Wednesday, July 26, 2006

How Can You See The Future With Your Head Down?

Needing some fresh air and to hang out some laundry (Poor little Sophie could hardly keep anything down yesterday. I am not talking a little spit up I am talking all over the rocking chair, her, me and the floor. I had to change us both at least three times, thus the laundry pile up.) I ventured out onto the veranda last night around nine.

The cool breeze felt good and so I lingered even after all the laundry was hung. On the street below, a line of business men all with their suit jackets thrown over one arm, ties off, top button undone followed in almost a perfect line across the crosswalk and onwards to the train station. No one was talking, they were all looking down as if willing their tired, scuffed shoes to walk the last few paces to the station.

The stereotype that Japanese people are hardworkers who stay up until all hours for the good of the company, is to a large extent true. If you are business man in Japan, you are at your company's beck and call twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. I know that most of these men are working hard to provide for their families, but balance seems to be missing.

Hubs sleeps with his company issued cell phone in case something, somewhere happens and they need something quick. What with the phone calls and e-mails he phone is hardly ever quiet. And of course, there must be call waiting to interupt the call at least once. How can you have a family life, the people you are working so hard to support, when you can never fully leave the stress of work behind. As long as you have that phone, they can find you- anytime, anywhere (and beleive me they do!)

This is not to say that I fault my husband for this. He works really hard at being a good employee and a good father and husband, but I feel sorry that he has to be pulled in so many directions and feel the only thing he can do about it is dream of moving to America where he hopes life will be easier for all of us.

He pictures summer BBQs, playing catch in our own front yard, getting to tuck the kids in bed on weekday nights, leaving the office at the office and breathing in the American Dream. I dream of Wal-Mart, Target and Taco Bell. (Just kidding, well, kinda.)

Our family has yet to find that perfect balance, but we aren't giving up just yet. I was so relieved when Hubs came home last night- jacket and tie still on, top button buttoned and a smile and kiss for me. Still there is the faith, the hope in both of us that makes each day, each cross a little easier to bear.


Tammy said...

I have always heard about the hard workers...Honda has a plant here nearby...I think they clash with the American workers a lot because of differing work ethics!
Hope ya'll all get better soon!!
I cannot imagine life without Walmart...well I can but small town shopping is chased off when they move to town!

Trisha said...

Tammy- I had a friend that went to the States to work after working in Japan for about five years. She said she didn't know what to do with all the free time and felt lazy just working nine to five. She got a gym membership, joined a book club and signed up for sveral classes at the local college just to fill the void!