Yesterday I went to the local yakuba, like the community center, and within minutes received 12,000 in cash at the counter (around $130). The government is giving out 12,000 yen to all residents of Japan. I was amazed that it took about 5 minutes of waiting in line to get the money. On top of that, I paid my health insurance (which costs around $35 a month), and got my foreigners’ ID card renewed. From start to finish, doing all these things took 10 minutes tops. Pretty amazing, huh? Things are so efficient here, like a well-oiled machine.

I had an English class with some Japanese ladies yesterday; their level is quite high so we have some lively discussions at times. We were talking about the topic of expectations in marriage. Some were common to all people such as happiness, children, etc. However some of theirs were vastly different from expectations of American women:

1) That they they will do ALL the cooking throughout the entire course of marriage plus ALL the housework (they oohed and ahhed at the idea of a husband making dinner or doing the laundry like my dad does)

2) only the husband will work

3) Romance in marriage will end once the kids come (I am serious!)

4) They will call their husbands “papa” and never by his first name (only one lady in the group calls her husband by his first name which amazed the other women)

Number three was really sad to hear but a reality here in Japan. The ladies seem to have little concept of intimacy in marriage, romance, or the things like that. However, they were eager to share the stories of how they met and fell in love with their husbands but all said that once children come, romance pretty much disappears. Actually, one of the husbands of my students lives in another city and comes home a few times of month to see his wife. The ladies seem rather resigned to this reality but sometimes I wonder if deep down they long for something deeper, to be shown love and affection by their husbands.  Isn’t that a human need? So much to ponder.