A househusband is basically the male version of a housewife or a person who takes care of the home. Usually the images that come up for a househusband would be a guy sitting at a computer, not a scary-looking man in a cute apron making lunch in a hurry. The image gap between a househusband and the apron-wearing man in The Way of the Househusband is so wide, it could kill and that’s what makes this anime and manga series a comedic gem worth stealing–I mean, reading and watching.
Kousuke Oono’s The Way of the Househusband follows former yakuza, Tatsu “The Immortal Dragon”, as he takes care of his and his wife’s apartment armed with kitchen knives, vacuums, and cute aprons. While this series is essentially slice of life with no magical items, The Way of the Househusband puts housekeeping in an extremely comedic light thanks to the use of street lingo and yakuza connections. Tatsu manages the cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping with his own flair–and always within his former yakuza background–in between his misunderstandings with other yakuza, neighboring housewives, and the police box officers.
I’m not a housewife, but I cook, clean, and shop, and let me tell you, it’s not an easy shot to take, especially on a daily basis. I have mad respect for Tatsu in this sense. In reading and watching The Way of the Househusband, Tatsu makes meals, vacuums and dusts, and grocery shops against hordes of housewives like a pro. He even goes out of his way to teach other men and boys the how-to in the way of the household with DIY projects, laundry, cleaning, and cooking. Somehow, only Tatsu and the women in the series can do all these things–though doing them well is up in the air for Miku, Tatsu’s working wife–so when some of Tatsu’s former yakuza connections show up with the know-how, it begs the question, “Don’t kill me”–er, I mean, “So you know how to (insert household chore here)?” Of course, I have to acknowledge that this series is staked in Japanese society, and women are expected to do housework while men work. When I lived in Japan, there were grown Japanese men who couldn’t make a bento box to save their lives, and that was completely normal.
In the manga, the artwork is very cool. It’s hard to believe that this is Kousuke Oono’s first serialization. The lines, the compositions, the character designs, they’re all so fresh and bold. Even though the storytelling style is more in line with the four-koma comics and manga out there, the panels and the art style break out of those constraints to tell short instances into Tatsu’s life. I also wonder how much the artist researched yakuza or the stereotypes about yakuza just to get Tatsu’s visual mannerisms right.
The anime series would be less of an anime and more of a motion comic with some animation. It’s basically a slightly more tamed version of the manga, almost line by line, and I imagine it’s more for those that don’t like reading. For those who do like reading, the manga series is on its sixth volume in English.
Now all that’s left is the live-action series coming out this year!
Ever wondered what Pilipino anime exists on Netflix? Unless you’re a Pilipino looking, probably not. But for those who are looking for an anime or anime-esque type of series similar to Netflix’s Castlevania, Yasuke, and Blood+, Trese has everything that these have: gore, magic, whodunit, fights, and demons.
Trese focuses on Alexandra Trese, a woman investigates supernatural crimes that the police don’t understand, each crime leading to a piece of a bigger plot against humanity. When souls aren’t delivered to the underworld, Alexandra is called on to find the souls and discover who or what is keeping the souls from going to the underworld. Though Alexandra is a human with magical abilities, she has two demigods and several demon clans at her beck and call. As Alexandra solves more crimes and a sinister plot becomes unraveled, the other humans in Alexandra’s life try to improve their own lives while protecting others.
While Trese feels similar to the DC animated movies, Trese leans heavily into its theme of family. Alexandra lost her mother at a young age and was raised with two demigod children. Her father, the appointed lakkan and head of The Council, established the Accords to keep humanity and the supernatural world in balance. Throughout the series, the senior Trese appears in flashbacks, constantly reminding Alexandra about their family. The flashbacks also serve for the viewers to see all of the present characters evolve and place a thumb on what split the supernatural clans between the Accords and their own demonic vices.
Watching Trese has made me realize how much Pilipino folklore and mythology I actually know. Oh, I’m Pilipina and Black, though, looking at me, you wouldn’t guess that. I didn’t grow up speaking Tagalog and when I took Tagalog in college, I mixed up my mother’s dialect with Tagalog (how embarrassing for me and confusing for my ginoong). I took three Tagalog classes and learned more about my mother and her culture by translating Pilipino stories about aswang, sigbin, and mungkukulam. That’s why Trese has a special place in my heart. Aswang, sigbin, and other Pilipino mythical creatures are cornerstones of this anime, and even the English dub of this anime uses Tagalog. I’m really happy to find that Pilipina-American Shay Mitchell (Pretty Little Liars), the English voice behind Alexandra, has a good grasp of Tagalog to pull off those scenes.
