Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Taking advice......


That old: older person advising younger person stuff again.


What to do? I am actually asking you lot for advice on this one.

We had family lunch - a cold, grey winter day...all of us in our pajamas....eating a feast of leftovers. All went well.

Afterwards I stood up to blanch a kilogram of green beans I'd bought at Costco - blanch and bung them in the freezer in bags for later. You know the idea.

I washed them, grabbed a handful, lined their ends up on the chopping board and chopped off the points. Reversed them, lined 'em up and chopped.

2 minutes passed...I could feel Okaasan watching this from the table.
Finally she jumped up and came over tutting..."No! In Japan we do it like this, you don't use a knife because you cut off too much and waste it, use your fingers, like this...and this...!"


LUCKILY Yujiro had foreseen this acoming and gently eased her back with some phrase or other...and she went back to sitting behind me...watching while I used the knife and wasted - OH NO...centimeters and centimeters of bean. Kids are starving in North Korea and I am wasting a total of 8 cm of bean ends.

Sadly Yujiro then compounded the situation by commenting on the way I poured the boiling bean water down the sink directly...and then Okaasan jumped back in 5 minutes later by telling me that it is better to leave the lunch dishes air drying instead of using a cloth.

Oh my GOD! What IS it with these people?????
I'm almost 50 years old. This is MY home, MY kitchen...I will actually do these things the way I LIKE!

Yujiro is ok. I can just tell him - and often do - to FUCK OFF.
But I can't do that with Okaasan.
I'd LOVE to turn round and say: look - your room is a smelly mess with rotting food and soiled underpants all over it and this week I've wiped your shit off the toilet  so lay off the helpful advice will you???? But I can't.

What does anyone suggest?
Some nice gentle, but firm way of saying: Ahh, thankyou, but actually you way and my way may be different. Neither is wrong or right. It's just different thankyou.

She is doing what comes naturally to her, and older woman in Japan with a younger family member - dishing out the helpful advice so they learn.
But to me it just is plain strange. If I ask for advice that is clearly different - but I'm an adult, not a child. Telling an adult how to top and tail beans is beyond belief.

Yujiro was no help at all. I asked him what I should say. His advice? "Don't do stuff in front of her like that!"

Fat lot of help that is.

Any other Oyomesans out there in blog-land got any advice? SEE! I DO ask for advice sometimes!!


  1. Oh Yujiro, you wouldn't be able to do anything in front of her if that was the case. Granny K is forever giving me unwanted advice - a lot more at the start. I have had monumental blowouts with her and it doesn't really help. Must be harder for you - although that said you could probably say your piece to her and she'd forget but at least you'd feel better for telling her :)

  2. Yes.. this is the thing that really riles me...because I prefer the idea : "if you ain't got nothing good to say, don't say it"...why should her only direct conversation with me be about something I am doing wrong???

  3. I think it's just something MIL's do. My MIL insists on trying to control me from halfway across the planet... nothing stops her. Maybe just say, that "in my culture, this is the way we do it, and i'm used to this way". You shouldn't have to stop doing it like Yujiro says.

  4. it's like my blog - don't really concentrate on the good stuff. i bet she has good stuff to say about you but sometimes it is so much harder giving praise than it is giving a person assholes about something :)

  5. Oh, I hear you and I relate! I'm Asian, and any elder female family members feel compelled to impart (unasked) wisdom. My way is just to pretend to be astonished at this genius method, enlightened, nod and say "thank you, I shall try that!" and just go on with doing what I did. After a while everyone gets the idea and now 'suggest' instead of telling me. It might or might not work with your Okaasan but at least it will get her off your back for a few precious minute? Good luck.