Jun 12, 2018

Cultural differences in a mixed relationship, part 2

I've already written about some small differences in the mixed relationship of me and my husband living in the center of Tokyo. You can read about this in part 1. Let's have a look at more differences between me and my Japanese husband:
Cultural differences in a mixed relationship, part 2 photo

The up and downs of the weather
It's sunny and humid, I feel sick. It's cold the next day, then hot and often cold again, I feel sick. I feel pain in my teeth or around my appendix scar, which means the weather will drastically change again.

How I feel every day depends so much on the weather. In Germany we even have our own word for it. “Wetterfühlig” simply means to feel every tiny change from the weather. In Germany that is a big topic. A sudden weather change to 35 degrees and everybody will feel bad and not only from the high temperature. In Japan it is mostly the case from the ups and downs of the humidity, especially during the rainy season.
The first time when I told my husband about that phenomenon, he thought I was making a joke. Do you feel suddenly amazingly sleepy even though you've slept enough? I would say it is from the weather. You suddenly have a strong headache? It´s the weather!

For sure the weather effects our daily life, but in Japan it is not a big topic. Of course, they remark about the heat or the cold but they don't think about it like we do in Germany. After saying too often that something is because of the weather, my husband makes fun of me and uses the same phrase for every problem which pops up, even if it has nothing to do with the weather.


Now you surely think what is so special about washing the dishes? Usually you will let the water run, use a sponge with soap and then clean the plates. After that just put them in the dish rack to dry. Here comes the point: My husband always says I want to poison him. First I was always very confused about what he meant. When I wash the dishes with soap, afterwards I rinse them with water and let them dry, but I don´t check if there might be some soap left. Anyway, this will go away in during the drying process, but the Japanese care very much about that small thing. Often my husband rinsed all the dishes again, when I left the kitchen. It's so ridiculous for me. If this really was a serious problem many people would be already dead. By the way, this topic was also a very big thing in the Japanese movie, “My darling is a foreigner”.

Daily hair washing
When I first stayed at the family house of my husband my mother-in-law was very shocked that I don't wash my hair every day, only every other day. In Japan it is totally normal to wash the hair every day. The very thick and strong Asian hair gets oily very fast and needs to get washed often. But for most western hair, especially for thin hair, it is very bad to wash it every day. It took me a lot of time to make my Japanese family understand this.

Oyasumi nasai / good night

11 p.m. in the evening it is suddenly very silent in our apartment. While I was watching TV on my PC, I was thinking that my husband is just reading something in his room, like he often does. But when I checked out what he is doing, he was already sleeping in the bed. That situation always confused me. Of course we don't need to go to bed together, but at least say something like “Good night” or “I will go to bed.” This is something I also heard from many of my friends, who experienced the same with their Japanese partner.



I´m a german girl living in the center of Tokyo, but my true love belongs to the countryside of Japan (especially Chiba and Hokkaido). I love traveling in Japan and explore hidden areas.
I want to help people with my articles to get in touch with the Japanese culture and all the beautiful places you can explore.

Besides traveling around, I love trains, handcraft and my little rabbits.

1 Comment

  • Tomuu

    on Jun 15

    I'm so glad to see someone addressing the "soap suds" issue. The first time I heard it from my wife (Japanese) I thought she was joking! You're right, were it true I don't think I would be alive to read this post! Still, I do my best to rinse the dishes thoroughly!