The kerfuffle over those blasted islands was making things difficult for Cui Hongmei and Yosuke Nakamura. Cui Hongmei wanted to believe that love was blind, that romance recognized no national borders. Her optimism was taking a beating, however.

Yosuke Nakamura was a paper towel sales representative sent to China by his employer in Osaka; she was a receptionist at the firm’s Shanghai office. After a year of booking meeting rooms for him over the phone, he asked her on a date.

They drank tea in the tea house in the middle of the Yu Gardens, then strolled around, hand in tentative hand, looking at the rockery. They were engaged five months later.  Their families were not pleased.

“So, did you give her the BIG ROCK she deserves?” asked her family pointedly. They weren’t good at being subtle with allusions.

“Hell no, ” shouted his family. ” That BIG ROCK belongs to our family. Piss off.”

Cui Hongmei sighed. Maybe they should just elope.

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