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The appalling cooking habits of young single women

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When single men look ahead to marriage, says Spa! (May 20), they tend to envision a wife who can cook. That’s one holdover from the days of rigidly defined gender roles that no amount of social evolution seems to overcome.

That led Spa! to wonder: What kind of cooking do working women living alone do for themselves? A little research turned up an answer that maybe their husbands-to-be, if marriage is on their agenda, might not want to know.

“I’m a good cook,” declares Reiko proudly. She’s 29 and works in the clothing business. “Before, when I was really busy at the office, I’d eat nothing but snacks. But I gained 12 kg in a year, and I had to think of my health. So about six months ago, I started cooking.”

Which, for Reiko, turns out to mean buying some vegetables, tossing them into a mixer, and boiling. “I don’t like vegetables,” she explains. “I can only stand them if they’re in liquid state. Chewing is just too much trouble.”

Strange, muses Spa!, that there’s no carving knife anywhere in sight. “Oh, I’m terrified of knives!” gasps Reiko. “You can kill someone with a knife. I either tear the vegetables apart with my hand, or cut them with scissors.”

What does she do for flavor? There are various options. She throws cheese into the mixer, or adds powdered curry to the boiling vegetables -- but best of all: mayonnaise. “The inventor of mayonnaise was a great man!” she exclaims. “Mayonnaise makes anything delicious.”

Meanwhile, Yumiko, 27, works 11-hour days at a security firm. With a schedule like hers, cooking is not a major priority. Neither is eating, it seems, for she makes do with one meal a day. Saving money is her main concern for now, and to that end, she does most of her food shopping at 99-yen shops. Her kitchen is equipped with a toaster and a microwave and very little else, not even a gas cooker.

Coming home starving and exhausted, she got into the habit of wolfing down five servings of pre-cooked rice, with nothing else. But after a time she began to feel uneasy. She feared she was turning into the sort of person for whom quantity mattered more than quality. So she began jazzing up her fare a bit. One thing she came up with is the “natto and tofu omelet.” Here’s the recipe: you mash up some natto and tofu with a fork, mix it with a raw egg or two, and let the microwave do the rest. Trouble is, she admits, the room stinks of natto.

Where does she get her cooking ideas? Spa! wants to know. “Oh,” she replies, “just wandering around the 99-yen shops.”

Our concluding anecdote is of Minako, 24, who works in sales for a maker of electronic appliances. “I get home, I’m just worn out; the last thing I feel like doing is cooking,” she says. That’s understandable, but her reliance on instant stuff is depressing and may be -- no doubt there are other factors as well -- driving her to drink.

“Honestly,” she says, “if I could get by on beer alone, that’d be great, but there’s my stomach to think of, so I eat some dried squid or whatever.” On days off, when (Spa! thinks) she should be catching up on her nutrition, she’s out drinking with friends instead. “Customers at work like my husky voice,” she smiles. “They say it’s cute” -- even if it is caused by alcohol.

Drinking soothes stress but takes its toll: “My savings are down to zero.”

Spa! is not out to tell these women how to live; rather, its message is to young men, and the message is: Gentlemen, learn how to cook, because once you’re married, it looks like you’ll be on your own.

© Japan Today

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

41 Comments
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funny article...you can't make stuff like this up !

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So you mean J-wives are no longer house slaves ? damn them times are changin'

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What a gender stereotype. Reminds me that that oft-maligned reggae song that goes, "If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life..."

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Agree with capone - this article is hilarious! Behold:

"Coming home starving and exhausted, she got into the habit of wolfing down 5 servings of pre-cooked rice, with nothing else... so she began jazzing up her fare a bit. One thing she came up with is the "natto and tofu omelet"... Trouble is, she admits, the room stinks of natto."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

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buying some vegetables, tossing them into a mixer, and boiling. “I don’t like vegetables,” she explains. “I can only stand them if they’re in liquid state. Chewing is just too much trouble.”

So swallowing would be out of the question, then.

