Long overdue post – Inspired by my little brother finding our heartlock on top of Umeda Sky Building.
When we got married in Osaka on the 21st of December 2009 (yep the date on the lock pictured above) it was all a big secret from Yasu’s family. My family knew it was happening, and they were excited, but they were far away in the Netherlands. Two of my coworkers previously signed the witness boxes on the marriage papers, so on the actual day it was just the two of us filling out papers at an Osaka City Office. Of course, it was still a special day. It’s the day we officially became husband and wife.
When a Japanese man gets married he leaves his father’s koseki and starts his own. It’s a Japanese system of family registry, and when a son marries he basically starts a new family with him as the head. So by marrying me Yasu was going to start a brand new koseki. A koseki needs to be registered to an address, and that will forever be the address, it can never be changed, no matter how many times you move. Yasu did not want to register the koseki to his address because that was his parents’ address and they were not aware nor would they have been approving of our union. We also did not want to use my address, because I was living in an apartment that came with my job. We knew we were going to move to San Francisco several months later, so our addresses would no longer belong to us. There was only one thing we were intending to leave behind in Osaka: a heartlock, which we knew we were going to have engraved and locked eternally on top of Umeda Sky Building, to commemorate our marriage. To us that heartlock symbolizes the start of our life together as a family, and the address of the location of that heartlock is permanent, so we ended up registering our koseki to the address of Umeda Sky Building. So our family is officially registered to the address of Umeda Sky Building, the location of our tiny pink heartlock. And that’s never going to change!
This is the first time we’re in Japan since we left in 2010, so visiting our heartlock was obviously a must. In a very surreal turn of events, our visit ended up happening right after a very unlikely and unexpected reconciliation between Yasu and his father and his family finally finding out we are actually married and accepting it happily. It was a bizarre but good circumstance, something we had given up on years ago and never thought was going to happen. After we said goodbye to his family, we were happy to be alone and to try to digest what had just happened.
The last time we took these escalators up to Umeda Sky Building’s Floating Garden Observatory, we were a secretly married couple. We are that no longer. We are married and everyone finally knows about it!
The amount of heartlocks eternally locked on top of Umeda Sky Building has increased exponentially over the last 4.5 years. Finding ours would be quite a task, but luckily I thought I vaguely remembered in which area we had locked ours and we found it after a few minutes. That made me really happy! We intend to come back to check up on it, and of course to show it to our future little ones.
It was a beautifully sunny day and we enjoyed the view of Osaka (and beyond, like my old neighborhood Tsukamoto across Yodogawa) from above, and Umeda Sky Building from below. We will be back, every time we visit Japan, just to check on our little lock.