Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles This is a day in the life of a Japanese housewife. This is Tomomi, a 38-year-old housewife living in Tokyo with her husband and daughter. And this is how she starts her day. Oh, and this is Tomomi's daughter, Karin. She's about to turn three years old. You may have noticed earlier that they were all sleeping in the same bed. In Japan, it's common for children before elementary school to sleep with their parents in the same bed. And that's Tomomi's husband. He works as a freelancer and has a meeting this morning, so he's in a bit of a hurry. As a Japanese housewife, it's Tomomi's first task to prepare breakfast. In Japan, it's typical to prepare miso soup as it's a traditional Japanese breakfast dish. So they live in a 2LDK apartment, meaning two bedrooms, living, dining, and kitchen. In their second room they even have a kamidana which is a mini shrine. Every morning Tomomi's husband follows a traditional Japanese custom of changing the water providing an offering and then praying. It looks like Karin's already watching Japanese children's shows on YouTube. Apparently it's pretty common these days in Japan to allow kids to stream their favorite content on their mobile devices. And in fact, this is Karin's own phone, which is one of her parents older devices. So they're eating gomoku umami, which is an assorted stir-fried dish leftover from last night and natto miso soup and rice. It's also typical to eat natto, a fermented soy bean for breakfast in Japan. And since kids start eating it from when they're babies, they learn to love it. It's customary in Japan to say itadakimasu before every meal which loosely means "thank you for the meal". Parents will ingrain this custom in their children as soon as they start eating normal food. Uh oh She's not supposed to watch YouTube during meals, but she couldn't help but tap that play button. Tomomi, does she often watch YouTube? It's important for Tomomi and her husband to teach Karin proper eating manners but it looks like Karin's picking up quickly. When did she start using chopsticks? To help kids learn how to use chopsticks these days, some are given practice ones like this and help hold the chopsticks in place. How long does it take you to wear makeup? How old are you? Are you really one? I guess she's still a little shy so in a couple months Karin starts Youchien which means Kindergarten. This is usually between the ages of three and five just before elementary school. In Japan, there's also less formal nursery schools called Hoikuen intended for working parents, which accept children from zero to five years old, but since Tomomi is a full-time housewife, it would be difficult for her daughter to enroll. In fact, in Tokyo, it's been a massive problem where children are placed on enrollment waiting lists because simply there aren't enough nursery schools for the demand and if you're a healthy housewife like Tomomi, it's almost impossible to enroll your child. Karin, which one is your favorite toy? KARIN: Banana...Apple I noticed that Karin knows many English words. Do you make her study? So Karin is practicing getting dressed all by herself these days. It seems like dressing a kid is the same all over the world. After dressing up Karin and getting ready herself, she finally has time for the house chores. She vacuums the apartment and washes dishes from breakfast. At this age, Karin is old enough to play on her own, so Tomomi can focus on the chores. So after finishing her morning chores, Tomomi has a little bit more time to hang out with Karin. Let's see what they do for the rest of the day. So, what do you do when you want to have a date night? Using babysitters in Japan is uncommon so Tomomi asks her mom once a month to help with Karin so she can go out with her husband. So it looks like they're having a coloring session right now. While they're doing that let's explore the house a little bit and let me show you around. In Japanese homes, it's common to have many fish grills below the stove. But wait, what's this? You don't use the fish grill? Because Karin is likely to play with it, she's turned off the gas completely and uses IR stoves instead. And this is their bath unit, with an automatic bath to fill the water to a desired level and temperature. So while Karin is playing on her own, Tomomi takes advantage of this free time to work on her blog. So what's your blog about? Once in a while, she even teaches seminars on how to manage and be mindful of one's emotions in order to live a more positive life for that person and for the people around them. Oh! It looks like Karin wants to play with her now. As part of being a mother, Tomomi consciously prioritizes Karin's needs so she often must quickly shift her focus in order to take care of her daughter. Uh-oh, she doesn't want to clean up her toys. Now they're ready to go to the park. So Karin's at the age where