5 Awkward Things for a Longtime Married Couple in China with No Kids

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I’ve got a secret to share with you.

Remember how a couple of weeks ago I mentioned John and I just celebrated our 10th marriage anniversary? And remember how we subsequently met with our friends at a nice Hangzhou restaurant on said anniversary?

Our friends who dined with us that evening had no idea it was our 10th anniversary. (We actually told them it was a dinner to celebrate my birthday – which was true, in part.)

It’s crazy, I know. And you might be wondering, Why would they hide such an important anniversary from their friends in China?

Because in China, it’s incredibly awkward to be married for 10 years and not have any kids. So awkward, that my husband just doesn’t want to mention it to his friends or even talk about it with people we know (like a friend’s mom we walked through the park with the other night). It’s funny how something that made me feel so proud could actually make me feel embarrassed at the same time.

For those of you wondering what that awkwardness is like, here are 5 things that reflect the challenges of being a married couple of 10 years in China with no children:

1. You will need a coping mechanism for the many times people ask you, “Why don’t you have children?”

In the US where I grew up, this sort of question is mostly off-limits (unless you have one of those really nosy relatives who doesn’t know the meaning of the term “off-limits”). In China, it’s par for the course. After all, this is a country where “Are you married?” and “Do you have children?” are a Chinese equivalent of asking “Are you well?” – ways to show your care and concern for someone else.

Well, believe me, when people find out we’re married but have zero children, they look INCREDIBLY concerned.

This is a culture that believes marriage and children are as inseparable as Beijing duck and those tasty little pancakes – you just cannot have one without the other. Chalk it up to Confucian values, particularly filial piety. In fact, of the three unfilial actions, the worst of all is never having kids (which are the next generation to care for the elders and worship the ancestors).

When I hear this question – “Why don’t you have children?” — the flippant side of me desperately wants to say, “Mind your own business!” But that doesn’t go over too well with most people, as you can imagine.

Sometimes I just say, “Because we don’t.” Sometimes I tell people, “Because we can’t,” and leave it up to them to figure out what that means. Sometimes I just change the subject. But more often, if my husband is with me, I just leave the answering to him!

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Me and my mother-in-law.

 2. You will need to find your inner courage whenever your mother-in-law suggests you’re an “old maid”.

I love my mother-in-law to pieces, but whenever we return back to the family home after a long hiatus, she immediately brings up having kids and then tells me I’m “too old”. After all, we’ve been married for a decade and I’m over 30 (30 is the official “expiration date” in China for having kids).

I know what you’re thinking, it’s just her opinion and it’s just a bunch of words. But things like that have a way of wiggling into your subconscious and tugging on your insecurities. Before you know it, you’re wondering, “Am I too old?” Or worse, you follow this whole train of thought to its depressing end – often something involving you curled up on your bed crying away a perfectly good afternoon.

It takes a LOT of courage to fight through these awkward moments and find your inner confidence. I still don’t have a magic bullet to deal with suggestions that I’m too old. What I have found, though, is that moments of just being present – taking a walk through the park, or focusing on my breathing – can help me feel more comfortable with where I am right at this moment.

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 3. You will dread going home for holidays like Chinese New Year, when all of your husband’s peers from school come over to visit – with their school-age children.

Unlike us, my husband’s peers jumped on the baby bandwagon almost immediately into their marriages (including a friend whose wife was famously pregnant and showing at their wedding – a bridal bump I had the chance to witness with my own eyes).

So whenever Chinese New Year comes around, they come around to visit as well – with, well, their young and even school-age kids.

Actually, for the most part, his friends and peers don’t give us pressure. It’s their parents that do – parents who will compare us to John’s peers and then pelt us with all sorts of uncomfortable questions or comments (usually of the “Why don’t you have children” or “You’re too old” variety) when they notice we have no little ones in tow. The whole situation completely strips all of that sepia-toned nostalgia from the idea of “home for the holidays”.

We were able to dodge a lot of these questions this year, because most people were just glad to see us back in China. But next year? I don’t really know what’s going to happen. Deep down a part of me is secretly saying, “Help!”

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 4. You’ll feel isolated from your friends with kids – and instead gravitate to friendships with other people who “don’t belong”.

Don’t get me wrong, we love our friends with kids. But sometimes being around them can feel a little uncomfortable, particularly when they – with well intentions – bring up the topic of us having kids. Sometimes we feel like we don’t entirely belong to the same club, if you know what I mean. So of course, we inevitably gravitate to our other friends who feel as if they “don’t belong” in Chinese society.

In particular, one of our best friends in China is Caroline, who happens to be what people call a “leftover woman.” “Leftover women” and “leftover men” describe people of a certain age in China (over 27 for women, 30 for men) who haven’t married yet. They also feel as out of step with China’s society as we do, because it’s just not normal in China for adults to be single.

We’ve always loved Caroline, our mutual friend who introduced the two of us years ago. But maybe we feel even closer to her because she’s like the ultimate safe space where we can vent about the awkwardness of our situations – hers not being married, ours being childless.

I feel like I’ve come to understand Caroline’s pain every time someone else pelts her with that unwelcome question: “Why aren’t you married yet?” She’s even shared with us some of her less-than-pleasant encounters with the question, encounters that make her angry and frustrated, and I feel her. Because to me, the question isn’t all that different from “Why don’t you have kids yet?” It’s a question that also singles you out, that divides you from the world, that reminds you of something you lack or something that perhaps you even desire but cannot have.

The other night, she told John and me about this one ridiculous girl she used to work with (“ridiculous” was her description) who kept interrogating Caroline about things that could easily have been ripped from a list of the “10 most cringeworthy questions in China”: Why aren’t you married? Why don’t you own an apartment? Why don’t you have a car?

“What do you want to hear from me?” Caroline said to this girl (surely in a voice that was getting dangerously close to angry). “That I’m unable to find someone? That I have no money?” Somehow, just hearing about Caroline’s courageous, “take no crap” response to this girl made the three of us erupt in a cathartic burst of laughter. In these moments, we always feel a little less alone and isolated.

 5. “Being married for 10 years with no kids and living in China” will become one of the scariest things you write about.

For the longest time, I never wanted to go public with this topic. It scares me because it’s such a personal thing – and one that weighs on me on a regular basis (for many of the reasons I mentioned above). Why put it out there and risk having more people tell me either 1) You’re too old for kids or 2) What’s wrong with you?

But one of the things I’ve learned from my husband is the importance of self-acceptance. This is who I am – a woman who has been married to her Chinese husband for 10 years, lives in China, and has no children. Will I be like this forever? Honestly, I really don’t know for a lot of reasons I can’t share on this blog. But regardless, I must face my reality and embrace it – in all of its awkwardness. And for the moment, maybe that’s enough.

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This is who I am, red-starred hat and all!

What do you think?

