What I thought being in an AMWF relationship would be like vs reality

When I first started dating my boyfriend I thought that him being from a different country¬†would be amazing, interesting and I would get to learn a lot, but I also thought that because he was Asian, his culture and his family life might be too different from mine for me to cope. In reality, you can’t know how a relationship will turn out.

Here are some of the things I thought would happen in our relationship vs the reality:

1. He would whisk me away to lots of new and exotic Asian countries.

Reality – His parents invited me to Hong Kong, all expenses paid, when they went a few weeks after we got together. My boyfriend didn’t even bother asking me and told them I would hate it because it was too hot. And he was probably right. (We did go to Hong Kong the Christmas after and it was amazing but I don’t think we can afford that again any time soon.)

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2. Asian people place a lot of value on family and have big, extended families. I would have to meet them all and be judged by them.

Reality – I’ve only met his Mum, Dad, brother and cousin. His parents like me and his brother and cousin are pretty much like him (but slightly more into Asian culture) He won’t let me meet the rest – clearly embarrassed of me! ūüėČ

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3. He would love Asian culture and he could introduce me to lots of new, awesome things!

Reality – By Asian culture, my head was thinking of Japanese culture – I thought he would be really into anime and manga. While he does watch anime from time to time (we’re currently re-watching the original Pokemon series together) but other than that he isn’t into anime culture. He even told me he thinks Studio Ghibli films aren’t very good! (I almost dumped him at that comment) He has cosplayed with me a couple of times, but I think that was him just being nice…

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4. He would teach me Cantonese.

Reality – Cantonese is DAMN HARD, especially for someone like me who is useless at languages. Not only that, he can’t remember half of it any more, nor can he remember how to write it.

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5. People would comment and look at us because AMWF relationships aren’t common.

Reality – People DO look at us and comment, but it’s rare. A lot of the looks tend to be from Asian guys and the comments seem to be from ignorant, young, chavy white people. I hope we’re getting to a point where interracial relationships are 100% normal.

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I prefer reality. I do hate the hot weather, I hate social situations, I have to be in the right mood to be interested in anime, I’m too lazy to learn a new language and I certainly don’t want people looking at us! It’s just a normal relationship and I like being normal.

What did you think it would be like being in an interracial relationship and was it different to reality?

All images via Google Images – labeled for reuse

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Lantau Island

We woke up early today to head to the Ngong Ping 360 cable cars and the Tian Tan Buddah on Lantau Island. My boyfriend struggled to speak Cantonese to the woman selling the tickets, so she ended up talking in English to us. I think my boyfriend was just a bit rusty, because he seemed to do a lot better later in the holiday. He got 10% off the ticket for being a Hong Kong citizen (bit jealous). There were two types of cable cars we could have taken; a crystal cabin with a see through floor or a standard cabin. The waiting time for a crystal cabin was 40 minutes, so we decided to go on the standard one (next time we’ll go on the crystal one!)

P1140926Our view from the cable car

It took about 20 minutes on the cable car to get to the top. We went over the sea and a huge forest on the hillside. We also got a good view of the airport. Half way up, you could see the huge Buddha that we were heading towards in the distance, really showing it’s size! There were lots of shops when we reached the top which we walked through on the way to the Buddha. It really felt like traditional China which is something I really wanted to see coming to Hong Kong. It’s interesting to see this side of the Hong Kong culture, even if it is still very touristy.

P1140959Walking through the shops towards the Buddha

P1140947The Tian Tan Buddha

P1140962The entrance to the Buddha

I’m not sure if we’re just very unfit but the walk up the steep stairs to the Big Buddha was a lot of effort. We had to keep stopping and pretending to take photos to have a break! It was a fairly warm day which made the climb even harder. Apparently there are 240 steps. Once we reached the top we got an amazing view of the Buddha, it really was huge! Apparently it can even be seen from Macau on a clear day. There was also an amazing view of the mountains, which really reminded me of Japanese landscapes in old paintings. Underneath the Buddha was was a room full of name plates of people, I assume Buddhists, who had died.

