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7 things Japanese people in int'l marriages wish they’d known before tying the knot

52 Comments
By Evie Lund, RocketNews24

Is your darling a Foreigner? Then you might want to read this list of seven things to think about before putting a ring on.

There’s a bit of buzz in Japan at the moment for mixed-race babies, and many women (fewer men) will openly declare that they quite like the idea of a "kokusai kekkon" (international marriage). That in itself it all well and fine, but what are some of the things that Japanese people who are in international marriages wish they’d known before tying the knot?

Pithy commenter on all things gaijin Madame Riri recently polled some of her blog readers to create for a short list, which we’ll share with you now.

1. Don’t take cultural differences lightly

Unless you married only because you’re on the hunt for some exotic baby genes, chances are you don’t really see your partner as “foreign” and instead just think of them as a person you like enough to want to spend the rest of your days with. Now, that all sounds fine and natural, but some of Madame Riri’s readers point out the danger of taking the differences between cultures too lightly. After all, Japan’s got a lot of special customs and etiquette rules to follow, and you can be sure the same applies to whatever country your honey’s from. It definitely pays to brush up on each other’s culture before hitting that wedding aisle since this will prevent culture clash later on.

2. Make sure hubby/wifey is cool with you jetting off home now and then

Homesickness can be a killer, and in an international marriage, one of you is always going to be just a little bit homesick for some of the time and have to live apart from your family. International flights are expensive, and what if your other half isn’t happy with you taking a big chunk out of the family bank account to jet off home and indulge yourself in some R&R every few years? Where in the world you’ll live and how often you’ll see your respective families — not to mention whether you’ll one day want to uproot entirely in order to see them more — is something that needs to be seriously discussed before “I do”s are exchanged.

3. Make an effort to learn each other’s language

In any multilingual couple, there’s going to be a shift towards whatever language both parties can speak more fluently. If you only know a few words of Japanese but your hunny-bunny’s been studying English for years, you’re probably going to only speak English. But it can get extremely tiring to have to speak your second language all day, every day, and sometimes a break is needed. If you want to have a happy international marriage, it’s best for both parties to make as much effort as possible to learn the other’s tongue.

4. Think about where to raise the kids

Some of Riri’s readers stressed the importance of deciding which country to have the kids in, and noted that mamas who have their babies in their home country tend to have an easier time of it (well, that’s pretty obvious). However, they also had another tip — if you’ve already chosen a country to live in, it’s best to have the babies there, since making a big move tends to be 10 times harder with small children in tow. Good job little kids are so adaptable.

5. Hash out food prejudices first

If you’re a Japanese person married to someone who can’t stand the taste of Japanese food (if such people actually exist), then you’re going to have a tough married life without your favorite comfort cooking, unless you like eating alone. Likewise, if, say, British cuisine makes you barf like a picky schoolgirl, then you’re going to go hungry in the UK while your spouse is serving up a delectable roast beef with all the trimmings every Sunday.

6. Think about death

Now this is something no one wants to think about, but what if your foreign spouse has an unfortunate accident and dies? If you’re currently living in “their” country, you may find yourself suddenly without any support, possibly with young kids to look after, and might have to think about going home to your own family who can get you through the tough time.

7. Get the parents on board

An important part of a happy marriage (or so they say) is getting along with your spouse’s parents, something that can be a little difficult if you’re from a different country to them and possibly don’t speak their language. Now, there are some crusty and disapproving parents out there who will balk at the idea of a foreigner potentially snatching away their precious son/daughter, but on the whole, parents tend to be quite welcoming of anyone who’s out to make their child happy. Especially if said child is getting on a bit and cluttering up the household as a parasite single. At any rate, parent-whispering is a vital tool for any potential spouse to learn.

