Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Adjusting To A Different Life

We enjoyed the time together immensely mainly because when I first arrived in Japan Tom had to work and actually put in additional hours, so we really didn't have a chance to bond as much as we should have.

I got into a routine of rising early with Tom, fixing coffee, toast for breakfast...seeing him off for the day.  I turned my attention to the house.  Several of the rooms were made with tatami mats so those could be swept with ease...there were large sliding glass doors on all the rooms...leading to an outside veranda..so sweeping everything right out the doors was an easy task to fullfill.  The floors actually stayed very clean because of not wearing any shoes in the house.  Oh that I could adopt that here...wonderful rule!

We had a small kitchen with a table that was big enough for two to eat at...the refrigerator was tiny by today's standards...which meant that we had to shop often and basically used fresh not frozen foods.  At the far end of the kitchen there was a small tiled room which was the "o-furo" or Japanese bath.  You basically washed yourself outside of the tub, poured water over you and then soaked in a hot tub.  The first time that I lit the gas jets for the tub I waited too long and the blast back burnt all the hair off my right arm....boy, I learned in a hurry how to do it correctly.

This little western style house was really very cute, there were four of the same style and we shared a courtyard.  The neighbors were basically friendly, a little reserved because I didn't speak too much Japanese at that point. Almost all the women with children stayed home and tended house, shopping, cleaning etc.  Some days, my motherinlaw (Oba-san) would travel in from Tamagawa to visit us, we managed to speak to each other through limited words and drawing pictures.

After several weeks of being home I was really bored.  I had my secretarial experience to fall back on and told Tom that until we had children I would really like to go back to work.  Tom had learned of an American engineering company that needed a part-time secretary...it wasfor Wean Engineering, I applied and got the job.  I worked only three days a week but it helped us financially and also helped with the boredom.  Then Tom's company, Okura & Co., needed someone to work with the young executives that were going abroad...to help improve their English Conversation. So I found myself, once again, a volunteer...three nights a week at the Okura offices.  It was very interesting to deal with young men the same age as myself, but with a different view of the world.

I decided the best way to teach them would be for everyone to read the English newspaper, at least the top stories and then we would discuss them at length.  Well, of course, I found myself having to defend America on many occasions first because of the Viet Nam War and then we had the spy plane incident with Korea....so you can imagine how lively the english conversation went.  None of us lost control though.

Shortly after this, we discovered that we were going to have a baby!  Both Tom and I were so happy!  I continued to work until it became uncomfortable to travel the bus and trains......then I applied myself to preparing for baby.  My folks were happy to hear my news this would be the first grandbaby on both sides.....although my Mom told me she felt she was too young at 42 to be a grandmother.......

 

8 comments:

magogos said...

Your story is so interesting-I feel as if I've been give a glimpse of not only your life, but of Japan at that time. Thank you. Margo

kimbellina1957 said...

THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE JOURNALS. WHEN I GET AN ALERT ON IT I COME STRAIGHT OVER.:) CANT WAIT TO GET ANOTHER ALERT......HINT HINT...:)
KIM.

astaryth said...

I just discovered your journal... Thank you for leaving a link in mine! I've only had time to read a couple of entries, and I am hooked! I put the journal on alert, and when I have a little more time I want to come back and read from the beginning. You write very well. Not only is your story engaging, but I find the glimpses of Japanese culture intriguing. My boyfriend spent most of his childhood overseas at various embasies, and a good bit of that time in Japan. He actually speaks Japanese! I can't wait to share this Journal with him.
http://journals.aol.com/astaryth/AdventuresofanEclecticMind

wildblueiris said...

What a beautiful life :-)  Thank you for leaving the link to your journal in mine!  I am enjoying reading it, very much...

justaname4me2 said...

Wow! That must have been so amazing to be in such a different world. The closest I've gotten out of the USA is Alaska and Tijauna Mexica lol. I imagine it was exciting and scary for you. Your right about your going back through your memories. I find that one of the best ways, writing memories, to re-feel all that has happened in your life.
I'll be back to see what happened next. Alert is hit!
Rebecca

stressskitty said...

Thank you for the cheerful sharing of your bat stories to my journal.  LOL.  I enjoyed reading through your journal as well.  Years ago, I had a different job and a co-worker that was very interested in martial arts and the japenese culture.  I learned an incredible amount from him about Japan and I am always interested now to hear more.  There is such a vast difference in the 2 countries.  I have you saved to favorites   :)

cltaylor2 said...

thank you for visiting my journal.  I like the stories you share in yours.  Your life sounds interesting.  I've traveled with work and life but never lived off the east coast.  Now I'm a stay to home mom with two boys.  Oh by the way my sister made my mother a granmother when my mom was 38 and she loved it.  I'm sure mom did too.  Now my mom is 49 years old with 9 grandchildren.  She's young enough to have a blast with all of them.  Thanks again for stopping by my journal.  I'll visit yours again.
Cindy

dcmeyer420 said...

I really enjoyed reading your Journal entry. I went back to the first one you wrote to get the feel and background to your entry. My family love the Japanese culture. We often eat Japanese food and my children's favorites are tempura and chicken katsu. My children are also into animes, Japanese martial arts, and Japanese history especially ones about ronins. They were exposed to the Japanese culture while we were stationed in Hawaii. Actually, we are saving our money so we can go there this summer. The kids do not know it yet, but I know they will be delighted when the time to leave for Japan comes. We'll probably do the tourist bit and stay in Tokyo.