How My Fear Of Long Distance Almost Ruined Everything

A long distance relationship can't work if it's done half-heartedly. You're either totally in, or you're not. No in-between.

This week’s guest post is from my good friend Jasmine (who runs the awesome blog Japan-aholic). She talks about how her fear of a long distance relationship almost prevented her from making one of the best decisions of her life. She writes: 

This sort of post is a bit unusual for me, as I normally don’t get into too much details when it concerns my private life.

But from time to time, I like to talk about the things that make me happy, and share my advices about things that are more difficult to deal with.

I am in an intercultural long distance relationship. My boyfriend is a 27 years old Japanese man, I am a 21 years old Canadian woman. He lives in Ishikawa prefecture in Japan, I used to live in Quebec (Canada) and now live in Tokyo, and we first met in Chiba prefecture, in the outskirts of Tokyo. How did that happen?

Jasmine-and-Hitomi-black-white  guest post long disstance

Exactly two years ago, I was working day in day out at my job in Canada to earn enough money to fulfill one of my biggest project to date : traveling in Japan for 2 months and a half, alone.

I had organized everything; finding host families on internet, planning my trip route, calculating a budget, buying the cheapest plane tickets I could find, figuring out the health and travel insurances. I even took three months of Japanese beforehand, and then packed my things and went out looking for adventures (and maybe trouble, too).

And that’s how I ended up in March 2013 in a countryside city in Chiba, not so near to Tokyo as I had first expected, in a very charming Japanese host family. Before coming to Japan, I pictured myself strolling through the streets of this beautiful country, visiting temples and shrines by myself.

The complete opposite happened.

Jasmine-and-Hitomi-visiting guest post long disstanceStill visiting shrines and temples, but not alone!

I met a French woman who had already been in Japan for three weeks when I arrived in Chiba and we became acquaintances. She had a car at her disposal, so one time, she told me, “Let’s go to my favorite bar tonight! I met wonderful people there!”.

As soon as we entered the bar, we had a group of Japanese people around us, asking me where I came from and what was I doing in Japan. As I said earlier, it was a very countryside area, so the people there were not used to see foreigners very often.

They were all very kind and interested. Except for one person.

I’ll always remember that time; he was sitting at the bar, chatting with the barman, not even interested in what was going on around him, in the newcomers that had just entered their tiny place.

first-meeting  guest post long disstanceThe actual picture of the first time I went in that bar and met Hitomi. He is the man on the far left; I am the woman in the middle. The only time he participated was when we played darts.

I thought he was really handsome. I remember thinking “That man could play in a drama or something”.

We didn’t talk at all that first night.

But a couple of days later, when we came back to the bar for the second time, that same man who was labeled as “cold, snob and actor-looking” in my head, came up to me and gave me… a gift.

I didn’t even know his name yet, but there I was with a gold pocket mirror in my hands, completely puzzled by what was happening. He told me it was a souvenir of Japan for me, from the Ishikawa prefecture where he went for a couple of days for the company he was working for.

At that time, I didn’t know anything about the omiyage (souvenir) culture in Japan, so I just thought it was weird that a guy I didn’t even know give me a gift for no reason.

That night, everyone in the bar went together at the nearest karaoke, and the finally-not-so-cold-nor-snob-guy-named-Hitomi and I ended up talking all night. Well, we tried to. It was very funny, him with his broken English and me with my very poor Japanese. But somehow, in the grand scheme of things, in the way weird things that happen suddenly can sometimes feel totally right, we were really getting along.

j-and-h-smiling  guest post long disstanceAfter a couple of times going to the bar and talking together, Hitomi asked for my Facebook.

Let me tell you, exchanging messages was way easier than talking face to face with the help of Holy Google Translate.

And then one day, he totally took me by surprise and asked me out. He said something along the lines of “What about going to karaoke together today, only the two of us”.

And… well, I rejected him.

Because, actually, I already had a boyfriend at that time.

I was in a (very crappy) relationship with a man who was waiting for me to finish my travel bubble dream in Japan and go back to Canada. So, yeah… I turned Hitomi down on that one.

j-and-h-happy  guest post long disstanceBut not for long!

He told me that the man I was dating must be really happy to be with someone like me, and also that he envied him.