Guest Post: The “Dark Side” to Moving Across the World for Love

I’m excited to run this guest post from Grace Mineta of the fantastic blog Texan in Tokyo (if you haven’t discovered her insightful and entertaining blog yet, you’re missing out). Grace just successfully funded a kickstarter project for her book “My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book” in only three days!

Today she reflects on something that many of us know all too well, but are often afraid to write about (myself included) — the dark side of moving across the world for someone you love. 

Have something to say (and share) on Speaking of China, just like Grace? Check out my submit a post page for details on how to get your guest post published here.

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Interracial relationships are complicated. So are intercultural relationships. I don’t think I fully understood the complexity until I entered my own – and it’s a bit difficult trying to explain to other American friends with absolutely no knowledge of Asian culture why no, we can’t just “put my husband’s parents in an old-folks home once they lose mobility.”

Or when my husband has to try to explain to his coworkers that “no, my wife probably will not quit her job when she gets pregnant. She loves working. I might transition to part-time work and be a stay-at-home dad instead.”

Grace and Ryosuke Mineta

You see, as wonderful, exciting, and educational an intercultural relationship is, there is also a deep, dark side to moving across the world, for the sake of love. It can be isolating. You have to compromise about subjects you didn’t even think were ‘on the table,’ so to speak. You will both make mistakes.

After reading Susan’s recent memoir “The Good Chinese Wife,” I decided I wanted to write a guest post for Speaking of China about the dark side to moving across the world for love.

And, of course, if you’re really interested in daily life in Japan as a foreigner, you should check out my book “My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book.”

It is an autobiographical memoir about my life as a white, Texan freelancer married to a Japanese businessman, living in Tokyo. It covers intercultural and interracial relationships, in a funny, light-hearted way.

Texan in Tokyo comics

Enough of the good, let’s talk about bad.

Here are the top 6 elements that make up the “dark side” of moving across the world for love:

1. You can become almost pathetically dependent on your spouse

My husband and I have lived in both Japan and Texas, with a vast majority of our time spent in Tokyo. We spent two months in America together before the wedding, and another month and a half in Texas after the wedding.

We had a wonderful time, but we also had some problems. Ryosuke couldn’t drive a car in America. He was completely dependent on me and, on days when I had a freelance project due, he was left walking my sister’s dog, Bo, around the neighborhood for hours, since he had nowhere else to go.

Thankfully, in Tokyo I can get anywhere by train/bus. However, there are times, like when I’m trying to open a bank account, file a health insurance form, or figure out some obscure Japanese law when I am completely dependent on my husband.

I’m lucky that I have my own job and can speak Japanese pretty fluently… but even so, I still get frustrated.

2. Visas, bureaucracy, and a lot of red tape

I went to the immigration office seven times to get a visa. Seven times. My visa was rejected for all sorts of stupid and illogical reasons (Not enough time left on my tourist visa, one form was improperly dated, the visa I was applying for didn’t exist, “waiting to apply for a spouse visa” was not a valid reason to extend my current tourist visa… the list goes on).

One incredibly unhelpful lady at the Tachikawa immigration office told me “Go back to America, wait a couple of months, and apply for a visa there.” When I told her I couldn’t afford to just ‘go back to America,’ she suggested I go to Korea instead (since it’s “cheaper”) and then called up the next person in line.

Now I have a valid, working visa in Japan.

However, I know other women who are not able to work on their spousal visas in their husband’s countries… and it’s hard.

3. Finding a good career “in your field” is incredibly difficult

I love writing, but I never wanted to be a writer. I wanted to work for local government. Or at an NGO.

Unfortunately, it is incredibly difficult to find a job in my field in Japan. I either don’t have enough experience, can’t make the proper time commitment, can’t speak Japanese well enough, or can’t afford to commit to 40 hours of work (unpaid, no stipend for food/travel) for at least 16 months at my dream NGO.

Hence the reason I am a freelance writer, blogger, and English teacher.

I don’t love the work, but it pays the bills and gives me something to do. In my spare time, I get to blog, draw comics, and volunteer at a local orphanage.

I can’t count the number of women I know who moved abroad with their husband, expecting to find a career in their field in a couple of months… only to wind up frustrated, disappointed, and underemployed.

4. Insecurity is normal

On one of our larger fights a couple months ago, I asked my husband why he didn’t just marry a nice Japanese girl. “She would be able to talk to your family without any problems,” I told him, “and she would be better at housework (or, like, actually agree to do housework. I’ve met so many Japanese girls who love cleaning. I hate it. Ugh.)”

“I don’t want to marry a ‘Japanese girl!'” he shouted back. “Or an ‘American girl!’ I just want to be married to you!”

A lot of our friends are Japanese. When we have house parties or go on double dates, I often find myself toning out what the other people are saying. Speaking in Japanese all day makes my head hurt… and I start to feel out of depth.

Texan in Tokyo comic about the telephone

When nearly all of our friend’s wives quit their jobs after marriage, clean the house every day, wake up early in the morning to cook their husband breakfast, do laundry every day, and always keep the house presentable, clean, and well-stocked with food, it’s hard not to get insecure.

I still stand by everything I wrote in my last guest post on Speaking of China, “7 of the Best Things about Being Married to a Non-Native English Speaker.”

And thankfully, my husband doesn’t expect me to be a “Good Japanese Wife.” If he did… well, I would probably go crazy. And we would yell at each other more.

5. You might have to re-evaluate your priorities and compromise on some tough issues

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Just remember that arguments are an essential part of any healthy relationship and they provide a great way to broaden your horizons and re-evaluate your priorities.

6. You will be isolated

When we first moved back to Tokyo, we spent the first couple months living with his parents in Ibaraki, an incredibly rural prefecture next to Tokyo.

In the first couple months I had no job (I was still battling the immigration office), no English speaking friends, and no connection to the ‘outside world.’

I fell into a deep, dark depression that lasted for several months. I cried a lot. I started losing weight (not in the good way). I watched my friends from college go off and get amazing jobs… and just felt worse about myself.

Then we moved out. We saved enough to get out own place, in central Tokyo. I got a visa and picked up a couple part-time jobs. I made a bunch of new friends.

Texan in Tokyo comic about the beach

I still had cultural problems from time-to-time, but instead of being a sad reminder of how “foreign” I was, they started being kind of funny.

I wrote a comic book, “My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy,” that ended up being wildly successful.

I have a ‘sort of’ career now.

Of course, I still feel isolated from time-to-time. But I’m learning how to deal with it. 

Grace Mineta

Author Bio:

Grace Buchele Mineta is a native Texan, founder of the blog “Texan in Tokyo,” and author of the autobiographical comic book, “My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy.” She lives in Tokyo with her husband, Ryosuke, where she blogs and draws comics about their daily life.

My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book” is the autobiographical misadventures of a native Texan freelancer and her Japanese “salaryman” husband – in comic book form. From earthquakes and crowded trains, to hilarious cultural faux pas, this comic explores the joys of living and working abroad, intercultural marriages, and trying to make a decent pot roast on Thanksgiving.

