I'm pooped. After 2 and a half weeks in Ehime, it's good to be back to Tokyo and my old routine. I was getting pretty tired of being told by my future in-laws that, basically, I'm not feminine/thin/submissive/pregnant/competent enough to be a Japanese man's bride, but I shouldn't feel bad about it because the mom and a few distant relatives made it their personal goal to try to mold me into the perfect daughter-in-law. Here are some choice quotes from the last few days, which is really when it got bad:
"You shouldn't hug your fiancee in front of people. That sort of thing should be done in private."
"It isn't right to poke fun at your fiancee. The man should always be above the wife."
"Oh Brooke, you already have a dog! You can't get a cat-- what will you do when you have your baby?" (funny because I'm not pregnant and I don't plan to be for another few years after we find steadier employment and save up... and my MIL has been told this a thousand times)
"Goddamn you're fat."
MIL: "I suppose your mother taught you to cook?"
ME: "No, actually, I taught myself."
MIL: "What?? How did you do that? Why didn't she teach you?"
ME: "I've always just experimented until I get something right. When we were growing up, my brother wanted to be a chef, so Mom always had him help out."
MIL: "But... but you're a girl and he's a BOY..."
ME: "......" (sexist much?)
"You Americans eat so much meat. That is why Americans are all fat. Japanese food is much healthier-- this konjac for example has zero calories! Very filling, won't make you fat. Now, to prepare the konjac you'll first need to pour three cups of sugar on it..."
"Brooke! You need to line up your shoes against the step in the entryway! This is Japan, we Japanese make sure our shoes are lined up." (meanwhile her son/my fiancee's shoes are upside-down and in the middle of the entry, but she doesn't say anything to him)
"Seriously, your thighs must have a circumference of at least a meter. Your bust definitely does."
MIL: "So then, you don't cook seafood at home?"
ME: "No, I don't like seafood, and I can't really cook it if I don't know what it's supposed to taste like. The smell alone makes me sick."
MIL: "So how will you feed your child fish?"
ME: "Uh... my unborn future child? I guess go to a restaurant so I can order non-fish and my fiancee can order fish, as we do now."
MIL: "You mean you expect your family to have to eat RESTAURANT food???"
ME: "...Well yeah, what's wrong with eating out?"
MIL: "In Japan we believe that families should eat home-cooked meals at home. Didn't your mother cook every meal when you were a child?"
ME: "My mom and dad both worked full-time. Despite that my mom cooked MOST meals but when she was tired we had no problem with eating out. She got to have a break and relax and we liked the atmosphere change anyway."
MIL: "Well, you know what they say about children who don't eat home-cooked meals. They get fat."
ME: "...... I don't agree with that statement." (it was, without a doubt, my mom's delicious food that made me a fat teen)
MIL: "Just promise me you'll be a good wife. Now pour some sugar on those apple slices, would you?"
That last one really pissed me off. My mom was an awesome mom, and she was a better cook than my future MIL because she could cook more than just one type of food, and my mom's food was legendary among my friends. But my mom owns and runs a very old bookstore and was the main breadwinner for our family, and DESPITE that she did the traditional wife-chores. How dare my future MIL insult her because maybe two days a week we ate out.
I also didn't appreciate that they assume I can't cook because I don't feel like gutting a fish every once in a while. I can't bake, but that's because I didn't get an oven until a year ago and, for all the comments I got about being fat and eating cake all the time (I don't!), I don't bake because I don't actually feel like making a cake for just myself, especially when I don't really eat cake very often. And while I still make mistakes, I've only been cooking regularly for about three years now, but what I can make is plenty varied and still pretty good, even if I can't make some of the more basic Japanese meals. AND the only reason I don't cook every day is because Hero sometimes doesn't get home from work until 9:30 at night, and on those nights I usually eat before him.
Sorry to vent my frustrations here... normally I do that on my livejournal but I thought a lot of you girls who fantasize about marrying visual kei guitarists or whatever would like to know that if you marry into a semi-prominent family from an island 500 miles from any metropolis, you'd better be stick thin and like seafood, and you better pop out babies the second the wedding ring slips over your knuckle.
I actually like my future in-laws, for the most part (I get along with the dad really well despite his calling me fat, and my sister-in-law who married into the family is a blessing for me because she is the only one who understands why I'm always stressed out), but as soon as Hero got into town the mother switched into MIL MODE and it got to the point where on the last day I just nodded and smiled. I am so super appreciative that they let me stay with them during the scares and all, but she really needed to just back off those last few days.
I'll post something art relevant in the next few days. Right now I'm having to clean up the house, which is in ruins, and re-stock our cabinets and fridge.
Mood: Daily Needs
Reading: D. Gray-man vol. 10