Relationship blossoms from blogging
By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Catherine E. Toth
Fateful circumstances helped bring Dave Yamagata and Jamie Sumile together.
They first saw each other at Anasia Cafe on Beretania Street in summer 2003. She would hit the bar after watching "American Idol" with her friends. He went to play the Golden Tee Golf video game with his buddy.
Sumile recognized Yamagata's friend from Iolani School, her alma mater. For weeks, she figured the two guys were a couple.
Little did she know Yamagata was actually checking her out.
Yamagata went home and looked in his Iolani yearbook — he graduated a year before she did — and saw her picture.
Then he noticed her last name.
As in Ray Sumile, the engineer who retired at Hawaiian Telcom, and whose desk Yamagata was now sitting at.
"That was my in," said Yamagata, 29, who works at Hawaiian Telcom as a network planner. "I had her dad's work phone number. And his rubbish can, too."
The next time he and his friend saw Jamie Sumile, they bought her and her friends drinks. She walked over later to thank them. They all started to talk.
Then one evening, Yamagata overheard Sumile talking about a blog she had. He went home and opened an account on the same blogging site and sent her a message.
Though they saw each other every Tuesday at Anasia — and sat at separate tables — their friendship grew through their blogs.
"It was only through his writing that I found out he was funny and smart," said Sumile, 28, an associate producer at Oceanic Time Warner Cable.
At the time, Sumile was a freelance videographer and needed background music for a project. She found out Yamagata played guitar and asked him to come over to her house in Kalihi and record a track.
He and a friend showed up with guitars — and an extra ticket to the first game of the University of Hawai'i football season. She agreed to go.
After the game, the threesome met more friends at King Street Cafe to drink and sing karaoke. Then Sumile asked Yamagata to drive her home.
He stayed over that night — and never left.
"I was hooked already," Yamagata said, smiling.
He was smitten by her brains, looks and creativity. She loved his self-deprecating sense of humor, smarts and John Cusack-like qualities.
Nearly every day Yamagata would leave work downtown, drive home to Kane'ohe to pick up clothes, then drive back to Kalihi to stay with Sumile. On weekends they would hit the bars, sing karaoke and have dinners with their families. They took their first trip together — to Seattle — the Christmas of 2003.
They were obviously a couple, though never once did they have "the talk."
"It was just understood," Sumile said.
Neither one felt any pressure to get married, not by families or friends. (Both grandmas, though, mentioned grandkids a few times.) But marriage was starting to percolate in their minds.
In April 2004, Sumile had to find another place to live. One of her roommates was leaving. The couple decided to find a place together.
That May, they found a two-bedroom apartment in McCully, where they live now.
They made sacrifices to livetogether. With just one parking space, Sumile had to give up her car and relearn how to drive his stick-shift Acura RSX.
They also pay more in rent: Yamagata was living at home and didn't pay rent until now. So the two had to cut back on expenses.
And they argued more.
"I think it was just seeing the person too much," Sumile said.
But the couple believe living together first has helped their marriage.
"I'm glad that we did it," Yamagata said. "We learned you can't have an argument and then run away. It forces you to work out your problems."
During the next few months, Yamagata thought a lot about marriage, so much so that he blurted out proposals twice — once at Anasia and another at King Street Cafe — both times under the influence.
"I was just so happy," he said, smiling. "We got along so well.
"I think we've learned from past relationships. As you get older, you get wiser."
Sumile was thinking about marriage, too, though she didn't take Yamagata's drunken proposals too seriously. Not until Oct. 30, 2004, when the two were heading to lunch at Makai Market at Ala Moana Center.
Yamagata suggested they check out rings at The Wedding Ring Shop. Sumile freaked out.
"I got really scared," she said. "But it was more about the amount of money we were going to spend. That was a big purchase!"
The next weekend they ordered her ring. In the meantime, Yamagata bought her an oversized plastic heart-shaped ring from Claire's. She wore that for seven weeks.
The couple wed on Nov. 6 at the Sheraton Moana Surfrider in front of 240 guests. They leave tomorrow for their honeymoon in Japan.
Marriage hasn't changed their relationship, both said. The only difference now is their joint checking account.
"I'm just as fascinated with her as when we first met," Yamagata said. "I can't believe I am so lucky."
Reach Catherine E. Toth at email@example.com.