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Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts and love stories! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

The “Good Chinese Wife” Interview with Susan Blumberg-Kason

(Note: I’m excited to be giving away one FREE copy of Good Chinese Wife! Want to enter the giveaway? Scroll down to the end of this post for details!)

Susan Blumberg-Kason’s new memoir Good Chinese Wife comes with a revealing subtitle: A Love Affair With China Gone Wrong. Before you even open the book, you already know what kind of love this is – a marriage between a white American woman and a Chinese man that doesn’t end well.

But as I’ve learned over time, there’s tremendous value in sharing the stories of couples that didn’t work out. That’s why I sent out a submission call for stories of love lost and unrequited love. And that’s why Good Chinese Wife should be on the reading list of everyone who follows this blog.

I’m calling it the AMWF memoir of 2014 and you shouldn’t miss it.

Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong

This book has it all. A Chinese love interest with movie-star looks. A romance set in glitzy Hong Kong. A huge red wedding in Wuhan. A fascinating journey across China in the mid-1990s. And a transformative tale of how one shy young woman eventually finds the courage to make a dramatic escape.

But most importantly, Good Chinese Wife is just an incredibly entertaining memoir. It’s the kind of book that you’ll open, thinking you’re only going to read for a little while, and before you know it you’ve devoured the whole story in one sitting.

Susan Blumberg-Kason

As someone who has known Susan for several years, I’ve had the privilege to witness the inspiring metamorphosis of Good Chinese Wife from manuscript to published memoir. It is an extraordinary honor to introduce you to Good Chinese Wife and Susan through this interview.

A freelance writer in Chicago, Susan has written for the Chicago Sun Times, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, and Chicago Parent magazine. Her essay “Ninety Minutes in Tsim Sha Tsui” is included in the fabulous new anthology How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit. She also wrote All the Tea in Chicago, the ultimate guidebook to the city for tea enthusiasts.

I talked to Susan to learn more about her memoir – from what inspired her to write it, to her experiences as a yangxifu (the foreign wife of a Chinese man) in the mid-1990s, to what she hopes readers will come away with from her story.

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When did you first realize you wanted to turn your story into a memoir? What ultimately inspired you to write it?

I first thought about writing this memoir after my divorce attorney in California asked me to write out everything that went wrong in that marriage. She needed all the details in case we went to trial. It was 14 years ago and I was living with my parents. They didn’t have a laptop connected to a printer and I wasn’t in the mood to camp out in front of the basement desktop—after having felt so isolated for the past five and a half years—so I hand-wrote it over the span of a week in the company of my family. This document was sixty-seven pages! When I proofread it before sending it off to my lawyer, I thought, “Wow! This would make a great book.”

A week later I saw the movie “Not Without My Daughter” for the first time. It was about a woman who almost lost her daughter when her family traveled to Iran to visit her husband’s family. The husband had lived in the US for 20 years, but when he returned to his motherland, he suddenly wanted to stay there and keep his daughter there. I cried because the same thing could have happened to me. I wanted to share my story with others and hoped it would give parents in cross-cultural relationships something to think about if they’re in similar situations.

Susan at the Tsim Sha Tsui metro stop in Hong Kong.
Susan at the Tsim Sha Tsui metro stop in Hong Kong.

Your love affair with Cai, a man from Wuhan, China, takes place in Hong Kong in the mid-1990s, at a time when you were mainly a graduate student. What are some of your most interesting memories about dating in Hong Kong back then?

Hong Kong was magical back then! I was so happy to be back (I’d lived there for a year in 1990-91) and open to new opportunities, including dating. Maybe it was the thrill of being back and the comfort I felt around Hong Kong people, but I definitely took more chances there than I had back in the US. There was a new confidence in the air as people who had left Hong Kong in the 1980s were returning. One was a friend of a friend who confided some pretty heavy personal history to me on our one and only date. At one point he became violent as he grabbed my arms and squeezed them as if in a vice. I was scared about leaving that bar—we were out in the middle of the New Territories—but in the end he paid for my taxi ride home, which was two hours away. I also went out with a television anchorman who promised a weekend away in Macau, but canceled at the last minute. And then there were the two guys I wrote about in the book, the two I went out with before I met Cai.

Hidden River, China - Cai's hometown
Hidden River, China – Cai’s hometown in Hubei Province

How did people react to yangxifu back in the mid-1990s?

It was a novelty for Chinese men to have a foreign wife. In Hidden River, Cai’s hometown in Hubei province, his parents had a friend whose son had married a Japanese woman. She was a legend in that danwei—whether or not people had met her—because she was a foreigner. So my inlaws were very accepting of me and liked to brag about me with their friends. When I walked around Hidden River, people were all very polite, even when they stared and pointed at my curly hair and western nose.

14583639023_393094e530_oYour wedding in 1995 was special compared to the average wedding banquet in Wuhan. Could you share with us some of the things that made your celebration different?

Well, back then children of Communist Party members had to have modest wedding celebrations. For instance, they could only use a couple of cars in their motorcades and could only have ten tables at their banquets. But because I was a foreigner, those rules didn’t apply to my wedding even though my father-in-law was a Party member. We had twenty tables at our wedding and five or six cars. Traditions were still low key in China then, so weddings were simple and quick. There weren’t tea ceremonies and the like. And women in Hubei didn’t wear red qipaos. It was all big poufy white wedding dresses. I had a difficult time finding a red qipao in Suzhou!

Cai’s parents also play a major role in your story. Give us one of your favorite scenes from the book featuring your inlaws.

I think my favorite scene in the book was when they were leaving San Francisco to return to China. They had lived with us for ten months and after many clashes about childcare, I realized too late, of course, how much I had appreciated their presence at home. Every night we watched Chinese soap operas and news from Beijing while Cai went out. And they were often my only adult interaction at home. As we said goodbye at the airport, I also thought about how difficult it must be for them to leave Jake, their beloved grandson. So this scene is full of contrasts and difficult emotions.

Susan and Jake in San Francisco in 1999.
Susan and Jake in San Francisco in 1999.

Your book includes many memorable characters, but none more so than “Japanese father” — a rather unconventional father-figure to Cai. Without giving everything away, could you tell us something about this fascinating character?

Japanese Father was a music professor who visited China one summer and met Cai in Wuhan. The two became pen pals and wrote long letters to each other almost every week. The Japanese economy was so far ahead of China’s at the time—it wasn’t even comparable—so the opportunities that Japanese Father could offer Cai, and later his friend Rui, were very attractive to young teachers who had no other way of making more than US$75 a month. Japanese Father had a lot of time to spend on his Chinese protégées because he was estranged from his wife and son. His daughter still spoke to him, though.

Susan at the Miramar in Hong Kong.
Susan at the Miramar in Hong Kong.