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funny article...you can't make stuff like this up

Unless you're Spa.

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Funny how this article attempts to defend itself from gender stereotypes by admitting to them in the opening paragraph!

A note to ANY SINGLE PERSON: learn how to cook if you can't afford to eat well on your own. And if you want to get married, don't make your spouses ability (or inability) a factor, and don't depend on your own to ride things through.

I can cook like it's going out of style (years in restaurants will do that, as well as a love for the arts), and my wife can hardly cook at all; but she didn't marry me for that, and I don't lament marrying her for her lack of culinary skills. Gender doesn't matter any more than the genders certain languages put on nouns; a kitchen is a necessary part of a home not as an institute to keep the members besides oneself, but to eat, and hopefully eat healthy.

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WTF? anybody ever hear of Dominoes? everything a growing boy and girl needs!

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WTF? anybody ever hear of Dominoes?

I have Kichigai, but they never soften up no matter how long I boil them.

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lol, ok that was just too funny. The article too. Great stuff.

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Down here in Okinawa, we have Pizza-La. But you can always get Ramen or Soba pretty cheap. Really, you can eat better being single, but it's tough. I did it for a while.

Now, Minako-san is someone I could get along with:

“Honestly,” she says, “if I could get by on beer alone, that’d be great, but there’s my stomach to think of, so I eat some dried squid or whatever.” On days off, when (Spa! thinks) she should be catching up on her nutrition, she’s out drinking with friends instead.

And she has a husky voice, this might be interesting.....

Addiu

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Wow. I can now understand why the birth rate is down in Japan! I was always under the impression the all of the Japanese were great cooks! I'm single, but I spend oodles of time prepairing my meal. I love good food and I deserve it too. Somebody please help these cooks out.

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oh come on. Japanese woman all go to those cooking and house wife schools before they get married. I heard it many times from them. geez, what a load of garbage this article is.

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"Spa! is not out to tell these women how to live; rather, its message is to young men, and the message is: Gentlemen, learn how to cook, because once you’re married, it looks like you’ll be on your own."

Men will learn how to cook when women lear how to fix a car or mow the lawn, e.g. probably not within the next 200 years.

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also, they sure rounded up the best and brightest for this one, didn't they ?

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funny article...you can't make stuff like this up Unless you're Spa. Oh Nessie - got there before me!!!

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funny article...you can't make stuff like this up

Unless you're Spa.

Oh Nessie - got there before me!!!

(I'll get the hang of these quotes soon. Promise)

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I thought that Japanese girls knew what was "healthy Japanese food". Maybe such dishes are triggering the "metabo" style.

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Thought I'd help the ladies here. It is obvious they need a little more variety in their menu ideas if they ever hope to snag a man with their skills or lack of in the kitchen. Here are some quick easy recipes that will impress anybody and only require three ingredients and are fast and easy to make.

Here is just one scrumptious example to be found here.

Skillet Bean Supper From the frying pan of Anita Willis Ingredients: 1 large can of Baked Beans 1 lb. of Ground Beef

Scramble/fry the ground beef. When nearly done (all browned), stir in the entire can of beans. Serve on slices of bread with salt and pepper.

Ken sez: Serving it on the slices of bread was really a nice gourmet touch! Thanks Anita - with cuisine like this you’re bound to be makin’ some lucky guy happy!

http://www.octanecreative.com/Parodyville/cookin/index.html

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Men will learn how to cook when women lear how to fix a car or mow the lawn,

What's a lawn? And, how many Japanese men do you know who can fix a car - not add accessories and wash it but actually rip the offending piece out, fix it, and put it back?

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sailwind -

That was a lovely recipe, thank you. Being vegetarian I of course omitted the beef, and ended up with beans on toast.

Gochisosama.

