Thursday, April 9, 2015

The First Post!

Hello, and welcome to my blog! I am a 26 year old American woman living in Japan. You can call me Tori. It's not my (legal) real name, but it is my real nickname; all my friends and family call me Tori. I created this blog to write about my international relationship with a Japanese man, and about our life here in Japan. I feel quite silly writing about myself and my daily life as if these things are of interest to perfect strangers on the internet, but then again I'm always scouring the net looking for similar blogs, wondering how other western ladies' experiences compare to my own, so perhaps this blog can also be of some use to someone! I am not a professional blogger or an expert on Japan, so please take what you read in my blog with a grain of salt. These are just my personal experiences and opinions.

I'll start by giving you a quick rundown of my "Japan history." I majored in Japanese in university and first came to Japan in September, 2012 to study abroad for one year in Nagoya. After that I returned to the US for a year, finished my undergraduate degree, and snagged a job and a work visa and headed back to Japan in May, 2014, and I've been here ever since (not all that long, actually). I work as a full-time English teacher in public elementary schools and I absolutely love it. I won't be too specific about where in Japan I live, but it's somewhere in the semi-rural countryside in the Kansai area. It's also the best place in Japan, if you ask me!

Now, about my boyfriend! You can call him Kazu. It's not his real name either, and no, no one calls him this. My boyfriend's name is made up of 2 kanji characters, one of which is pronounced Kazu. For now, I'll refer to him by this alias on this blog, in order to protect his privacy. He's 23 (yes, younger than me!) and works as a computer programmer in a normal Japanese electronics manufacturing company. We met through a Japanese dating app called Happy Mail and communicated for several weeks via email before meeting up for the first time in early November, 2014. We went on 3 dates, and after the 3rd date he asked me to be his girlfriend. We've been dating for only about 5 months now, but it feels like twice that long! Kazu doesn't speak much English and had never dated a foreign girl (or even had any non-Japanese friends) until he met me, but he's EXTREMELY laid-back and very, very patient, so we almost never have miscommunications or get into arguments because of cultural differences. 

If you have any specific topics you'd like me to write about, please let me know! If the meantime, I think I'll probably write about what we've been up to lately, and whatever other random thing comes to mind. Until the next post, please enjoy these pictures of us enjoying hanami (looking at cherry blossoms) in Kyoto last weekend. It was supposed to rain all day but in fact the weather turned out to be gorgeous!








If you're wondering what's going on in the last two pictures, this is our inside joke! When I get frustrated with Kazu, I always pretend to bite him. I suppose this sounds very childish, but it helps me to express my frustration in a relatively unoffensive way. Usually this happens when he knows what I'm trying to say before I'm actually done speaking and interrupts me to respond, or when I'm irritated because no matter how I try I can't phrase what I want to say nicely. My Japanese is at a kind of awkward stage where it's good enough that most Japanese people don't bother 'tempering' their language very much anymore and just speak to me as if I were any other Japanese, when actually I can't follow very fast or very high-level conversation about specialized topics like economics, politics, history, technology, etc. My boyfriend is especially guilty of this. Well, after snapping the first picture of me biting him as "proof" of my "violent ways," he decided to give me a taste of my own medicine!   



16 comments:

  1. hello tori how are you i am fan your blog and i want to say its funny and cute i hope together be happy for long time and i waiting for next post
    your boyfriend its cute and kawaiee like anime

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    1. Hi, Sahel! You are the first person to ever comment on this blog! Thank you very much for your kind words <3

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  2. Hi Tori i'm also a fan of your blog too :) And before anything else i just wanna thank you from the bottom of my heart for all all your hard work on your blog. And i'll be sure to keep update in your new blog too, you two looks very good together and it's my first time seeing your photo you are so beautiful i wish you both happy and days full of love, you two have a beautiful relationship :)

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words airies! I hope I can think of interesting things to write in this blog from now on.

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  3. Conglatulation on starting a new blog! I look forward to new posts and stories about your life in Japan:) I love Japan and particularly Kansai, so everything you would care to share will be interesting for me.
    You and your kareshi look very cute together!

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    1. Hey oloore! Thanks for always commenting on my blog posts! Sometimes when I look at pictures of other mixed race couples, I feel that the two look very odd together because of the striking physical difference between them, but I don't get that "sense that something's odd about this picture" about Kazu and myself. Maybe it's just that I've gotten used to looking at pictures of us!

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  4. You guys are so cute!!!! congratulations on your boyfriend and your new blog haha I wish you the best and I hope to continue reading your 'Rabu Story' :)

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  5. I miss sakura season in Japan. I used to live in the Kansai area as well ^^ . You are your kareshi look so cute. Last 2 pics remind me of some comical situation in a manga lol

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    1. Oh, nice! Kansai is the best, right?! The people are so friendly here, and we're on the main island, close enough to everything but also not living in the congestion and pollution of Tokyo!
      I think a lot of the stuff Kazu says would make a perfect love-comedy manga. "You know, I reeeeally love attack on titan. Like, reaaally, really love it. I love it more than cheese, and almost as much as beer. But not as much as I love you~~"