So, there are the seven things that Japanese spouses in international marriages wish they’d thought about a bit more before getting married. We’re sure there are probably lots more, but this seems like a good start. Hopefully, if two people love each other enough they should be able to get over any hurdles which come their way, whether as a result of being from a different culture or not. The divorce rate in Japan is actually in decline right now, but then again, so is the marriage rate, so we reckon the odds are pretty even.

Source: Madame Riri

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Blogger offers her top four tips for Japanese women dating foreign guys -- 6 challenges to international relationships (and how to make them work) -- Five Japanese misconceptions about foreign male/Japanese female couples

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52 Comments
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I'm a Japanese/Hawaiian/American male married to an American lady. Most of my friends here in mixed marriages are men married to Japanese women. Nobody really complains about the food or that their wife wants all the money, but I've heard from at least 20 people that once the baby comes sex and intimacy is completely thrown out the window. It's off to separate beds. Personally that scared me off marrying here lol!

25 ( +27 / -2 )

Most of Madame Riris nonsense I just brush off, but most of this stuff is actually pretty on point.

Some things I wish I'd known before marrying a Japanese for anyone thinking about it:

The issue of international custody and kidnapping. Luckily it never became an issue with us and the kids are now old enough that it won't be, but finding out about it after the kids were born caused unnecessary worry and stress in the early years.

The real culture of Japan - I mean, things like infidelity, while not overtly socially acceptable, being socially accepted. And the ubiquitous lolicon. Think about that when you are planning to raise a kawaii haafu daughter in Japan.

Honne and Tatemae. Particularly that people including your own family will be super nice to your face, and stab you repeatedly in the back all while smiling sweetly.

Money. Not an issue in our marriage, but definitely work out expectations and spending preferences before tying the knot. I have many many friends arguing about finances. If your man (or woman) is into Pachinko or Keiba - run.

What to do with elderly relatives. This is starting to become a worry for us now, both in my home country and his as neither of us are living in our own countries now but a separate 3rd party one.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

"once the baby comes sex and intimacy is completely thrown out the window"

As a precursor to the "international custody and kidnapping"

Which is all just coincidence, right?? ;-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ TheGodfather

Well I don't know about that. I meant when I heard it from Japanese guys, Foreign guys, and then even from Japanese women I figured it was a little more than coincidence and maybe could be a more common thing. Personally I have no experience in that as I never married here and do not have children.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Most of what is here applies to any marriage. Even people from urban vs. rural "culture" can confront most of this. Even death, one person in Tokyo can be left out in the cold if a spouse dies and the other person is the sole provider.

What is missing here is the most important aspect. Treat each other as individual human beings and do not focus on the international aspect. Japanese are no more all alike than people from any other country. My wife and I treat each other as people, she isn't focused on my being American and I don't focus on her being Japanese.

We work on our communication and make sure we talk and work through things. We share critical family information and have plans in place for emergencies of tragedies. We respect each other as individuals with different preferences and things that work for us in our lives and we try to respect and support each other in these things.

Where things get tough specifically for Japan is child custody. This is something this country needs to sort out because it is brutally skewed today. That isn't up to families, that is a lack of thought and preparation by the government that needs to be far more enlightened than it is today.

Beyond that, the most successful marriages I know in Japan are two people who see each other as human beings and don't get pulled into all the BS over Japanese vs. Foreign. It has worked for my wife and I for nearly two decades now. We are not a nationality. We are a family and our family has a culture all its own.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Think about death

Does anyone really want to think about death when embarking upon a relationship? Maybe practical, but a pretty morbid way to start things!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I know this might be a hard thing to do, but as an American male married to a Japanese female I recommend the following: If possible, live/work in both countries for a few years each before getting married. My wife and I were able to do this (met in Seattle lived/worked together in Seattle and San Francisco for 4 years lived/worked in Japan for 5 years) before we married. It helps that my wife has a university degree from the states and speaks English fluently. I speak Japanese at an intermediate level and that really helps with the in-laws and other relatives. Since we both lived in each others' countries there is almost no culture shock.

