More Than Just Surviving The Distance: Carina and Mitsu’s Story

The happy couple

The happy couple

I came from a small Oregon town with a population of about 25,000. I knew four Asian people (with various backgrounds and heritages) throughout my twenty-one years before transferring to university. I moved into the dorms at Oregon State University, where I had a Korean roommate and a Japanese next-door neighbor.

I had so many questions—I didn’t know where to start. Both of these lovely people were very patient with me and excused what were probably idiotic and insensitive interrogations. I ended up learning a lot.

Four months later, I got to know my Japanese neighbor, Mitsuhiro, quite a bit more than I thought I ever would (but had secretly hoped). I invited him to my small birthday dinner and a night out on the town with my brother, his girlfriend, and a good friend of mine, and by the end of the night, I took a chance (with the help of some liquid courage) and declared my affections. From then on, I was fortunate enough to see and spend time with this man (almost) every day for six months, until he had to return to Japan.

We knew that we loved each other very much, and that we didn’t want to abandon what we had because of temporary separation, so we decided to embark on a long distance relationship (which I’ve just recently learned has the handy acronym LDR).

Share your story: Carina and Mitsu

Thanks to Skype and then FaceTime when we got our updated phones, we were able to keep in pretty consistent contact. Unless one of us was extremely busy studying or going to be out for the night/day (17 hour time difference), we made a point to speak on the phone/Skype/FaceTime every day.

For some people that may seem excessive, but neither of us like to text or IM, so talking for one or two (or three…) hours in one setting once per day was good enough for us. Even if I had a lot of homework, often I would still call him and chat for at least ten or fifteen minutes, because I knew if I didn’t get to talk to him, I’d be thinking about him anyway, and I would never be able to focus on my work.

So Mitsu and I established a system and were able to maintain our LDR without seeing each other (in person) for over a year. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Mitsu in Japan for a month this last August-September. Over that year and since I returned from Japan, our phone conversations were hard sometimes when we had to discuss major cultural differences that affected our relationship, and when I took my stress from school out on him—which I did more times than I’d like to admit. There were only one or two times on either of our parts when the little green monster, Jealousy, reared its ugly head, but those occasions never proved to be true cause for concern, and we were able to talk them out.

Share your story: Carina and Mitsu

“Talking it out” has been what has saved our relationship. If we weren’t able to ask the difficult questions and give the honest and sometimes painful answers, and have them received with patience, respect, and open, loving hearts, then I’d probably be submitting this story to the “Heartbreak” section.

I cannot stress how important patience has been in our relationship. Patience and selflessness are, in my opinion, two absolutely essential elements in any relationship, near or far—but especially in the latter.

Mitsu and I have been in a relationship for one year and ten months (two years on my birthday, February 5). Most of it has been long distance. It’s hard to be apart physically, of course, but what makes our relationship not only tolerable, but rich and fulfilling, is our support of each other, our dedication to providing for each others’ needs as best we can from afar, and our hope for the future.

We both have dreams and ambitions of our own which are different in many ways, but we have one important intersecting goal: to be with and help each other in those dreams. As long as we have hope for our future and we work toward it, there is no reason we can’t be as happy as others in more… convenient circumstances. We are and have been doing more than just surviving the distance—we’ve thrived and grown in the distance, which will make the ultimate proximity so much sweeter.

Share your story: Carina and Mitsu


-Written by Carina Hubbard exclusively for the “Surviving the Distance” section of share your story. Make sure to thank her in the comments! 

Edit – as of early 2014, Carina moved to Japan. Her and Mitsu are married now :)

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

23 Comments on More Than Just Surviving The Distance: Carina and Mitsu’s Story

  1. Update: Mitsu is coming for a two-week visit next month!

    (He’s coming to have “the” talk with my dad. ;) )

  2. ElizabethB // 13 February, 2014 at 8:42 pm //

    Okay, I am at UO and I want to meet you. Hopefully soon Ill have the confidence to share my own “share your story”. Maybe at the civil war or whenever out schools arn’t fighting we can get a coffee. I love your story and please keep on fighting! You’ll make it!

    • Hahahaha, thanks! I loved Carina’s story. It’s so hopeful.

      Also, thank you for the “share your story” piece, it was bunches of fun to read. I’m sure the other readers on this blog will LOVE it as well. I hope y’all can get together for coffee sometime soon!

    • Hey! Thanks! I actually just graduated in December though, so I’m not at OSU anymore. :/ Otherwise, of course I would have loved to swap stories over coffee. But like you said, it seems like Japan is in the very near future for us (hopefully this April for me!), so maybe we could meet up there?! :D It would be fun to see a fellow Oregonian so far from home. :)

      Also, if you’re the Elizabeth from the “That Boy Is Fine” Happily Ever After story… Dayum! Haha, he sure is a looker, and your story is so sweet! I wish the very best for you two. :) And good luck with school!

      • Japan it is! I hope everything works out for April. Seeing them again after a long time is the best feeling!

        Yeah, i guess he is okay..:) thank you for your support. I was inspired to share by Grace and your story so thank you.

        • Um… not to be a total creep, but… I saw your little picture in the Facebook likes thing on this page, and I clicked on it and… not only are we both from Oregon, but we are both Central Oregonians! Crazy.

          Finding this site (Mitsu found it, actually) has really helped boost my confidence that what Mitsu and I are doing is not crazy, and that there is reason to hope. :) So a big thanks to Grace, you, and all the other posters/commenters on here!

  3. Srta. TacoMal // 5 January, 2014 at 2:07 am //

    This is very sweet, and it gives me hope for the future!

    Here”s hoping you two will meet again soon :)

  4. Love this!

  5. I hope my first picture doesn’t scare people away… I look a little crazed…

  6. Thanks for sharing your story! I’m in a similar situation with my boyfriend, so it’s nice to hear about others who are fighting the distance :)

  7. This is seriously the cutest thing I’ve read all morning! You guys are great! Keep on going :)

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