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People turn to advice column to air quirky family concerns


"My husband and I live together with his parents," the 29-year-old woman writes in Shukan Gendai (June 19). "My in-laws have been tolerant of my unfamiliarity with housework, and my mother-in-law in particular has been a big help, doing the cooking and cleaning while I was pregnant."

So what's her problem? After taking a bath, it seems both her in-laws are in the habit of prancing around the house in their underwear.

"My father-in-law puts on trousers but stays bare from the waist up. 'Before, I used to walk around completely naked,' he told me. While I was growing up, not even my own brother and sister ever went around the house in their underwear. My husband said to me, 'Can't you put up with that at least?' But I'm really at a loss about what to do."

Similar tribulations can be read every day in the Yomiuri Shimbun's famous Jinsei Sodan advice column, Japan's equivalent of Dear Abby.

"For over 20 years, my husband has been secretly putting on women's clothes," complains a woman in her 50s. "I tried to talk to him about it, but he just looked down and mumbled, 'I must be sick,' and refused to discuss it further. If he can manage on his own, I want to leave him."

The column's response typically calls for patience and tact.

"This kind of interest is part of your husband's personality, his second nature, so to speak," the counselor advises. "I suppose you can't make him stop. . . If you have no other problems, I think the best thing is to accept that your husband has a kinky aspect to his personality and leave it at that."

One of the column's contributors, Keisen University Professor Masami Ohinata, says she replies to seven or eight letters at a time. Reviewing and rewriting the drafts typically takes her at least four to five days.

The dozen sample letters appearing in Shukan Gendai range from a married woman embarrassed over an old tattoo she got during her wild youth to a husband flustered over his wife's pachinko addiction. Complaints over the behavior by in-laws seem to be most common.

"My father-in-law, who became a widower two years ago, came to live with us," writes a 54-year-old woman. "We never hear a peep from his room, and he's meticulous in the bath and toilet. The problem is, two or three times a week he goes to a sex shop."

How does she know this? The shop provides pickup services for customers in a large foreign car with out-of-prefecture license plates.

"The driver, a young man with dyed hair, rings the doorbell and Dad nonchalantly says, 'Well, I'm off.' When a neighbor asked me what was going on, I just told them I had no idea," she says.

When poking around in the old boy's briefcase, the daughter-in-law also found a business card from the shop with 'Hope you'll come again' scrawled in a young female's handwriting.

"When I brought it up with my husband, he said, 'It's no big deal,' and wouldn't discuss it any further," the woman rues. "Certainly, no one is being hurt by Dad's going to these places, but if he has that much money to spend, I'd rather he leave it to his grandchildren."

Shigehiko Toyama, professor emeritus at Ochanomizu Women's University, puts a positive spin on dealing with life's annoyances.

"It would be a great mistake to think that a good life is one with no troubles or stumbles," he observes. "Rather, dealing with problems offers us an opportunity to use them as a springboard for development. To do such and such, first of all we have to ponder our next move. Then we ask advice from others. The bigger the negative, the greater a positive that is likely to result."

© Japan Today

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I'm sure the frat boys are making some of this stuff up too. But truth is usually stranger than fiction.

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if he has that much money to spend, I’d rather he leave it to his grandchildren

Maybe he can decide by himself what he wants to do with his money.

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When I get to be this guys age I hope they send a car for me too. Walking might be to strenous.

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Wow! 2-3 times a week. I envy this guy.

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" I think the best thing is to accept that your husband has a kinky aspect to his personality and leave it at that."

Typical "shoganai" japanese syndrome. If its out of the normal, then it is something that needed fixing, or healing.

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If its out of the normal, then it is something that needed fixing, or healing.

Allow me to be the first to say that this is just nonsense. What is "normal" by the way? It sounds like harmless fun for him and if he is not hurting anybody else - he can do what he wants in the privacy of his own home. Healing indeed.

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'When poking around in the old boy’s briefcase, the daughter-in-law.....' perhaps she should mind her own business and stop creeping around looking into people's bags? How would she like it if he looked through her secret possessions? And yes, it's his money to spend as he wants.

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"What is "normal" by the way?"

Just use common sense, which nowadays seems not to exist. Perverted is perverted, end of story.

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1st story--What's the big whop about your FIL walking around without a shirt on?

2nd story--What's the big whop about your husband walking around in a dress once in a while?

3rd story: What's the big whop about your FIL going to a sex shop?