The hardest part about an international marriage is the children. The parents must have some type of agreement or understanding on sharing cultures, language, religion, etc. with the children. We live in work in Henderson, NV now. During the week both of my children attend normal American public school, but on Saturdays they attend a Japanese school sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education. Needless to say, they are both NOT HAPPY with having double homework loads (English and Japanese). We think that in the long run it is better (and that they are lucky) to have an opportunity to be able to function in both cultures. The truth is though that whichever country the children grow up in that country will dominate their perspective, cultural values, personality, and general outlook on life.

SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT TWIST: There are many Japanese adult married couples here in the Las Vegas area that either immigrated here (first generation), somehow obtained green cards/permanent resident status (working in the gaming industry/Japanese restaurants), or are here for 1/2/3 year contracts with Japanese companies (Konami, Aruze, etc.). 20% of these couples that have children have no problem living in the US and their children are given free reign to explore both cultures and ultimately decide for themselves which nationality they will become. Unfortunately, there are 80% who constantly struggle to maintain some kind of sanity (basically, they wish they were still in Japan) and who ultimately suffers? Their children do. At home the children are constantly bombarded with complaints about the US from their parents who can never quite come to grips about why they are here. It's really strange to watch. They maintain a 100% Japanese language speaking environment at home and do not try to assimilate themselves into US society at all. Their children are totally messed up because they attend US public schools, but receive almost no parental assistance with their school work in English. Furthermore the parents have almost no interaction with the schools because of their lack of English speaking ability. It's really sad to see. If you are a Japanese person who is assigned here to work for your company for 1-3 years then this situation can't be helped I guess, but for the Japanese married couples who are here voluntarily I can't see why they came here in the first place.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

My partner is the eldest Daughter. She have's cultural commitment, So we decided on living here for a few more years to see when and if her younger brothers marry. If we are living in my home country the children will go school and live with their Grandparents in Japan and come back home for their holidays. We lucky to own a place in Australia and We both find work easy weather in either country.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

@ Shibuya

Needless to say, they are both NOT HAPPY with having double homework loads (English and Japanese). We think that in the long run it is better (and that they are lucky) to have an opportunity to be able to function in both cultures.

You. Are. Right. Hang in there. Like brushing teeth, piano lessons, sharing chores and other things children complain about doing, simply tell them that in the end they will be happy that you gave them the skills and tools to operate in both cultures. That's the responsibility of being the adult in the relationship. It opens up their choices immeasurably. Children Do. Not. Know. This. You do! Detach now. They will thank you later.

Unfortunately for me, the Saturday school (in German) that I attended closed when I was seven years old. I lost a great deal when I lost that language. No, comprehension isn't entirely gone, but I never learned the grammar and sound like an uneducated buffoon when I speak.

I've always been a little bit sorry that I missed out. Though as a less than savvy child I most certainly didn't think so.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

many women (fewer men) will openly declare that they quite like the idea of a “kokusai kekkon” (international marriage).

Funny. Considering that the vast majority of mixed marriages are between J-men and foreign women

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Well most of the points highlighted here are also valid for same-culture relationships: money, family, food, promiscuity, communication etc. I would say the vast majority of people have their first few relationships with people from their own culture, if it was 'that' easy to get along we would all be married with our neighbours.

Distance can also be an issue in your own country too (NY & LA, Sydney and anywhere in Oz etc). Even a couple with family members in Kyushu and Kansai may have to make choices and wont see the grandparents every w-e.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Love is basically a biological temporary state of insanity.

Marriage is work and a commitment.

Both sides have to talk slowly, be careful and enjoy the mistakes.

Life is good.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Very useful tips for anyone thinking of marrying a foreign national.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Intimacy into old age and supporting, forgiving partnership are alien concepts if they haven't been modelled in the home. Has anyone written a book on these topics?

