How they met
When Yuka Itakura first met Nick Mwashimba in England, she thought he was an arrogant prick who did not know how to treat other people with respect. The two were pursuing their masters degrees in different courses at the time. They would meet in music class because they were both members of the school music band.
Yuka and Nick opened up to Tuko.co.ke’s Lynn Ngugi on what their journey of love and marriage has been like since Nick proposed over a decade ago. For starters, the Japanese woman came from a broken family back in Japan, never experienced the love of family. She contemplated suicide many times.
“I was born to unfortunately a broken family. My dad was an engineer but was very abusive. He used to beat my mum and us. We grew up seeing my mum being beaten.
“We were also abused verbally and it made me not to have confidence in myself. I was convinced I was not good for anything. Like I would not make it in life,” she narrated.
She later learned children were dying of hunger in Africa in 2000 that she decided to go back to school to pursue a masters degree in humanitarian aid in London.
It is from here that Yuka, a former Japanese Buddhist, now born again Christian met Nick. Nick was pursuing a masters degree in audio engineering and was the head of the music band of the church they both attended. They did not exchange much and Yuka left for Nigeria for her research. Nick kept following what she was doing through her Facebook posts but never expressed any personal interest in her until she went back to Japan.
How it then started
Yuka and Nick met again during their graduation after the 2007 Kenya post-election violence. That was when Nick first expressed his interest in a Japanese woman. He said he would love to be her husband. They soon kicked it off and before they knew it, she visited his family in Kenya where she was received warmly.
Nick’s family started asking when they would get married.
To put his family at peace, Nick proposed to his Japanese girlfriend in front of his student at the school where he used to teach music at that time. An excited Yuka said accepted with a loud “yes”.
“It was the whole school assembly with around 300 children and colleagues. He called me in front, he knelt down, presented a ring and asked, “Will you marry me,” she said.
The problem with Yuka’s parents
Meanwhile in Japan, Yuka’s relationship with her parents was deteriorating from bad to worse. She told them she had a Kenyan boyfriend and was also engaged already.
“My mom completely cut me off when I told her I had a Kenyan boyfriend. She said it was a no-go zone unless it was an Italian, a British or American but not African,”
That cold rejection from her parents did not stop the two from building their relationship. For one year, they worked hard to make sure they overcame all hurdles that came their way. This included Nick building his relationship with Yuka’s parents.
A year later, she managed to return to Kenya while working with an NGO and that was when they arranged their wedding which was attended by Yuka’s mother and another Japanese friend.
Ten years later, the couple is blessed with two beautiful daughters and are running their own music school with students from across the globe.
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