As the subtitle explains, your story is “a love affair with China gone wrong.” Some people may see your book as yet another story that casts Asian men in a negative light, as well as AMWF relationships and even China itself. How would you respond to those concerns?

The subtitle refers to my initial attraction to China and how that all changed. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just didn’t go according to plan. As for a negative portrayal of Asian men, I can only see two Asian men who don’t come out looking great. Some reviewers think that Cai is sympathetic, and I can see that, too. But the others—Baba, Cai’s friend Rui, my former brothers-in-law, and even the guys I dated in Hong Kong—are portrayed just as men in any other countries. They have a variety of positive traits and aren’t lumped into one general category. And as one friend pointed out, at the end I go to lengths to protect the Chinese male who matters most to me—my son Jake. As for AMWF relationships, I clearly do everything I can to make mine work. In writing my story, I hope that people will see how not to conduct an AMWF relationship! And as for China, I felt aligned with many young Chinese at that time. Every time Cai and I returned to China, he was heartbroken that it was changing so quickly and wasn’t like the China of his childhood. I echoed his feelings and could see how things were different even from my first trip to China in 1988. To me, that’s not being anti-China, but rather wishing for a smoother transition, for China to have eased into the twentieth century instead of leaping into the twenty-first in one blink!

In Hidden River, Cai’s hometown near Wuhan.

Could you share some of the lessons you’ve learned from your courtship and marriage to Cai, and what you hope readers take away from your book?

From the courtship, people will probably conclude that I married Cai too quickly. But I think it’s more than that. He told me from the get-go that he had certain conditions for our marriage. Those are things I ignored or thought I could eventually get him to change. That should have been my red flag, not the time in which we became engaged and married. And from the marriage, I hope people can see that it’s not a good idea to justify bad behavior in the name of cultural differences, whatever those may be. (Unless we come from the exact background as our partner, we will have cultural differences. My new husband and I are from different religious backgrounds.) If something doesn’t sit well, it doesn’t sit well and shouldn’t be tolerated. It doesn’t matter if the person is from Asia or the US or wherever. One more thing: just be yourself and you’ll be fine!

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Thanks so much to Susan Blumberg-Kason for enlightening us about Good Chinese Wife!

Want to win a FREE copy of Good Chinese Wife? I’m giving one away on Twitter to anyone based in the US or Canada. And it’s simple to enter! Just tweet the following:

[Tweet “@jossailin is giving away the new memoir #GoodChineseWife and I want to win!”]

Entries must be received by 12 midnight Pacific Time on July 16, 2014! I’ll then notify the winner via messaging on Twitter. Good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations to @JohnWGuise for winning the giveaway!

Chinese Singaporean man seeks independent Western woman with “life in her” – and reminds us of diversity

(photo by Ed Yourdon via Flickr.com)
AMWF love in reality doesn’t look like the stereotypes. Nor do the men. (photo by Ed Yourdon via Flickr.com)

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a reader in Singapore I’ll call “Tom”, who wrote:

First of, thank you for spending the time and effort to share your unique marriage experience. I have been reading and digesting what you have posted thus far.

However, as a Chinese Singaporean, I find myself caught in between the Chinese and the Chinese born and raised in a Western country. There is a lot of talk about these two groups but I feel left out of the conversation. A lot of hurdles that a White female may face with a Chinese seem to be almost non-existent when it comes to the sizable number of Chinese Singaporean men who come from english speaking families, and are highly educated with good and stable jobs. Such families tend to not be overly traditional and live out western values in their daily lives.

I am adamant that I would so much happier if I could have a life partner that has the qualities of a western female. Softness and meekness, and even home cooking, believe it or not, isn’t all that endearing to me. I want a girl that behaves as if she has life in her! I want a life partner, not a little girl. If I don’t give this a shot now I may settle for someone “lesser” in my mind’s eye. If I wanted to settle I would have years ago.

Tom’s e-mail also reminded me of an article in the World of Chinese about dating Chinese men, which mentioned:

Dating a Chinese guy has never been a hot topic to discuss with my friends. Some of these, I have found, have been harsh and unfairly judgmental. One even tried to warn me: “Don’t even think about it.” Their reason: they simply found the cultural differences too large.

When the author describes her judgmental friends, I’ll be willing to bet they have a very fixed and limited idea of “Chinese men” and subsequently what it means to date them. Chances are, not a single one of these women could imagine a guy like Tom.

There is incredible diversity when it comes to Chinese men — and more often than not, it looks completely different from the stereotypical images you hold in your mind. As an example, just look at these posts by China Elevator Stories, Sara Jaaksola, The Mandarin Duck, and Ember Swift about their own husbands, who are all so unique in their own right!

It’s almost crazy that things like this even need to be said. But then again, it is crazy that a lot of women come to China and then automatically cross Chinese men off the “dateworthy” column in their minds, as that World of Chinese article mentioned (a phenomenon I’ve sadly observed as well).

So ladies, don’t always assume he’s too conservative or traditional for you to date just because he’s Chinese and you’re an independently minded Western woman. For all you know, he could be like Tom.

What do you think?

Guest Post: 7 of the Best Things about being married to a Non-Native English Speaker

I’m so thrilled to share this fantastic guest post from Grace Mineta of Texan in Tokyo, one of my favorite AMWF blogs. If you haven’t discovered her blog, you’re missing out on one of the best reads in the blogosphere. Thanks so much to Grace for this outstanding submission!

Want to be like Grace and have your voice featured on Speaking of China? Visit my submit a post page for details.

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The fact that my husband is a native Japanese speaker is part of the reason we get along so well.

I have a small confession to make – my partner and I look nothing alike. For one, he’s a man and I’m not. So his hair is closely shaved, while my is long and flowing; his muscles, feet, and hands are larger than mine. But those aren’t the differences people usually notice. My husband is Asian (from Japan) and I am white (from Texas).

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And like most Japanese people, he is not a native English Speaker. The first time he really took an English class was in cram-school, trying to get into college.

Fast forward six years and his English is advanced enough to quite literally charm my family into letting him marry me and whisk me off to Japan. And aside from not quite being able to understand what the characters from BBC’s Sherlock are saying without subtitles (mostly because he can’t understand British English), my husband Ryosuke doesn’t have any problems with English.

It’s totally not weird to walk in on him pouring over the Steve Job’s Biography (in English) while taking extensive notes (in Japanese) on how to become a “more awesome person, like Jobs.”

But he is not a native English speaker.

And I really, really love the fact that he is not a native English speaker because:

1. He never gets onto me for my atrocious spelling.

A large part of my income comes from my blog, “Texan in Tokyo.” I write about interracial marriage, living in Japan as a foreigner, and other “neat” things about Japan.

But, as commenters point out time and time again, I cannot spell to save my life. I also have problems with grammar.