Does it speak volumes that Madame Riri has omitted the former?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Madame Riri is really writing a gossip column for Japanese women about marriages to westerners. If anyone anywhere really insists on inflicting every weird aspect of their own culture, food, education system, family and funeral arrangements on someone else, the best advice is to marry someone from the same country you are from.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

A much more reasonable and well-meaning list than I suspected when I clicked the link. I’m happy to see that my wife and I covered all of these bases. I’d add “live together for at least six months”, and “have at least one big fight”. (But I might have just repeated myself…)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

An issue I have run into recently concerning international marriages is one concerning a Muslim-Japanese marriage. I have been told by various friends that Japanese women seem to innocently walk into such a marriage .. and then suddenly face all kinds of obstacles to their normal Japanese way of life. I could add further to this, but do not want to upset anyone. It is the religion aspect that enters its fangs into such a relationship ...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Money. Not an issue in our marriage, but definitely work out expectations and spending preferences before tying the knot. I have many many friends arguing about finances.

Well luckily (?) that problem was solved BEFORE we got married... Hubby had one condition : I was told that I'd have to continue working after marriage - which certainly didn't bother me, I had every intention of doing so anyway, having lived independently and away from my parents, since I was 18.

As for the "In-laws" they helped me on more than one occasion when hubby had become a little too "violent"...

No problem with languages either - he had lived in France for three years and spoke fluent French. Both he and his family seemed pretty amazed at the speed with which I picked up "essential" Japanese.

Although not a Japanese wife, I did have the same problem with my Japanese husband... After the birth of our second son, we might just as well have been sleeping in different beds...

The bonus : The one son I managed to keep is perfectly tri-lingual.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

My partner is the eldest Daughter. She have's cultural commitment, So we decided on living here for a few more years to see when and if her younger brothers marry

Partner must not be Japanese as the oldest son has the cultural commitment, more in "inaka" but none the less important.

Plus if she has younger brothers one of them is the "eldest" son and would be expected to take care of the family.

You got nothing to worry about really. Might help to learn a little about the culture here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

These all seem like foregone conclusions to me, but then that could be because I'm the foreigner. I've definitely dated a number of people here who didn't take most if any of these things into consideration at all, but then, it was just dating and just fun (or one of us had our heart's broken and it was not meant to be). I CAN say that anyone who walks into an international marriage NOT knowing or taking these things into consideration (and sorry, this is not just a list of things Japanese should think about when marrying a foreign spouse -- or they are the foreign spouse in another country -- they are common sense even among people of the same nationalities to an extent, and other international marriages on the whole) is the same type of person who does indeed want to marry for a 'kawaiiiii' baby (which stops being kawaii quick), and it won't last regardless.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I've heard from at least 20 people that once the baby comes sex and intimacy is completely thrown out the window. It's off to separate beds.

This issue has sprung up on this forum before. The sex etc. thrown out the window is never the fault of one partner. Suggested here is that it is the wife. Not so. My experience learns the men give up when they don't get their wishes granted at the time they stipulate. Patience, love, understanding and commitment can deal with the dissatisfaction and that is not typical in Japan but universal.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Have money saved for emergency travel back to the other country (funeral, illness, ???).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nice post, ShibuyaJay. I married my Japanese wife with no thought about how things would work out; fortunately, they have, but that is due to one key point: I enjoy living in Japan. Despite my wife's love of foreign culture and travel, she would never be happy actually living abroad. I've seen many mixed marriages broken up due to that reason. A key piece of advice to those thinking of entering an international marriage: Be quite certain of where you intend to make a permanent home.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I would love to moderate this discussion in person. I want a new wife (I'm 60) who is either Japanese or gaijin living in Japan who can and will teach me the intricacies I may have overlooked. But she won't get my bank account. Until I'm dead.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I want a new wife (I'm 60) who is either Japanese or gaijin living in Japan who can and will teach me the intricacies I may have overlooked. But she won't get my bank account. Until I'm dead.

