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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.


[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......


Mar. 28th, 2005 11:49 am (UTC)

I want to go to a love hotel SO bad. It's so honest. And trashy in a way that really, really appeals to me.

...and he's an Osaka boy, too? Somehow I'd missed that. heh. I like that.

Good luck. I want to know ALL about what happens!

I loved this: [Note: if you date a Japanese guy, chances are good that he came from Japanese stock.]
Mar. 29th, 2005 06:54 pm (UTC)
Teehee! I totally forgot about not writing about our trip to a love hotel, and that one part of that sentence has apparently grabbed everybody's attention. ^_^ People keep commenting on it, which is really funny.

Love hotels are SO COOL!!!! Shinya and I were both nervous when we went looking for a good one--we went to what is basically a "Love Hotel District" in the middle of Osaka--and I didn't know how the "system" worked or what to do and I kept asking him, "What are we supposed to do now?" and he kept getting frustrated, "I don't know! I've never done this before! I've only heard stories!" and it was really endearing and embarrassing and exciting all at the same time. ^_^ We ended up going to this "Bavarian" themed place because it was the cheapest. Crack up!!! We kept laughing at everything. It was great. ^_^ And you get all this free stuff!

You know what, I should just go ahead and write an entry about it, explaining everything. Love hotels are the bomb! ^_^

Also, I'll write about meeting his parents sometimes this week, hopefully. It went well, in spite of me screwing things up at first. >_< Oh, well.

Btw, I always love your comments. They're either strikingly insightful or wonderfully girlie. You're the kind of girl who reminds other girls why being a girl is so damn fun. ^_^
Mar. 30th, 2005 02:03 pm (UTC)
That last little paragraph 100% made my day.

I dunno about insightful. Usually I'm just being blunt. Or silly.

But being a girl IS fun: We sometimes get a couch in our public restrooms. Guys NEVER do. Also, purple toenails.
Mar. 29th, 2005 07:21 pm (UTC)
I forgot to mention: yeah, he's a total Osaka boy. He's loud and too proud too speak standard Japanese, even now that he's in Tokyo: it's Osaka-style or nothing. ^_^

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