I was hanging out with a friend yesterday and we were semi-talking about my blog. I brought up the spelling mistakes, and she was just like “Yeah, they’re everywhere, but at least you know you have horrible spelling and grammar. Some people have absolutely no idea.”

I understand it is somewhat shameful for a blogger to not be able to type up even a short, simple post without extensively relying on Microsoft Word Spell-Check… but hey. That’s me.

Even when typing the title for this section, I spelt atrocious like “attrocious.”

But Ryosuke never gets onto me for spelling or grammar.

And I used to think it was because his English wasn’t advanced enough to be able to point out mistakes in English, but it is. If he wanted to, he could do it. He just chooses not to. Or, more specifically, he chooses not to correct my grammar and my spelling.

He loves me. I love him. He doesn’t correct my spelling/grammatical mistakes and I don’t correct his various mistakes (unless it’s for a professional purpose, essay, or cover letter). It is glorious.

2. I could listen to his accent all day

Back in high school, I used to be all on board with “British and French accents are the sexiest things in the world.” Not anymore. Of course, British and French accents are still attractive (as are African accents, I’ve come to realize), but Ryosuke’s accent takes the cake.

Ryosuke’s classically Japanese accent is the most adorable and sexiest thing in the entire world. I could just listen to him talk all day. In fact, I would be able to listen to him talk all day if only I could learn to shut up every once and a while…

[For more, check out: Asian Man/White Woman Relationships- The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly]

3. It is very easy to condition my husband to say the things I like.

When you’re learning another language, you have a tendency to parrot the people around you. For instance, if you are learning English and your friend always says “awesome” to everything, you might start saying “awesome” to everything too.

I like certain words over other words. I think the way the words “fantastic,” “fabulous,” “futile,” “phenomenal,” and “thrilling” roll of the tongue. (Now that I’m writing them out, I realize I might have a fetish for words that begin with an “f”.)

Ryosuke’s vocabulary closely mirrors my own. He calls me fabulous, says my writing is fantastic, my attempts to get him to watch “New Girl” with him are futile, my eyes are phenomenal, and hanging out with me is thrillingly fantastic. He doesn’t have the same kind of attachment I have for English words. To him, anything works. And gradually, over time, his vocabulary has been filled with fantastically wonderful words that I like.

In a similar manner, my speech closely resembles his when I speak Japanese. It used to make my college professor so angry – she thought Ryosuke was “ruining my pretty Japanese.” He probably did.

But that’s what happens when you spend extensive amounts of time with someone. You begin to mirror their mannerisms – especially speech. Now, both Ryosuke and I sound like socially awkward (but somewhat sophisticated) adults when we speak English and like comedic 15 year old boys when we speak Japanese.

4. We get to make up our own words.

The benefit of always learning new words in a foreign language is that it is surprisingly easy to slip in some new, invented words, just for fun. Ryosuke and I often switch between Japanese and English when we talk – and so we’ve come up with a whole list of words that are a mix between the two languages, conveying something that is difficult or complicated to explain.

For example “Sappuri” means “Surprisingly Samui (cold).” We use it when it’s a lot colder outside than we expected. Or the wind is surprisingly cold.

5. We always have our own language to fall back on.

Between our made up words and the constant switching between English and Japanese, Ryouske and I have our very own language. And having your own language is an important tool that facilitates intimacy and closeness – even when you’ve spent the last three days in close proximity with family.

We don’t have to censor what we say around my family and his family – because if it’s a serious concern, awkward question, or inappropriate (or funny) comment, we can use our partner’s language.

6. Our “Spot the ‘Engrish’” Games have a whole other side to them.

One of my favorite things to do is go to the 100yen shops (like the Japanese equivalent of a $1.00 shop, but much cooler and much less sketchy than American dollar stores) and laugh at the misplaced “Engrish” on the products.

Ryosuke enjoys the game as well. We will drive around all afternoon chatting, finding funny English, and eating peach jelly.

However, Ryosuke is also good at explaining why certain things ended up the way they did. He adds a whole extra level to the game – because as a native Japanese speaker who learned English, he can understand why native Japanese speakers who do not understand English write the things they do.

7. When we argue, we don’t get caught up in exactly what the other person is saying.

Our arguments aren’t a “he said, she said” battle. Of course he says socially unacceptable things while we fight – and in the beginning, I used fly off the handle at some of the socially unacceptable things he said.

Now we’ve learned to focus more on what the other person is feeling, rather than what they say. Our arguments are a “safe space” where you don’t have to worry about the other person freaking out if you accidentally say the wrong thing.

[For more, check out: Fighting – Things My Japanese Husband and I Culturally Disagree About]

It’s not fair to Ryouske to fight with complicated words and hidden meanings. We have to be very clear. And oddly enough, that has helped us both be much more honest when it comes to disagreements. He doesn’t have to worry about accidentally saying the wrong thing and I don’t have to worry about loaded up my words with hidden meanings.

Being married to a non-native English speaker is incredibly fun and always interesting. This cross-cultural relationship has opened me up to a whole new way to look at “language,” itself – which is kind of fitting because I write so much.

But then again, I’m partial because I am terribly in love with my husband.

Grace Mineta is a blogger, freelance writer, and fashionista in Tokyo. Married to her college sweetheart, Ryosuke, she spends most of her time hiking, drawing comics, and trying to navigate life as the American wife to a Japanese businessman.

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Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts and love stories! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Guest Post: The privilege of stereotypes about cross-cultural couples in China

(photo by Angela Sevin via Flickr.com)
(photo by Angela Sevin via Flickr.com)

We’ve all heard about yellow fever and the associated stereotypes. So what happens when you’re a Western man dating or married to an Asian woman and you’re supposedly living the stereotype?

That’s the heart of this thoughtful guest post by Gerald Zhang-Schmidt, who is married to a Chinese woman. 

You may remember Gerald from years back when he collaborated with me to write about stereotypes of Chinese-Western couples. He also submitted a question about changing your name in China that’s become one of my top 10 most popular posts (and incidentally, he was the one who ended up changing his name!). 

Want to follow in Gerald’s footsteps and have your voice heard on Speaking of China? Check out my submit a post page for details.

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Maybe I just shouldn’t care.

It’s my own fault, after all. I’ve known Jocelyn, at least via Speaking of China, for years and read of her thoughts and travails with great interest. The way that Chinese society puts everyone into place, in their gender roles and in gendered expectations about behavior and the course of a life has fascinated me.

How could you not be fascinated? While public displays of affection are still viewed askance in many places, the requirements for an ideal partner are proudly and straightforwardly proclaimed in ‘marriage markets’? (“Westerners” may also see these advertisements as superficial and appalling, but one could just as well call them honest.)

How about a place where the women are portrayed as if they would prefer (and be preferred by) foreigners over their own men, whereas the men hardly even seem to stand a chance with anyone anymore? That’s where I’m caught squat in the middle. Speaking of China is all about the rarity of foreign woman – Asian man couples, draws readers because of that same rarity, and has lots of issues to talk about. Meanwhile I’m living all of those other, wicked, dominant, problematic positions.

