Hey, do you like feeling really sad? I have a new fun thing for you! At a divorce ceremony – which are gaining popularity in Japan – they’ll show pictures of you and your partner together in happier times while you sit back to back and someone talks about the disintegration of your marriage! They’ll just make you cry buckets. According to the Guardian:
The erstwhile husband and wife begin by mounting separate rickshaws on a blustery Saturday morning in Tokyo.
The atmosphere is almost funereal as the unhappy pair wend their way through the back streets of the capital’s Asakusa district, within earshot of the tourist hordes praying for happiness at Sensoji temple.
Damn right it’s funereal. Then they go to a parking lot which is “a symbol of the disintegration of the couple’s marriage.” I’m now afraid to ever be in a parking lot with a significant other, so that’s cool. There’s also a ceremonial smashing of a ring with a mallet made to look like a frog, which, I’m not going to lie, sounds fun, because smashing things is always fun.
Divorce planner Hiroki Terai says:
“People have a ceremony when they get married, so why not for divorces, too?”
A short toast made with tea – to avert any alcohol-fuelled airings of dirty laundry in public – briefly breaks the silence.
“Some people, even after they’re divorced, can’t quite accept that they’re no longer together. This gives them closure.”
Okay, but here’s the thing, I don’t think this really does give you closure. I think this is one of those elaborate things couples who shouldn’t be together stage so they can maintain proximity to each other. There have been times where I’ve thought about telling an ex soon after our break-up “let’s get coffee, I think we need closure.” But I’ve held off, because I realize that what I really mean is “I still have a lot of feelings, am hoping you’ll maybe see me and we’ll immediately reconcile.” Which has never worked in the history of creation. The time when you can actually get coffee and have it be cool is about a year later, when you randomly run into them at a party, and have moved on to an extent that you no longer think about closure. That’s when you get closure.
Besides, divorce is generally one of those things that happens when you really don’t get along. At all. Like, don’t see any possibility of making it work, and have exhausted all the possible “making it work” options. I think there’s probably something to be said for a recently divorced individual hosting some sort of party to celebrate their new independence, but if your idea of a good time is sitting with your former spouse drinking tea and watching videos of you two together, then maybe divorce wasn’t the best option.
But really. The smashing part sounds fun. So does the tea.