You don't want a wife, you want a housekeeper/companion/PA. Whatever happened to with all my worldly goods~?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

the best advice is to marry someone from the same country you are from.

That is, indeed, the only purpose of the whole article it seems.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

7 things Japanese people in int'l marriages wish they’d known before tying the knot

This is misleading. Because there are 7 things Japanese men (who usually marry other foreign Asian women) need to know. And there are 7 things Japanese women (who usually marry foreign western men) need to know.

I know lots of Japanese guys married to Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean or Filipinas. Not many to western women. I know lots of western guys married to Japanese women.

Japanese women should know that the divorce rate in the US is extremely high. So be careful if you marry an American guy. I saw lots of successful & fruitful marriages. I've also saw major disasters.

I've been with White, Black, Hispanic and Asian women. . . . but they were from the US, so they were already "americanized."

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Every family has it's own culture whether in your home country or not. Couples who stay together seem to really enjoy each other's company, have an interest in the other person's views and make time to express their thoughts. This I feel is true for any successful relationship. A person's passport does not define a person.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A couple of points to add: if you marry a Japanese woman and she's not interested in living in your country, then you'll be living in a Japan forever. Yes, that means retiring and dying here. The other thing is bring up children who basically become Japanese. They go to local schools and barely speak English. They grow distant from the foreign father and take on a Japanese identity. Are you comfortable with that?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

after my second child was born my now ex who is Japanese no longer wanted to sleep with me and consistently refused sex or even closeness most of the time, she also wanted to sleep separately mostly. She even asked for a divorce that her mother talked her out of. From my understanding I was considered almost Japanese because having been an Asian History major I adapted very well to most Japanese customs, and enjoyed Japan always, including food and clothes (loved my kimono). WWII Japanese Imperial Military veterans and I got along well because mostly we were professional military as was my father and many family members. I also love my Katanas and Japanese Martial arts. I also studied the way of tea with more interest then my now ex. She was in her 50s and after her mother died she decided she wanted that divorce. My older son won't speak to his mother now because of her actions, he was born in Japan and Hiroshima dialect was his first language. He had some special language lessons in school to correct his English pronunciation and was always close to me. He is also a student of the sword, as are his siblings somewhat. All of my children have swords. I am a knight and Baron (Daimyo) so I try to advise them to live as close to their mother's culture as I like too. I try to follow Bushido. I was able to obtain hereditary knighthoods for all but my youngest daughter who will inherit mine while my older son will inherit my title. Even after several years of divorce I try to help my ex since her brother took all the family inheritance. I still miss Japan and only my children and my older brother's request keeps me from wanting to live there.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

When you're young, a lot of westerners go to Japan or have the "yellow fever" due to their perceived stereotypes about Japanese men/women. Some of them are definitely true, and when you're young people explore a lot. But when you talk about something like marriage, it's not just about a momentary pleasure or some exotic fetish.

Just make sure you're marrying them for underlying reasons and have a general guideline for your future, and not just because you want your friends to be jealous of your exotic asian doll/foreign trophy. Every toy wears off, but marriage will seriously cut everything you own in half :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In my home country we tend to have big families, 3 generations living under the same roof, but my wife insists on moving out as soon as we get married, what makes me a bit sad because I love her parents and all the cultural exchange and surprises it brings everyday (serving a little cup of rice to their ancestors every dinner, waking up with dolls in the japanese room to find its hina matsuri day, ask the name of any celebrity on tv on the spot and know why they are famous, japanese mindset on some world topics, etc). I'm almost convincing her anyway. 2 "bad" points: I don't see them converting into christianity any soon. (thumb me down for that!) Sugar and salt is almost non-existent in the house.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Compromise is the order of the day, and I note a lot of the men here married to Japanese women don't really like Japanese food that much, which was all my wife's friends talked/complained about last night. Thankfully having spent all that time in Japan and liking the food, my wife can cook what she likes knowing that I will also like it as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have always assumed that a couple would try to speak the language of the country in which they choose to live. Sure it is important to respect the language and culture, and food, of one's foreign spouse, but does it make sense to try to live as if one is not really in the country that they are actually in, whether that country be Japan or any other country?