So no, everyone, the stereotype of the Japanese men being shy and not flirting is NOT always true!

From then on, we stayed very good friends. I continued my trip, went to Kyoto for a couple of weeks, and talked with Hitomi through Facebook messages everyday.

By the time I got back to Tokyo, I was single and free. I had decided to end my past relationship because it was making me unhappy and was not healthy for me.

No need to tell you I started seeing Hitomi as more than a friend from that point.

The first time we kissed was in his car, when he drove me back to my house. Right after, he asked me to be his girlfriend.

But at that time, I was totally against the idea of having a long distance relationship. I was just out of one that turned out really bad. Moreover, I’m normally the type of person who always seeks serious relationships, not just a fling. However, “serious” with Hitomi included long distance. But at that time, I was already in love with him, so I found myself in a very difficult situation. I decided to take it day by day and enjoyed the rest of my time with him in Japan as much as I could.

jasmine-and-hitomi-kimono  guest post long disstanceAnd no, this is NOT our engagement picture. We’re not engaged (yet!)

Soon enough, our time was up and I had to go back to Canada.

I told Hitomi that I wanted to stay friends with him. I couldn’t imagine my life without talking to him everyday, so we went back to our routine of everyday messages through Facebook, and a bit of Skype every week. At that point, I was still pretending; we would even say “I love you” to each other, but we were not officially a couple because of my fear of long distance love.

It took me almost 2 months of pretending and a coworker to ask me out until I realized I was stupid. What was I fighting against? The fear of getting hurt by being far from the person I love? The judgmental tone of the people surrounding me when they would learn the truth? Or the prospect of this relationship not going anywhere?

Honestly, it was already too late; I was in too deep, and I didn’t have much choice from that point on, so I did what I usually do best — I went head first into this relationship. We made it official on Facebook about a week later, and it was the beginning of something truly beautiful.

jasm  guest post long disstanceGoing back with him to Japan to start my year abroad in Tokyo was one of the best feeling ever.

Fast-forwarding a year and a half later, I’m so happy I overlooked my fear of long distance. It really isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but you have to be with the right person.

I just started my year abroad in Tokyo, and Hitomi lives in Ishikawa because of his work, so we are still doing the long distance, even if we live in the same country.

So, my advice for the ones in a long distance relationship: always make sure your significant other is as committed as you are. This is seriously important. In my opinion, a long distance relationship can’t work if it’s done half-heartedly. You’re either totally in, or you’re not. No in-between.

I will always be grateful of Hitomi, who patiently waited for me all those months. His feelings for me never wavered; he was always straightforward concerning what he wanted.

Later on, he told me that the first time we met, that night when we didn’t talk at all and I thought he was a cold and snob person; he said that when he saw me, it was love at first sight.

He didn’t talk to me because he was not confident in his English skills, and because there was already a lot of people around me asking me questions.

Now, my advice for you out there who currently have a crush on a Japanese man (or plan to meet some), just go for it. Some of them are simply a bit shy at first because you both don’t speak the same language, so that’s why they won’t come and talk to you. Don’t be afraid of taking the first steps.

Good luck to everyone who is in a long distance relationship, too!

headshot-pictureJasmine is a 21 years old French-Canadian student and part-time blogger who loves traveling, drawing, listening to (all kind of) music and eating (everything). To achieve one of her biggest dream, she went in Japan for two months and a half as a tourist in 2013. She’s now doing a one year abroad in Tokyo at Daito Bunka University, in Saitama. Her blog, Japan-aholic, is about experiencing culture and love in Japan.

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

21 Comments on How My Fear Of Long Distance Almost Ruined Everything

  1. This story is so sweet! You guys are such a lovely couple! My fiance (Chinese, studying in Scotland) and I have been in a LDR for about a year and 6 months now, and as hard as it is sometimes – it feels amazing every time we meet :) Hopefully the “We’re not engaged (yet!)” will change to “we are engaged” sometime soon :D Btw, you guys look so pretty in the traditional clothing ~

    • Ooh aren’t you the person CrazyChineseFamily was talking about in a couple of comments below? :D
      I checked out your blog earlier, you both look very cute with each other!
      Thank you very much for reading ~

  2. Ok this almost made me cry …and I’m in my lunch break at work lol. That was such a touching entry blog. I didn’t know how you met with Hitomi. It’s such a cute love story <3. I hope that I will live such a cute love story one day too!! Maybe in 2016 …who knows. Anyway, you are really cute together <3
    I miss you !

