Non-Japanese people in Japan often assumed that he’d come to Japan not only to do research, but also to find the “ideal Japanese wife”. The whites, the Jews, the Chinese — nobody will ever accept them.” “WHAT. From our dear family friend and her “concern” over my husband’s and my nonexistent children, to the couple at Denny’s who loudly talked about how “upsetting” and “shameful” we were, ugly commentary about my interracial marriage usually fell into three major categories. But when people did cast judgement, there was no mistaking it, no lack of subtlety. On my husband’s side, as a Ph D student researching Japanese culture, some of his peers would lay eyes on me and, without even bothering to find out if I was Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc., would roll their eyes and say, “Of COURSE you have a Japanese wife.” The idea that my husband MUST be so obsessed with all things Japanese that he had to “get him one of them Japanese girls” came up more often than I ever expected. I will say that while living on the mainland US, people were rather predictable with their ignorant comments. As Japan is a very polite and considerate culture, my husband and I mostly went about our daily life with relatively few negative reactions — save for the occasional stares from older people or children on the subway. Her vet has no problem pronouncing her Chinese-Jewish hyphenate name, and the other cats only tease her because of that one time she fell into the toilet.) Though such interactions as the one above have been relatively few in my 10-year relationship with my now husband, I’d be lying if I said they didn’t happen. Living in Hawai’i was the most unremarkable my husband and I had ever felt in our marriage. The “worst” I ever got was a sincere question from a coworker asking me, “Is it ever hard for your husband to relate to your Chinese parents? I met my first Jewish person in graduate school.” It was in Japan that the reactions to our marriage in some ways intensified.Attitudes toward sex are changing, especially in more cosmopolitan cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but in general, many Chinese women see sex as a sign that a relationship is headed towards marriage.Additionally, many Chinese men say they would prefer to marry a woman who hasn’t had premarital sex.
In general, sex before marriage in China is less common and considered more serious than it is in many Western cultures.This pressure is particularly acute for women, who can be called “left-over women” if they pass the age of 26 or 27 without finding a husband.Men can find themselves similarly left-over if they wait too long to get married.I just got up and took my ABC ass to a nearby coffee shop to read instead. While the comments in the salon annoyed me, I can’t say I was angry. I’d like to think that couples like us are changing the world bit by bit.When I told my husband later, he asked me, “Did they really call me a ‘pretty boy’? And who knows, maybe in a generation or two, “the children” won’t have to worry about who will or won’t accept them.