An international marriage is a constant exercise in the art of compromise and a need for understanding that maybe you just don't understand, and possibly never will. When they begin they're often accompanied by difficulties arising from both language and culture, partially overcome as you develop your own vocabulary; others may not understand but you understand each other, sometimes better than the couple who grew up in the same country, culture and language all their lives.
You often talk through metaphor with the constant reference to past experiences to explain when the words simply will not come. Today smartphones and on-line translation simplify the matter but it is still something of a matter of faith that you will both be at the same restaurant at the same time. But you try, and you continue to try every day, to make a success of the choices you have both made.
It's been twenty years since the day we were married at a castle in southern England, a young Englishman and a wonderful, beautiful Japanese lady, and I still wake up each day and say 'thank you'. No marriage is easy or can be taken for granted but an international marriage carries a unique set of complications. Unless you think of them as opportunities and new experiences; always try and never give up or give in. I reckon twenty years is a good start. I'm looking forward to writing an update in another twenty. And I'm so unbelievably glad she said 'yes'.
Tokyo, 17 September, 2015