Today is a day when I am missing Japan. Perhaps it’s the lingering heat here in San Diego. I know in J-land right now, the mornings are getting chillier, the days are pleasant before the night cools off again. Autumn foods are starting to appear on plates. The rice is being harvested. Sometime around the 20th of this month, Fuji-san will get his first snow. Soon after, the trees will be “on fire” as the leaves turn. I’m missing the tiny little signs of nature that are ever present in Japan.
So, to fill my void, I browsed the online newspapers, The Japan Times and the Daily Yomiuri. Always a good way to see what’s happening in the land of sushi. As I read some of the articles, I memories flash before me, faces of my students, a party at a restaurant, my bike ride in the morning, kind gestures from my coworkers, my cozy little apartment. I can stand on a street corner where I take in all the sights and sounds and smells. If I close my eyes for just a moment, I am there again. No matter how short, I love the visit. I do miss Japan something fierce!
While browsing through the Daily Yomiuri, I came across the column, Troubleshooter. Aaaah, yes. I forgot how much I LOVE these! It’s the “Dear Abby” of Japan. Except that the same person does not respond to all the questions. They have celebrities, lawyers, writers, doctors and such who respond. It’s brilliant. They get away with some terrific answers! Here’s one:
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Troubleshooter/Husband used as chauffeur
I’m a housewife in my 40s. My husband takes some lessons on weekends and goes to class by car since it is far from home.
But two of his friends in the same class ride with him. One of them makes her husband drive to our place before changing to my husband’s car.
The other person can drive and has a car of his own, but he also shares my husband’s car.
Although my husband drives them all the time, these two people have never paid for gas. Am I wrong to think they should drive their own cars or pay for gas sometimes?
I feel angry when I see these people, who take it for granted that they can use my husband’s car. My husband says he can’t and won’t ask them to pay for gas. I have been putting up with this, but I can’t take too much more.
Dear Ms. I:
I can understand your feelings in a way. But as for your husband, I think doing nice things for his hobby friends gives him a pleasant feeling that money cannot buy.
You are not shouldering any additional financial burden, since your husband drives the car to go to the class anyway.
Having a generous wife who isn’t seen to complain about every little thing might even increase his esteem in his friends’ eyes. So that may be why he will not ask his friends to pay for gas.
Why don’t you let it pass and allow your husband continue to be viewed as a kind, dependable, good man?
You will be annoyed if he changes into someone who is grumpy, never goes out and always hangs around at home on weekends.
Don’t you think you also are enjoying invisible benefits thanks to his kindness or his attitude of trying to be a good man? You might be envied for having such a kind husband. We tend not to be able to see what we really have, although we can see very well what we don’t have.
Please have your own enjoyable time, just like your husband does.
Megumi Hisada, writer
Please have your own enjoyable time. I love my J-people!
On the Bright Side,