The following is a translation of “Uketori-kata, satori-kata no jozu na hito” by Kuraji Kashiwagi from Ohanashi goju hassen, published in 2004 in Japanese by the Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association. Translation originally posted at Tenrikyo Forum on March 12, 2007.
A Person Who Responds In a Positive Manner
by Kuraji Kashiwagi
A man comes home, exhausted from riding a packed train and finds his wife sleeping in the back room.
Upset, the man roars: “Hey, what do you think you’re doing? I come home from work and you’ve been sleeping without making dinner? Are you sick or are you just dozing off?”
His wife answers: “I’m not sick. I fell asleep before I knew it. I was probably tired from sewing all night last night….”
“So you were dozing off!? I can see if you were sick; otherwise you’ve got no excuse dozing off! My paycheck helps feed you; try being in my shoes for a change, coming home tired each day!” Thus, a marital quarrel breaks out.
But what if the man had responded in a different way? If he had only said: “Oh, you were just dozing off. Thank goodness you’re not sick. Otherwise, it would be awful; I’d have to take you to the doctor and look after you. Okay, I’ll just go to the public bath for now. I know you must be tired, but could you start making dinner right away?” He could have kept the peace if he had responded in such a manner.
There are two different ways a man can respond when coming home and finding his wife sleeping. One is to yell, “What are you doing dozing off?!” The other is to say, “I’m glad that you were only dozing off.” Responding in the first manner creates conflict. Responding in the second manner brings about a world of joyousness.
It only takes either a negative or positive response to turn our life into an agonizing hell or that of a joyous paradise.
On the author
Kuraji Kashiwagi 柏木庫治 (1888–1977): Served as first and third head minister of Higashichuo Daikyokai (1928–1953; 1956–1962). Promoted to executive official of Church Headquarters in 1963.
Obviously, this blurb suffers from feeling quite dated in terms of how the husband responds “positively” to having no home-cooked dinner to come home to. But it’s best to look past that and understand the gist of what Rev. Kashiwagi is trying to get at: the importance of responding to mundane, everyday developments as “positively” as one can.
I would like to imagine an American husband would at least offer to take his wife out to dinner in such a case. (U.S.A.! U.S.A.!) Even a modern Japanese man could top this by going to Kenko Land or somewhere else similar. Poo-poo to Seinenkai HQ for not giving this a modern spin!
- Next installment in this series: A Mind That Can See Things In a Positive Light
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.