Kochi no Obachan (our aunt from Kochi) entered the room with a stack of photo albums that had once belonged to Yumi’s obaachan (grandmother) before she passed away. The albums were almost as old as Obaachan’s two-hundred-year-old house where we were spending the weekend. I eagerly poured through the pages, asking many questions as Yumi translated. I was excited to discover an entire album dedicated to Yumi’s parents’ wedding.

There was a photo of youthful Okaasan (mother) draped in the traditional wedding attire. A couple photos of her posing alone and with her siblings. In the next album were shots of Okaasan and her cousins…. with friends… And as I reached the end it struck me – there was not a single photo of the groom! Naively, I pointed this out and the room suddenly went silent. After what seemed like an eternity, Obachan left the room and returned with a single solitary photo that never made it into her mother’s stack of albums. There he was, Otousan looking rather dapper in his wedding suit. She placed the photo on the table and everyone leaned forward to see. There was a collective exhale. Then the albums were carefully gathered and locked away. The photo of Otousan was returned to whichever box and dark corner it was dug out of.