she wants to do everything on her own so Tomomi must exercise some patience to allow her daughter to grow into these experiences. This could take some time though. Finally! Out the door. This is a "mamachari" meaning mom's bicycle. It's marked by a lowered center frame allowing for easy mount and dismount. In fact, people don't drive much in Tokyo so it's common to have a bike and in recent years a lot of the newer mamachari's have been outfitted with electric pedal assist motors making it even easier to transport kids. In fact, you'll often see mothers with a baby in a child seat on the front handlebars and older children in the back. As part of raising a child, Tomomi believes it's important to let her child play outside. So she takes her daughter to the park regularly. So, how long does she play in the park? Wow, that's a lot of playtime. So moms do sometimes talk to other moms in the park but, in Tokyo, people don't regularly talk to strangers. So it is harder to make friends. Also, Karin often makes friends on the playground, but I guess she's not feeling it today. So Karin wanted to bring her white shoes to the park and her mom did want her to bring it because they would get dirty. And look what happened. Now they're stopping by a local butcher shop to pick up meat for dinner. Awww. Karin's wiped from all that playing. Do you have a policy on how to raise Karin? Now she gets a little bit more time to work on her own stuff so she uses it to build her new website for her business. Oh! Her husband's back home. Tomomi says she really appreciates him being around to raise Karin together. In fact, it's common in Japan for most housewives to do it alone. So common that there's a term for it: "wanope ikuji". Short for: "one operation child rearing" which also includes all of the house chores. In point, recent surveys show that men in Japan on average do 18.3% of the house chores and child-rearing while women 81.7% This is the highest percentage out of 33 major countries in the world. Oh! It looks like they're making cake now. Tomomi also believes it is important for her daughter to learn how to cook so she involves her in the process; giving her mini-tasks that she can complete on her own. Are you making a cake using a pan? It's rare in Japan for kitchens to have built-in ovens due to the lack of space so you'll find many innovative products like this as well as other creative ways to cook. Oh no! Karin is a little fussy because she doesn't want to eat it without milk. Maybe she's still a little tired from playing outside. Tomomi seems to be handling it really well though. Now it's time to make dinner. Karin volunteered to help so Tomomi is more than happy to accommodate and let her rinse the rice. So before getting married, Tomomi almost never cooked, but she says she later learned from her experienced mom friends. So how do you decide what you're cooking every day? So Tomomi's husband has to go out for work again, but someone's not happy about that. (KARIN CRIES) It's okay - Tomomi's around to comfort and play with her daughter. And now, Karin's asking her to be a camera person. The thing's moms will do. TOMOMI & KARIN: Itadakimasu For dinner, Tomomi uses the pork from the butcher shop to prepare a dish called pork hokusai mille-feuille (?) and a cute little onigiri for Karin. So in Japan it's typical for families to share the same bathwater even when there's several children with varying ages. In the past, it was customary for the father to use the bath first and the wife last but these days, the rule is less followed. Now she puts away Karin's laundry for tomorrow and gets ready to put Karin to bed. Oh no! Tomomi's having a hard time brushing Karin's teeth. Apparently Tomomi must often find different ways to convince Karin to brush her teeth It usually takes her about 15 to 20 minutes to put Karin to bed. Once asleep, Tomomi finally has a chance to complete the rest of her house chores and any time after this, she can use it for herself. Such as planning for her next seminar, Gokigen Life. And she also has time to work on her Instagram. She tries to post every day to raise awareness about what she does. So that's pretty much a day in the life of a Japanese housewife. As you can see, she has her own free time right now. Her daughter's already asleep. So she has about two hours before she goes to bed at 12 o'clock. If you guys want to see what she's doing, then I'll definitely leave links in the description. Also if you guys wanted to see kind of my regular life, I recently created a channel called Tokyo Zebra and that channel also has my wife Maiko and if you guys don't already know from the previous videos, we have a baby on the way so that channel have all of that stuff that's coming up and if you want to see more, I have so many more Day in the Life videos to come so definitely hit that Subscribe button and the Bell button and I'll catch you guys in the next one.