It is often said over here that the two biggest hurdles to marital bliss are disagreements about money and sex. I didn't see those two items listed anywhere.

I agree that not getting along with one's in-laws is extremely problematic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A marriage is never 'internatinal.' It's between 2 people, not 2 countries or ethnic groups. Every time a Japanese person says that term to me I cringe and explain that people who speak the same language and come from the same culture get divorced every day. They are left utterly speechless. Marriage is hard work, regardless of where you are from, etc. That term is hokey b.s.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@ Aly RustomMar.

many women (fewer men) will openly declare that they quite like the idea of a “kokusai kekkon” (international marriage).*

Funny. Considering that the vast majority of mixed marriages are between J-men and foreign women

Absolutely right, of all marriages of Japanese to non- Japanese, 80% are Japanese men to non- Japanese women, a point very often overlooked.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Barrel Organ I don't see many Western women with Japanese man though... and I join international family events (BBQS etc) a lot. It's really rare to see a "気が強い女” ("strong western woman", according to the japanese) with a japanese man. These 80% might refer to the Chinese/Southeast women married to a japanese. No critics though, love is everything, the life always brings you the unexpected. People who come to Japan saying they always dreamed to marry a japanese and end up with an aussie, or chinese, french, even somebody from their own country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even in the same culture, these are the very basic items that both parties should be know BEFORE getting engaged.

So even Japanese couples need this advice. It's not only for marriages between people from different cultures.

So while the advice is something that applies to everyone, how the author can claim its only for 'international marriages' is beyond logic.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"I would love to moderate this discussion in person. I want a new wife (I'm 60) who is either Japanese or gaijin living in Japan who can and will teach me the intricacies I may have overlooked. But she won't get my bank account. Until I'm dead."

Do some western people still think about bothering with marriage rather than just living together?

How quaint.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Personally I was married to a great J-Wife and we made a great son, after she died not into remarriage.

Only 48 but I might consider living together in our silver Years.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Opposites attract, but it's what you have in common that keeps you together.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think that's a pretty good little article and pretty pertinent to a lot of people here.

I love my wife, she is fantastic. A really great girl. And it was that about her I married, not her Nationality. However, we are both fully aware that there are some very clear cultural differences between us in certain areas and aspects of our life, and whilst for the most part these things add a lovely 'color' to our union, they are also potentially real banana skins, especially in situations of stress.

When things are good, they are great. But when you are genuinely put into stressful situations, these things matter more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@thunderbird

I don't see them converting into christianity any soon.

I won't thumb you down, but when marrying someone, to have this big of an issue unresolved is a recipe for disaster. A good marriage is built on respecting someone for who they are. IMHO

I don't see many Western women with Japanese man though

The numbers are lower, but I'm am a western women married to a Japanese man, and have several friends that are as well. You may not see them because of how much Japanese men tend to work. My husband doesn't go to parties where too many people speak English, either.

As for the article, I think several posters are right, these are issues all people should consider when getting married. I have spoke to many Japanese wives who moved to their (Japanese) husbands home towns and have all the same kinds of issues.

I also often tell people I think we have much better communication because of the different native languages. We speak together in Japanese, but with the starting assumption of that alone might cause misunderstandings, we have developed a patient and understanding style of speaking to each other. Something many same language marriages fail to accomplish.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This may sound terribly ignorant, but I rarely read stuff by women. Or call every female a "Lady" - having been so often totally disillusioned, but there is some sense in this article. Of course homesickness occurs, but that's a given to anyone with a brain which can look ahead even a little. Cultural differences can sometimes jar, but hey! Love conquers all, they say. Depending on the extremes of racial differences, the children may not come out of the union with a happy future - inherent cruelty in the human will out. So maybe the attraction between two different races just could be a selfish syndrome.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Their children are totally messed up because they attend US public schools, but receive almost no parental assistance with their school work in English. Furthermore the parents have almost no interaction with the schools because of their lack of English speaking ability.

