Our Japanese-language reporter had his world turned upside down when his German wife commented on his childhood memories.

Our Japanese-language reporter Daichiro Tashiro is quite the catch. Not only is he a walking encyclopedia of Disney tidbits and trivia, but he’s a talented and evocative fan artist when he needs to be.

▼ And look at that thousand-megawatt smile!

We’re sorry to break any hopeful readers’ hearts, but Daiichiro is happily married to his long-time girlfriend of six years. Throughout their time together they’ve encountered their fair share of cultural misunderstandings; while Daiichiro is Japanese, his wife is German, and naturally grew up in a very different societies with different customs and social expectations.

Daiichiro admits that most of these cultural differences only amount to a ‘huh, wow‘ on the shock scale. Now and again, though, the two of them will come up across such a stumbling block it causes Daiichiro to reevaluate his entire existence.

The day that shattered Daiichiro’s concept of ‘summer vacation’ was, fittingly enough, a piping hot one in the peak of summer. As the cicadas droned noisily in the background, Daiichiro and his wife strolled through the aisles of a supermarket as couples tend to do. When his eyes landed on a counter for “Summer Vacation Free Study Kits”, packaged experiments or tasks that children can do on a topic of their choice, Daiichiro sighed in nostalgia for his own childhood vacations. Those days were so far away now. So long ago.

“Man, I remember back when I did my free studies in summer vacation,” he told his wife, who hastened to his side, basket in tow.

“Hmm? What are these?”

▼ The possibilities for study are only limited by how many notebooks you have.

As Daiichiro’s wife blinked at the study kits, Daiichiro took it upon himself to explain the great trials and tribulations of his nation’s children as though he were their spokesman. He told her of the self-imposed studies he and his classmates would undertake, the difficulties, and presumably the inevitable panic that comes from putting all your study off until you barely have any vacation left.

Far from being impressed at his tales from the summer vacation trenches, his usually smiling wife had a look of utter disbelief on her face.

“So…in Japan you do assignments on your summer vacation? That’s not really a vacation then, is it?”

Just like that, Daichiro’s world fell apart.

▼ Dramatic reenactment of the inside of Daiichiro’s head

What? What was his dear wife saying? He couldn’t comprehend it. Of course summer vacation is a vacation, he thought, that’s the whole point of it! It’s a vacation! Vacation, as in “an extended period of leisure and recreation”. Wait. Wait, wait.


If he, like so many Japanese children, spent his summer vacations doing work…

Then that voided the definition! He had, in fact, done the EXACT opposite of leisure: work! The exact opposite of recreation: labor! While he should have been roaming his tiny childhood world with careless abandon, free as a bird, he had been writing daily diary entries and then relishing the freedom to pick a topic to do more work on, like some kind of sick, ironic joke!

“So,” he croaked to his wife, still shaking from this mind-blowing revelation, “does that mean in Germany…you don’t do any assignments over the summer? None at all?”

“Of course not,” his wife replied at once. “Why would we? It’s summer vacation. Summer vacation.”

Daiichiro had to concede that she had a point.

Then he realized something else. Wasn’t it just a generally accepted fact that Japanese people can’t stop thinking about work, even on their extremely rare days off? Well, how could anyone be expected to switch into relaxation mode after spending their childhood holidays focused on working? You would forget relaxation mode was even an option.

No wonder so many people in Japan struggle with stress management and leaving the office on time.

Daiichiro was lucky enough to experience the decadence of a no-holds barred relaxation fest when visiting a summer resort with his wife’s German family, but he implores others to think about this cultural fixture. While it’s true that doing assignments over summer holiday keeps kids’ brain cells active and encourages a strong work ethic, it might also damage their ability to ever take a break.

Make no mistake though, in general our happy-go-lucky reporter loves having the opportunity to discuss these quirks and differences with his wife. Thankfully, he’s well past the age where he’d be expected to take daily notes on those differences and write up a report on it.

Images © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]