If you’ve been clicking around, you’ve probably read that Masashi and I (Hannah) are an international married couple living in rural Hyogo, Japan. Masashi is a born and raised Japanese native, but also spent a year living in Uganda. I am from America. Below is the story of how we met, and how our unexpected love story unfolded..
(By the way: the photo is from a little after we became engaged, when we both had much shorter hair!! We’re laughing because my younger brother was dropping leaves on our faces..(; )
Since we both love to sing, Masashi and I first met through mutual membership in a large choir through the church we attended while living in Tokyo. At some point, the choir went on a summer retreat to Karuizawa, and we both attended. I had seen Masashi previously, and hate to say it, but.. I had not given him much notice. However, during the retreat, that changed..
One early morning, I went walking in the forest with my friend, and heard a strong voice. The two of us followed the voice to the chapel, where Masashi was playing the piano alone and singing (a song I would later discover he had written himself), his back turned. We waited for him to notice our entrance, hesitant to disturb his passionate playing, but he was so absorbed that he didn’t realize we had entered! We sat for a while and listened, until finally my friend announced our presence and we greeted him.
Masashi turned in surprise, stopped playing, and invited us to sing with him a different song that we were all familiar with. We sang together and prayed, and my interest was piqued by his seemingly strong faith and heart. Masashi says he also began to notice me more when I spent a long time trying to conquer crossing a tightrope. He says he liked that I didn’t need to be surrounded by people to be happy, and that I was not afraid to be unique, even if others weren’t interested in attempting the same challenges.
Fast-forward a few months, and I grew more certain of his character, kindness, and deep faith. While he wasn’t the sort of guy I would have noticed initially, I also began to consider him in a different light. Later, after attending a concert in an African restaurant in Tokyo in which he performed, I became more positive – I wanted to marry a man like him. In fact, if possible, I wanted to marry him. He was humble but bold, prayerful and calm, but also comedic and joyful. The same friend who had walked with me in the forest attended the concert, and afterwards I shared my thoughts with her. She encouraged me to pray.
I did not say anything to him about my feelings, nor give him any signs, because I was sure that it would not be reciprocated. However, our friendship progressed, and at his suggestion, we started meeting to talk about our ideas related to music and drama ministry. The more we discussed, the more obvious it became that we shared similar visions for the future. I also started praying specifically about him. The more I talked with him, the more I realized that he was passionate, genuine, and deep rather than superficial. He was also a giver- of his time, his energy, and his talents. He was the one I wanted to spend my life with!
It was soon after that, to my surprise, that Masashi confessed his feelings. We met at a coffee shop in Ueno to discuss some projects, and it began to rain. As we walked to the train station, he offered to assist me with his umbrella, and at the underground station, he said a usual goodbye.. but stopped me before I could enter the ticket gate. He asked to discuss one more thing– and proposed to “start a relationship with marriage in mind”. I was shocked! I didn’t think that he had any feelings for me.. and he says he was unaware of mine as well!
I said yes. I said yes again later when he, a man of his word, proposed marriage – and yes a third time, when we married. This was a love story written by God.. No two love stories are the same, but central to our story has been God’s love, and the power of His love to bring two people together. Neither of us anticipated that we would meet the right person at that time, but it seems as if marriage found us. While by no means we are experts on relationships, marriage, or family, we also hope that our story can be a testimony of God’s love.
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