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Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Clean Sweep

On Friday, I went to the dentist and then cleaned up around the house - all on my day off. I don't have a topic for today, so I'm going to wing it here with a stream of consciousness.

When I was in Japan, and living on my own for the first time ever back in 1990-1993, I made sure that my three bedroom LDK apartment was kept spic and span.

I used to vacuum three or four times a week, do laundry about the same, and dishes were done every night and put away the same time.

When my mother came to visit me one summer, she returned home to Toronto raving about how I yelled at her for trying to do the dishes in my apartment when she was the guest.

She knew her little boy had finally. FINALLY grown up.

I was nearly 26-years-old when I arrived in Japan, and after I was taken to my apartment in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, and finally left alone there by my bosses, I saw a bug on the carpet that sure looked like a cockroach.

It was broad day light - and I thought they only came out in the dark... but I squashed that sucker real quick and vowed that to prevent the possibility of more insects deciding the like my apartment as a place to live or as a restaurant, I would do whatever it took to ensure my place was virtually spotless.

While I welcomed Matthew in to my place with regularity through the years - he wasn't so messy, Ashley was my girlfriend.

And... would-be cockroaches aside, there was no way in hell I wasn't going to show my girlfriend that I was incompetent and messy.

Ashley, who had been living on her own for the past five years as a near 23-year-old, was more adept at a "relaxed" lifestyle, as so wasn't as caught up in the whole spotless thing as I was.

It didn't bother me, but after Ashley left my place, and I rode my bicycle with her to her town 30 minutes away, and back - regardless of the time of night, afternoon or morning, I would get home, relax for a few minutes and begin to tidy up.

I wasn't obsessive compulsive about it, I just wanted to "look good" in case anyone else showed up at my place - and some frequently did.

This habit of always picking up after myself the same day I made the mess held me in good stead after Ashley and I were no more and I was attempting to sleep with half the female population of my city.

It sounds stupid to even say so, but the women who entered my apartment, whether it was a friend's social call, a booty call, a third date, or a girlfriend, they always seemed surprised that my apartment was clean and bereft of a pile of dirty dishes in the sink.

I usually had a bouquet of fresh cut flowers in vase or stick on some prickly thing in a dish, arranging them in a manner that felt right to me. The Japanese women marveled at my ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) skill, which was no learned skill on my part, but come to think of it, perhaps it was just an extension of Japanese politeness to constantly tell you how skilled you are in something.

To this day, I am sure every foreigner who has ever visited Japan and eaten food has been told just how jozu (great) they are with Japanese chopsticks.

For myself, however, I will just continue to believe that I was skilled in flower arranging.

As for keeping a neat place - that one I believe, when it comes to Japanese compliments.

Japanese men are not well regarded for their skill in performing household chores, so anytime a Japanese woman observes such dexterity, she is probably much surprised and genuine in her compliments.

So... some advice for all you single guys out there looking for a girlfriend in Japan:

Keeping a neat apartment/place is an important skill-set. First impressions are important.

While it is true that some women will look at a messy place and think - this guys needs a woman's touch, most modern women (Japanese or otherwise) will - even subconsciously* - be impressed with any guy who not only has a tidy place, but maintains a tidy place.

I'm not saying my place here in Canada is neat - because it's not. But I maintained that illusion of tidiness long enough to get married.

Banzai,
Andrew Joseph
PS: I added an asterisk a few lines above *... in this case that though I wrote "even subconsciously" will get me off the hook with anyone who cares to argue the point. It's subconscious... how would you know? LOL.

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