She said,”Don’t do it.  Run!”

I had just contacted the friend of a friend in Japan.  I was planning to marry my Japanese beau and this lady was already married to a Japanese man.  We chatted for a while, and even though she tried to scare me off getting married to a Japanese man, she didn’t manage.

I did marry my beau, with much thought and worry beforehand.  For the first few years of our marriage, whenever an argument came up, I thought of her words. I still think of them to be honest.

She ended up divorcing her husband and leaving Japan.  Fourteen years later, I’m still here and still married.  There have been times, more than a few, when I sincerely wish that I had run away, but they are becoming fewer and less frequent.

Marriage in any culture has a steep learning curve.  Combining two cultures, two or more languages, and expectations on all sides can put even more pressure on a newly married couple. Today I consider myself one of the lucky ones, tomorrow, who knows?

Having chosen to live in his culture, surrounded by his language and his family and his friends, I sometimes feel that I have given too much of myself, that I am becoming less me, more like a Bonsai that has been carefully shaped and crafted to be palatable for Japan.

Happily, my antidote, my panacea if you will, is my membership in AFWJ. This group of women from all over the world is a positive, helpful source of information and encouragement. If I have a question about life in Japan, I have a friendly, caring place to ask.  If I have a problem, someone will have been in a similar situation and is only too happy to advise me.

I have told my husband more than once that my membership in AFWJ is a big part of why we are still together. So, run if you want to…run to the post office to make a payment or run to the website to join up.  We’ll be glad to have you with us.

Stella Starstruck

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