Our morning scramble of news from Japan that might directly come into play for the expat, turned up slim pickings. So, not exactly news but something that might provide insight into married life in Japan, we found this trending article on R25 … The Husband’s Worst Habits TOP 10 (夫の悪習慣)
Now straight away we’re yawning and thinking about having the whole ‘leaving the toilet seat up’ bore fest. But this is Japan, and the ‘process’ of doing one’s business into a hole in the floor is still in effect (it’s just that now said hole is coated in porcelain). OK, so this is largely the realm of the train station, but still, maybe there will be some interesting comparisons to make between those traits that annoy Japanese wives, and those husband generated annoyances from other parts of the world.
It should also be mentioned, that while this writer’s Japanese may not be so finely tuned into cultural and social nuance, it seemed to me that the piece in R25 came firmly from the ‘husband out at work, wife running the household’ perspective. Also that R25's content is aimed at men in their 30s.
So, to business; R25 asked 200 wives in their 20s and 30s about their husband’s worst habits. Those quirks and peccadilloes that the Japanese wife just can’t stand.
10 worst habits of the Japanese husband according to the Japanese wife
|1||Leaving clothes, socks etc lying around the house |
|2||Leaving rubbish dotted about the place|
|3||Sleeping on the sofa (as opposed to the futon/bed)|
|4||Not clearing away dishes (from the table) after eating|
|5||Leaving the light on around the bathroom sink, in the the toilet|
|6||Burping during meal times|
|7||Going to bed without taking a bath|
|8||Spending a long time on the toilet|
|9||Not clearing away stationary/tools/kit after use|
|10||Leaving dirty dishes out|
In regards to ‘Leaving clothes, socks etc lying around the house’, we translate some of the comments given by respondents.
“I want him to tidy away his own things.” (23 yrs)
“I don’t want to go out of my way to pick up after him.” (28 yrs)
“I don’t like it that he can’t do things to completion.” (31 yrs)
“I don’t know whether or not these are things that need to be washed.” (31 yrs)
“I don’t like the fact that it’s me who has to do it.” (36 yrs)
On leaving rubbish dotted around …
“Even though there is a garbage box right there, he (the husband) still leaves tissues here and there that I need to clean up.” (25 yrs)
“We have a small child, so it’s unsanitary.” (27 yrs)
“I’m someone who really doesn’t like bugs, so I wish he wouldn’t leave rubbish out.” (29 yrs)
“We have a child who leaves the tissues that they use to wipe their mouth on the table. Perhaps they get (this habit) from their father.” (31 yrs)
Now let’s not have any prurient comments about the husband who leaves lots of tissues lying around the place!
Sleeping on the sofa may have come out of the blue. What seems to be the complaint here? Perhaps a lack of space for the wife?
“Even though he says he feels sluggish, rather than sleep on the sofa, he uses the hot carpet which then makes his body sore, so on days off he goes for a massage.” (24 yrs)
“The next day he feels in pain, so just hurry up and go to bed!” (31 yrs)
“Every year when we put out the kotatsu, he stops sleeping on the futon. I have to wake him up (otherwise he won’t move).” (32 yrs)
Maybe it’s just me, but perhaps some of these husbands are trying to make a polite appeal for the purchase of a bed. Or does this merely reveal this expat’s Western centric views on furnishing? The husband sleeping on the sofa could also be symptomatic of a work culture that sees the Japanese perfectly willing and adept at sleeping in whatever stationary position they can take up for more than five minutes. And I might also throw in that those heated carpets really are a treat!
So, no ‘leaving up of the toilet’ seat, but what other gaping absences are there from this list of husband’s most annoying habits that we might find in English-language media?
When we crawled the Internet for similar content we found some of the following …
Chewing with the mouth open
Open picking of fingernails with assorted items
Leaving the toilet seat up (of course)
Leaving shaved facial hair in the sink
Comments about about watching too much sport
Falling asleep after sex
Poor sense of style
And a whole bunch of stuff about sex positions that we’ll perhaps cover at another time, or just leave to your imaginations.
It should also be noted that gripes about leaving clothes, rubbish, and other assorted items lying around seem to be common on both sides of this cultural divide. Although, in Japan one can easily imagine the more acute pertinence of this due to space in living quarters over here being at a far higher premium.
No mention of sex on the Japanese side. It could be that this wasn’t an option in the format of the questionnaire. Perhaps this is seen as a heavier topic in Japan, and not one to sit alongside, say, leaving bathroom lights on. Of course, it could also be indicative of a country that, if you look at population stats and take to heart various reports and studies, isn’t having enough sex to get annoyed about (although that could be an annoyance in itself).
Anyway, I digress.
What’s interesting to consider here, is what might be the responses from those Japanese wives who are one half of a ‘working’ couple? Would this bring about more sympathy, or merely serve to exacerbate feelings towards existing bad habits on the part of the husband? It still remains an unlikely scenario (although there are such couples in Japan), but one should also consider what might be the answers from wives whose husbands are running the household while they go out to work.
This brings about the question of what Japanese wives might find annoying about a foreign husband, and vice versa.
NB*: Our use of the definite article 'the' (the Japanese husband) is merely for purposes of style, and not to give any (intentional) sense of generalisation about Japanese husbands and wives.
For more on dating and relationships in Japan, have a look at these posts from bloggers on City-Cost …
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