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Bridging the Pacific

My name is Mayumi, and I am Japanese. I came to Central Illinois 9 years ago for college at Illinois State University, where I met my husbnd, Jim. We met each other though my best friend. We were very good friends until we had our first kiss at a local bar on St. Patrick's Day in 1992. Rest is a history. Jim proposed me on Christma Eve in 1994. We got married on September 7, 1996.

Since I used to live overseas as a child, I had fairly easy time adjusting myself to Jim's culture/custom. At the same time, Jim has a great respect for my culture. He has come to Japan twice and spent a lot of time with my family. The last time we were there, he was very amused by the deep history of my country. His attitude makes me feel very secure about our relationship. He even insists on teaching our children Japanese when we have them. He wants to adopt both Japanese and American cultures in our lives, and I do not mind following his idea.

Bridging the Pacific

I was first afraid of meeting some of Jim's relatives, since I was told that they have very strong feeling against minority individuals. But they were very nice to me from the beginning. They turned out to be very sweet and supportive.

Both my parents were from local prestigious families in central Japan. None of my family said anything to us about us getting married. Later I heard from my mother that my father was concerned about having foreigner's blood in the family. My mother said to him that the times had changed since they were my age. I thought my maternal grandmother would say something against our decision, but she was very supportive instead. I still wonder what my paternal grandfather would have said if he were still alive, though. All my friends from high school thought I would marry a non-Japanese guy for some reason.

Everyday is a learning experience. Not only we are from different part of the world, we are two different individuals living together like any other married couple. I really do not see us an odd couple because I am Japanese and Jim is American. We love each other, and we fit well. Right now, my younger brother is about to marry a Korean lady. My father has a problem with the relationship, just because a woman my brother chose is from Korea. I do not believe you should choose your soulmate only from the same race/ethnic group/etc., when you can find the one from different part of the world. Isn't difference good thing? Isn't the way we can learn each other's differences?

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