Tuesday, 4 May 2010

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for this urgent update...

No bookcase tour post this Tuesday, although I have a post half-done, it'll have to wait for next week.

U and I had a great Golden Week trip to Niigata, mostly Sado. We went Toshogu-hunting, did a short hike, enjoyed gorgeous weather and beautiful scenery, and just generally had fun. We got back last night and avoided most of the crazy "U-turn rush" only getting stuck in traffic for a few hours. I had to work today, and U went home to his parents and to see his grandmother who had just been released from the hospital. I'll leave for another day my rant over the fact that the doctors and the family haven't told grandma about her diagnosis, and just say that she's been diagnosed with cancer - she's 92 years old and it has spread through pretty much all her internal organs, so there isn't much the doctors can do.

U and I have been talking about me meeting his family for nearly six months now, and his family has increasingly been bugging him about bringing me home - to the point where they've all but told him not to bother coming home unless he has me in tow. But not getting regular vacation at the museum, and then things like Girl Scouts and whatnot taking up what weekends I do have off...

We had finally begun talking days, and decided to go next weekend, but that all changed this evening. U dropped me off at work this morning and then went home to see his grandmother. She is doing worse than he had thought, so he asked me to take Sunday off work and go with him to meet her and his parents. I assented immediately without a second thought and there is no doubt in my mind that I am going. But now that I start thinking about it... my shoulders are starting to tense up with nerves!

Sure, I've done the meet-the-parents thing before. And normally (KNOCK WOOD!) parents love me. There was my first boyfriend, in high school. I met his brother and parents and grandmother at his birthday dinner at the family favourite diner. I as so nervous I made myself sick to my stomach and could hardly eat anything. Besides worrying that I didn't eat enough, his parents and I got along well. More recently, I met my American ex's parents and aunt and uncle and cousins at the family American Thanksgiving celebration (a month and a half after he had met my aunt and uncle and cousins for Canadian Thanksgiving). I was so tense that the softest of touches on my shoulder was enough to make me yelp in pain. By the next time I visited his parents, however, his very non-demonstrational father gave me a hug and his mother had raided her jewelry box for me.

U has told me there is nothing to be worried about. His family took the news he was dating a foreigner very well (he's 31 and has never mentioned a girl to his family before, my guess is they're just relieved that he's met somebody!) - his mother's response was that she had always thought international marriages were WONDERFUL, and his youngest sister couldn't stop talking about how she had ALWAYS wanted to go to Canada and wasn't this FABULOUS that she could now go to CANADA!

But then I've read lots and lots of blog posts by foreign women married to Japanese guys complaining about their inlaws, the mother-in-law in particular. Stories that don't do anything to calm my nausea or unknot my shoulders. And U IS the eldest son, heck he's the ONLY son...

I've told U we should pick up a couple of bouquets of Mother's Day flowers for his mother and grandmother, but beyond that I'm at a loss as to what to do (I'm thinking muscle relaxants for the shoulders and gravol for the stomach might be a good thing...) eeeeeek.

Any advice?


  1. They will love you - try to relax and be yourself. The flowers for Mother's Day are a great idea. luv Sharon

  2. Drugs sound like the right answer! Like Sharon, I am sure your beautiful personality will shine through, whatever medication you're on. (Nothing that makes you groggy, though.) And U seems like such a good guy that I can't imagine his mother would be the nasty sort. Just remember: they already like you! That's why they've wanted to meet you all these months. Enjoy! love and hugs, Cath

  3. Don't worry you'll be okay. If they want to meet you that's wonderful news. I was shocked to hear that Japanese guys only take the girl home which they intend on marrying !!! I found that out after I met the inlaws!! He forgot to tell them that I wasn't Japanese too until I mentioned that it might be a bit of a shock, so he rang them with 24 hours to spare :)

    Not all Japanese MIL are horrible. Mine isn't. We've only had one run in and that's when she was living in my house when I was dealing with a sick newborn. (My hubby is the only son too!)

    Flowers are a great idea and if you can get her a nice pressie too which is from you personally. I agonised for hours over what to buy and how much to spend and finally bought summer green tea glasses, which I have never ever ever seen at her house :( but she was stoked when I gave them to her.

    Can't wait to hear all about it

  4. Remember in India when we were told that the first meeting you take something sweet- hoping that your relationship with the in-laws will be sweet. The next time you take something spicy, because you want there to always be flavour and excitement.

    You'll be fine. U will be with you. And horrible MIL stories cross all cultures- BUT it doesn't mean they are true. :)

    And when it's all done- you can call me and we'll do shots over skype *lol*

  5. Thanks guys!

    Achan - I especially appreciate your comments, glad to hear of one foreign woman who has a good relationship with her MIL! My mother got along really really well with her MIL (she had lost her own mother a few years before she married my father) so I know good relationships are possible, but had heard so many horror stories here...

    Liz - I love the Indian custom! I had been thinking about trying to make a sweet to take, but while I haven't completly given up on the idea I'm thinking I'll just pick something yummy looking from the local department store basement.

    Oh, and U's been a sweetheart about the whole thing. He knows I'm stressed, and keeps telling me not to worry. He's suggested just a quick drop by (which considering its probably two hours drive there, doesn't make a lot of sense, but makes me feel better!). He also confirmed my suspicion that his family is VERY relieved to hear he has a girlfriend, as one of his younger sisters has apparently brought a stream of guys home to meet the parents. U figures I'll make a great impression as most of his sister's boyfriends have been less than stellar.

  6. Oh, and I'll be sure to report in afterwards! (although if Liz has her way with Skype virtual shots it may not be until Monday ;) )