Five Perks of Being Married to a Japanese Salaryman
Like many Japanese salarymen, YJ works late. A lot. And then has a long commute on top of that. It often sucksーwe can’t eat together, or go anywhere… He almost only ever sees me in my pajamas: when he leaves for work and when he comes home. (And it’s not because I’m not dressed before 10am, I swear!)
There are however some perks to dealing with the Japanese salaryman lifestyle! And when I think about it positively, it’s actually not so badーas long as he gets to take his days off like he should. So I made a list of the things that are good about him working late.
1. I get to spend the evening out with my friends, undisturbed
I can meet up with friends for dinner or drinks without having to rush home and cook or feel bad about leaving him at home on his lonesome. (And we all know what he’d be eating if left to his own devices…the ramen fiend in him is strong!) I appreciate that I can still maintain my social life outside of the two of us, as I think that’s important. Even though I’ve been a bit of a hermit lately, it’s been more because of work and study than anything else. Which leads me to my next point…
2. I can work or study at home until late
Similar to reason 1 in the sense that I can spend the time as I want, his is particular to being at home to work and study. Our apartment isn’t so big (understatement of 2015?), and YJ has a tendency to talk/ask questions a lot when we’re together. Which is fine if I’m just surfing online or reading, but it can be frustrating when I need to concentrate and gets things done before a deadline.
3. I have time to cook something nice for both of us
Even if I work or am out a bit late in the evening, YJ always calls before he leaves the office. Since I know it takes him about an hour and a half to get home I have time to put some food together by the time he gets home. This is especially good now that I’m working from homeーI’m too lazy to cook something “just” for myself during the day and generally eat leftovers or something quick and easy. The leftovers I eat are usually from what I cooked for YJ the night before, so it works out pretty well! Ideally we’d be eating the same food at the same time together, but not much opportunity for that except on days off lately.
4. I can rock out to whatever music I want to
This may seem like a minor point for some, but I live and breathe music. It helps me think, focus, and just feel good. However, YJ and my music tastes could not be more different! He likes R’n’B, hip hop and classical baroque, and I’m more of a rock, punk and metal girl. I’ll listen to pretty much anything, but I’m a bit more selective when I want to listen “for fun”. His music tends to bore me and mine terrifies him. I usually listen using my earphones anyway (I’m pretty sure my neighbor downstairs is pretty into K-pop, so I don’t think he’d like my music either) but it’s hard to do when YJ is around. (See nr 2!) Especially if I’ve got something really heavy, like Crossfaith, he thinks I’m ignoring him while I’m in fact just unintentionally drowning him out. (Actually, he’s given me a shock a number of times because I’ve not heard him come in!)
5. It makes me appreciate the time we do have together more
Since we don’t have much time to spend just the two of us, I make an effort to be more present when we do have that precious time together and make the most of it. I don’t check my phone (unless it’s something really urgent for work), and try to keep our day together free of other plans or deadlines. I’m more generous with my time and attention that I would be otherwise, and so is YJ.
Bonus: I can both have my cake and eat itーliterally.
Lina from My Hong Kong Husband mentioned this in her post about her husband being away on business trips a lot. I can eat my favorite sweets and YJ won’t have a clue (unless I give myself away by not getting rid of the evidence!). He doesn’t mind really, but of course he worries about my health if he thinks I’m eating too many snacks or sweets… Or if I’ve accidentally eaten his portion of something we both like. (If I eat *all* of it, he won’t notice I ever bought it, right…? Right. Totally guilt-free treats! That’s some serious Ri-logic right there for you.) Also related, Marta of Marta Lives in China also wrote about her “short” long distance relationship with her boyfriendーshe lives in Shanghai during the week and returns to Suzhou during the weekends.
While I’d of course prefer to spend more time every day with YJ, looking at the perks of being able to live a bit more independently, it’s not a bad deal at all. ^^ And who knows, things may change in the future, so I better get all that study, work and socializing done while I can! (Actually, I know things the current typical Japanese salaryman status won’t go on forever… Perhaps one of the reasons I’m able to see the positive side of things!)
Do you have, or are you a partner that spends a lot of time away from home and family? Are there any perks for you?