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Same in Canada young people do not know how and what to cook so the ones I know run huge bills with Chinese, Pizza and Chicken fast food outlets. I love the story about being afraid or knives and cutting her veggies with scissors ! Loverly. Bertin

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Hee hee hee ' This story had me laughing so hard ' I'm so glad i know how to cook ' Ladies! Better start taking Culinary classes if you want to keep your husbands happy '

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Helpless man seeking helpless woman with a view to a helpless marriage. We will produce equally helpless children, entrust them to a helpless educational system, and then have them graduate from helpless schools and colleges to work for helpless companies. Eating convenience store food because nobody can cook. Ahhhhh "WA", helpless Japan reigns helplessly supreme.

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Japan, long term sell.

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Many a newly married woman has learned how to cook, sometimes through schooling, by reading books, talking with friends & such. Also thanks to some of the cooking programs on TV.

Now being an OLD bachelor I appreciate a hot home cooked meal with a couple or a family. After all they know I have struggled to cook my own & been learning the hard way.

Yes I pick up the cook books myself, but my eating trend is nothing fancy though RARELY will I go to a restaurant & never a greasy spoon place like McDonald & others. Do my own grocery shopping even to point out to the meat manager that while they had a maze of Side Bacon they did not have any Back Bacon, for side-bacon is with to much grease & fat. Milk, eggs, fruit, to vegitables to some other things cost me around $88.00 & should last me a week or longer in some cases for my food panty is pretty well stocked up as is my small deep freeze & normal refridgerator.

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"Gentlemen, learn how to cook, because once you’re married, it looks like you’ll be on your own." - That is the single greatest line in the article, I honestly got a good laugh out of that.

Thinking back on ex g/f's and even the current g/f... NONE of them cooked! Of course they said they did simply to appease my inquiry as to thier cooking ability, but like these women here, Y99, snacks, ready made gruel and fast food, seem to be the normal Tokyo diet.

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How true Twenty4Play plus letting a mother, grandmother or aunt cook up something special, time after time, is not something the daughter can pick up easily through just some watching.

Sort of like if one just watches someone else service or work their motorcycle or car---once that person is no longer aroung the onlooker will not know exactly what the real wrencher did time after time though they sort of remember the wrencher doing the job, but even the workshop manual does not answer the work the other chap did----it is so different to the real thing.

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I live in a college dormitory with over 30 Japanese girls from all over the country. And let me tell you, most of them juggle studies, part time jobs, and cooking without a problem. Some of that food may be a combination of rice with various stews and curries, but by no means are they as pathetic as the two examples I've seen above. I really doubt that this is an article representative of "cooking habits of young single women", unless this article is trying to prove why these women are still single (they don't have much to offer?).

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I'm single working woman, but I think that i cook a little more than that... trouble is I don't like it very much, although my parents do tell me that I cook well. When a woman attends the university you are able to cook once in a while and if you are very organized, you can do it every day with a different combinations of simple and easy-to-cook food. I did it when i was at college, but now that I'm working the rhythm is so fast and stressful that I don't feel cooking but rather to eat out or in places that can serve either fast food or some healthy foods. Besides, for people like me, people that DON'T LIKE IT, it's no use... Sometimes I do like to give a surprise to my friends, parents, etc., by cooking something special, but it is the fact that I don't do it regularly is the think that makes my cooking "special".

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I teach healthy easy cooking to Japanese women, The classes are held in Hiroo at a place called "Amoretto Lounge" if you're interested in holistic cooking or simply healthy cooking please feel free to sign up for a class. Classes are in English with Japanese translation. More information go here: http://www.amorettojp.com/CLASS.htm

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Is there not a saying up like possibly "The way to a man's heart, is through his stomach" or something like that?

Mind you I can see a single woman or a wife that is often working, at another job outside of the house----there is not that much time for her to become the perfect cook.

Possibly one or two answers might be in finding out what a b/friend likes & while it might be at restaurants she could come up with a home made dish of along the same line, but with a personal touch. Believe me it will open up a man's eyes when he realizes it to some other dishes at a later date are to be different yet to his liking. He will have his personal likings in vegitable, to fish to meat, to fowl to who knows what & so often fruit at the end will be to his liking.

