Managing an Exchange Program in Laos

Katherine has just started a master’s degree program in Peace and Conflict Studies in Uppsala, Sweden. We spoke online. My thanks for the photos.

Katherine’s story

Why don’t you tell me how you happened to go to Laos, what happened, what worked out and what didn’t.

It wasn’t my goal to work and live in Asia. I did Peace and Conflict Studies as an undergraduate at American University in Washington, D.C. with courses focused on the Arabic language and Middle Eastern issues. I was preparing for work on peace-building, particularly with the relationships between the US and Israel/Palestine, Iraq/Afghanistan.

I … Read More

An American Husband in Filipino Court

In the Philippines it’s hard to miss ads and websites urging the western man, often of retirement age, to come to the Philippines and find a pretty, sweet young thing who’ll love him and look after him for the rest of his life. Y0u watch white men trying to outdo each other with their trophy wives or girlfriends. You hear Filipinas explain to each other that the man was just for survival, a way to get out of poverty. 

Exploitation also works the other way. Over a period of about two months, three white men told me their troubles. One Read More

Journey to the Philippines, Part 2

By Marita Lopez-Mena

A year after my first visit to the Philippines, my brother Rick’s son, Enrique (Bean), invited me to attend his wedding in the Philippines. He was marrying a lovely Filipino woman, Christina (Tina) Angeles from Antipolo, on February 25th, 2016. My brother, Rick and his wife, Linda, proposed that we fly to Paris and spend a few days, on to Manila via Seoul, South Korea, and then Paris again for a few days on the return leg of the trip. Who could resist that itinerary? Unfortunately, I caught a cold and it only got worse by the … Read More

What Went Right and What Didn’t, Part 1

In many cases, culture and class is a major factor in the breakup of international relationships. (Link) (Link) But in the case of this ten-year marriage, cultural differences were either minimal or promptly overcome. This impressed me so much that in 1997 I asked Hillary (the name she chose as an English student) for an interview to include in the dating chapter of the textbook I was writing for Korean students. Oddly, when we discussed the chapter, my students invariably told me she didn’t look Korean—maybe Japanese—I think because of her long, curly hair and her Read More

My First Japanese Family

The speaker is an American lawyer, a twenty-year resident of Japan and a good friend of mine.  The interview took place in 2011.

Cathy’s story

I first came to Japan in 1982 to live with the family of my first husband, a Japanese photographer. We’d met in France when I was twenty-two years old. I’d wanted to get married because I couldn’t figure out what else to do with my life. So at twenty-three I came to Japan, as the foreign fiancée of the eldest son in a conventional Japanese family, and lived with his extended family for six months, … Read More