We decided not to go ahead. A retired British ambassador told us that, "Sadly, British policy is being set according to the dictates of Pakistani child brides."
("Pakistani child brides" refers to the practice of Pakistani immigrant families to the U.K. bringing back brides from Pakistan for their British-born sons. Often the brides cannot speak English, have not even met their future husbands and may be 16 or younger. From January, foreign spouses-to-be of British citizens marrying in the U.K. must be at least 21, though the minimum age for marriage in the U.K. is 16.)
So we will get married in the U.S. or France or Italy, or anywhere away from beautiful England, and will then have a Buddhist ceremony in a temple in hidden Kyoto, where there is a beautiful round window with no glass, the window of spiritual awakening.
I wish I could send a few of your apparatchiks there to contemplate their tedious rules and reflect: Is England safer, richer, wiser, better protected by immigration rules that see EU citizens â€” and Swiss â€” on arrival in Britain as acceptable for work, marriage, or settlement, but treat all others as potential criminals to be fingerprinted, and the intimate personal details of their lives to be pored over before being declared safe to marry in the U.K.?"[I am not a Pakistani child bride (but the U.K. can't tell the difference) | The Japan Times Online, By MIKAKO HAYASHI, A quondam lover of England, Osaka]
Of course, UK politics and its Race Relations Act make it impossible to distinguish between Pakistan and Japan, because that would be discriminatory. And only a retired ambassador could have told Ms. Hayashi that the problem was "Pakistani child brides."