I mean, according to all the talk about white male privilege – and its experience – I must clearly be privileged. I’m not supposed to talk, for it just reflects my attempts at staying on top and maintaining my privileged position. As the WM part of a WM-AF (white male – Asian female) relationship, I’m living the stereotype. “Oh my, clearly one of those guys with an Asian fetish and one of those stupid and/or calculating women dumb enough to fall for him.”

The privilege of being in a majority is that you’re questioned less. As a friend recently put it, “you are given more second chances.” For the same reason, though, you are also less visible — for better and worse. You don’t have to explain yourself nearly as much as the unusual Western (or other) woman who marries an Asian man or the lucky Asian man who was able to attract a Western woman. Because they are considered unusual, they attract attention. They get questioned. They have to explain themselves and live with the puzzled looks. But, they also get much-visited blogs and book deals for their memoirs. And so, they have a need, but also get a chance, of explaining themselves. In breaking the mold, they are viewed askance, but also as avant-garde.

Try getting a book deal for the story of a ‘stereotypically normal’ WM-AF relationship, when “everyone knows” (a favorite phrase of the Chinese students I was teaching) that it’s all just about the Asian woman looking to better her situation and the Western male with yellow fever.

Such observations of upsides and downsides all too quickly devolve into nothing but discussions of who’s got it worse or better, “the culture of shut-up,” as it was recently called. So who does have it better? The one in an extraordinary situation beyond usual stereotypes, yet facing more scrutiny because of it? Or the one barely noticed because the situation is so stereotypical, no one even bothers wondering?

It’s similar to how feminism and stereotypes are discussed in general terms rather easily, but then suddenly turn personal and get vicious, until the discussion turns into something that has nothing to do with them. The likes of a “sure, there is a privilege to being a white male, but *I* am hardly privileged (or do you see me becoming rich just so?)” even as the systemic difficulties of the not-privileged (and advantages of the privileged) certainly are there, or the “yeah, I’m all for feminism, I like strong women” from men, as if feminism were all about strength, let alone one person’s likes.

But that’s not what I want to discuss. I don’t want to discuss anything, really. I just want to provide my observations and make a humble suggestion. Relationships, be they romantic or otherwise, will always be influenced by ethnic, cultural, and other backgrounds and the views they give rise to. But relationships are, at heart, not between ethnic groups, not between social groupings, nor even between men and women. They are between individual people.

The trouble starts when we don’t want to see individual people and individual situations, and don’t suspend judgment. When we see someone who fits into a stereotypical opinion and immediately think we have a handle on who they are.

We should remember that we tend to not even understand ourselves half as well as we may think we do.

Gerald Zhang-Schmidt is an ecologist and cultural anthropologist who spent three years living in China, and now resides with his wife in his native Austria where he writes about the ecology of happinesschili peppers and being at home in the world.

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Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts and love stories! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Guest Post: Setting up his Chinese nephew (again) with American women

Fred and his family in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Fred)
Fred and his family in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Fred)

Last year, Fred shared the extraordinary story of how he tried setting up his Hong Kong nephew with American women. He wrote in the post, “I thought with 100 percent certainty that any man would leap to his death to be able to date not just one or two but three ladies!” But the nephew wouldn’t budge and Fred gave up on his matchmaking ways…

Until 2014, that is. He had plans to travel to Hong Kong in April and decided to trying fixing up his nephew once again. So, will Fred’s nephew finally find love in the US this time? Read on for part two of this fascinating story.

Fred first made his debut on Speaking of China back in December 2011, when he shared the inspiring story of how found love in Brazil. More recently, last month he provided a field report on the ratio of AMWF couples to WMAF couples in Hong Kong, which has become a fan favorite and even inspired other readers to do their own surveys.

Want to follow in Fred’s footsteps and become a guest posting legend on this site? Visit my submit a post page for details.

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About two years ago, my wife and I went to Hong Kong to visit my half-brother and half-sister and their side of the family, all of whom are Chinese. My cousin Yew was my half-sister’s oldest child of three. When my wife and I visited him in 2012, Yew was single and approaching his late thirties, unattached and unmarried.

My half-sister was concerned that he still had no marriage prospects in sight. So I offered to help him by arranging for him to date four white American girls if he came to visit me in the US. Before traveling to Hong Kong in 2012, these four ladies had agreed to meet and date Yew if he came to the US. However, before he could even consider this proposition, Yew subsequently developed a strong case of kidney stones and was hospitalized, preventing him from coming to the US.

I then when to Hong Kong myself to visit him and also do some sightseeing, and it was then that I once again proposed the idea of dating these four American girls. He quickly rejected this notion because he felt he was not their equal.

Just recently, my wife, children and I visited Hong Kong from April 2, 2014 to April 12, 2014. We once again proposed that Yew should come to the US and try dating some American girls.

This time, I had hoped that things would be different.

Two of the four American girls from 2012 had since moved on and found boyfriends of their own, making them no longer available or interested. The other two (the nursing student who is my secretary’s daughter and another female lawyer) were still single, available, and interested. These two ladies once again were happy to meet Yew and give him a chance. But again, I did not tell these two ladies about each other, lest they think my nephew is a philandering playboy and refuse to date him. I promised that I would approach him and invite him to visit me this summer so that they could meet each other and seal the deal.

While last time I was the only one recruiting prospective dates for Yew, this time I had the help of my wife. She looked within her circle of single friends and knew of a handful of single girls, a group comprised of white American girls, white Brazilian girls, and Latina girls. She could not promise they would be available when Yew came or that they would give a foreign Chinese man a chance. She would not approach any of them with the idea of dating a foreign Chinese man who is not even in the US until Yew showed he was serious about dating them. She did not want a repeat of the 2012 debacle, where those four American girls agreed to give Yew a chance only to be let down by his refusal to come to the US and date them. My wife was very leery of raising false hopes within her circle of friends for fear of losing credibility. Besides, the girls in her circle could refuse to date him even if he agreed to date them.

So this time we had two white American girls who would certainly give Yew a chance and potentially a handful of other Western girls.

On the third day of our trip to Hong Kong, we met my half-sister, my half-brother and their children for dinner — but Yew was noticeably missing from the table. I couldn’t understand why he was absent. I had informed them over five months ago that I was coming and we had planned well in advance to meet on at least two occasions for dinner.

I asked my half-sister, “Where’s Yew?”
She said, “He’s much too busy with his work and studies to join us.”
I asked her, “When will he be available to meet me and my wife? I have great news for him about how to solve his singleton problem.”
My half-sister said, “Perhaps next week you will be able to see Yew.” We were scheduled to dine with the whole family then before returning to the US.

Next week came. We once again met the family and once again Yew wasn’t there.

