One of the interesting things about living up close and personal with your in-law is that you see the person who made your other half what he is.
I guess we all take after one of our parents more than the other - in this family it's Yujiro and Okaasan. I never met father because he died 3 years before Yujiro and I got together, but from all I hear he was a serious, hard-working, married-to-the-business kind of guy who didn't like music at home. An accountant who ended up as Vice-President of a company. Yujiro's older brother is a nice guy, but pretty conventional. Work, drink whiskey, work some more...
My opinionated, funny, egotistical, open-hearted guy - well...he came from Okaasan for sure.
She laughs a lot. She giggles. She loves a funny story. She's interested in foreign countries and people. She's determined. She doesn't stand on ceremony too much. She calls it as she sees it. She thinks she knows best. She makes sweeping judgements.
When she first came to Sapporo we took her winter boot shopping. She walked up and down in the store testing the boots and at my suggestion: she jumped a few times and laughed. Not many 78 year old Japanese ladies JUMP in shoe shops!
The downside is her insistence that she knows best. Particularly with food, what is good/bad, how it should be cooked.
He is getting so stressed by it. She told us: "I eat everything!". But she doesn't. She really doesn't. About 3 times a week now she is turning her nose up at something. "Hmm, this fish isn't good...this fish is too old, this fish tastes strange...fish with no head isn't good...I don't eat this vegetable raw...this sauce is strange..." this list goes on...and on...
I come home or get e mail from him, she didn't like something he cooked again. And told him so. It looks like we'll have to buy much more fish from department stores rather than supermarkets. Go up market a bit. Spend more.
It annoys me. If someone is shopping for you and cooking, I think a bit of gratitude and keeping your opinions positive is in order. I hardly cook at the moment, maybe once or twice a week - so her comments are not about MY cooking. But he is hurting...
Funny in a way though - he's often done the same to me and it's been the source of some of our fights as a couple. Not about cooking much, but about how to do things. He thinks he knows best and can't understand why I don't want his helpful advice.
I am pig headed and believe that at 40 plus years old I can open a packet of food the way I want. Without someone saying:" no! no! do it like this!"
So, although I am sorry for him feeling Okaasan's criticism - a part of me is also thinking: "Ha! see how YOU like it!"
I am an evil woman.