Being a couple in Japan is fun – because you’re allowed to be (and often encouraged to be) an obnoxiously adorable, matching couple. So while in America, the common response when couples wear the “He’s Mine!” and “She’s Mine!” shirts is “NO ONE CARES,” the response in Japan is more or less “awww, how cute!”
And I love being an obnoxiously adorable couple.
We started small. We bought matching “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” shirts in San Antonio while visiting a cheesy gift shop near the Alamo. Heaven’s forbid we actually wear the shirt outside; we just used them as sleep shirts so we looked adorable and matching within the safety of our own home.
For a window into married life of a Japanese man with a foreign wife, I recommend Wendy Tokunaga’s book, Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Japanese Husband
And, once Ryouske went back to Japan and we resumed our (awful) Long Distance Relationship (check out this post for tips for maintaining a long distance relationship), I put his (unwashed) shirt on an extra pillow on my bed and cuddled with the “Ryosuke pillow” every time I missed him. It was a little bit sad and pathetic, you know, in a cute way.
Which is most of the things I do.
Anyways, we made this grand plan to wear our matching “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” shirts a month later when he picked me up at the Tokyo Narita Airport. I was going to study abroad in Japan for 15 months; we were psyched.
I was too embarrassed to wear the shirt on the plane, so I changed in the bathroom right before I went through immigration. I was feeling ok. It wasn’t too awkward. Then I say Ryosuke – with a pink bandana on his head (with “LOVE” written in giant, red letters), his “Thing 2” shirt, and a bouquet of flowers.
It was cute. For about twenty seconds.
Then it was horrifically embarrassing. Ryosuke shuffled me into his dad’s van (totally not judging me for the amount of luggage I brought to Japan) and we were on our way. I stripped off the shirt in the car, since I had a tank-top underneath. It was too embarrassing.
Six months later, we got matching watches.
They were classy, white, and blocky. I couldn’t read the correct time occasionally, but I was either right or completely off by an hour. Old fashion watches are classy like that.
We got a couple “awww, that’s so cute” or “I wish MY boyfriend and I had matching watches” comments – so I was feeling confident enough to make the leap – coordinated outfits.
You see, coordinated outfits are hard.
We waited until the time was right. The winds of change were upon us. Our coordinated outfits debuted during my 21st birthday trip to go climb Mt. Chokai, the second tallest mountain in Japan. We were with a group of friends: some singles, several couples, and us.
One of Ryosuke’s friends laughed at him; several of the girls said we looked cute. Overall – it was a success.
A bit later, I purchased matching couple-wear swimsuits on eBay a couple weeks earlier. I would never wear something as embarrassingly romantic as matching swimsuits in America – but secretly I’ve always wanted to try. For some reason, it’s more acceptable to wear obnoxious, matching couple outfits in Japan.
I gave Ryosuke his half of the matching couple wear swimsuits. It was white and red stripped, with little blue anchors. The advertisement on ebay didn’t emphasize how awkwardly Navy themed they were – like a little kid’s Navy/military suit.
We wore them to the beach.
And ended up on the spread for “Akita’s Hottest Men.” Well, actually Ryosuke was the one who ended up on the spread. I was on the next page, under the “meet the hottest men’s girlfriends” section – a section that seemed awkwardly placed and unnecessary.
[For more, check out: Asian Male, White Female (AMWF) Relationships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly]
Oh well. Publicity is publicity – and my butt looks GREAT in that picture (this might be my first run-in with photoshop makeover on a magazine. How cool).
Bottom line: Couple wear is awesome, whether it is matching watches, coordinated outfits, matching shirts, or couple-wear swimsuits. Also Ryosuke is adorable.
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