P1140980Climbing the steps

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Statues presenting offerings to the Buddha

P1150003The mountain in the clouds

P1140990A close up of the Buddha

We headed back down. There were loads of stray dogs around (at least I assume they were stray) sleeping in the sun and begging for food. They were very cute but I felt sorry for them too. We then walked to the Po Lin Monastery which had lots more Buddha statues which I actually found a bit creepy. Lot’s of people were burning incense sticks, because they believe that the Gods consume the smoke. It’s a shame that they were doing building work on the monastery because it looked very spectacular, and very Chinese. We went back to the shops and had a look around, getting some ice cream on the way as it was so warm. We also found some Gashapon machines which we went a bit crazy over. I think by then end of the trip we had spent about ¬£20 on them, mostly buying little pokemon figures. We took the cable car back down and in the shop at the exit, my boyfriend bought me a cute little panda toy which I have named Buddha Panda. It’s basically a cuddly panda with a Chinese style shirt!

P1140963Stray dogs sunbathing

P1150037The Po Lin Monestery

P1150038A fantastic view

More posts on my adventures in Hong Kong here:

Day One: My first trip to Hong Kong

Day Two: Lantau Island

Day Two: Whampoa and the Avenue of Stars

Day Three: Hong Kong Disneyland

No sex please, we’re Japanese

My boyfriend and I have started watching some of the BBCs “This World” programmes that have been on recently, presented by Anita Rani.

The first was on BBC Two called, No sex please, we’re Japanese.

The show essentially was about the lack of people in Japan having children. There are now far more older people in Japan, to the extent that nappies for the elderly are outselling babies nappies. They showed a town which once had 21 primary schools, and now has just 1. The town had to close their maternity ward because there was no one having babies at all. The people said that the town had nothing to attract younger people, but also the birth rate is dropping very dramatically in Japan in general.

They started looking into the reasons as to why the birth rate is dropping. The reasons included culture, distractions, the economy and immigration.

Japan is so different from the rest of the world. Anime and manga, for example, is created not just for the younger generation but for the older ones too.¬†One guy on the show was married, but he had a virtual girlfriend on a game called Love Plus for his Nintendo DS. He considered this his actual girlfriend and didn’t want to tell his wife about it. These men were called Otaku – geeks who are obsessed with anime and manga and tune out of the real world to live in a fantasy. It’s a common thing in Japan. A place in Tokyo called¬†Akihabara (I want to go!) is full of anime and manga to please these sorts of people. They said that with entertainment and distraction like that, why would you want a complicated relationship?

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The state of the economy means that men in Japan have confidence issues, believing they will never amount to a lot and never make any more money than their parents did. They therefore want to revert to a childlike state of computer games and a virtual world to make them feel more comfortable. It is easier to deal with the virtual world than a real woman.

Other reasons for the dropping birth rates included that there are a lot of immigration rules in Japan making it harder for people from other cultures to come over, keeping the culture very traditional. In Japan men often think that women should stay at home, have children and be a housewife, whereas the women want a career. If you have children in Japan, in many ways it can end your career. Basically they were saying that if they were more interracial relationships, maybe there would be a population boost!

One survey said that just 27% of couples in Japan said they had sex every week. I’m not sure if it is just me…but that’s really not a lot is it!? Why do you guys think the birth rate in Japan is dropping?

You can read a more in-depth article by Anita Rani here. It focuses on the part of the show about men preferring anime and manga to real life women. Those in the UK can watch a clip of the two men with virtual girlfriends.

What is so great about AMWF?

Some people who stumble across this blog and others about AMWF might be thinking “What is so great about AMWF? Why are so many people in AMWF relationships blogging about it. What makes it so special compared to any other relationship?”

In many ways, AMWF relationships are no different from any other. However, I think there are a few differences that make it a little bit special, and make it rare. Proof of the rarity are in the stares and comments many AMWF couples get in the street. My boyfriend and I have had a fair few comments including:

“Get in their China man!” (I think the guy was fairly drunk)

“Eww, a chinky and a white girl” (Really wanted to slap the chavy teenage girl who said that)

“Why is she going out with you and not the white boys in the flat? (That one was my boyfriend’s Mum…)

tumblr_mrui4vmT5N1ss6hlfo1_400Culture differences can be a problem in AMWF relationships

So why is AMWF so rare? There are many blog posts by different people on this subject including On the Rarity of Foreign Women and Chinese Boyfriends/Chinese Husbands. In my personal opinion, I think the two main problems are culture and stereotypes.

