Thursday, November 25, 2010

Family Life

Before I start I want to give a slight disclaimer:  My host family is comprised of a Japanese mother, a Mexican-American father, and their 8 year old son.  So, my experience with a Japanese family may differ slightly than what others experience. 

In my Japanese culture class we examined the traditional ie household construct and different gender roles within the home.  There was a lot of emphasis placed upon the dad being the sole breadwinner, and not coming home until very late in the evening (because of the pressure to drink with his colleagues after work hours).  The mother was also portrayed as a very 'housewife', often overindulging the husband and children with her efforts.

When I heard that I was being placed with a family with an American father I figured this wouldn't be true for some reason.  I find that a lot of the stereotypes do hold true though.

{{ my host family minus my host mom }}
The mom really does play a role that I would describe as very traditional housewife.  She works, but she is also nearly the sole caretaker of all household related things.

This is a little different for me, considering my upbringing.  My parents equally split the chores, I would say.  My dad does laundry and tidying.  My mom does the scrubbing aspects and the cooking.  They both work full-time.

My host mother does have a job, but she works only until midafternoonish (maybe 2-3).  She wakes up around 4am each morning to prepare breakfast and to clean the house.  She then wakes Daichi up at 5:30 and does other things around the house (including waking up my host father) until she leaves between 7 and 8am.  When she gets home she often already has purchased things for dinner, and starts on that.  She also does the laundry daily.

As for the work that my host father does, he mostly leaves the house when I am asleep and comes back late in the evening.  He does vacuum the house on weekends, but other than that he doesn't appear as if he has any household chores.  I'm not sure what kinds of hours he works because he works a variety of English teaching jobs, but they do seem extensive.

Sometimes I think a family structure similar to my own would be preferable (mostly when my host mom is so stressed out she makes me feel stressed out), but then I remind myself that they lifestyle they live is the one that they chose.  I'm sure it is what works best for them under their individual circumstances.  I am, however, looking forward to being within my comfort zone again.  Even though I've become quite comfortable here.

As for the house itself, I'm pretty sure it's typical of 'modern' Japanese homes.

There are two tatami rooms and the rest are hardwood.  The bathroom is a typical Japanese bath, and the kitchen just has a two burners and a small stove.  My room is a hardwood floor and the room that the rest of the family sleeps in is a tatami room.
{{   the exterior of the house }}

{{  my room  }}

I would like to include pictures of the rest of the house, but I also want to respect my host family's privacy :3

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