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As its society becomes more and more internationalized, a growing number of Japan’s citizens are choosing a spouse from another country. It’s not hard to see why, as an interracial relationship can be the deepest and most rewarding form of cultural exchange.

That said, there’s no such thing as a perfect spouse, with of course the notable exception of my lovely wife, who I’m sure will be reading this article (Hi baby….um, I’ll get started on that load of laundry right away!). Following are a list of difficulties foreign men have had in blending their own customs and traditions with those of their Japanese brides.

A common complaint from foreign men is a lack of overt affection from their Japanese wives. It’s well known that Japanese are less likely to utter the phrase “I love you” than their native English-speaking counterparts, but the lack of validation can seem all the more distressing when your wife has no problem showing her devotion to someone she’s only seen on stage holding a microphone.

“My wife is really into Japanese boy bands, like the guys in the Johnny’s production group.”

▼ We’re guessing a little of the sting is taken out if Johnny happens to be your name, too, though.

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It’s not just verbal affirmation some men hope for more of, either. Like most of Asia, Japan has very different standards about casual physical contact from many Western cultures, and one person’s casual flirting can be another’s violation of personal boundaries.

“Sometimes, even though I hardly touched her, she asks ‘What are you groping me for?’ and shoots me a hard look.”

▼ Unwanted touching is sometimes returned in kind.

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Still, at least some compatibility on this issue is a prerequisite for most marriages, and plenty of international couples are cozy enough to produce offspring. Of course, raising them brings with it its own issues.

“When I watch action movies with our kids, my wife says they’re too violent. But then she watches action shows from Japan like Kamen Rider with them when they’re still in preschool. What gives?”

▼ Because early child education starts in the home, and it starts with cyclone spin kicks.

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The home tends to be a frequent problem area. It can be particularly difficult convincing your spouse that something you’ve always had is a necessity when she’s gone her whole life without it, such as the men whose wives criticized their wasteful desires for fluffy, machine-dried laundry and the convenience of an automated sprinkler system. Home-use clothes dryers were extremely uncommon in Japan until the last 10 years or so, and automated sprinklers for private dwellings are still unheard of.

▼ Let’s just say the country that elevated rock garden design to an art form doesn’t spend too much time worrying about the easiest way to water the lawn.

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And then there are the topics of shoes and baths, two things Japan and the West have always had trouble seeing eye to eye on.

“When I come into the house with my shoes still on, she asks, ‘Do you have any idea how many bacteria you pick up just walking on the road?’”

“After a nice hot bubble bath, my wife gets mad if I don’t rinse myself off in the shower before drying off. She’ll even sit in our bedroom listening for the sound of running water, and if she doesn’t hear it before I start toweling myself off, she’ll shout ‘Shower!’”

Japanese society tends to be fastidious in general when it comes to grooming and taking care of your appearance, as illustrated by another man whose wife flips out and forces him to change immediately if she notices a hole in his clothing or socks. Of course, sometimes this phenomena is reversed, as in the case of a man living overseas with his Japanese wife.

“Her casual clothes are all old and beat up, but she says she won’t buy new ones until the next time she goes back to Japan for a visit and can go to Uniqlo.”

▼ Yet another reason Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo needs to hurry up with their global expansion already

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This sort of shopping pattern seems to be common, and is likely a result of the huge amount of products Japan exports compared to what it imports. If the whole world is buying your stuff, it must be good right? Even still, some husbands are surprised at their wives’ dedication to buying from their birth country.

“When my wife goes back to Japan to see her friends and family, she always buys a bunch of salt. We have salt in my country, too, of course, but she doesn’t want to use it because ‘it tastes different.’”

All of this clothing and seasoning shopping apparently takes time, too, which can leave some guys feeling a little lonely.

“Whenever she goes back to Japan, she spends a month. It’s nice having some time to myself for the first three days or so, but after that…”

But hey, giving your spouse the time she needs to visit her relatives comes with the territory in an international marriage, just like language hiccups.

“Sometimes I ask my wife what something means, and she brushes me off with ‘I can’t explain it in English,’ even though we’re speaking in Japanese!”

“Recently, my wife’s English is getting worse, and when she gets angry, she just speaks in Japanese.”

▼ Depending on how angry she is, not being able to understand her might be a good thing.

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And even when spouses aren’t flapping their gums, they sometimes run into problems while stuffing their faces. For instance, one husband laments that his wife can’t understand the importance of potatoes as a staple food of his culture’s diet.

▼ This week’s dinner planning? Done.

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But while we can appreciate a tasty spud as much as the next person, we’re confused by some of these gripes.

“My wife always chows down on giant bocks of tofu.”

▼ So your wife likes eating an inexpensive, low-calorie food that you have to do literally nothing to prepare? And this bothers you because….?

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But most baffling of all is this man’s grievance.

“Whenever we have guests over, she makes too many different kinds of food.”

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Yeah dude, that sounds terrible. Let us know the next time this happens, and we’ll rush right over and see if we can’t help you solve this tricky problem of too much home-cooked food.

Source: Naver Matome
Top image: Vitabella
Insert images: FC2, My Navi, Exblog, Sakura, One Local Family, The American Scholar, Eating Well, Tabegocoro, Kuroudo