Tel/Fax: 080-3207-6191

Gaijin Mama - New Year With my Mother-In-Law

Like many Japanese families, we spend part of the New Year vacation with my husband’s family. He comes from a small town in the mountains of Hiroshima. It is the sort of place where gaijin are still considered exotic. Some years back, when I wore a summer kimono to watch a parade in the town, there were more people taking pictures of me than of the parade itself!

The family home is a rambling old house which looks a bit like a rabbit warren inside-dozens of sliding doors revealing room after room, which don’t seem to be connected in any logical fashion. My youngest daughter still gets lost going to the bathroom in her grandmother’s house. (In fact, so did I for several years!) The front step is one of those huge ones that you can still find in some country houses. If I was carrying one of my kids and wanted to come inside, I always had to place the baby on the step, and then haul myself up.

Traditionally, the oldest son’s family lives with, or close to, his parents. My husband is a third son, so I lucked out there! However, I do really like MIL, and I would love it if she would visit us in Tokyo more often. But she hates the and the noise, and she always has some excuse for not making it. Last time she said, “Well, my second cousin’s husband is on his last legs. It would be a bit inconvenient if he died while I was in Tokyo.”

MIL readily admits to not being very handy round the house. According to my husband, everyone was thrilled when his oldest brother got married to his wife, Noriko, because her cooking was so much better than MIL’s. Noriko is from Saitama and the family worried that a ‘city girl’ wouldn’t fit in with their country ways. It turned out that Noriko is even more ‘traditional’ than folks are in that area. The first time she hung out some washing, all in precision formation, MIL’s sister commented: “Noriko puts you to shame! The mother-in-law should learn from the daughter-in-law!”

We had a giggle over this-I could never get the hang of hanging out laundry in the ‘correct’ Japanese style, either. In fact, I just toss mine straight into the dryer these days. MIL says she would like to get a dryer, too, but thinks that Noriko might not approve!

All Articles
Birthday Parties
Book Stores
Cleaning Secrets
Did you know? (8)
Did you know? (9)
Football In Japan
Gaijin Mama - 7 5 3
Gaijin Mama - New Year
Gaijin Mama - PTA Mama
Gaijin Mama - Potty Problems
Gaijin Mama - Shiny Kids
Gaijin Mama - Tanshin Funin
Gaijin Mama: Cram School
Gaijin Mama: Hello Kitties
Gaijin Mama: Sports Day
Gaijin Mama: Summer School
Gaijin Mama: The Bike Brigade
Gaijin Mama: Valentines Day
Gajin Mama: Holiday Season
Gajin Mama: What's for Lunch
Hot Tips
Hot Tips: Issue 6
Hot Tips: Issue 7
Martial Arts in Japan
Photo Tips
Roving Rep: Issue 4
Roving Rep: Issue 5
Roving Rep: Issue 3
Roving Rep: Issue 6
Roving Rep: Issue 7
Roving Rep: Issue 10
Roving Rep: Issue 11
Roving Rep: Issue 12
Roving Rep: Issue 13
Roving Rep: Issue 14
Roving Rep: Issue 15
Roving Rep: issue 9
Roving Reporter
Shopping: Gotemba Mall
Shopping: Hypermarkets
Shopping: Mashiko Pottery
Shopping: Palette Town
Swimming Lessons

Louise George Kittaka is from New Zealand and is a freelance editor, writer and teacher. She lives in Japan with her husband and three children.