If you’re like me and like the so-called good-versus-evil scenarios, Americanized animations, and a good, twisted story, Trese is the Pilipino anime series for you.
Keeping weight off is the same as praying. I pray that the cheesecake I ate yesterday doesn’t go straight to my thighs. I pray that this 10-minute workout will burn off 300 calories. I pray that my metabolism is fast enough to eat a day’s worth of food in my sleep.
All of it is prayer–then I take my prayers seriously and put actions behind each (silent) statement.
At the beginning of the year in “How I Lost over 40 Pounds in Japan“, I outlined how I actively went from size 14 to size 6 by using or ditching some Japanese techniques. However direct losing the weight in Japan was in 2014 through 2015, keeping it off in the States since 2016 is a whole other beast.
After I moved back to the States, reality gave me a punch to the face: I needed a job, my cat had bald patches from stress, and in a household of meat-eaters, I was the lone pescatarian, or fish eater. In the beginning, it was fun. The first thing I ate was a burrito from Del Taco. (Japan has some Mexican food restaurants, but they’re all pricey for only decent food.) I continued to eat anything that didn’t have meat, and in 2 weeks, I gained 10 pounds. That added to the stress. I had to lose weight again while looking for a job, protecting my cat from 3 big dogs, and learning to live with my in-laws (I love them, but it’s always stressful living in a new habitat).
To deal with the stress, I set up a routine again. In the mornings, I exercised, monitored my portions with vegetarian meals, and drank more water. The most important part of the routine was eating around the same time every day, something that the Japanese have on point.
Gym Memberships (pre-COVID)
I did get a gym membership, something I by-passed when I lived in Japan, and stuck to it for about a month before I landed a job at the Japanese Consulate in LA. I ended up canceling this when I realized I stayed in the stretching room for 45 minutes before half-assedly doing machine work. I ditched the gym membership and returned to what I knew: personalizing my home workouts. I woke up before everyone else and did a 10- to 20-minute routine in the garage, switching between cardio and weight training. After work and dinner, I’d do another 10- to 20-minute workout. Interval training has helped a bit with keeping the belly fat at bay–and there’s a recent study to support that shorter yet intense workouts can reduce belly fat better than longer workouts (“The Secret to Losing Belly Fat“). On the weekends, I divided my time between walks and yoga routines.
If you’re wondering about taking up a gym membership versus working out at home, think about what you want to do in your workout. For me, I’m there to get fit but not build bulk, so rows of weights and machines aren’t important to me. If it’s hard to get to the gym, consider starting at home and building a foundation (i.e. pilates, yoga, beginner workouts) before putting your hard-earned money into a membership. Remember: $10 a month equals $120 a year.
The one thing I remember Japanese people loved more than alcohol was a successful diet. It didn’t matter if the diet didn’t turn into a lifestyle–a “good” diet was a “good” diet. I had learned the hard way to ditch the yo-yo diets, dig deep psychologically, and find the mental and emotional triggers for my poor lifestyle.
I returned to plastic boxes and Tupperware of homemade food. The cafeteria at my job helped keep me in line–I couldn’t see myself paying $2.95 for a slice of extremely ordinary pizza. To keep my waistline and wallet happy, I packed food ahead of time and prepped meals when I needed to, most consisting of rolled eggs, rice, and veggies. (I switched my meals to vegan whole food meals.)
At work, it was an uphill battle towards the scale line to maintain my weight. With all the office celebrations and cheap sweets in bulk, saying, “One slice won’t hurt” didn’t hurt so much. But if that same delicious cake kept calling my name for 3 days (cake is good for 3 days, right?), it became increasingly obvious that I had to control myself even if others floated by with beautiful plates of cakes in their hands.
Being that my job is extremely busy, I could control myself after 9AM. Afterwards, I was swamped with so much work, my coffee would go cold.
Stress Levels – Update 2016
I admit my stress is a little higher than when I lived in Japan. Even without language barriers to hurdle over or a sick husband to take care of, I still face daily stresses that didn’t plaque me when I was an expat.
