Meeting Japanese Boyfriend's Parents


Like being on the opposite side of the world isn't confusing enough, let's throw in meeting the Japanese boyfriend's parents. Seriously, in the very first few days of being in Japan, too.

I could barely walk in a convenience store knowing what to do, let alone entering a Japanese residence that's never before welcomed a foreigner.

Do I bow? Shake hands?
Is there a secret password besides "ojyama shimasu"?

The longer I was there, the longer the list of questions grew and grew.
How do I setup the futon - oh wait, we actually sleep on two futon?
But I only hang the one futon outside?
How the hell do you use the shower?
Which one is hair conditioner?
Do I help clean? His mom said no, but does that really mean yes?

And family Japanese was in no relation to the kind of language/sound I've heard in dramas or movies. And even if everything was spoken perfectly clear, there's still no pause button when a mental road block comes in the form of unknown vocabulary.

Of course, Taiki wasn't always available to help problem solve. And you know, self-dependency. But everyone's different and handles things differently, and my being in a state of complete wonder kinda threw things out of whack. These things happen.

Luckily Taiki's parents were pretty receptive and understanding of my awkwardness.

His dad would throw English words in whenever he could and was just really light-hearted, which made it way more comfortable to be in an unfamiliar situation. I think most dads enjoy meeting their son's girlfriends. On the other hand, moms can be a toss up, right?

His mom was a bit more hard to read and somewhat seemed like she was analyzing me to see if this would ever be a safe idea. Totally normal, if still nerve-racking. From her perspective now, I could see my initial hesitance/lack of "Oh, let me do that!" to be disappointing. I do wish I could of overcame my nerves and been more proactive. But hopefully I made up for that in the following visits - and if not, there's still plenty of time to win her over, one day!

Then there was Grandmom. She wasn't too fond of the idea of us together, and looking back I'm pretty sure she didn't register my attempts at conversation to be real Japanese, thinking I was also completely unable to understand as well. And to be fair, sometimes I really didn't. I felt like I wasn't in the room when she was speaking sometimes. But later I realized she just doesn't make eye contact, almost at all! She would ask a question out of nowhere like, "Did you eat?" and I'd have to look around to make sure I was the only person around. On a more recent visit, we were having a discussion and she rarely looked at me. But now I know that's her and can appreciate the way she does things.

It just took time and active interest. I got to visit his house on nine or ten occasions and by the most recent one, was doing laundry and became quite intimate with the kitchen cabinets. Again, looking back I would've loved to just have had a little more confidence to jump in and try things, but I've always been the type of person to respect another woman's kitchen.

My house is more like Beauty and the Beast's "Be Our Guest"..

I wonder if Belle felt the need to help wash all those dishes..
Can't wait to see what happens when Taiki comes to meet my family....!!




About Us!

Hey there! We're Taiki and Andrea - a Japanese/American couple who love traveling and learning about other people and cultures. We've been to India, Thailand, Korea, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Greece and Italy (as well as the US and Japan of course!)

We started a blog to preserve our memories while encouraging and motivating others to travel or learn English!

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