-There are people that really struggle with language even in this day and age with all the free programs, TV, Internet and phone/tablet apps. This sort of amazes me when people should be realistically on that 3/4/5 language and they still struggle with number 1 or 2. Can really hurt your job prospects also (Japan). Either the programming is bad or the mind needs to be changed to make it more suitable for learning. The ones that can fix this situation can really make $$$ and help many.

My idea for family is to always have a nest (interconnecting branches forming a home): How is the nest? How is the family nest doing? Did you build the nest first? -Or try to build yours together? Is your nest related to a family business or industry? Is money important to your nest or not really? Does your nest have spiritual (no necessarily religious) branches? Do people leave the nest and come back? Does your nest get bigger or are other nests built near-by? Is your nest in disarray or very strong(er). Can your nest fly-away or must stay. Do you and family have a place outside of the nest where you can go for peace and perspective?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Thunderbird Yep, that's right, I made no mention of the non-Japanese spouses' nationalities or ethnic backgrounds, the article was about Japanese marrying non- Japanese, not solely Japanese marrying Westerners.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's all overblown this international marriage thingy. Trust and communication will work in any relationship.I don't like at my missus thinking she's Japanese and she in turn thinking I'm a foreigner.We know this.What we do know is that we have each other's best interests even if we argue. But in relation to the story title...That's easy. If my fellow foreigner knew that his missus was going to stop getting it on at a relatively young age or after childbirth,he'd probably have not married her. Rationing out the loving is not cool or productive.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Good to see that some readers recognize that the typical "international marriage" in Japan involves a Japanese male and a non-Japanese female, typically Asian, but Asia includes the Philippines and the Russian far east. That does not mean there are no issues but rather that the issues while overlapping can also very different from a European or North American pairing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

On a similar note as Jimizo mentioned: What's up with marriages, anyway? In my opinion, marriage is an antiquated institution that probably served a purpose back in the day, but nowadays, if you like each other (or even love each other) you ought to be able to just live together as is.

I realize Madame Riri caters to a Japanese audience, but once again, I can't help but notice it's Japan vs. The Rest Of The World. Like many of you mention, why not think of it as a union between two people - not two nationalities. That being said, when kids enter the picture, things get trickier. Where I'm from, a family is considered to consist of different individuals, not an entity. Only speaking from my own experience, me and my wife have ceased being a couple and the new couple seems to be my daughter and my wife. I seem to be there as a money producer or what have you. I find it quite sad that my wife (who I used to consider a very open-minded person) has suddenly changed into "sakoku-mode" and defends ridiculous customs and traditions, seemingly just because of having had a child.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Once kids are born and particularly when they start to go to school it is a whole new world, and it ain't Disney!
0 ( +0 / -0 )

My wife still thinks its kinda weird how I try to be intrested as much I can in my daughters school work and life since her father was more busy spending his time or at the offoce or in bars she never really grew up with a father at home.

And my mother is very sad not be a active part of her grand childrens life but she sends them candy everytime the holidays come around and she calls as often as she can.

The only thing I have to get used too is the food I am used to make more native foods of my home country wich is not something my wife really like she thinks our food is way too heavy on the stomache.

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I also believe that the key to a successful marriage is not considering each other as "Japanese" and "Foreigner", but as human beings who are in love and wants to be together. Our cultures are different but if we keep an open mind and accepting our partners for what and who they are, conflicts such as cultural difference and the whole "Because I am Japanese" thing would be resolved.

I always tell my girlfriend that I don't treat her as a Japanese but as a Human Being. But she always say that "I am Japanese" or "This is Japan". I think that mentality is deep within themselves that is hard to change..

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