Unlike my employment as a language assistant, I’m a secretary again with no real purpose than to make others’ lives easier. As a language assistant, I always felt I was doing something worthy–and I do feel that the place I work I am helping others accomplish worthy goals for students–but I don’t feel as accomplished as I did in Japan. Also, everyone around me seems to have clearer ideas of what they want to do with their lives. I’m still deciding, but I get the feeling that whatever I choose, it won’t make me any money.
There’s also that lovely bonus of racism in the U.S. It’s not to say that Japan–or any other country–doesn’t share in racism and colorism, but it’s never a good thing when the survivors of racism have poorer health conditions mostly due to higher stress levels. If you’ve never had to worry about walking around without thinking about your skin color being a factor in being attacked or harassed, you won’t understand this daily fear and anxiety. Even though a new president may seem like a cure-all, it’ll take years before racism disappears. At the end of the day, I can’t stop being Black, so I’ll be facing racism and racist acts until I die.
These stresses, now that I’ve had the chance to stand back and see what my American life looks like, contribute to my waistline and overall well being. Since coming back to the States, I’ve gone from 119 pounds to 136 pounds, a 17-pound gain that seems to cling to my body. In spite of my weight gain, I’m fitter now than when I lived in Japan. I have to be fitter to balance the stress I face on a daily basis.
Changing Mindset – Update June 2021
Keeping the weight off is not easy, but I’m been changing how I look at my weight, especially when it comes to my overall health. A lot of diets are based on “bro science”–hey, bro, if you cut this, you won’t get fat, and if you eat this, you can lose weight. Um, yeah, I need actual science like how the antioxidants in acai berries helps remove free radicals that can build up in the brain. Like, seriously, fat doesn’t turn into muscle and carbs are one of human’s main fuel sources, not something to remove. I look back at some of the diet stuff I believed and some of the things I’ve studied from my nutrition courses, and I feel very…betrayed. I’ve recently gone vegan because I don’t support industries trying to mind-control my life just to make a profit off my poor health. I’m also not OK with animals suffering, causing pollution, and using tons of water just to feed humans.
And I’m fine with being different from the norm. I get to experience freedom from the shackles of society’s “rules”. Going vegan has helped me reduce my body fat percentage, bloating, hormonal mood swings, low energy, and constipation. I know that becoming vegan seems extreme, but it’s really changed how I feel in my body, and the weight loss that comes with it is an added bonus.
I’m not exactly sure why, but I often receive e-mails asking for advice on how to write anime/manga reviews “correctly”. Not that I’m complaining on being asked. It’s just that I don’t consider myself a reviewer unlike many anibloggers. I’m more of an entertainer, unintentional commedienne, occasional translator, and—my favourite—fandom promoter. A mouthful, I know, so […]
*This is Part 1 of a 3-Part Post Series. Enjoy! I love reading romance manga. It doesn’t have to be in the shoujo genre. As long as there is good romance in the story, I’m in. For many shoujo manga fans, sizzling romance and hot characters are big turn-ons but that doesn’t mean that we […]
If it weren’t for my mom, I wouldn’t had gone to Japan and became the person who I am today. At the ripe age of 13, I became interested in anime and manga, and in a year, I made going to Japan my dream. Before I had my chance to go to Japan, my mom bought me secondhand manga from yard sales and told me about events relating to Japan. When my school hosted exchange students from different countries, my mom allowed Yuki, a Japanese student from Hokkaido, to stay with us.
By the time I was in college, my mom and I already knew I wanted to go to Japan, but coming from a single-income household, it seemed so far away. One day, she burst into my room to put a newspaper clipping in my hand for a city program in Japan. It paid for a majority of the 2-week program. With my mother’s help, I was accepted into the program where I met some life-long friends and allies in Japan. If she hadn’t found that newspaper clipping and helped me with the application, I wouldn’t had gone to Japan (for cheap) the first time.
