From the Archives: Asian Men & Bags, Forgetting Cultural Differences (and More)

I have just finished up an incredibly exhausting week — the kind where it seems as if you’ve packed a year’s worth of events into seven small days — and can really use a break.

I’m taking the week off from blogging to recharge myself. And while I’m away, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite posts from the archives.

What’s the big deal about Asian men and bags? Some men in Asia carry their girlfriends’/wives’ bags for them or carry so-called “manbags” of their own. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

“Is he your foreign exchange student?” When you’re a white woman who looks older than her Asian husband. A cashier in America once mistook my Chinese husband for a foreign exchange student I was hosting — suggesting I looked too old to be his wife.

How could I forget about the cultural differences in my intercultural marriage? An interviewer asked, “Tell me about some cultural differences between you and your Chinese husband.” Why couldn’t I think of a single decent example?

Have fun reading! I’ll see you next week!


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4 Replies to “From the Archives: Asian Men & Bags, Forgetting Cultural Differences (and More)”

  1. Hello Jocelyn!
    I took the chance to read once more your post on cultural differences in intercultural relationships, especially today since I am back to South France after a week spent in Tokyo; I was there for work, commuting everyday from my boyfriend’s place (he is from Inner Mongolia, now living and working in Japan).
    It was a hard week, under many aspects. I will quit my present job and move to Japan in August this year, and we already made plans for the future, everything is almost set, but last week we often discussed over each other’s “domestic” habits.
    I wanted to ask if you, or your husband, ever felt that the other, sometimes, does not think/understand that there is always “another side of the coin” speaking of how things should be done or viewed. I feel this way, now, but also believe some time together, only the two of us, and at a normal rhythm, is what we need.
    Thank you in advance for your time!

    1. Hi Roberta, thank you so much for reading. I know how hard it can be when you run into differences like that and the other person might not see the other side, as you have mentioned. I’ve been there before. My husband and I went through times like that (including some arguments!). Time together does help, as does a willingness to talk about cultural differences. Sometimes even watching movies about cultural differences can help (for example, some of those early Ang Lee movies (The Wedding Banquet, Pushing Hands)), because it reminds both people about how cultural differences play out in relationships and can open up conversations that lead to deeper understanding. And like you said, being settled into normal routine can be helpful as well. You two are about to make a huge life move, which involves a certain amount of stress — and stress can make it more likely for a couple to have disagreements about things.

      Hope you will hang in there. It does get better, I promise!

  2. Hi Jocelyn, thank you very much for your heart-warming answer, really appreciate it! Yesterday, I got a message from him saying we can make it and don’t worry 😀
    In the meanwhile, I am trying to understand what I can improve/change from my side; I have never shared an apartment with someone, beside my family, and I have my good share of bad habits rooted deep in my everyday routine… Rethinking about past week, I realize that coming to face one’s flaws through the significant other’s eyes is what hurts the most. But in the end, without confrontation there is no growth.

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