Something About Japan  
  Hatsugen Komachi (Yomiuri Newspaer)  

In the Internet we find a number of message boards or forums where someone raises a topic and visitors discuss about it. One of very popular sites of such groups in Japan is called hatsugen komachi which is operated by Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. Topics are quite diversified and topic makers seek advise, sympathy, or answer from people. Years ago an interesting topic was brought up.

The topic maker was a housewife with an infant. She moved to a new place due to her husband's job. Husband was transferred and getting terribly busy lately. Her problem was her husband's attitude in conversation. Whenever she starts to say something he says like this;

"So what?",
"What do you want to say after all?"
"What is the point of the story?", or
"Tell me its conclusion!"

For example when she went to a market with the husband, she found strawberry on a shelf and said to him "Look, strawberry season has started." To which the husband's reply was "So?"

When he thought her story seems a little vague he frequently cut off in the middle. She becomes very nervous before she try to talk to him. Yet he was not away from her when he was at home and very often wanted to take bath with her and their child (family bath is very common in Japan). While taking bath in a relaxed manner she tried to start casual conversation but her words were cut off in the middle, or even before started. Also he always wants to go for shopping with her, where the strawberry conversation as mentioned above occurred. In short he wants to be physically close to her (against her will sometimes), yet refuses to converse.

This kind of issue may remind you the bestseller book "Why men don't listen and women can't read maps?" by Allan & Barbara Pease, which was sold well in Japan too. Yes, several people referred to the book, "that is the difference of brain between men and women"

Generally the Hatsugen Komachi is supported by more women than men, but interesting enough a lot of men responded to the topic.



"He must be exhausted after work. His mind is full of his jobs and it is terribly hard to change his mindset to something beyond of his territory. I am a woman yet when I was living with my mother I could not stand her go-nowhere talk. She was alone during daytime and when I was at home she kept chattering about neighbors and small things. I couldn't stand it. Please just try to ease his burden then his attitude will change."

"Go out and make friends."

"Try to talk logically. Don't forget your conclusion."  


I am exactly in the same situation. My husband and I have almost no conversation at home, for more than 10 years. I have given up already.

"Don't talk everything. Just give me the conclusion."
"You never know how to talk"
"I don't want to listen anything I am not interested in."

After his remark as above our conversation consists of, mainly, yes or no.

Earlier when I longed for casual talk I led him out somewhere outside. At least in the car we could have a little talk.

But recently I go out for sport club after dinner, ALONE.


You are lucky. Your husband reacts to you in whatever way. My husband never. Can you hear me? - I always have to repeat same thing.


Don't be serious. If I were you I would fire back.

"Who do you think you are? I frequently gave you my ears even if your story was deadly boring! Didn't you know that?
You have to pay back, OK?
Now do listen!"


From the topic maker;

No, please understand that I am not a talkative woman. Communication that I need means no long talk. I just wanted to share a feeling in the life by saying "Look, the strawberry season has started". It is just innocent remark and I don't think it needs conclusive word. But he just talked back "So?"

Now our conversations is less than 5 minutes in a day. This is hard thing to me.

What's wrong of some nonsense talk at home?


No, no, no, sorry, forgive me, but you are totally wrong. I stand by your husband. Your remark is quite tough one to man.

"Look, the strawberry season has started."
To which, his brain began to work busily. He is waiting next development. He is thinking - probably she would continue;

"I want to buy them", or
"I want them grow myself" or
"I want to go picking them up", etc.

He waits, but no development at all.
After a moment you say,

"Oh, it becomes cold" or something, he has to think again. Your next remark would be;

"Shall we take nabe (pot cooking) tonight?" or
"I wish we can go hot spring." or
"Maybe we will have snow tomorrow."

But again no development given. After this pattern is repeated it could be a torture to him that could result in "So?", or "So what?"

PLEASE understand him! He loves you.


The most irritating question from my wife is "Can you hear me?". I am thinking what to answer but this question disturbs me a lot - I guess that she wants me feeling guilty.

Someone said that a simple answer "Yeah" is enough in this situation but, no, I am not prepared yet. And the answer might be wrong. Therefore, it may sound incomprehensible but in this stage "So?" is sole reaction from me.

If she asks "Shall we buy a pack?" then I can give more productive answer. So I hope she says to the end, "buy a package." or something.

"So?" may be a curt answer but actually I am waiting next development. "Look the strawberry season has started. Hey! can you hear me?" is the worst approach. I have no choice but to say "So?" And my wife becomes angry.

After that I asked her not to expect my answer and our situation getting better.


What is he trying to save? I don't like a person who wouldn't make smallest efforts in order to create catch-ball in conversation. If I say "Good morning", such person may reply "What good?" or "Is this good morning so do you want me to do something?" 


As many people pointed out, the stance of conversation is different in men and women. The timing of nodding or consent also different. Short answer does not mean less love.

If you say don't stint in the vocabulary, the person who ends her remark with "The strawberry season has come." is also significantly stint.


"The strawberry season has come."

The above opening of conversation sounds cute but to men it is quite difficult to handle. We have often experienced this kind of thing.

Husband: So what do you want to do with the strawberry?
Wife: They look sweet.
H: (Ah she wants to eat them), OK let's buy.
W: But too expensive. We are tight this month.
H: (It means my earning is not enough) OK, then, don't.
W: You don't want to buy me them. You are so mean.
H: (Why? what made her angry?)

Have you ever experienced such situation?

For me talking with my wife requires the greatest possible care as same as handling with claimers.



From the topic maker;

Thank you very much for your advises.

Many people supported my husband that gave me new insight. At work he has significant workload that he must handle at the highest efficiency therefore his thinking circuit concentrates on to pick up the gist as someone pointed out.

Meanwhile my talk with other mothers at park starts from nowhere and my idea is limited to the circumstances that made my husband irritated. I understand very well.

Yet I have been depressed by his accusation against every inconsistency in my small talks in our living room, where Pooh or many fancy toys are scattered, as he may do the same in his office.

With your help maybe I will be able to manage this situation better - at least before I talk to him I wait a little for settling my mind, and ask him doing so too.


My husband is of the same type. "What do you want to talk after all?" He told me so often. Nowadays I don't talk to him about casual topics that I can enjoy with my girlfriends.

But only once, when he said "Talk from your conclusion" I told him this - "Not all stories have conclusion. Your attitude may discourage people. You lack a capacity to understand human's feelings." He admitted.

Please try to be relaxed when you and your husband are together, you can relax without talking.


In my opinion a person who always demands conclusion cannot think anything without the conclusion. It is not a matter of gender.

When I talk with someone and if, from the conversation, I sense that the person wants my advice I try to give it, if the person just wants me to listen I listen without comment, and if it is nonsense talk I give nonsense response. I thought everyone does do this without any painstaking thinking.



From the topic maker

Thank you again for your gentle advises. Nevertheless I am sorry for reporting that:

My husband and I had a big quarrel. More precisely I became upset. It was triggered by his remark "Why didn't you do as I told you so."

I told him I am suffering from his businesslike attitude at home. He said sorry at the spot but no change at all.

I know his responsibility for his duty makes him like this but it is too much, I cannot continue anymore. I will try to think something else in order to avoid to be with him in the weekend and make a little distance from him for a while.


"It's cold. Yeah it's cold. Crickets are singing. Yeah they are singing. We have to go underground soon. It is not comfortable being underground. No it is not......(Continued)." by Sinpei Kusano

This is a poem on small animals which are about to enter into hibernation. Listen, not deny or lash out, and use imagination, smile and speak out.



Don't you want to express your Website,

YouTube Channel and so on, in Japanese?


                                 Email                         HOME