Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ya Just Gotta Let Some Folks Make Their Own Mistakes

I haven't spent much time with Hiyoshi since April. One reason is that I've been teaching a lot more. Another is that we're not longer in the same Chinese class at the same school. But the main reason is that he's someone else's boyfriend, and I don't think I'd like it if some girl spent a lot of time with my boyfriend.

I do see him once in awhile, but almost always in the company of our other friends. Our days of spending hours alone together are long gone. However, I did meet up with him about a month ago, right before I went to Hong Kong to visit Terry and Cheryl, because I was going over to Taipei 101, and I knew he was in that area teaching Japanese. So, I asked if he wanted to meet me at 101 and go to the bookstore together. He readily agreed.

It was kind of nice to have him all to myself like old times. I knew he'd had some issues with Lisa, because he'd mentioned a couple of things before, so I asked him how things were going, were they getting used to one another's quirks, etc. He then proceeded to tell me his gripes about Lisa, which mostly boiled down to the fact that since she's not Japanese, she doesn't act like a Japanese girl, and Hiyoshi doesn't care much for that.

For example, one thing that was really setting him off was that Lisa would say something, and then about a half an hour later, if Hiyoshi mentioned what she had said, she would deny that she'd said it. Hiyoshi swears that he always clearly understood her and that it's not just a language issue. So, he'd get pissed off when she said she never said that, because if she were a Japanese girl, she'd very politely say, "Oh, you're right, I may have said that." rather than outright denying it. Then he said he was starting to think she was a little nuts because this kept happening over and over, and he couldn't understand how a sane person would not know what she had said.

There was also the issue of her being younger than him but still having the audacity to tell him he was wrong sometimes. Oh my goodness, that just isn't done in Japan! Any younger person would never tell an older person he or she was wrong about something, even if it were true. Add into this the fact that when Lisa and Hiyoshi would get together with Lisa's friends, and they'd all chat in Chinese, Hiyoshi would feel left out because the conversation was too fast for him to follow. He felt this was extremely impolite. And then Lisa always being late to pick him up after work (remember, she's the one with the job, and he's just spending his days drifting aimlessly around Taipei), and then having the nerve to give him a reason why she was late (traffic jam, couldn't get out of the office on time, etc.) instead of just prostrating herself on the ground and apologizing.

So, after listening to all of this, I asked Hiyoshi, "Do you love Lisa?" He said he didn't know. I proceeded to give him my advice, which was as follows: 1) Talk to her. Tell her that what she's doing is upsetting you and why. If you don't tell her, she won't know, and she'll keep doing it (and she may not change, but at least give her the option). It's important to talk with the person you're with and not just (in the Japanese way) expect that person to read your mind and know what you want and feel without you having to open your mouth. 2) Realize that she is NOT Japanese, and she never WILL be Japanese, and learn to live with it. If you think you can't accept her the way she is, go find yourself a Japanese woman who already behaves the way you want, and stop trying to make Lisa fit into that mold. 3) Learn what compromise means. Try to meet each other half way. Try to change your way of thinking. Don't expect her to give up her independent personality just to please you. 4) If you don't love her, and you're just hanging out with her because it gives you a place to stay in Taipei and her parents feed you, you're being a total shit and not fair to her, because she's looking for marriage and a family.

Now, I left this conversation thinking there was no hope for this relationship, because I don't see Hiyoshi as a flexible sort of person. I figured he'd continue to spend time with Lisa and then eventually return to Japan and take over his father's job, just as he's been trained, since he has no other skills and no way to get a job in Taiwan and stay here. I figured Lisa would get tired of trying to push him to actually work and would realize it just wasn't going to happen. Imagine my surprise when Hiyoshi told me this week that they're getting married on November 11. OK. Sure. Great idea.

Hiyoshi leaves for Japan on September 8. Lisa will quit the good job she has here, and she will move to Japan, where it is unlikely she will find a good job, because she does not speak Japanese. The happy couple will live with Hiyoshi's family, and Hiyoshi will try to find some sort of part-time job he can do while he's doing the church stuff. Lisa will be plunked down in a culture radically different from Taiwanese culture and will be expected to act like a perfect Japanese wife. Since they won't have any money, they won't be able to afford to have children right away, which is a good thing, because Hiyoshi doesn't really like them all that much. I obviously have misgivings about this. So, once again I asked Hiyoshi, "Do you love her?" And once again he said, "I don't know." I asked him, "Have you ever told her you love her?" And he said, "No." What the hell? And just why does this girl want to marry a guy who has never said he loves her, even if he'd be lying when he said it?

Not many months ago, when Lisa and I discussed the fact that Hiyoshi has a snowball's chance in Hell of ever earning a decent living, she said she felt a handsome face and a kind heart were enough. Hello? Wake-up call, dearie. That ain't gonna put food on the table. I'm all for true love, and if the two of them were so head-over-heels in love with each other they couldn't see straight, I'd wish them the best and encourage them to have a go at it, and I'd keep my doubts to myself. But it seems to me that only one person is in love, and that person is making the mistake so many women make: she thinks she can transform a no-ambition guy into some sort of gung-ho breadwinner who will be the best hubby in the world. I'm not even going to try to talk her out of it, because I know she won't listen. Hiyoshi will be fine, because all he wants is a woman who will take care of him, and if love doesn't enter the picture, so what? I mean, after all, men don't need to be in love to have a nice sexual experience, right? All that's required is warm and willing, and they're good to go.

I told Hiyoshi they'd be smarter to live together for awhile, giving Lisa a chance to experience life in Japan to see if she could handle it. He says they want to "shi shi kan" which is Chinese for "try and see." He said Lisa is the one who has continued to chase him, and he's so laid back that he just agrees to anything she says. She says "Let's get hitched," and he says "OK, sure, why not?"

They're both nuts.


aetherwellen said...

Sweet pink burning Jesus! I don't see Lisa/Hiyoshi working out well. :(

Romita said...

They're young and stupid, no? I know it's not funny. But ... I can't stop laughing. Two naive young ones fantasizing about how great love and marriage is without dealing with the reality of their relationship. God bless em'.

Ranger Steve said...

Wow. Well, Lisa is pretty darned young. When I met her, I also got the feeling that she was somewhat naive. Hiyoshi also seems so inexperienced into how the world really works, rather than his version. I'm convinced that those are two people who will need to experience tough times and possible failures in order to get something through their heads. But despite this, I wish them the best of luck with it all, even if they *aren't* sure they love each other!!!