20140506-etsuko-2068-1I am a cross-cultural relationship and marriage coach that helps over couples navigate the tricky waters of communication, romance, and family from different point of view. I also wrote a book called “Cross-cultural marriage 101” (written in Japanese). Born and raised in Japan, I’ve lived in Germany as well as in the U.S. for over 15 years, and I’m fluent in both Japanese and English. While working at the United Nations, I interacted with people from many different cultures and learned a great deal about the challenges of communicating in a cross-cultural environment. After marrying my American husband in Japan, we moved to San Diego and have been happily married for 12 years with three kids.

At its foundation, any marriage is truly a cross-cultural experience, but the degree of the differences can be extreme when partners come from different countries and/or cultural backgrounds. I serve cross-cultural couples at a various point of their relationship and help them navigate through potential pitfalls that could occur during different life events.

One such challenge is identity crisis after relocation to another country. After I moved to San Diego, I discovered that all of my previous academic and professional successes seemed not to matter to anyone. I found myself struggling to get a meaningful job, and I experienced a major loss of what made me who I was before coming here. No longer feeling confident in my own skin, I had a difficult time even connecting with other people and making new friends. Looking back, there were many steps I could have taken to shorten this phase if not prevent it altogether. Finding my own path and rediscovering who I am was a journey that inspired me to help those who may someday follow in my footsteps. Also, I can help them mitigate potential culture shock, lay solid roots in a new country, and live confidently by creating loving, supportive community.

Another phase that many cross-cultural couples go through that could be very challenging is parenting. I am a certified parent educator of the Redirecting Children’s Behavior program, which emphasizes the development of calm and confident parenting skills to raise responsible and cooperative children. I have coached many multi-cultural families, providing tools on how to effectively communicate with children and spouses while keeping their unique cultural heritages in mind.

Having been married to my American husband for the past 12 years, and having coached over 100 cross-cultural couples, I wholeheartedly believe that overcoming cultural differences is possible, with the right skills and the desire to create a loving, committed relationship. I bring a fresh perspective to couples who are stuck in familiar patterns of behavior that is neither loving nor productive. My direct and specific guidance challenge them to break status quo and experiment new approach to heal relationship, so they can create long-lasting happy marriage.