My Guest Post on Speaking of China: 7 of the Best Things about being married to a Non-Native English Speaker

The fact that Ryosuke is a native Japanese speaker is part of the reason we get along so well

Today my post “7 of the Best Things about being Married to a Non-Native English Speaker” was published on Speaking of Jocelyn is a bit like me – she is an American woman married to a Chinese man, living in rural China. We have a lot of similarities.

In any case, click through to to read the guest post!

Here is a preview:

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, my wonderfully adorable husband is not a native English Speaker. The first time he really took an English class was in cram-school, trying to get into college.

Fast forward six years and his English is advanced enough to quite literally charm my family into letting him marry me and whisk me off to Japan. And aside from not quite being able to understand what the characters from BBC’s Sherlock are saying without subtitles (mostly because he can’t understand British English), Ryosuke doesn’t have any problems with English.

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It’s totally not weird to walk in on him pouring over the Steve Job’s Biography (in English) while taking extensive notes (in Japanese) on how to become a “more awesome person, like Jobs.”

But he is not a native English speaker.

And I really love the fact that he is not a native English speaker because:

1. He never gets onto me for my atrocious spelling.

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but I cannot spell to save my life. I also have problems with grammar.

I was hanging out with a friend yesterday and we were semi-talking about my blog. I brought up the spelling mistakes, and she was just like “Yeah, they’re everywhere, but at least you know you have horrible spelling and grammar. Some people have absolutely no idea.”

I understand it is somewhat shameful for a blogger to not be able to type up even a short, simple post without extensively relying on Microsoft Word Spell-Check… but hey. That’s me.

For the rest, check out this post at :)

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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

11 Comments on My Guest Post on Speaking of China: 7 of the Best Things about being married to a Non-Native English Speaker

  1. Anonymous // 7 February, 2016 at 3:59 am //

    I love your comic, I work at a korean restaurant and i have too much fun with english. Hello–> Herro; lemon–>remon; real–>lear(lemur?). One of the servers asked me, “is that orclid lear?” After an entourage of lear, what(x4), fortunately, my coworker said, is it pake(fake)?.
    The awkwardness is real

  2. Hey Grace, meant to tell you earlier (things have been crazy with the recent move) but thank you so much for posting a link back to this post! And thank you for submitting such an incredible post! You really have a gift for writing posts that are not only a pleasure to read, but also make you think. :-)

  3. Great post!
    Reading this, I wonder if your earlier take on cultural difference on fighting (on your older post) has changed or not. I think “fighting/quarreling” works well when both parties have the equal command of the language=medium, but if not, I am not sure it would be fruitful.
    Plus, after you marry (not limited to inter-cultural/linguistic couples), you pretty soon realize “winning” a fight/quarrel with your spouse is absolutely meaningless, if s/he is left unhappy! You would rather want a solution to make both happy and move on.
    I agree that having different mother tongues actually helped me and my wife in this regard, because we need to break down how each feels about the situation and why, and how we can change it, in much more conscious, self-reflexive manners.

    • It’s probably changed quite a bit. I think it’s interesting to read through some of the stuff I wrote a year or two ago – to see what has changed and what has stayed the same.
      I don’t know if we’ve had a “winner” or a “loser” in our arguments in a long time…

  4. Nice post. I’ve always said the same thing about having disagreements with my husband. It made us so much more honest with each other. There was no “I don’t care” and then expecting him to figure out why I was upset because he wouldn’t have. It became “I’m upset because…” and usually it was just a miscommunication that was figured out much faster that way. Also, the conditioning language part was funny. I never realized we sounded so similar until my mother pointed it out a couple years ago. But my husband also parrots my siblings. He came back after a trip home with me saying “I’m starvin’ like Marvin” and pointing out “whooties”(sp) (white girls with booties) because that was a big song when we were there that trip. I was like.. seriously? Of all the things you could have picked up at home? hahahah ^^

    • Hahahaha. That’s hilarious. People pick up the WEIRDEST things. For whatever reason, I pick up awkward Japanese insults (your face looks stupid, etc) really easily. Some of my Japanese friends find it odd that I get so creative with weird insults.

      I’ve noticed the same thing, I think. Even though it sounds weird to be completely direct (no hiding), it’s MUCH more helpful when it comes to arguing. And my husband is very appreciative that I can get to the point~

      • I’m similar in Korean. What sticks and what doesn’t is usually something which gets translated humorously or is slang. One of my favorites is the Korean word for a wedgie. It literally means “my butt it eating my pants”. I found that so obvious and hilarious they would say it that way and love saying it whenever I can.

        • Hahahaha. Oh my gosh. That’s the best phrase in the world. I wish that was the same in Japanese…

          I’m SURE there’s a bunch of other funny things like that, but my brain is dead and I can’t think of any.

  5. Anonymous // 31 May, 2014 at 4:40 am //

    Awesome post Grace! Read it on Speaking of China. My favorite part was “3. It is very easy to condition my husband to say the things I like.” I really wish I could do that with my husband, but…after knowing him 30 years…it’s not likely to happen! You two really are a wonderful couple!

    • I hit a realization about a year ago – if we moved to England, his English isn’t “set in stone” enough… so he would probably walk away with a British accent. It was such a tempting idea.

      But, you know, visas, jobs, and money problems got in the way. So we live in Japan. Oh well.

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