Saturday, March 01, 2008

Holding hands

Oh goodness. I do want to write about this today?
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.

Kissing?! Hah! I am allowed to walk Tetsu to the car and wave him on his way to work.

"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!


Fran said...

:-) this explains so much about Japan and the Japanese!

Elaine Adair said...

What a lovely dear story, in addition to the plain explanation. Thank you.

Mary said...

I don't know what Keith's excuse is as he isn't Japanese but he always shakes his hand loose after a couple minutes. It can't be that he doesn't want to show affection because he has no problem kissing me in public.

Love the quilts in your show and tell post. Carolina Lily and Nine patch are favorites of mine and what a cute gift - I need to make myself a needle case. I've seen several cute patterns.

Denise (Nour) said...

This is such a heart warming story! It put a smile on my face. You and Tetsu were SO meant for each other!

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Lovely story and interesting insight. There was something on our news recently about how Valentine's Day is becoming popular in Japan and that public displays of affection are simply not acceptable. When I think of our youth around here that go far beyond hand holding in would be nice for some balance!!

The Calico Quilter said...

Thank you for another insight on Japanese life As for PDAs? Oh, I SO agree with Jane. What you see going on between teenagers at the mall and such. I'm not really a prude but, mercy!

Shelina said...

Such a lovely story. It is hard to get a good balance with public displays of affection.

Beth said...

Oh you made me GIGGLE! My husband is WAY not Japanese (his mom's family was Swedish, so we have lots of blonds!), but he MUST be in his heart! HIS excuse is his military background...I could take his ARM,,but he could not EVEN hold an umbrella for me! HAND HOLDING???? KISSING IN PUBLIC??? Heck, even after 28 yrs of marriage, he even walks ahead,with his long legs, not waiting for me! lolol ( he will wait for me at home tho! hehehehehe!) MEN! HA!

meggie said...

What a delightful post! Makes me really smile.

Anonymous said...

oh, how cute!

recently i read about how there's a "schoo" (i forget it's name) for husbands to learn how to show their love and appreciation for their wives. one exercise would be to publicly yell out "I Love You!" to their wife. this seems to be a new thing to encourage husbands to be able to show feelings for their spouse.

kim ^^