One of the more unusual questions I’ve been asked by a local male while tending the bar at the club was, “Is being married to an Okinawan man better?”
I didn’t think this question could be answered honestly without an in depth discussion. Given the situation, being asked while I was busy at work, I also found it to be somewhat a leading question. So I just smiled.
If I had had enough time I would have explained that given that I have only been married once I have no point of comparison. Also, I married my husband for the person he is not because he is from Okinawa. I wouldn’t still be with him 31 years later and working with him every weekend for the past eight years if I didn’t like the person he is. Has it always been a smooth marriage? No, we even went through three separations. But given that we only dated each other 6 weeks prior to our engagement and were married 6 weeks after that, there were many unknowns to be worked out. Furthermore, the Okinawan divorce rate is the highest in Japan (the last time I had been informed of the rate it was similar to the American rate and stood at 50 percent), so I do think we are one of the lucky couples that was able to overcome the cultural differences in the expectations of what a marriage was as well as stereotypical images we had of each other’s cultures.