Help (and Lack Thereof)


I’ve learned to live without it.

I’ve been in Japan long enough to know most Japanese husbands here don’t readily offer it. I’ve been with my Japanese husband long enough to know that usually I’m better off when he doesn’t help, since he tends to just end up unhappy with the way I do/fail to do things around the house.

On a day like today, though, when I wake up with a sore throat, cough, and fever and have to spend the day caring for one child with the flu and another one who is absolutely fine and therefore bored? A little help would be appreciated.

My husband is no dope (usually.) He made his own breakfast (progress!), left the dishes in the sink (evolution takes time, I suppose) and decided he would stay home today since I obviously wasn’t up to the task.

But then she called.

MIL, that is. She wanted to know how Me First was feeling, and when HRH mentioned he would be staying home for the day she quickly offered to come over and help. Of course he didn’t really want to stay. A day at a home filled with flu-like sickness and playing dolls with Me Too vs a day out in the stimulating, work-a-day world? Is that even a choice?

HRH quickly changed into his economic warrior uniform suit, and left the house.

A few minutes later, MIL calls to say she will come by around three. After her flower arrangement class.



It’s fine if she doesn’t want to help. Really. We have the flu; I’d rather her not be here. (Actually, I would also rather not be here.) What I can’t understand is why she would interfere when HRH is willing to help. And then not follow through. Again.

You see, this is a pattern of behavior. 1) A few months ago, HRH offered to stay home when I hurt my neck, MIL insisted it wasn’t necessary because she would help, then spent the whole day out scrapbooking. 2)A few months before that, he had registered some big, bulky garbage items to be picked up (cause you have to do that here,) and ended up being gone on the day the garbage man came. They were things like a heater and a high chair that would be hard for me to carry down three flights of stairs and to the curb by myself. “No problem!” MIL says, surely we can carry them together. However on the day the stuff has to be put out she was MIA….

Any one event I could overlook, and when my head stops pounding and my fever goes down maybe I’ll be able to think about it more clearly. Right now I just want to sleep. And dream about how nice it would be if I could have some. Help, that is.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sherbet and Sparkles
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 06:31:43

    Surely it’s not a Japanese husband thing but a husband thing?! Though your MIL does sound crazy haha


  2. gaijinwife
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 08:47:45

    fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!! That would drive me bloody INSANE. Here its the opposite – if hub offers to stay home Granny K goes running :)

    Hope you’re feeling better soon.


  3. suucakes
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 01:24:47

    Feel better!! And being from an Asian family, I can’t help but notice that yes, the men don’t, can’t, and sometimes simply won’t help around the house. My mother, sister and I always do chores, but the men will either sit around and watch us do the work or mess it up horribly. Asian culture is gorgeous from the outside, but when you’re on the inside of the rice-eating community, it’s a whole different story…


  4. illahee
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 08:49:11

    wut? i mean seriously, WHARGARBLE!! (sorry, i’m behind on my reading. do you mind if i put your blog on my blog roll?) i really hope you let your husband know when he got home and next time, under the penalty of DEATH, is he to leave you to the ‘help’ of his mother. seriously, my head probably would have exploded.

    (on the other hand, my MIL is next to useless, which my husband understands, so A. he never would have left and agreed to it and B. i wouldn’t have wanted her, anyway, and would have just muddled through by myself.)

    hope you are doing much better now!


  5. illahee
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 08:50:28

    sorry, i meant your husband is *NOT* to leave you to the care and ‘help’ of his mother. i am incoherent in rage. thus, WHARGARBLE!


  6. Kym
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 16:24:22

    Just discovered your blog. Great reading, and all good to know as I’m in a similar situation in Kamakura, tho thank $&!? my crazy MIL is in another prefecture and not close enough to meddle so much. Is yours one of these crazy oldies who thinks a man should never do “women’s work”, and that’s why she sabotages hub’s efforts, do u think? Mine gets annoyed if I buy my son “girl’s” toys. Even more reason to do it ;)


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