Today’s guest post comes from Jasmine, a lovely French-Canadian blogger who writes at Japan-aholic. This week, she writes about how loving Japan helped her find, create a strong relationship and fall in love with Hitomi and vice-versa.
Before meeting my boyfriend Hitomi, I already had an important interest in Japanese culture. I read many manga when I was a child, thanks to my sister who first introduced me to « RG Veda », a manga made by Clamp, and totally unsuitable for children (but still super awesome). And by reading those manga, I developed an interest about the differences between Japan and Canada. From then on, I wanted to learn Japanese and discovered more about the culture on internet.
So, I can’t really say that I fell in love with Japan because of Hitomi — although, I could say that I fell in love with Hitomi because of Japan, since I wouldn’t have met him if it wasn’t for my first trip here. If my sister didn’t give me those manga, I would have never went to Japan, and thus would not be in this awesome relationship today. We could say that about everything and anything, but it’s not hard to believe that my interest for Japan has giving me the opportunity to meet, and appreciate, Hitomi.
There are some cultural differences between Japan and Canada that I think I find quite attractive in Hitomi. He’s very hardworking and committed, and though I can’t say that’s the case for every Japanese man out there, I can say most of the people in this country follow that value. He’s not afraid of the future and certainly not afraid of the obstacles on the way. Anxious, possibly. Scared, never. He said he wants us to be together; then he works for us to be together. I’ve never seen him bail out on anything, and that’s something I admire a lot.
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I can’t say Hitomi hasn’t played a role in the fact I like Japan. Because of him, I can see facets of culture I would have never discovered. He always takes me to amazing places I’ve never visited before (he’s the best at organizing things). Together, we visited a UNESCO World Heritage Sites, countless castles and temples, were amazed by the enormous blue Buddha in Kamakura, wore kimono twice, and saw the beauty of Japan in its seasonal nature. He always brings me to his favourite places, would it be a ramen restaurant, a manga café with a karaoke on the second floor or a surfer spot on the beach. Not only that, but he always helps me understand Japan more if I have questions about any cultural differences I noticed. Not to mention that his Japanese ability is very useful in every situation.
Even more, he was also the one who could make me feel better when I felt like I didn’t like Japan. Yes, it happened, and it will probably happen again. Being a white foreigner is not always easy here; getting stared at everyday, people whispering behind you, strangers coming up and starting a conversation in English with creepy insinuations, getting followed, being cat-called. Some days, I just want to hide my face, or even better, stay inside and never go out again because I don’t want to be a foreigner. It’s weird, right? I know I’m a foreigner, but in those moments, I think that it would be so good if sometimes, only sometimes, people stopped treating me differently.
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It’s in those moments Hitomi is at his best. It’s in those moments his logical views and love are most needed. He helps bring back my confidence when I can’t fit in any of the shorts available in a store, and calms me down after a stranger took my arm to ask me questions I heard a bazillion times while I was trying to ignore them and get back home. Hitomi helped me understand Japan when I least wanted to, and that’s amazing.
The bottom line: I don’t love Hitomi because he’s Japanese, and I don’t love Japan because Hitomi is in it. I just happen to love both, sometimes for similar reasons, sometimes for totally unrelated ones. And that’s my happy place.
Jasmine is a French-Canadian student and part-time blogger who loves traveling, drawing, listening to (all kind of) music and eating (everything). To achieve one of her biggest dreams, she went in Japan for two and a half months as a tourist in 2013. She’s now doing a one year abroad in Tokyo at Daito Bunka University, in Saitama. Please check out her blog Japan-aholic, her Facebook page and YouTube for more great adventures to come!