So, I asked my half-sister, “Where’s Yew?”
Once again, she said, “He’s too busy with his work and studies.” She added that, “His company’s business had improved much since 2012,” when I last saw him. “His firm wants to promote him, but he needs to pass a course and test in IT. He’s embarrassed since he failed the test and must study again to repeat it.”

I then asked my half-sister, “What about his singleton problem? Does he have any prospects or solutions in mind?”
She said, “Yew is quite secretive about his dating life. Whenever I bring it up with him, he shuns me.” I could not believe it!

I said to her right then and there, “Call him on his cell phone.” I wanted to talk to him immediately about why he was not with us at these two family dinners and also discuss how to solve his singleton problem.

My half-sister called him and then I spoke to him. After we exchanged greetings and salutations, I cut to the chase.

I asked Yew, “Why weren’t you at these two family dinners? We planned them over five months ago.” He had initially promised to attend both of them.
He apologized and said, “Things at my company are so busy that I must work late and study to pass this course.” He never mentioned he failed the test and was repeating it, nor did I want to embarrass him by saying I knew about it.

Then I tried inquiring about his dating life. But wouldn’t you know it, Yew cut me off before I could even tell him about all the girls awaiting him in the US.

I told Yew, “I’m proud that you’re so diligent, hardworking and loyal to your company. I’m glad you’re trying very hard to advance in your career. But what about your future girlfriend or wife?”

As soon as I brought this up, he cut me off. He said, “I’m very busy right now and have to go.”
I tried asking him to give me just a few more minutes, but he insisted he had to leave and then hung up.

I could not believe it. How someone could be so disrespectful to his uncle? How dare he cut me off in the middle of a conversation?

I asked my sister, “What’s his problem?”
She said, “Honestly, he’s embarrassed about his failures in life. Not getting a promotion yet, failing that course and the test, still being single, and not being able to buy his own flat. He even shuns me when I try to discuss something serious with him.”

My sister had suggested he should go to Mainland China and find a woman in a remote village, someone willing to leave her hometown for Hong Kong. But Yew insisted he cannot find a wife until he has attained a certain level of financial comfort, including owning his own flat and having a large bank account. He believes he cannot call a woman his girlfriend or wife without having these things first.

I reminded my sister, “Western women don’t have that kind of mentality, where she’ll only date a man if he’s financially successful. Instead, she will work together with the man and reach success together as a couple. So he really should give Western women a try.”

Plus, one of the two girls I wanted to introduce to him is a lawyer in her mid-thirties with a well-paying job in the legal department of one of California’s largest insurance companies. She also owns a Mercedes and a two-story home. And best of all, she is willing to give Yew — a non-resident foreign Chinese man — a chance. That’s pure bravery and courage! This girl is willing to take a chance with him if has the courage to come to the US and meet her.

But my sister said, “Yew cannot even look a woman in the eyes unless he has some level of financial success.” She then abruptly cut me off and said not to talk about this any longer. It upsets her too much.

In the end, I left Hong Kong without even being able to see Yew or have a meaningful conversation with him. I also had to break the bad news to the two American ladies. From now on, when it comes to dating women, I guess I’ll let him fend for himself.

Fred practices employment law in Torrance, California.

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Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts and love stories! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

6 Stunning Celebrity Couples of Asian Men & Non-Asian Women

Award-winning journalist and Univision anchor Ilia Calderon, with husband Eugene Jang.
Award-winning journalist and Univision anchor Ilia Calderon, with husband Eugene Jang. (photo by Johnny Louis)

Every week, the entertainment mags churn out list after list of swoon-worthy celebrity and Hollywood couples. But these couples are almost always white…and I can’t remember the last time, if ever, that I’ve seen a single couple of Asian men and non-Asian women on their lists.

If my Pinterest board with real-life couples of Chinese men and Western women has taught me anything, it’s that the community of Asian men and non-Asian women in love is bigger than I ever expected — with plenty of beautiful faces. So it’s no surprise that our community includes some stunning celebrities and their equally stunning partners. Don’t they deserve a little love for once?

Move over, Brangelina! Here are six dazzling couples that could turn heads on the red carpet, while showing the world how lovely it is when Asian men and non-Asian women get together.

Sandra Denton and Tom Lo

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Sandra first rocked our world as “Pepa” from the rap group Salt-N-Pepa, and now she has rocked the interracial dating world by choosing to date Tom Lo (as part of her 2010 reality show Let’s Talk About Pep). Was it romance or just reality TV? Are they still a thing? I have no idea. But they sure make one handsome Blasian couple, don’t they?

Diane Farr and Seung Yong Chung

(photo by John Solano Photography)
(photo by John Solano Photography)

Who says that Asian men can’t land babelicious former MTV hosts? Seung Yong Chung (who is tall and handsome himself) snagged the lovely actress Diane Farr, best known for her roles on Numb3rs and Rescue Me (as well as a stint hosting MTV’s Loveline). Their relationship and marriage became the heart of Diane’s outstanding memoir on interracial dating, Kissing Outside the Lines.

Grant Imahara and Jennifer Newman

Grant Imahara of Mythbusters and his girlfriend Jennifer Newman
(photo via Twitter, @Jennernugen)

You know Grant from Mythbusters. Even if he’s the geekiest guy on this list (he’s one of the official operators for Star Wars’ R2-D2 and helped engineer the Energizer Bunny), he looks awesome in a tux and would make my shortlist of hottest electrical engineers any day. Put him together with his lovely blonde girlfriend Jennifer Newman (a self-proclaimed “robot girl”) and you have a couple that could turn heads almost anywhere.

Will Yun Lee and Jennifer Birmingham

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Actor Will Yun Lee (best known for his TV roles in Witchblade and Bionic Woman and on-screen roles for Die Another Day, Elektra and The Wolverine)  was named one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive in 2007. His wife Jennifer Birmingham, a Hollywood actress as well, looks like a natural on the red carpet. Together, they make one stunning AMWF (Asian Male, White Female) couple. If the Academy handed out Oscars for most gorgeous couple in the business, I’m sure these two could nab a nomination!

Julia Stegner and Steven Pan

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Could this gorgeous German supermodel and her handsome boyfriend Steven (a fashion photographer) make interracial dating between Asian men/non-Asian women a little more “en vogue”? They’ve already landed in a Vogue spread and could easily rock the magazine’s cover. The camera clearly loves them both!

Ilia Calderon and Eugene Jang

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Award-winning Colombian journalist Ilia Calderon is the striking anchor for Univision’s Noticiero Univision: Edicion Nocturna (so hot, she’s listed on the site TV anchor babes) — and also the wife of Eugene Jang, a physical therapist who is quite the looker himself. They fell in love at first sight, and look lovely together on the red carpet!

Who do you think are the most stunning couples of Asian men and non-Asian women? Who would you put on your list?

P.S.: To see more celebrity couples, visit my Pinterest board featuring celebrity couples of Chinese men and Western women.

