I'll have you know, on our very first date, Tetsu and I held hands. So what? 30 years ago this was unusual in Japan and Tetsu thought me quite the forward girl. Actually we were on a skating rink and I couldn't skate so I took his hand. Tetsu and I met in the winter and the season had a lot to do with how our romance went. I was fresh from sunny Southern California and living in very cold Morioka, Japan. The roads and sidewalks were icy. I was constantly slipping and falling so when Tetsu turned up at my side... well, I grabbed onto his hand and I still have it!
The first couple years of dating, on the weekends Tetsu and I wandered around holding hands even after the snow melted. On weekends. If perchance we should meet during the weekday when he would escape from his office to a coffee shop lunch wearing a suit, then NO HANDHOLDING! At first I felt rebuked that this young man I was falling for would shoo my hand away like it was a vicious dog!
"In Japan we do not hold hands in public and especially during work hours."
Well, he had obliged me enough to hold my hand in public on the weekend (even Tetsu realized that by becoming involved with a foreigner he'd have to make allowances) but not when he was an upcoming businessman.
After we were married the tune has never stopped.
"Tanya, we do not hold hands in public now that we are married."
"Tanya, we have children now, we do not hold hands in public."
This is getting bad.
"Tanya, consider our age. We do not hold hands in public now that we are in our 50's"
I heard this just the other day.
Ok. I've gotten used to it. I'll still sneak a quick hand holding session on our morning walks with Choco at 6:00 in the morning when it is still dark and no one else is out yet. Occasionally some jr. high student or farmer will pass us and you watch how fast Tetsu can drop my hand!
"Excuse me. I'm your wife! If you were holding hands with some other woman I could understand your reaction but you belong to me!"
I'm teasing him. He should be happy that I still want to hold hands with him.
"Tanya, no kissing in public."
"I know, I know. Good-bye honorable husband. Battle bravely at your office again today."
And I give him a quiet wave of my hand much like the Queen would give her subjects.
But I do get one public kiss a year. With many sidelong glances and a quick peck, Tetsu sees me off at the limousine bus when I make a trip to the States. I guess he thinks if he didn't accommodate me I might not come back!