Haruko's world: a Japanese farm woman and her community by Gail Lee Bernstein

By Gail Lee Bernstein

In Japan as within the usa, family members farming is at the wane, more and more rejected through the more youthful iteration in want of extra promising fiscal ambitions and extra refined comforts. but for hundreds of years prior, the village and the kinfolk farm have constituted the area of the majority of jap girls, as of eastern males. The dramatic fiscal and demographic advancements of the earlier twenty years have orced large alterations within the lives of eastern farm girls, lots of hwom were left almost in command of their family members farms.This booklet is a research of jap farm women’s lives within the current period: its relevant determine is 42-year-old Haruko, a posh, shiny girl who either exemplifies and makes a mockery of the stereotype of eastern ladies. via Haruko we examine the paintings regimen, relatives relationships, and social lifetime of the ladies who're the mainstay of eastern agriculture. different ladies from Haruko’s village additionally determine within the tale, and the author’s observations of them, dependent principally on a six-month stick with Haruko and her relations in 1974-75, are supplemented with info from questionnaires and private interviews.An epilogue recounts the author’s go back to Haruko’s village in 1982 and describes the alterations that experience happened given that 1975 within the lives of Haruko’s relations and different village ladies. The publication is illustrated with pictures.

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Haruko dressed for a summer festival. Yoko and Sh6-ichi. ENTERING THE COMMUNITY 39 At the dinner table, I gave vent to my anger. "That man! He was ordering me around like a slave. Isn't it rude to visit without being invited? " Haruko interpreted my words as criticism of her. "I'm sorry. I should have told you he was coming. " Here she assumed a mock smile, wrinkling her eyes and nodding her head up and down. "If you hadn't said anything, he would have stayed until at least seven o'clock. But since you are outside the family, it's all right.

Yes, yes," I said, bowing. " I would like to believe that I was reformed after this time, but there were many incidents of backsliding. " I overheard Haruko worriedly describe to my Japanese friend, who visited from Tokyo, how I would set up interviews and meetings with people and then try to get out of them. She also worried about my propensity for sleep-one of the few activities that guaranteed solitude and warmth. The town of Unomachi helped rescue the situation. In the small public library or in one of the four dimly lit coffee shops, individual 40 SCHOLAR AND SUBJECT privacy was respected, and the taste of urban anomie, like the bitter espresso brew, was bracing.

Taste it. " I tried one-fourth of one slice. "Why don't you finish it? " For a long time I clung to the notion that I had certain inviolable rights of tenancy, for example to organize my room to suit my comfort and my tastes. Haruko, however, had no understanding of such rights. Once, I hit on the idea of dividing the quilts and mattresses in my room into two low piles, one right next to the other, and thro\ving a blanket over both, to form a kind of day bed, but while I was out of the room the two piles miraculously merged into one again.

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