Sunday, 20 July 2014
A Day in the Life of a Japanese Housewife
So I have been living with my inlaws for a month now.
It's going more smoothly as we have worked out who needs what when, and all got used to each other's excentricities, so to speak and have come to an understanding of who will do what around the house.
Since I am 35 weeks along, I'm not encouraged to help with the housework, but I do wash dishes, vacuumm, hang out our washing and keep our room tidy along with the odd bit of cooking as well as looking after Amelia as everyone is pretty busy during the day.
Anyway, my MIL is 70 years old. This is a typical day for her.
In addition to being a housewife she also helps my FIL with growing melons and long potatoes for sale as well as other vegetables and rice for themselves. I should add that my SIL lives here in the same house too and another SIL and BIL live next door. They combine their cooking and shopping so one person does cooking for everyone (5-6 adults and one child), which usually turns out to be my MIL as everyone else goes out to work.
5-5:30am: Get up and start cooking breakfast which must include at least rice and big pot of miso soup, some kind of fish, egg omellete and sausages. Occasionally fried chicken....mmmm.
6-9 am: Household chores such as lunch prep, washing dishes, hanging up loads and loads of wet clothes (Farming is dirty work) and perhaps mopping, vacuumming, other cleaning activities.
9-12: Farming activities. In summer my MIL and FIL are very busy with their melon houses and other vegetables. It's hot in the green houses and also hot outside so it really is hard work.
12:00 Lunch time. FIL burns a lot of energy farming so needs a big lunch (He is generally at it from about 6am or so in the summer, I'd also like to mention this is something he has taken up since he retired and has become a full time job), so MIL dishes up more rice and miso soup, left overs from breakfast and perhaps one or two other things she has whipped up.
13:00-14:00 After washing up and catching up on the midday soap opera, a nap for an hour or so.
14:00-17:30 Back out farming, shopping, perhaps visiting a friend or going to one of her many hobby classes in calligraphy or painting.
18:00 Get dinner on the table. This usually consists of multiple dishes, also lots of vegetables and fruit. She seems to eat as she cooks, sitting down to eat something she just cooked while other things are frying on the stove behind her.
19:30 Clean up kitchen, prep for tomorrow's breakfast, painting or writing for class homework, folding mountain of washing.
21:00 In bed. Gotta get some sleep to do it all again tomorrow.
Do you feel as tired as I do reading all that? This is obviously her summer timetable, winter is a bit more quiet with no melons to look after. But she also likes to make a lot of things herself such as pickled Japanese plums (Umeboshi), Miso, jam to name some of them. She gives 15 kilo Amelia piggy back rides, and chased Sebastian down the road the other day no problem when he managed to escape and chase a cat.
You might think, well what's everyone else doing? They should be helping out round the house too. And I have to say everyone does their bit. FIL is busy doing most of the heavy farming but he also a member of the fishing group and has to help put out their net and haul in the catch quite often in summer and is the chairman of the community centre = lots of meetings, family representative at funerals and memorial services of which there are many in a traditional neighbourhood like this. BIL brings home all kinds of nearly passed used by date goodies from his job at a store where he works crazy hours and SILs help with cooking and cleaning when they are home in the evening and weekends. So basically I am the weakest link at the moment, but since I am growing a whole entire person inside my own body, I get to take it easy especially since my MIL especially doesn't want anything to happen to her unborn grandchild!
Me, not earning my keep!