Dear Fuji-san…

Opinions - July 8th, 1988

…from  Mike Marklew

The ideal mate

A couple of weeks ago in Tokyo, a cute little 20-year-old was crowned “Most Ideal Bride-to-Be.” She had shown her prowess at writing kanji, making soup, wrapping rice in seaweed, peeling apples and, of course, arm wrestling.

During a snap survey at my yakitori bar the other night, I found not one of my Japanese salary man friends (who are all married), had a clue if his wife could skin an apple with a knife.

When I asked what they considered the require­ments for a “Most Ideal Bride-to-Be,” the follow­ing were the printable answers.

  • She is polite, doesn’t snore, likes kids and can understand and deal with all their education needs.
  • She must be happy, healthy and nice looking —but not strikingly pretty. (Beautiful girlfriends are OK, but this is not a necessary attribute in wives.)
  • She knows, as a wife she will: a) Never com­plain about him coming home late, only asking if he had a good time. (To a Japanese wife you always answer “Yes” to this question. If the answer is “No,” she feels slighted because you were not enjoying yourself, but still you didn’t return home.) b) On Sundays, take the kids to her mother’s house or otherwise keep them quiet so he can sleep until noon. c) During the week, make breakfast every morning and always ensure he has at least ¥40,000 in his wallet, for the usual drink and the occasional Mah-jongg evening with the boys.

The most admired asset? Her dad owns a brewery!

Who said Japan isn’t international? This sounds like the desires of just about every male gaijin I’ve met.

Through my wife, I asked their wives what they wanted in an “Ideal Bridegroom-to-Be,” but even though I swore anonymity—all declined to discuss the matter saying, “like my husband.”

Now you know why I love living in this country.

Yoroshiku,

MIKE