It sounded better in Japanese


[At my friend’s wedding in Kyoto over Thanksgiving weekend, family and friends were asked to talk about the bride and groom. This is what I said to the assembled guests.]

To the bride and groom, family members, friends and guests,

I am honored to be here on this joyous occasion. More than that, I am honored to follow in the footsteps of my old friend, Rick. I mean that, to actually follow in his footsteps.

Rick is a man of the world. He has been to more places, more countries than many of us will see in our lifetimes. He ventures to foreign lands the way you and I go to the movies.

But he lives those movies in reality.


He has been to, at last count, Korea, France, Norway, Sweden, China, Denmark, England, and, of course, Japan. I’ve been to … Canada.

It doesn’t merit comparison.

Because not only has he visited these places, he has also lived there, without knowing the language or the customs beforehand.

I am amazed by his resilience and bravery. I don’t know if I could do it.

While we grew up together in Alabama, he has seen and done more in our short lifetimes. He inspires me to venture out there into this strange and exciting planet and experience the people and places that he has already visited.

So I am here, more than 10,000 km from home, trying to catch up to him. Today, I can say that I have been to Japan, even if only for a brief stay.

More importantly, I am here to see he slows down, even stays put for awhile. Miya, please help me. Make sure he doesn’t leave the country for at least a few years.

He has obviously found a remarkable woman to stay put long enough to get married.

It may be the only way I can begin to catch up to him, to become more like the man of the world he already is.

And while I can add one more country to my list of places visited, he has discovered a far more remarkable place with his bride, a place to call home.

Thank you for allowing me to share in your happy day. Congratulations and best wishes to Rick and Miya.


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