Grace Mineta of Texan in Tokyo has once again wowed us with her delightful comics about navigating life in Japan as the white Texan wife of a Japanese man – this time with her latest book My Japanese Husband (Still) Thinks I’m Crazy.
As I’ve written before, I’m a big fan of the popular Texan in Tokyo blog. Her posts and comics inspired by her daily life in Japan are at once charming, insightful and funny, capturing the joys and frustrations of what it’s like to be an expat. If you love what she’s publishing on Texan in Tokyo, you’ll definitely want to pick up My Japanese Husband (Still) Thinks I’m Crazy (not to mention her first book, My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy).
For those of you new to Grace and her blog, she’s a native Texan who moved to Tokyo with her college sweetheart, where she now writes and blogs about interracial and intercultural relationships, daily life in Japan, and the life of a freelancer. You can also find her writing on The Huffington Post and countless other blogs (including her guest posts my site, which you can read here and here). Grace is an alumnus of Ursinus College in Pennsylvania and received the Boren Scholarship to spend a year in Tokyo.
I previously interviewed Grace about her first book My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy and am thrilled to feature her latest book My Japanese Husband (Still) Thinks I’m Crazy through this interview!
What inspired you to write this second book?
It’s not so much that I set out to write another book – I just kept drawing comics for my blog and before I knew it, I had enough comics for another book! I really enjoy drawing comics and I’m thrilled that so many people want to read them.
I had to keep that in mind when I was going through all the stress of formatting the book. I like to say that I have no problem writing the comics, but getting them “print ready” is surprisingly difficult.
The comics cover your life with Ryosuke in Japan over the course of the year, with articles interspersed throughout that expound upon Japanese culture or provide some insight into international and interracial relationships. Why did you decide to structure the book like this?
Some of my blog readers love my comics and dislike my “regular blog posts.” Some love my “regular blog posts” but dislike my comics. Most seem to like both pretty equally, though, so I figured why not?
I started my blog back in 2012 because I wanted to help people. Some of my first couple blog posts were “how to pay your utility bills in Japan” and “how to use a coin locker laundry place in Japan.” Of course, I also write personal musings, but my main goal has always been to help (and entertain) people. I wanted my book to be an accurate representation of my blog.
You just came out with your first book in the middle of November and only three months later you released your second book, which is extraordinarily fast! What’s your secret for being so productive?
When you say it like that, it does kind of sound like I have some sort of super-secret method for staying on track. Sadly, I don’t. While my first book did come out in November of 2014, the final draft of the book was ready by early September of 2014. I had the final draft for my second book finished in early February of 2015.
So really, I had a bit over 5 months between books.
I also legitimately enjoy the work I do. I love drawing comics, I love blogging, and I somewhat enjoy marketing. It’s easy to stay motivated when the work excites you, I think.
People have had a huge response to your work so far, including this second book. Could you give us an example of some of the positive comments you consistently hear from fans?
I’m always excited when people relate to my comics. That’s all I really want, I guess. I touch on a variety of subjects, from being a newlywed to working from home. A lot of my comics also talk about what it’s like living in a foreign country. Or what it is like to struggle with anxiety.
It’s kind of nice to know that people from all walks of life, with different ages, experiences, and stories can find something relatable in the comics I draw.
As I’m writing this, there are almost 200 reviews on Amazon.com for both of my books – nearly all of them wonderfully supportive. When I’m feeling down, I like to read through those.
What do you hope people come away with after reading this book?
- Life is fun.
- Living abroad is a wonderful adventure (albeit sometimes stressful and lonely).
- Marriage is great.
- Follow your dreams, no matter how silly they may seem. When I was growing up, I never even allowed myself to dream about being a comic artist living in Tokyo. But here I am. Of course, it’s a lot more complicated than just thinking it – it requires a lot of hard work, motivation, and luck. But the first step is believing in yourself.
What are you working on next?
Book 3, of course! I haven’t figured out a title yet. Or a cover design. But I’m slowly working through the outline right now – and I think it’s going to be a fun book. I’m hoping to get that out in June of 2015, as long as nothing terrible happens between now and then.
I’m also working on a “Studying Abroad in Japan: Everything you need to know (and more)” book (title still in process). This book will be a fun, informative guide for studying abroad in Japan. It might have a couple comics, but it will probably just be more like a “regular” book (whatever that means).
After that… I have no idea. Plans are always changing, so I try not to schedule things for more than a couple months in advance.
Thanks so much to Grace for doing this interview! You can learn more about My Japanese Husband (Still) Thinks I’m Crazy (as well as My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy) and get a taste of her comics and writing by visiting her website Texan in Tokyo.