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Meet the Parents [Started 03/18]

Are we at this stage already? Or is it just proximity? He had his graduation ceremony this morning. He said it would be packed, boring, and I wouldn't be able to see him if I went, so I decided to sleep in instead. I thought maybe it was partially an excuse to not have me meet his parents. [Note for people who aren't that familiar with Japanese culture: although things are changing, it's still sort of scandalous for Japanese people to bring a foreigner home to the family. So as much as I know Shinya loves me, I wouldn't have been surprised if he were wary about my meeting his parents. Considering the things they complain about, they seem like pretty standard Japanese parents, which is why I thought he might not want to tell them he was dating a white girl.]

Makes me laugh to think about it now.

He and I were planning on having lunch somewhere between the graduation ceremony and one of the many parties he has to go to today. He emailed me this morning and said, "Oh, by the way, my mom might be coming along."

Ack. We are certainly not at the point where we would even think about marriage, but Japanese mother-in-laws are infamous for being picky and cruel, so the thought of meeting Shinya's mother really freaked me out. I'm very much not Japanese, so there's no way I could meet a Japanese mother-in-law's expectations. (I had a bad enough time with my own host mother in Kyoto. Of course, she was an alcoholic and took to picking on me when she was drunk, and things got much better by the end, but still. I'm still kind of 適当 with my chopsticks, and my Japanese is still atrocious in formal situations.) I got really wigged out. How formal should I be when I talk to her? Should I say お母さん or お母様? 居る or いらっしゃる? I don't know!!! I know it should be ご存知ですか? and not していますか? but beyond that, I really don't know what to do. Japanese is hard because it's so easy to insult other people.

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[Continued 3/25]

He apparently really wants me to meet his parents, which is freaking me out. Not in the "are we this serious?" way, but in a "oh holy lord I hope I don't make an ass of myself and make his parents hate me" way. I know I'm going to say or do something stupid. We're meeting tomorrow for lunch. We're going to have tempura, which I love, but I don't know what to do when my mouth isn't busy chowing down on fried Japanese goodness. How do I introduce myself? I think part of my recent stress-induced illness can be attributed to the horror of meeting my boy's Japanese parents. [Note: if you date a Japanese guy, chances are good that he came from Japanese stock.] I'm still wiggy when it comes to using chopsticks in front of Japanese people because they either 1) remark asininely about how amazing whities are these days to be able to use chopsticks or 2) cast a look of distain in my general direction because as hard as my host mom tried, she couldn't make a Kyoto girl out of me. [Funny to think about it though: she always told me to do my best never to turn into an Osaka girl. Which I never did, but she's going to flip when I tell her I'm dating an Osaka boy. Oooh, I love my boy. He's even rude by Osaka standards, which is probably why I think he's so great. He reached over and picked basil out of my teeth when we were at Subway in Osaka after our all-nighter at a love hotel. I found it endearing and horrifying at the same time. This being done by a Japanese guy in Japan, a country where physical contact is something you burn for in this lifetime as well as the next.] But I digress.

Eating food in Japan is just like everything else in Japan: there's a ritual aspect to it. And if you pick up the wrong plate at the wrong time or drink from the wrong side of the cup or utter the wrong phrase everyone will think you're a moron. Or they'll just hate you. I think part of my paranoia came from living with O-kaa-san because she used to pick on me constantly. My host brothers actually came to my aid eventually because they couldn't stand watching me get a new one ripped all the damn time. [I found out that Tsukamoto-sensei was from Kyoto and there was this moment of "Oooooooh, I get it now."]

Anyway, I'm going to see my boy soon, so I'd better wrap this up. I'll probably post another Hokkaido entry on Sunday after he leaves for Tokyo and I'm lonely.

Ugh, just thinking about meeting his family tomorrow gives me heartburn.....I'm so nervous......

Comments

alexakaruda
Mar. 25th, 2005 09:04 am (UTC)
まあまあ、あたしもそう思うけど、何となく緊張してるで。仕方ないわ。>_< でも優しくてもあたしのアメリカ人っぽいくせを無視できるのかしら?おはしの持ち方とか、ね。更に、ずっと日本語でしゃべるやろう?やから、緊張やわ。なんか敬語(けいご)とかあんまりうまく出来へんから、さ。

キンチョウ〜!

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