Nagano: What are your thoughts on cross-cultural marriage?

Rosemary Kobayashi
Translator/interpreter, 45 (Brazilian)
My grandparents are Japanese, so I was used to the food and culture, but at first my Japanese wasn’t good enough, so there were misunderstandings. Also, I lacked the shared knowledge that all Japanese seem to have. My advice is to teach your children about both cultures.

Rishu Tsukada
Language services, 47 (Chinese)
It’s good. People of different nationalities have to learn to respect each other. My husband doesn’t do much housework, but he respects my religious beliefs (I’m Christian) and he likes the food I cook. At first we had language problems, but now we always speak Japanese at home.

Fumihiko Kaneko
English professor, 37 (Japanese)
International marriage cultivates new aspects of our own selves. I’m living a wider life compared to those who aren’t in an international marriage. It does require perseverance, because we need to overcome cultural gaps, but I believe the effort is worth making.

Mia Khaitova
Translator/instructor, 37 (Uzbek)
I’m very positive about international marriage as long as both spouses have key common values, like religion. I believe both spouses and their children benefit in many ways — health-wise (children tend to be healthier and good-looking), intellectually, culturally and language-wise.

Housewife/mother, 27 (Lithuanian)
Japanese men seem mild — they do not start quarrels so often. But they tend to overwork and don’t have time for their families. Basically, I think if there is no love between a couple, it is impossible to be happy, either with someone of your own nationality or with a foreigner.

James Ashworth
English Teacher, 34 (English)
I think it’s great! It gives you a more balanced view of another culture. Japan is sometimes criticized for its treatment of foreign residents, but I have found Japanese people more accepting of international marriage than people in my own country.

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