FOCUS – Interview With a Married International Couple In Japan

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Nobu from Japan, Carmen from Hungary.

Here are my lovely friends I met when I was living in Budapest. They came to visit Kyoto for their 5th anniversary. They got married in Hungary and now they live in Yokohama together.

 

 


What Is The Most Difficult Thing In an International Relationship?

Nobu:

One of the most difficult things is that you have to choose where to live. You always have to sacrifice partner’s family, like parents and friends. It’s never equal. The language is also a struggle for me.

When I was living in Hungary, I was struggled because Carmen’s family love keeping in touch and having a party which wasn’t my family’s type. So to be honest it wasn’t easy. I got used to it eventually but in the beginning, I had a hard time. It’s not really a cultural thing but a personal thing. You have to deal with the other’s family, and it’s even more complicated when your partner is a foreigner.

 

 

Carmen:

To me that’s not a thing at all, I like parties. Actually, I wanted to leave Hungary. I wanted to come to Japan anyway. What I find difficult is changing all the time. In the beginning, I didn’t take things too seriously, our marriage was more like fun for me, then I had to learn the rules and limits of a relationship itself since I was a beginner. Nobu was my first boyfriend. But the fact that Nobu came from a different country wasn’t much of a struggle for me back then. Now it’s different. I’m struggling with the language really bad.

Actually, when I came to Japan, I didn’t feel like I was different. I didn’t experience much cultural shock, because while we lived together with Nobu, I somewhat got used to some differences. I got the impression that life here was basically similar to my life in Hungary, but this feeling has gradually changed. Recently the language barriers started to bug me because I don’t understand everything and I can’t have a high-level conversation with the locals. You cannot spend a good time without speaking the language they speak here.

 

 

 

 

What Are Advantages Of International Relationships?

Carmen:

You won’t get bored easily if you marry somebody who is from a completely different country. Actually, You can’t get bored at all, and that’s important. You learn something new every day even if it’s a small thing. One day you learn about a vegetable you’ve never heard of, the other day you learn about world history but from a different angle. This makes a relationship inspiring and stimulating. And it improves you as a person.

Nobu:

You feel special because people consider you as someone special just by having a foreign wife, haha They treat you as an alien or something, I love it. You can be easily differentiated from others.

Carmen:
You are an exhibitionist lol 

To be very honest, in the beginning, I felt scared in Hungary. Nobu is obviously different. You don’t really see mixed couples in Hungary, we were spectacular, people noticed us. We got comments, and not always nice ones. It made me feel exposed, too vulnerable.

But after some time, this fear faded away. I’m not afraid anymore, I’m proud.

 

 

 

 

What Are Disadvantages Of International Relationships?

Nobu:

Because of the language matter, Carmen mentioned, you always have to explain or express your emotion really carefully otherwise there will be many misunderstandings.

Carmen:

In the beginning, we always spoke in English which is not our native language. That time I was not good at English so we had huge fights because I used words he took really offensive, although I didn’t mean to offend him (that much :D). 

Also, humor is essentially different especially between central-eastern Europe and Japan. European humor can be dark and sarcastic, we speak sarcasm all the time and Japanese don’t always get that. When you are used to use irony 24/7 it’s disturbing if nobody understands that. You feel like you lose a part of your personality.

 

 

 

 

 

What Is The Most Important Thing In Your Life?

Carmen:

Beauty. Because there is the only thing which makes me utterly happy. When I’m surrounded by beauty.

Nobu:

Private time. Because that’s what I’m living for. That’s what I’m working for. Time for myself, and for ourselves.

Carmen:

That’s something that only Japanese and Americans would say lol

 

 

 

 

 

What Are The Biggest Things You Like About Each Other?

Nobu:

I’m always telling her. She’s very intelligent, creative and artistic. Some of these are not in me. I’m a person who’s looking for something I don’t have.

Carmen:

His voice. Lol and also I like his emotional intelligence. He doesn’t know much about psychology but he understands people, he understands relationships, and pain, even. He is truly understanding and gentle. I really appreciate that.

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret Of Long Lasting Relationship?