    • Awww I miss you so much too!

      Oh, I forgot I never really told you about how Hitomi and I met! It’s because I don’t really tell that story often haha. Only if the person asks! And even then, I don’t give so many details away! Haha
      I guess I’m just afraid of getting the people bored with my story haha

      Don’t worry, you’ll have your own luck too! Maybe not in Japan? We never know! :D

      I miss you very much (and your sister, too!)

  3. Crystal (My Hindi Heart) // 25 October, 2014 at 12:40 am //

    Oh I’m melting inside. ♥
    I just love her story. Thanks for sharing it!
    We have a lot in common, it seems. Can’t wait to check out her blog!

  4. Yuki in Finland // 24 October, 2014 at 9:48 pm //

    What a lovely story !
    I don´t have any experience of a long distance relationship, so I don´t understand how hard to be with LDR. I really respect LDR couples. I am a japanese male who is married with an european white girl.
    I really hope that Hitomi and Jasmine will be engagded quite soon.

  5. “The first time we kissed was in his car, when he drove me back to my house. Right after, he asked me to be his girlfriend.” –> This made me laugh because my boyfriend did almost the exact same thing! He is also Japanese and I met him when I was studying in Japan for 1 month. He took me on a date, kissed me in his car, then asked me to be his girlfriend! At first I said no because of the fear of a long distance relationship but that was soon forgotten and I never have regretted it. No matter what people have said to me I don’t regret being in a long distance relationship. We have been together for 2.5 years and have visited each other as often as we can. We are currently living apart but I am trying to return to Japan and be able to stay there for a long time!

    • Waw! Our stories are actually pretty similar!
      I think that it’s in the Japanese culture to be pretty straightforward into that whole “would you be my girlfriend” thing!
      Good luck to you both and don’t give up :D

  6. Every time I read about long distance relationships I wonder how you people make it work, I’ve been never really apart from my wife except few seminars and other short trips and that’s already nough for me.

    I wish you all the best and hope that the ‘not yet’ in the engagement part is soon gone :)

    • I think I’ll make a post about how we are making it work! But honestly, it’s not as impossible as everyone says. It just takes flexibility, commitment, a bit of independance, trust, and love (of course!).
      Thank you very much! :D Recently I’ve been surprising myself hoping that the “not yet” engagement part would be soon gone, too. Hahaha!

      • You never know when the “Yet” part is suddenly gone! In another blog a woman from Norway was blogging about how she was hoping that her boyfriend (Chinese) would propose to her at some point in the future and few weeks later he proposed to her when she visited him in Scottland!

        • Awww that’s so sweet!

          I actually never thought about getting married before I met Hitomi. So when he first talked to me about it, I was shocked! Haha

          Now that I’m used to the idea, I’m kind of looking forward to it! But I don’t mind if he proposes in a couple of months/years. We’re still so young! And I want him to really think about it, not doing it lightly.

          Time will tell! :)

  7. That is a very romantic story. Good for them :)

  8. My husband and I were long-distance for 3 years before we were married. The long-distance part is hard but it does wonders for your communication skills! ;) The best part of getting married was no more good-byes.

    (On a side note, he thought I was a snob when we first met, too. But it was because I was shy, especially around the opposite sex.)

    • I do think it does wonders to the communication skills too! People can say bad things about long distance relationships, but the truth is, it has many benefits too!

    • I agree – I really do think being in a LDR does wonders for your communication skills :)
      It totally helps later on in the marriage stage!

    • I really think that’s true too! We were only apart for 2 years (in the same country) – but it made us appreciate being together all the more! Silly petty arguments are recognized as such because even though they make you crazy, you know being without them is so much worse!!

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The “Shyness” Of Japanese Men | Japan-aholic
  2. For my Sister’s Birthday | The Writeaholic's Blog
  3. What It Takes For A Long Distance Relationship To Work (LDR) | Japan-aholic

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