese customs that we could possibly include in our wedding. One thing that I thought might be fun would be to include facts about both our countries on each table. Like on each guest table we could have a Japanese fact on one side of the table card and an American fact on the other side of the table card. For example: One side of the card could say something like “America’s national sport is baseball” and the other side could say “Japan’s national sport is sumo wrestling.” I don’t  though, anyone have any ideas? Also, if I did do this, what would be some good ideas of facts to write?

Here’s some ideas I have written down:

  1. National animal
  2. Largest Lake
  3. National Flower
  4. National Sport
  5. 1st book printed in that country
  6. Toasts to celebrate
  7. Average age of marriage
  8. Legal drinking age

I’m struggling to come up with some funny ones. I also learned about the Japanese wedding tradition of 1000 paper cranes. I’m for sure already doing this and have recently started. By “recently,” I mean “yesterday.” I’ve read that, traditionally, the father of the bride made the cranes and gave them to the couple on their wedding day. Nowadays though this isn’t alway the case. Sometimes the couple works on making the cranes together or the bride does them all herself. Brides also will sometimes have small parties, with friends and family, to work on the cranes together. I plan on making the cranes by myself and holding a party closer to the wedding day to have others help me with the rest.

It is said that it takes patience, time, and commitment, two important qualities of a marriage, to make 1000 cranes. The belief is that, if a bride can make 1000 origami cranes by her wedding day, she will be rewarded with a good, long, and happy marriage. Some believe that an ancient crane will grant the bride one wish. (Which could be used for a good marriage.) I’ve also read that, nowadays, if the bride can successfully fold all the cranes then she is showing the groom’s family that she is a patient woman that their son will be marrying.

Not only is this a good nod to Yohei’s culture, but we will be using the completed cranes to decorate part of our wedding. The term used for folding 1000 cranes for a wedding is sembazuru. I’m still trying to decide how to decorate my wedding with them.


  • June 5th, 2017 – 2:06 PM (Kansas City, MO)

We have decided that we will be holding one wedding and two receptions. We will get married and have the reception in Kansas City. Then we will be visiting Japan for a second reception. It’s too hard to have all of his family fly here for the wedding and also too hard to have all my family/friends fly to Japan for a wedding there. So, naturally we’ve decided to hold two receptions. Also, our cultures are so different that it seemed fairer to just have two. I will still be trying to incorporate things from Yohei’s culture into our American wedding though because we will have more people at that one.

For the Kansas City wedding, Yohei’s parents will both be coming from Japan. His younger brother and sister-in-law might come but we will find out for sure later. We have a few friends from Tokyo that we might also invite but who knows if they will be able to make it yet or not.

I’m not sure yet if I’ll have family present for the reception in either Tokyo or Sendai. We will be having the actual ceremony in Kansas City and a reception before we ever go to Japan so we might not worry about getting my family to the Japanese reception. We’ll see though. We will probably go to Japan late July or early August. Haven’t decided for sure yet though.


  • May 29th, 2017 – 9:40 PM (Kansas City, MO) 

So we are still deciding on our guest list, a wedding venue, and the actual date for our wedding. We have decided that it will be sometime in July 2018 though. I have a few teachers in the family, as well as myself, so summer just works better I think for everyone. For the family that lives in Virginia, school lets out later than us. That’s why July!

I’m Episcopal so we are looking to get married in an Episcopal church somewhere. Yohei is buddhist but is alright having the ceremony in a church. Our reception will probably be at a separate place, however, we haven’t completely ruled out the possibility of also using the church for this. With Yohei’s family being buddhist though, we might at least make the reception somewhere other than a church.

Anyways, I know it’s not much information, but so far this is where we’re at with things.


  • May 22nd, 2017  (Kansas City, MO) 

Yohei purposed to me on May 13th, 2017!!! I’m so excited! Yohei and I are pretty laid back people so, naturally, the proposal wasn’t a long drawn out thing. We were just hanging around the house talking when he popped the question. I was SUPER shocked. Not that I didn’t think it would ever happen or anything. It was just something I wasn’t expecting in that moment. It’s crazy how a person can literally have the ring in front of them and still be asking the question: “are you serious?” Yep, that was me…

To explain a bit about the ring: the ring is silver and has a ruby instead of a diamond. There are a few small diamonds around the ruby though. Most people that I know in America have diamond engagement rings, however, this is less common in Japan. The ruby was apparently his late grandmother’s and he had it reset into my engagement ring.   I love it and am excited to pick out wedding bands too.

Due to the time difference between here and Japan, Yohei stayed up most of that night calling relatives and giving them the news. Emotions tend to be kept more secret in Japan so he hadn’t actually told his parents his plans ahead of time. Nevertheless, they are very excited. I woke up the next morning and called my dad first because he currently lives in Singapore. It was almost midnight for him there when we spoke. Yohei had asked my father’s permission about three days before he proposed so my dad was expecting the news at any moment. I then called my mom and grandmother to share the news. After that I announced it on Facebook so that everyone else could get the news. It’s been fun letting everyone know.

So when will we actually get married? The short answer: I don’t know yet. Probably in a year from now but we will have to discuss this more. There’s just a TON to consider when it comes to marrying someone from a different culture. Do we have a wedding here, in Japan, or both?!? Will I wear a kimono or traditional wedding dress? Should be have a wedding reception that more closely mirrors an average American wedding or an average Japanese wedding? Episcopal wedding or Buddhist? These are just a few of the questions that I still have to find answers too but I’m excited for the future!

japan purposal