I learned of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program during that time, and I made it my Plan A after college to join the program. Why not get someone else to pay me to go and teach English in Japan for at least one year? The first program helped me get into the JET Program as it showed I was interested in Japan without any study abroad or Japanese classes on my transcript. After I received my interview date, my mom and aunt accompanied me to LA for the interview, the whole time saying, “Don’t worry. You’ll get in.” And they were right. I got offered a position in the program. The only thing that had me doubting the program was the up-front costs for lodging and bills. My mother told me, “You have a job waiting for you in Japan. Take it.” We both knew I couldn’t skip out on my dream of living, working, and later, learning Japanese just because of money. It didn’t stop me before, and from my mom’s own perspective, my dream outweighed poverty.
Without my mother, I don’t think I would’ve felt comfortable or strong enough to go to Japan. Sometimes I forget that my mom is human, not My Parental Unit or Super Mom. Over the years, I’ve seen my mother as someone who is funny, charismatic, and strong. She sought happiness for herself as well as her children, and she did the best she could as a single parent. The little things she provided to my brothers and I, whether it was homemade muffins or company to the store, she helped shape our futures.
By pushing me into programs to Japan amid the billion things she’s done for me, my mother has forever changed my future for the better.
7 Free to Cheap Things to Do for Job Hunting after Japan
The job hunt has changed, and whether you’ve been in Japan for 1 year or 5 years, returnees must learn how the hunt works again.
#1: Clean up your online presence.
If you are tagged in drunken or half-naked pictures on Facebook or in an inappropriate debate within 140 characters on Twitter, odds are you don’t care about your image. Why would any company think you about their company’s image?
No Cost. It only costs your time. Do a Google search with your name in quotations (ex. “John Smith”) to specifically find you. Remove unflattering photos and messages in social media. Scrub your Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and any other social media accounts until they show a shining version of you.
#2: Create your personal brand.
Use free online articles and any online resources to make anything with your name has a consistent, personalized feel. Make sure your personal logo, LinkedIn, social media, website, blog, business cards, resumes, cover letters, and even your email signatures give the same image and feeling as who you are.
Cost? If you have a friend who is an artist or graphic designer and they’re willing to make a logo in trade for portfolio credit, this can be free. If you don’t, no worries. There are plenty of free logo designers and generators online such as Logomakr (see example below).
Here’s a free logo I made in 5 minutes on Logomakr.
#3: Get 5 to 10 references.
Gone are the days to write “References upon request”. Online applications demand them, and you’ve gotta deliver. List all the jobs you’ve had, pick references who will give you positive recommendations, and contact them. Send them a copy of your resume so that when employers ask about you, your references will have a better idea of the you now.
Cost? It’s free, if your references are happy to do it, but always remember to send them a thank-you note ($1 for 10 from the Dollar Tree) or a $5 gift card to Amazon or Starbucks. This may be your ticket to a job, and if not, you’re still showing your appreciation.
#4: Quantify your experiences in simple language.
When reading your resume, a hiring manager doesn’t want to read, “Completed secretarial duties.” They want to see how you among hundreds of applications can contribute to the company. How did you make a difference at your last work places and by how much?
If you’re coming out of the JET Program, you can quantify your experience with how many students you taught. “I taught English to over 300 elementary school students.” If you can’t quantify your experience, qualify it. I went with, “changed English education culture at 2 high schools”. The best balance for getting a job is to quantify your past work and add value to them with what you did. As before, I used, “changed English education culture at 2 high schools by planning, marketing, and creating English-related events; consistently introducing effective and creative activities; reviving the English Club and recruiting students for the club; and building relationships with American bases for day exchanges and competitions”.
No Cost. Just take your time, sit down with a list of your work experiences, and write how you made a difference in those jobs.
#5: Go pro.
Get a professional to critique your resume. TopResume and Prepared to Win are companies that specialize in maximizing job hunters’ one-page resumes and land jobs.
Cost? TopResume has a free resume evaluation, though their other services may have fees. Another resource for resume design is simply by Google searching your industry resume. For example, if you are looking for a job in technology, use “engineer resume”. You’ll get to see interesting and unique resume designs that can help make your resume get to the top of the pile. Always remember that your experience has the spotlight, not just the look of your resume.
#6: Don’t rely on the digital world.
It’s very easy to send a resume via email or an online application system such as Indeed or Monster. You don’t have to be like everyone else. If you really want the job, research the company and get the company’s mailing address and the hiring manager’s information. After 2 weeks of applying or the application period has ended, follow up on your application status. Send handwritten thank-you cards to the hiring managers or call them. Go to job fairs and network the traditional way with business cards and printed resumes. Add flair to your printed materials by using high-quality or premium paper. Talk to returnees who were in your program while in Japan and ask them about their current occupation. Maybe they can help you find a job, even if it’s temporary.
