Home Alone

Home Alone, Aaron Paulson, World Hum
One man’s experience with living in Japan exposed him to a strange gender-role reversal–at least in the Japanese sense. Aaron Paulson, writing for the travel Web site World Hum, relates how his status as a work-at-home husband (in a country where the only legitimate work for males involves a daily commute to an office) brought some undue attention from neighbors, teenagers, people on the street, businessmen, and even from the Japanese authorities–all curious about the gaijin who, in their eyes, played the role of the wife in his marriage. The culture shock was confusing on both sides, and a bit unnerving to the writer. The experience also provided a lesson in how the entrenchment of gender roles is still very strong in some parts of Japan. However, it was not a total horror, as the author relates that “half a world away from disapproving friends and family, safe in the anonymity of an adopted hometown where no one even knew my name, I could relax. I could be just one of the girls.”
–Julie Madsen
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