25 May, 2016

Japanese women's joy

Two older ladies approached one another at the station, left hands raised up as if to give one another high fives. Their cheerful greetings rang out as they closed the several metres between them. They ended up not clapping hands but clasping hands in the same way that Australian female friends might hug one another. 
Later, across the carriage from me two ladies in their 50s or 60s carried on a relaxed happy conversation. 

I've been out on the trains today. Travelling around during the day on trains in Tokyo is not the lonely experience it can be in Brisbane. There are still plenty of people around and you still often don't get a seat, but there's also plenty of space between those standing. It's more casual than the rush and squish hours. I find it particularly delightful to watch friends enjoy one another, to see the joy in relationships that you don't always connect to Japan. Sure, some of it is not heartfelt, but often it seems safe to assume these older ladies have known each other a long time and are very comfortable in each other's company. 

Yesterday I read an article about Japanese women, portraying the older generation especially in a different light to how you might imagine. I read a book about Japanese women back in 2009 and pulled out some points in a blogpost that are remarkably similar to what's in this article. Especially, 
(Japanese) Women have had considerable freedom. With their husbands earning the wage that supports the household and being away most of the time (for example 6am to 9 or 10 pm hasn't been unusual), their wives have the freedom to do what they want with their time.
I'm still happy to be an Australian woman with a husband who comes home by about 5pm and with whom I have a mutual, loving relationship. However it's good to have some more insight into the lives that the Japanese women around me lead, especially the joy they have in relationships with one another.

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