The trick is to satisfy him will win over his sole. Bet you good money even if he is asked to help out on something towards THEIR meal he will be more overwhealmed in the woman.

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I must be spoiled! My wife is the only Japanese woman I ever dated so I thought all Japanese women cooked as well as she does! She cooks well and healthy and I wonder how she does it. When we were dating she would come home exhausted from work and in just 15 - 20 minutes have a healthy and tasty 3 course meal for me to wolf down. Itadakimasu!

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The way to my heart is by appreciating my cooking. (And bringing wine.)

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Cleo, an American teaching a Britishwoman how to cook beans on toast? The shame!

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Some Japanese women I know do cook, but they're very careless. For example, one will cook up a nice pot of curry with veggies and meat, but then LEAVE IT ON THE STOVETOP ALL DAY in the heat of summer, and when she comes home, she turns on the gas to heat it up. One pot like this will stay on the stove for up to THREE DAYS. I ask, WTF do you think a fridge is for? Put the pot in the fridge! It fits.

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Yeah, a guy does like a girl who can cook - probably why I put on weight after getting married. But at least both of us can cook. Now it's just a matter of who gets home first. But I'm just ROFLMAO over Reiko and the pureed veggies. Sounds like my grandmother! Maybe she should just buy baby food? I bet you could start an otaku restaurant that served only baby food from girls dressed in diapers and bibs. OK, I'm rambling. But you have to admit this story is that weird....

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I'm lucky, my partner and I are both pretty good cooks. So we are lucky. But even though we both like cooking and make decent dishes, we rarely have time to cook thanks to work. If we were living alone I suspect our diets would suck as they do on busy days. Still we manage to eat something reasonable every day.

I have met a lot of people here who get by on beer and bar snacks or just rice balls every day. Can't imagine why they don't just drop dead one day as a result.

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People here in Japan were surprised to know that I knew how to cook before I got married (my Momma taught me how). I still cook occasionally, but, thankfully, my wife is a wonderful cook, and won't let me near the kitchen, unless it is to make coffee or tea. I'm not at all surprised by Japanese single women who do not know how to cook. At the college I teach in, most of the time, the girls were almost useless in the kitchen when we had school events that required some amount of cooking. More often than not, it was the guys who cooked and the girls who set about doing the selling and advertising.

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For the most part, I think Japanese and most Asian women women in general are MUCH better in the cooking department than your average western woman who these days cannot cook for jack. I am disappointed to read about this news but I guess it seems as though some Japanese younger women are following down the path of western girls which is really an embarrassment. Unless a girl is a total career woman who goes out at 7AM and comes back at 10PM on the job like most men do, relying on convenience and not being able to take the time to learn how to cooked home meals is what is so unattractive to me about most girls in North America these days who actually pride themselves on always eating out. At least Asian girls, no matter how urban and cosmopolitan they are, still think cooking as something they would like to do for their spouse with pride, not as a laborious duty or chore. However, I heard in Chinese culture, it's a little different in that once married to a Chinese woman, the man is supposed to take care of everything for the wife..including cooking and cleaning!

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I am an American cooking instructor at cookingwithdenay.com and it never dawned on me that young women in Japan would be taking on the cooking characteristics of western women. Many of the previous comments noted that American women do not cook, but there are some who do because they were taught by their mothers or grandmothers. I lived in Japan for four years and thought the bond between mothers and daughters was a special one and took for granted that Japanese mothers taught their daughters and sons to cook. I am shocked at this, I guess it is more of a human issue than a social or cultural one. Perhaps this is brought about by a lack of time and commitment to the craft and the insurgence of fast food and restaurant chains. In America we have a saying, you are what you eat, garbage in, garbage out; so it pays to be a good cook who is interested in feeding her husband, significant other and family delicious healthy food. I will definitely share this insight with my class. I would love to know more about your thoughts on this topic and if young women are willing to take cooking classes to improve their culinary skills?

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