Carmen:

I guess the relationship always has to be stimulating somehow. So just like Nobu said, You always have to surprise the other and you have to be curious. Being always loving and attentive is very important for me. You really need a lot of patience, understanding, thoughtfulness, and tolerance. Just like in any other relationships.

Nobu:

I have exactly the same opinion. Just be curious and don’t be afraid of differences, enjoy it. Because it’s an everyday thing. So don’t try to avoid it and try to enjoy.

 

 


 

 

As they said, “patient” “understanding” “thoughtfulness” “tolerant” “curiosity” and maybe also “experience” “flexibility” and “language” as well, are basically something necessary to have good international relations.  You will be asked to put extra efforts to make it work for sure.

 

 

Above all, unshakable love is all you need.

 

 

I appreciate their cooperation.

FOCUS – Interview With a Married International Couple In Japan” への3件のフィードバック

  1. Hello. There was so much in this blog post that I could relate to. I am British, my wife is Japanese and we live in Yokohama. It was fine at first coming here to live. We even planned initially to go back to the UK after five years or something. But life takes a hold of you. We bought a house, our children were born and our roots became too deep to even think about moving back. It has been hard at times. My mother passed away just before our first son was born. Not being nearby to support my Dad was tough. But I ma happy with the life we have made here in Japan (for the most part!).
    Recently I have tried to re-balance my life as I felt I was becoming too “Japanese”. Most of my conversations were in Japanese, the family hobby is taiko (I have stopped now), and there just didn’t seem much “British-ness” in our lives. I think this probably comes to all foreigners at some point: a need to pull back and re-establish your connection with home.
    I feel our children will benefit from our international marriage. Our boys are only 11 and 8 but have been to England 5/6 times, and played with English kids, talked with British people and seen the lovely country it is. I wish we could visit England every summer but it costs so much!
    My frustration now is the Japanese working culture. It is crazy. Work has a higher priority than family it seems. My wife leaves at 7am, gets back at 10pm or later. And there are so many work drinking parties. In England, if you worked that much, the first thing you would do if you could, would be to spend time with your family. It’s sad.
    The eight words you have there are extremely important. “patience”, “understanding”, “thoughtfulness”, “tolerance”, “curiosity”, “experience”, “flexibility”,“language”. I would add “humour” to that list. There are so many times where I have to make a joke, otherwise I would become too angry or too upset. Maybe that is a British way to deal with life!?
    My hope is that more international marriages will change the work culture here. I fear so many Japanese people will reach the age of 80 and wish they had spent more time with their families.
    I wish Nobu and Carmen a very long and happy life together!
    Thank you for an interesting post.
    Peter

    いいね: 1人

    1. Hello Peter, thank you for your comment and sharing you story 🙂 As I’m blogging about Japanese society system a lot in a negative way(to wish it get better), it is crazy as you say. I hope your wife is not willing to do that for any longer for any reason since the time she can spend with family is certainly limited. Who knows our life end tomorrow or not? About “humour” is also one of the thing I’m struggling here in Japan since everyone never gets it. One thing I’m always concerned about half blooded kids, is that they are treated as so special ones in Japan. Seems like it’s a long time ago when they used to be bullied by other kids. It’s cool that your kids are touching the British culture at the same time so that they wide range of way of thinking. Hope they will be able to have a bird’s-eye to see all the things especially the cultural difference. Japan is the most stubborn country as you may noticed so it might take ages to make a change but I don’t want to lose hope since it’s my motherland.
      Wish your family a happy life here in Japan too! and thank you again for your comment 🙂
      Tatsu

      いいね: 1人

      1. Hello Tatsu. Thank you for replying to my comment. I think mixed race children are treated in much the same way as “gaijin”. One on level, there is the “Kawaii!” / “Kakkoii!”, on another there is the attitude of “Nihon-jin ja nai yo ne” / “Nihongo wakaranai ne”. The number of international marriages is increasing though so I have hope that there will come a day when Japan feels comfortable with non-Japanese. Japan is not my motherland, but is my home now, so I feel the same way as you: I hope for change! Kind regards, Peter

        いいね: 1人

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