Saluting Other Blogs by Non-Asian Women Who Love Asian Men

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I’m continuing the celebration of International Women’s Day with a post saluting outstanding women with blogs on AMXF (Asian Male, Non-Asian Female) relationships. Woo-hoo!

As you know, I just updated my list of blogs by Western women who love Chinese men — and it’s well over 50. It’s an inclusive list, but keeping up with all of these fabulous ladies is no small task. I spent nearly a day on that post. Yes, an entire day! Still, I’m happy to do it because the women in this community rock. We have a unique perspective on life — whether that’s life in Asia, our home countries, or elsewhere in the world — and that deserves a shout-out once a year!

But I’ve come to realize we’re not the only ones with a huge community. You should have seen the many blogs I discovered just by white gals in Japan blogging about their mixed-race kids and families! And I realized that if I were to simultaneously keep up with all of the communities in Japan, Korea, India and beyond…well, my head was spinning at the thought.

So here’s the deal — to keep things simple here, I’m highlighting the major AMXF blogs in the community authored by women in this post. They’ve attracted a decent following, fill an important niche, or are written by prominent women (including authors). Either way, chances are you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

That said, if you know about another AMXF blog, by all means please let me know! While it’s impossible for me to spread the love in this post to every single other AMXF blog out there, I’m always happy to give them a link back.

And if I’ve missed a blog that deserves a spot in this post, share it with me in the comments and tell me why I ought to feature it.

So without further ado…here they are!

Asian Man White Woman Magazine. J.T. Tran, The Asian Playboy, may have founded this magazine, but its heart and soul are the women who love Asian men — Heather, Sarah Ann, and Brooks as well as guest writers (including me). This blog has a lot of great posts on AMWF interracial relationships, but the classic remains “Once You Go Asian, You Can’t Go Caucasian!” (or why White Girls think Asian Boys are Better!). (Disclosure: J.T. is an advertiser on my site.)

Black women Asian men. The ultimate blog for the AMBW (Asian men/Black women) community run in part by a Black woman in a relationship with an Asian guy. It’s regularly updated and loaded with gorgeous photos of AMBW couples as well as their love stories. As if that wasn’t cool enough, the blog offers links to AMBW meetup groups around the US, as well as lists of AMBW books, movies and music videos.

The Blasian Narrative. This unique group blog (written in part by Black women) is “dedicated to exploring (whether academically, casually, or creatively) the world of Black women and Asian men.” Fans of this blog will love their Blasian Culture category featuring posts on AMBW relationships, as well as their treasure trove of interviews with folks in the community.

Diary of a White Indian Housewife. Years ago, Sharell left behind her unremarkable life as an accountant in Australia for the wonders of India — and has never looked back. She met her husband in India and carved out a successful career for herself as a travel writer (she manages the About.com India Travel page). These days, she focuses more on her work for About.com than her blog, but the site is still filled with outstanding posts (such as on whether Indian men like white women and how her parents reacted to her relationship) and she promises to update us every now and then. Don’t miss Sharell’s inspiring memoir about her journey to India, Henna for the Broken-Hearted.

English Wife, Indian Life. Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions in our lives that change everything — like how Lauren was on a vegetarian forum and just happened to respond to someone messaging her (something she never usually would do). That conversation introduced her to her future husband. Last year, she officially left her pharmacy job in England to move to India, where the couple married and now live happily ever after — while Lauren, of course, grapples with this foreign country and culture. It’s fun to read Lauren’s posts because they’re so immediate, filled with the excitement and frustration that comes from such a huge life change. Best of luck to this lovely couple!

Fusión LatinAsia. A blog en español and English by Sandra Santiago (who is based in Texas) especially created “for the Latina stricken with the yellow fever.” This site offers lots of great posts on relationships between Asian men and Latinas (such as Would a Latina girl like an Asian guy like me?) and has even helped support readers in their quest for romance (see I want an Asian Boyfriend…case closed!).

The Good Shufu. Once upon a time, Tracy Slater (a self-described highly independent feminist) had the academic career of her dreams, teaching writing at a Boston-area university and living in the city she adored. But when she fell in love with a Japanese man, all of a sudden she began contemplating a life together with him in Japan, which meant letting go of her career and the life she worked so hard to build for herself in Boston. Once moving to Osaka, she became an illiterate housewife trying to build the very family she never imagined she wanted. It’s an incredible transformation — and not surprisingly, she’s turned her story into the forthcoming memoir titled The Good Shufu (to be published in 2015). Tracy is such a gifted writer and I eagerly await what is sure to be one standout book.

My Husband is Asian. ShaSha LaPerf is an African American woman who just tied the knot with her Asian sweetheart Shen (what she referred to as “When Geeks Marry”), but she’s been blogging about Black/Asian pop culture and Blasian love for years, from her relationship to advice on dating Asian guys and the time she spent living in Japan. Some of her most popular posts — including 10 Things Asian Guys Should Not Say to Black Women — will definitely interest many of you.

My Korean Husband. Nic from Australia is married to Mr. Gwon and she has grown a huge following through her funny comics, videos and other posts about everything from their marriage (such as this how we met video) to life in Korea and even the odd K-pop-related conversation. It’s a delight to visit and read/watch, so it’s no wonder this is easily the most popular (and most entertaining) blog on this list. Nic has a comic book in the works about how she and Mr. Gwon met and more, so stay tuned for that!

Linda Leaming. During her travels through South Asia in the 1990s, Linda discovered the Himalayan wonderland of Bhutan — a country that, in her words, “would rather have Gross National Happiness than Gross National Product” — and that one trip turned into a lifelong love affair on many levels. She met and married a Buddhist artist there and they adopted a girl as well, but most importantly she found the happiness that comes from following your own heart. You can read all about it in her fun memoir Married to Bhutan. And if you loved that book, don’t miss her forthcoming A Field Guide To Happiness: Twenty-Two Things I Learned in Bhutan.

Loving Korean. Oegukeen, who is from Europe, started this blog to discuss her relationship with “the Kimchi Man” — and she went beyond the usual “how we met” to become a source for everything you ever wanted to know about dating Korean men. Unfortunately, their relationship ended recently. But what I find incredibly courageous is that she continues to blog about the aftermath and is currently working on a plan for what’s next. The site still remains a great resource for the community.

Texan in Tokyo. Grace Buchele Mineta — an American woman who just married her Japanese sweetheart and has moved to Japan to live with him — has crafted some of my all-time favorite posts on AMWF and interracial relationships, especially AMWF Relationships: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (Asian Male, White Female Couples) and AMWF (Asian Male, White Female) Couples: An Unfinished Wikipedia Article. For those of you who love visuals, she also draws comics and her posts are always heavy on photos, particularly gorgeous shots of her and Ryosuke (the camera truly loves them!). For those of you who addicted to wedding photos, check out her recent wedding announcement!

What blogs did I miss? What blogs would you like to see on this list and why?