You walk up the stairs and enter my apartment. You remove your shoes and place them neatly on the rack you see holding dozens of other shoes to your left. The walls are Zen colored light green, it is tranquil and the TV is probably off. I ask you if you would like some tea which is only one of the two options in my house, the other is water. I do not drink soda or have juice readily available in my house. If you would like something to eat, I will probably unconsciously hand you chopsticks first, but I am not Asian. I am 50% of a bi-cultural and bi-racial household and I am African American.
My husband is Japanese and has been in this country for about 6 years now. When I met him I was interested in his culture and studying his language. He was instantly intrigued to see “an American” actively interested in his culture. He thought it was cool when I first spoke a few words to him in Japanese. As we dated for a year and things became serious we talked about future plans and expectations. It seemed natural that once we decided to get married that I would run the household with inspiration from an Asian culture base, but why?
I’ve found that many multi-cultural households tend to lean towards one culture. My story is no different. Could it be that Japanese culture goes back to 30,000 BC. Could it be the reputation of how efficient Japanese culture is? I was not sure wholly but I know one thing, it works. I think it’s one of the reasons that bi-racial/bi-cultural marriages survive. I am never in a culture struggle with My Honey (my husband). If there is any debate about child rearing, dinner, clothing, housing, or any other issue I usually am ok for it to fall towards the Japanese way(well, most of the time). I think this should be an agreement as a couple early on because once children enter your relationship even the most basic decisions could become an issue!
For example; should a baby be left to cry it out or not? I just had my first baby and he is super cute just one month old. In the African American culture that I grew up in, babies can get spoiled. When my dad and cousins came to visit they made references about me “spoiling the baby” by carrying him around too much. Imagine me introducing this concept to My Honey! I think if I even brought it up he would become sick. I knew that this was a no-no in his culture and since I had prior knowledge of this, we were able to avert a ridiculous discussion. My Honey was basically waited on hand and foot by his mom until he came to the States and met me (Thank Goodness!). Actually, realizing the extremes of both rearing examples, I guess we agreed to meet somewhere in the middle. Although I tend to lean towards Japan there are occasions when we meet somewhere in the middle.Check out the blog carnival which will be published on on Bicultural Mom at 8am on Monday, May 2 http://www.biculturalmom.com