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  6. Dear Tori! I haven't responded to your posts for a loooooong time which I feel really guilty for! Still, I read every single one with great enjoyment and interest! I'm happy that you are making a personal blog where I'll get to read even more! The first post was already amusing (you and Kazu make a very cute couple in many ways =D). Those Kyoto sakura pictures are so lovely, my eyes got glued on them for a while. Seeing them first hand must be rather breath-taking. =w=
    By the way, we have (kinda) known each other for a while but this is also my first time seeing your face, I wanna say that you're pretty (not to mention Tori is a favorite name of mine, I also like its meaning as "bird" in japanese, makes it sound even nicer) <3

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    1. Don't feel guilty Kai, I haven't written much lately worth commenting on! Thank you for reading my new blog too! I was really happy to get your comment. We took these pictures at Nijou Castle. The sakura are actually only a small part of the spectacular landscaping there. Sakura season is almost over now, the flowers have turned an orangey pink color and are kinda wilted looking. It's been raining a lot lately, so I think that hurried things along too. Next year I want to do hanami at thr "philosopher's way," a footpath lined with sakura trees on both sides so that the branches form a tunnel over the road.

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  7. I'm also a regular visitor of your blog. I'm Russian though^^ I also moved to Tokyo a few days ago to study Japanese (although I'm a kuso baba already), so this blog would be super helpful! Thank you so much! I do follow quite a few j-vloggers on Youtube including those who's spouse is Japanese but I guess it's not the same? I mean, there's too much Youtube in their life, so it doesn't feel natural anymore.
    I've got a question, do you need to speak really good Japanese to chat via Happy Mail and generally use it? I'm JLPT N3 but my conversation skills are a bit lacking but I'm generally very talkative so it won't stop me xD How do you define if the guy's normal and just some 'gaijin-hunter'?
    And also a weird question (but it's super relevant in Japan), how tall are you?
    Honestly speaking, I have so many questions but I'll stop them for now ^^;
    I hope you'll update soon. All the best!
    Kanade

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    1. Hi kanade! Wow, Tokyo! How do you like living there? I can't keep up with the fast paced city life, but I'm very jealous of all the western imported goods you guys have access to that are impossiblebto find out here in the countryside!
      I think you can definitely communicate with the guys on Happy Mail with N3 level Japanese. Adults will have no problem figuring out what you were trying to say, even if you make mistakes. The hard part is understanding what they are saying, because it's all kanji! Some people are stronger at reading/writing than speaking/listening, and some are opposite, so based on your strengths you might have a hard time with the fact that happymail is a completely email-based system.
      As for gaijin-hunters, you have one huge advantage for avoiding thrm already in the fact that you are Russian. People from english-speaking countries are often targeted by gaijin hunters who want to use us as free english teachers, not actuslly date us sincerely. You seem to speak very good English, but maybe initially you should pretend not to know very much English, so you can avoid those guys. As for the type of guys who are attracted to foreign girls physically, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. My boyfriend also says he thinks caucasian women are more attractive than asian women, but he also never expected to date one. You can easily find out if the guy you're talking to has dated foreign girls before by discussing some differences between Japanese culture and your own and then remarking that you never knew there were so many differences because you never dated a Japanese before, then ask if he's ever dated a non-japanese girl before.
      It's often said that foreign guys have better luck with japanese girls than foreign girls have with japanese guys, which is true in that japanese girls are actively looking to date foreigners and will pursue them pretty agressively, where as japanese guys who are interested in foreign girls are often too shy to let on. But we foreign girls have one big advantage in the form of gender roles; when we mess up Japanese language or culture, it makes us look cute and adorable. Guys will have a harder time speaking Japanese to their Japanese girlfriend because they want to look cool and not mess up in front of her.

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    2. I arrived only, like, 10 days ago? I like it for now because I used to live in Moscow anyway, so I'm used to the rhythm of the city life^^ I do want to get away from that from time to time, sometimes even thinking that I want to live in the countryside, but then I go there, and I'm ready to die out of boredom after a week, unfortunately. But I haven't been to Japanese countryside yet, so who knows, maybe I'll like it!
      Yeah, you can basically get everything here.
      But the only thing I strongly dislike is that despite the fact that Tokyo is huge and multinational (I live in Shinjuku), they still trat foreginers as rare animals. I'm blond (not golden, but similar to that), and I get photos taken of me from time to time. Like, there was once a guy when me and my friend were in Yoyogi park. He was walking with a woman in kimono (they looked really wealthy), they were walking towards me, and then he pulls out a camera and starts taking photos of me right almost in my face! I was actually a bit lost so I didn't say anything but I should have! And this has happened a few tims already.
      But are Japanese guys okay with me making lots of mistakes in Japanese speech? I mean, it might be cute and all, but they might get tired of it eventually. Btw, I'm also the same age as you. Did you upload a lot of photos or just one? I'm just looking through the app at the moment^^
      I've dated American men before, but the the Japanese are so different, I don't know where to start really.
      Thank you very much for your reply and your advice, it was really very helpful!
      P.S. Are you okay with posting your own photos here while being connected to your main blog?
      Thank you very much for your advice. I'm a regular visitor of your blog, I might not have time to comment but I will definitely be reading all of your posts! Real life experience is really very interesting, and useful when you yourself live here.

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