A friend just snapped this picture for me in the Kinokuniya bookstore in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood. Fun to be hanging with the best-sellers like Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up & Matt Goulding’s Rice, Noodles, Fish! Although let’s be honest: Their books are truly about being a good cleaner and/or culinary expert, while mine offers a, let’s say, more ironic approach to tidying and cooking.
September 27, 2015 | The Pink Cow | Roppongi
For the Tokyo celebration of the launch of The Good Shufu, join four gaijin-wife authors as they read a bit from their work, toast the launch of their new books, and make a little merry, in this special Four Stories Tokyo event, “Married to the Mob: Four Writers on Love, Travel & Life as a Gaijin Wife”! Featuring:
- Tracy Slater, Four Stories founder & author of The Good Shufu: Finding Love, Self & Home on the Far Side of the World (Putnam), a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection & National Geographic Great New Read
- Leza Lowitz, Yoga goddess, founder of Tokyo’s Sun & Moon studio, & author of Here Comes the Sun: A Journey to Adoption in 8 Chakras (Stone Bridge Press)
- Grace Buchele Mineta, Cartoonist, founder of the hit blog & You Tube channel Texan in Tokyo, & author of Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo
- Liane Wakabayashi, Founder of Genesis Arts Center of Tokyo & author of a memoir-in-progress about–you guessed it–life as a gaijin wife!
Plus guest host Barry Lancet, mystery writer & author of Tokyo Kill (Simon & Schuster), finalist for the Shamus Award!
Free for entry, and featuring the usual mingling, eating, and drinking–plus the Four Stories style of intellectual inquiry: Ask the best question, win a free drink! Plus, there will be book giveaways of each author’s new book!
Sunday, September 27
5-7pm, with music & open mic to follow!
The Pink Cow
Roi Bulding, B1F
Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032
Big, big thanks to Tokyo Families Magazine for their profile of the The Good Shufu and for their interview with me about being in a cross-cultural, multilingual, and bi-continental marriage.
Even with a great divide among religions and races across the world, love works in wonderful ways. American freelance writer Tracy Slater, found love in Japan with a Japanese husband.
But their story is statistically rare.
According to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, interracial marriages make up about 1 in 30 marriages. Of marriages involving Japanese men, only a paltry 1% is with an American wife.
In an interview with Tracy about The Good Shufu (The Good Wife), a book she penned for release next month, she shares some of her personal experiences and views about being in a kokusai kekkon (international marriage).
How did you and your husband cross paths? What would you say the attraction was?
He did an executive MBA at the university in Boston where I taught writing, so that’s why we met. And the attraction, at least for me, was pretty immediate. On his end, he did try to avoid me a little at first, but he now claims that’s because he was scared I was going to make him speak English. So guess how that turned out. I write much more about all of this in the first few chapters of the book, so in the interest of not making my editor mad, I won’t divulge the whole story here! (laughter)
Imagine my delight when I learned that Dean & Deluca was opening a location at the posh mall in the suburb just outside of Tokyo where we live. I’ve had visions of spending afternoons over cappuccino, feeling like I’m squarely back in the US.
Today, the mini spent a rare afternoon at hoikuen, Japanese daycare, and I finally had a chance to bring my laptop and get some work done over pastry and coffee. If I squinted my eyes so I couldn’t really see the Japanese writing on the menu and the line of straight-haired customers, and let the sound of the espresso machine in the background wash over me, I really did feel like I was back in the American urban cafe culture I love.
That is, until I got up to wash my hands and saw this:
On Valentine’s Day in Japan, women give men chocolates; men do nothing. In fact, they don’t have to reciprocate until the bizarrely-named “White Day,” in March, when men give women chocolate.
Except apparently, as my friend Jocelyn (who writes the great blog “Speaking of China: One Western woman with a Chinese husband writes about love, family and relationships in China“) just pointed out to me, for the men in this article, from NPR:
Standing in front of a giant heart made of pink tulips, businessman Yoshiharu Nishiguchi tells his wife — along with a bank of TV cameras and curious bystanders — that he is utterly devoted to her.
“Rieko, I love you!” he screams, before yielding the spotlight to the next nervous husband.
“Miwa!” the man belts out, “I love you!”
Even by the sometimes wacky standards of Japanese modern culture, this is one of the stranger rituals to emerge in recent years: the annual love-your-wife shout-out….
“I’m always putting you down,” confesses one Tokyo man. “But it’s only because I’m shy. I love you, and I promise not to come home drunk.”
But judging from his impassioned delivery, it may be too late for that promise on this particular day.
Read the full piece here