@ConRtist: LOL! Apparently all the weirdest wedding gifts come from Japan… I, too, can say my weirdest (but also some of the awesomest!) ones came from there.
I lived in Japan on an extremely rural island for two years. I was an English teacher at the public schools. I taught everyone from preschool through high school, plus an adult English class made up mostly of adorable little grannies.
I knew I wanted to invite all my Japanese friends to my wedding, since they are a huge part of my life and who I am today, but I didn’t really expect any of them would make the journey from their insanely rural island to Dallas (which takes, on average, about thirty-seven hours to complete). DH and I were thrilled, though, when we discovered that my BFF, her husband, their two little girls, and three of the grannies would be able to come.
The Tuesday before the wedding, I went to the airport and picked them up, and I was SO EXCITED to see them. It had been a year and a half since I moved back home, and I had missed them so much. We got them to the hotel and settled into their rooms, and then Darling Husband got off work and came over to meet us.
When he arrived, they immediately brought us into the room of one of the grannies, and she had one of her massive suitcases splayed open across the bed. It was absolutely bursting with gifts – I felt like they had brought something from every single person on the entire island!
There were lots of really nice, fairly normal gifts, as well as letters and notes and other such things. However, they saved the best for last.
Before I tell you about these gifts, I need to explain a bit of Japanese culture to you. There’s a saying in Japan that women are like Christmas cakes: no one wants them after the 25th. In other words, in Japan, you’re an old maid at 26. You’re REALLY supposed to get married and start making babies earlier than that. I was 23 when I left the island, and I frequently had people tell me that I needed to hurry up and get married before it was too late – after all, I was getting old! I also think that they just really wanted to have some little blonde babies to play with. Anyway, you can imagine how thrilled they were to hear that I was getting married and being saved from my terrible fate as an old maid – AND OMG, THEY MIGHT STILL GET LITTLE BLONDE BABIES TO PLAY WITH!
So. Anyway. The last presents. They started telling us that these were some really special ones, and I was pretty excited – though I honestly didn’t think the presents could get much more special than the awesome ones they had already given us.
First, they pulled out a beautifully knotted piece of rope, and they handed it to me. I had no clue what it was, so they pulled out some very, very old photos of a ship leaving harbour. They then explained that when I am in labour with our first child, I am to hold the rope in my hand. That way, just as a ship sails smoothly out of the harbour on its maiden voyage once the ropes holding it back are cut, the baby will sail smoothly out of my vagina and into the world.
Please note that this was all said in Japanese. My husband doesn’t speak Japanese. I had to translate it for him. That was a special bonding moment for the two of us, let me tell you.
…But it got better. Next, they pulled out this little beanbag thing that had a ceramic rat’s head attached to the front. They told me that I needed to display it somewhere in our bedroom. They explained that rats have tons and tons of babies, and so if we put the fake rat on display, we’d have all the babies just like the rat!
So then I got to explain in English to my husband that we had just gotten a Japanese fertility rat.
And then the best part. Finally, one of the ladies pulled out a pile of fabric. When she brought it closer for us to examine, we saw that it was a book made up of hand-stitched pages. She proudly announced that she and her craft group on the island had made it for us… or, more specifically, for our children on their third birthdays. It’s a child’s birthday book that has a bunch of cars and trucks carrying cupcakes, cookies, candies, etc. to a big table at the end that has a birthday cake. She was very insistent that this was for our children on their third birthdays.
Because if she’s not on the same continent to play with our tons and tons of smoothly sailing little blonde babies, then they will damn well play with her handicrafts.
They were by far our weirdest gifts, but they’re also some of the most awesome. They’re on proud display in our living room, and you know what? When we do have kids, that rope is coming to the hospital with me when it’s time to squirt those babies out.