One of the more enduring Japanese stereotypes, no not the wide-eyed wonder on knowing, you the gormless foreigner can actually manipulate ‘hashi’ (chopsticks) with the dexterity to eat, it is what I hear from women who are amazed I can prepare a meal for myself.
The latest was last week as one of the women next to me asked if it was I who prepared the lunches I eat at work everyday. When told I do, I could have just as well have told her I also discovered the laws of physics.
Cooking isn’t magic. As a latch key kid, I learned at an early age (not without stumbles) how to prepare meals; skills reinforced by life in Japan.
Why Japanese women feel men are clueless in the kitchen is that for the most part, Japanese men are indeed clueless in the kitchen, and I should add, pretty much around the entire home, which gives rise to the Japanese term,濡れ落ち葉, or wet fallen leaves, which describes retired Japanese men, who have had no life outside their employment and now have nothing to do with their lives and just sit around the house.
For me, the wide-eyed marvel at my ability to prepare a meal isn’t complementary, but condescending and dare I say sexist?
Sure preparing lunch very early in the morning, 5 times a week is a pain, but given we only have 30 minutes for lunch and the very high DC sales taxes what other choice do I have?