Adapting to another culture is always going to be hard. There are many differences such as:

Food –¬†Rice and noodles vs bread and potatoes. You both have to compromise on which food you’re going to eat, or you’ll never be able to go to a restaurant together! Even me, the fussiest eater in the world, has been to Chinese, Korean and Japanese restaurants.

Language –¬†You may not have a first language in common. One or both of you would have to try to learn another language to be able to properly communicate with each other, and may have to act as translator for their family.

Attitudes – It is likely that there will be different attitudes, maybe not from your other half but from their parents. Diets, social gatherings, education and etiquette are a few things amongst many that you have to learn to accept if you want to get on with each other.

tumblr_mqg4ufRVIy1ss6hlfo1_400Stereotypes can be attractive or off-putting.

There are many stereotypes which can make starting a relationship between an Asian male and White female quite hard. They include:

White girls dating Asian guys are obsessed with Asian culture –¬†I know a few girls who are obsessed with manga/anime and would love an Asian boyfriend to cosplay with. However, not every AMWF relationship is based on the white girl wishing she was Asian or having an Asian fetish. (And if it is, it doesn’t really matter! Be with who you want to be with!)

Asian men are ugly –¬†In my opinion, being Asian shouldn’t be the factor that makes AMWF relationships so rare, but sadly I think it is. We all know that personality should overcome looks but I really think the majority of people are attracted to their own race. Whites prefer whites, blacks prefer blacks, Asians prefer Asians etc… Maybe this is one reason AMWF is something special, because it is a rare thing. There are, of course, people that don’t feel that way and are attracted to people of other ethnicities, and there are those who just happen to fall in love with a person regardless of their looks.

Asian men are too feminine and White females are not feminine enough –¬†This piece of text from a forum post by Winston at Happier Abroad¬†explains it.

A White female is more masculine, rough and independent than a typical Asian female from Asia. They need a guy who is more masculine than them, or at least is taller and looks more masculine. A typical Asian guy looks way too meek and feminine to them. They are not masculine enough for them, nor sexually attractive to them either. Asian males look nothing like what her DNA-driven mating instinct looks for. This is why most White women treat Asian men as asexual and do not consider them for any type of romantic relationship. 

On the other hand, a typical white female, especially an American white female of Anglo/Germanic/Scandinavian descent, is not feminine enough for an Asian male. NE Asian women in China and Japan are 1000x more feminine than White women are, even those in Europe, in every way. There is no doubt about that. A modern white woman is more rough, thick-skinned and masculine, compared to a typical Asian female. Therefore, a typical super feminine Asian woman is no doubt more naturally suited for an Asian man, who is not as rugged and masculine looking as a White male is. This is why white women who go to NE Asian countries have a lot of trouble finding decent quality Asian men to date, and often complain about it on the internet. 

Asian families would never accept a foreigner into their family –¬†As the parents are in charge in an Asian family, if they don’t approve of a relationship it can make it very hard to continue. This blog post is AFWM but shows what that disapproval can do. Though it is rarer, there is always a chance the white girl’s family could be unhappy with the relationship too. It can be off putting for a white girl to even want to think about a relationship with an Asian man when it could all go horribly wrong so quickly, but not all Asian families are as against foreigners as it might seem.

tumblr_mqxmkuC0OT1s1tcj8o1_400Many parents are more than happy to have a foreign girl in the family

I think both men and women in AMWF relationship have to be intelligent and open minded and this is what makes AMWF so great. For me, one of the best things about an AMWF relationship is that you get to learn about a new culture and a different way of living. It can give you a new perspective on life and I think if you don’t want to learn, an AMWF relationship isn’t for you. Whether it’s discovering more about the country you’ve moved to, or learning all about a completely new country, you will learn a lot. ¬†You also need to be able to look past the stereotypes, which often takes a very strong person to do when there is so much social pressure to think in a different way. This is another great thing about AMWF. You can prove the negative stereotypes wrong, as well as proving the more positive stereotypes right, and also show that many stereotypes are a loads of rubbish! Everyone is different and no matter what anyone else says, you should make your own decisions on a person rather than judging them straight away for being of a certain ethnicity.