Cost? Get 10 handwritten thank-you cards from the Dollar Tree and the 99 Cents Store for $1 plus tax. The price for business cards varies at different stores. (I use OvernightPrints.com instead of Vista Print because they use recycled paper and really thick cardstock with fast shipping.) Buy premium resume paper at Wal-Mart for around $6. Most job fairs are free, but if you need a place to start, check out EventBrite or your local classifieds section.
#7: Down-play select experiences.
The one thing that came as a surprise to me in returning to the States was that a lot of hiring managers didn’t care about how many things I did in Japan. In cases where my husband and I were applying for work in retail, customer service, technological and clerical industries, we were treated with disdain after learning we had graduated from college and lived abroad. For me personally, I didn’t know if it was because of America’s anti-education culture and ethnocentrism. It really came down to the manager’s ego. Being younger, more educated, more global, and multilingual made some managers uncomfortable, and in some cases, hostile towards us during interviews.
Down-playing certain experiences for specific jobs, especially in entry level areas, could be the difference in earning a paycheck or leaving an interview disheartened. Be prepared to make a case for yourself when you’re applying for a job outside whatever you did in Japan. If you’re going for a sales or tech job, don’t go into detail about your time as a teacher.
Also, don’t take it off your resume just because it doesn’t seem to apply as it will look like a huge gap in your job history. Align the skills from your Japan job with the skills from the jobs you’re applying for and put those on your resume. Instead of using, “I taught English to 2 senior high schools,” you could use, “I learned to use PCs and trained other employees with various software in English and Japanese” or “I used Microsoft Office in Japanese and English to create multilingual documents in a fast-paced environment.” They show that you have adaptability and technical skills.
#Jade: How I Found a Job after Japan in 5 months
Hunger. That’s what fueled me through my 2-month temp job at the Consulate General of Japan in LA despite my 5 hour daily commute. That’s what got me to apply for 2 different positions in the community college down the street. That’s what got me a job within 5 months. It wasn’t my stomach growling–“Hey, you don’t have enough money to get through the month!” It was the hunger to set up my new life in the U.S. It’s not to say that I didn’t feel discouraged or upset at being unemployed without unemployment benefits. I had to re-think my approach and remember:
“Every ‘no’ is one step closer to a ‘yes’.”
From the stories of JET alumni and former expats, I’ve learned that the job industry hasn’t shrunk since I was a college student. The job industry had moved to online applications and keyword software to filter applicants. I couldn’t just be a secretary anymore. I had to be a tech-savvy administrative professional with the skills and go-get-’em attitude of 2 or 3 people.
Aside from the intrinsic qualities, adaptability was key. I had to learn from books, read articles, subscribe to job alerts and newsletters, and upgrade my skills with diplomas and tests to land a wonderful job in 5 months. If you’re not landing jobs and you’re doing the same thing each time, change your approach.
What have you done (differently) to get a new job since leaving Japan?
What tips would you give to job hunters post-Japan?
The Tenth International Manga Award submission period is open now. Gold and Silver Award winners will get a chance to visit Japan! Though Japan is known for a variety of cultural and technological exports throughout the world, manga and anime are among their most famous. In fact, manga and anime are so popular, they’ve become a major part…
The residents of Kyushu don’t have to fight a titan, but they do have some giant obstacles to overcome. Having been born in Oita Prefecture, Kyushu, manga artist and Attack on Titan creator Hajime Isayama recently uploaded a picture and a message of support on his personal blog for those affected by the recent earthquakes. The artwork combines…
There are three specific Anime series from most of our childhoods that you would have experienced thanks to early morning television without even realising that they were indeed cartoons developed in the great land of Nippon, at least…that’s how it was for us living in Australia. Thank you, Cheese TV! Chances are you were a […]
VIZ Media expands its novel and manga publishing roster with the addition of several new title acquisitions set for release later in 2016. Fans of the Tokyo Ghoul manga series will not want to miss the Fall 2016 debut of the first of three new original prose novels. Each novel will focus on lead characters […]