'unfamiliarity with housework'--Come on! You are 29 years old. That thing that sucks up the dirt on the carpet is called a vacuum. Try it!

'meticulous in the bath and toilet'--I don't know what this means and I don't think I want to know!

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Wow, what a bunch of non-problems...

Mayhem, common sense is the primary attribute of totalitarian societies.

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There really should be some sort of qualification required to give this sort of advice:

1 - Their house, their rules. Don't like it? Then move out. 2 - Your husband likes to cross-dress? Then you have two choices: a - Get a divorce. b - Accept it. Indulge his fetish occassionally and have a happier and more sexually satisfied husband. Occassionally hand him a pair of panties to wear throughout the day and enjoy the great sex you'll have that night because he's been turned on the whole day. c - Stop snooping in his private stuff, it's bad manners. He's a grown man, he's not cheating on anyone, and he's respectful enough to not do it in your house. Show him a similar level of respect. If the foreign car pulling up bothers or embarasses you then offer to drive him down and pick him up yourself, or discuss it like adults and offer to drop him off at a neutral location a bit away from the house. His money is his own to spend, but if you're concerned about his finances then discuss it with him and make sure he's not being conned or otherwise taken advantage of. This situation isn't going to resolve itself by just writing to a columnist, you need to talk like two sensible adults.

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c should be 3.

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Not a foreign car!

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haha, 1, 2, c. I do that all the time

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Frungy, I think I see a job opportunity for you here!

Seriously, these complaints all seem rather tame to me. The complainers should just sit down and have a chat with the offenders, that might resolve all of the problems. And none of the 'shouganai' nonsense - a real discussion about the issue.

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Unfamiliarity with housework? It isn't exactly rocket science. Unbelievably lazy!

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i pity the woman who is married to the gay person.... there is a great chance that he could be arrested for stealing underwear and will embarass himself and the whole family...

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You got me confussed. Where is the story about the gay person. You mean the cross-dresser, that is not gay.

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Um @LoveUSA, I'm confused as well. Cross-dressing, and especially in such a minute way, does not equal being gay. Look at Eddie Izzard.

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Or Boy George, etc lots of famous cross-dresses out there too.

Granted a shock for the wife as is getting to any fetish/fantasy of your partner you were unaware off.

And lets face we all got our hidden fantasies and maybe even fetishes.

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I think a man who yearns to wear women's clothes is not a real man.

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LoveUSA, that is a rather outdated view dear. Tell me if you can, what makes a man a man?

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wow, I assume that there are crossdressers here who want to believe they are men.

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LoveUSA loves to (incorrectly) label. Cross-dressing, in and of itself, does not meet the definition for being a homosexual. It qualifies as a fetish, nothing more. Additional activites would have to be involved in order to be labeled a homosexual and they all involve preferring partners of the same sex over partners of the opposite sex.

(and on the topic of this article) I'm not the least bit surprised - given the Japanese's reluctance to show even MILD affection in public - that these "problems" published in the paper are very mild. The REAL problems these people face would never get offered up to a stranger and then published for the general public.

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These are all non-issues, gimme a break. I hope they send a car for me too.

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While any one particular fetish, such as cross-dressing, cannot be considered normal, simply having a fetish or weird fantasy of one kind or another is normal.

As for the old guy visiting the sex shop, it's probably good for his physical and mental health.

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Or Boy George, etc lots of famous cross-dresses out there too

Boy George is gay. But I digress.

It's time to call on Dr.Denis Leary

complaint:"My husband likes to dress up in women's clothing."

Dr.Leary: STFU! NEXT!

complaint: My father in law doesn't wear a shirt. I'm embarrassed because his b**bs are bigger than mine.

Dr.Leary STFU! NEXT!

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Cross-dressing, in and of itself, does not meet the definition for being a homosexual

nothing wrong with homosexuals and cross dressers if they practise this quietly like normal people/

The only abnormal thing is paedophilia. Those should be arrested for life.

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Oh man! This reminds me of daytime advice shows. UK: "my daughter is shooting heroin into her eyeballs" Japan: "my daughter in law can`t make good miso soup".

no wonder people here are dropping like flies if this is considered advice-column-worthy problems.

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'nothing wrong with homosexuals and cross dressers if they practise this quietly like normal people'--And you love, should practice your normal heterosexuality quietly in the closet too.

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I'm surprised about the selfishness of that last women with the father in law going to sex shops.. How can she suggest he should save his probably hard earned money for the grandchildren. He's not yet dead and should enjoy the rest of his life in whichever manner he wants to.

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