I put the question “What do you think is the best thing about being in an Asian Male/White Female relationship?” to people on tumblr.¬†Here are their answers:

  • “Proving those stereotypes wrong ūüôā Asian men are great lovers and caring partners.”
  • “You get to learn and respect another culture and their view on everything. Although there is a lot more best things about being in a AMWF relationship then just that! :P”
  • “Asian men typically show so much respect to their significant others. They always go above and beyond.”
  • “Well, if I am in a amwf relationship! I think that everything is the most happiness things to me!”

So you’ve heard my views and the views of the people on tumblr. What do you think is the best thing about AMWF relationships?

Images: akosiyavre.tumblr.com, amxf.net, weheartit.com

Reasons why I shouldn’t be dating an Asian

There are a number of reasons why I shouldn’t be dating an Asian man. Here are a few of those reasons.

Chinese Buffet

Food heaven for some, food hell for me

1. I hate Chinese food. In fact I hate most food but I can’t cope with the texture of most of the meat in Chinese cuisine, or taste of the sauces. This also means my boyfriend’s Mum thinks I’m a bit strange and quite unhealthy.

2. I think you should live your own life, not your parents. I’m not saying this is true with every Asian family but my boyfriend’s parents decide a lot of things for him, including which University degree he took, and I find that very hard to deal with. My parents would never dream of being so controlling and honestly, listening to my boyfriend having to argue with his parents to be allowed to do every little thing when he is 21 years old winds me up.

3. I’m generally not very understanding of other cultures.¬†I just can’t help but thinking the Western/UK way is the way to go (even when it might not be).¬†I know I should open my mind up more to these things…but if Chinese medicine worked, it would just be called medicine.

4. I can’t speak Cantonese. His parents can’t speak English, I can’t speak Cantonese; It’s fairly hard to communicate. I can barely remember any of the 5 years of French I did at school and I remember absolutely hating learning it and not understanding anything I was saying or writing. If I can’t learn a language similar to English, I’m sure I’ll have no chance with something that involves different characters and changing the tone of your voice. I might manage the odd words and phrases but never a proper conversation. (Luckily my boyfriend considers English his first language)

5. I can’t cope with the fact he can’t speak fluent English. I know. I’m a horrible person. I expect him to speak perfect English when I can’t speak a word of Cantonese (Hey, we are in England and I didn’t even know Cantonese was a language until about 2 years ago). Every time he gets the tenses wrong or forgets to pluralise a word, I feel the need to correct him and he hates me for it.

Hong Kong Duck

I wish I’d been in Hong Kong when the duck was there…

However, there are also reasons why I should be dating an Asian.

1. I love Japanese things. Ok, my boyfriend is from Hong Kong, but he still grew up with anime films instead of Disney. My interests in manga and anime films means we have something in common. I’m not crazy obsessed like a few people I know, though I definitely had an obsession with Pokemon when I was younger, and I certainly didn’t choose an Asian boyfriend he looks like the Japanese do, but I was very happy when I was lent my boyfriend’s brother’s entire collection of the Love Hina manga.

2. I don’t have the same expectations as many Asians do.¬†I’m not saying that all Asian women only date men who are rich and successful, but my boyfriend is under the impression that a lot of them have very high expectations and are rather controlling. I’m sure this isn’t the case, but I am aware of the pressure that people can be put under in some Asian countries. I don’t want my boyfriend to be a high flying, rich business man, all I ask is that he isn’t too lazy to not get a job at all. As long as he is happy in life, i’m happy.

3. I’m interested in his culture. At my school, everyone (and I really mean everyone) was white British. At college, I noticed a few people of other ethnicities but not many. University, where I met my boyfriend, was a different story. I don’t think I had ever spoken to a Chinese person before meeting my boyfriend. I’ve learn so much about other cultures – you find out a lot more first hand than you can from anywhere else.

4. I get to go to Hong Kong. I would never have been there without him and I was able to experience an amazing place I had little idea about. He was pretty pleased (and maybe a bit surprised) that I wanted to go with him and let him show me around the city he was born and spent his childhood. He was especially pleased I let him fill the suitcase with Asian snacks.

5. I don’t care that he is Asian. In fact, I don’t care too much about anything I have written here! Ethnicity doesn’t make a person – personality does. I never wanted an Asian boyfriend (I never really wanted a boyfriend), but I fell for my best friend and that would have happened regardless of his ethnicity.

Images: flickr.com/photos/samsmith, flickr.com/photos/zanthia/