Arihiro Fujita and Kimiyo Fujita, owners of the award-winning Takasagoya Pork Shop in Tokyo’s Tsukishima, know their pork. These two 65-year-olds also know what makes a relationship work. They’ve been married and working together for 40 years — without, they claim, even one argument.
Arihiro-san: You can’t argue when you’re naked and in a big tub of hot water! So we bathe together every night and since we are relaxed, it is the perfect time to discuss the mistakes of that day, plan the next and show our appreciation for each other. I say, Sorry for getting mad today. She says, OK, don’t worry, honey.
Kimiyo-san: Men need more support than women, so if the wife is smart enough to recognize this, everything goes smoothly and the whole family is happy.
Kimiyo-san: People say Japanese don’t make enough eye contact. It’s true! That is why they have communication problems. When you look down it means you’re not listening. Honest people look you in the eye and understand you.
Arihiro-san: It is a total waste of time to try to change people. Be nice to them and leave them alone.
Arihiro-san: It’s fortunate that I got very sick 14 years ago. Before that I was so proud and sure I would never get sick, but then I did and realized a disease can be your friend because it shows you your limits and helps you control your life.
Kimiyo-san: No matter how rich you are and how expensively you dress, it means nothing. We don’t care about looks; we want substance. A person who is poor but speaks from the heart is everything to us. That is the man we want to marry our fourth daughter.
Arihiro-san: We all get what we deserve. Twenty years ago we lost all our money because we blindly trusted people and put loads of cash in front of them. We were responsible for the environment that turned them into thieves. So if terrible things are happening to you, you are doing something wrong and you had better reexamine your behavior.
Arihiro-san: For us, buying bottles of sake as gifts for 100 people is better than going out for some fancy dinner with expensive wine.
Arihiro-san: My wife checks out every one of our daughters’ boyfriends and if they don’t pass inspection, they’re history. When someone is smitten, they are blind, so it’s up to parents and friends to check out the love interest to make sure they don’t make a mistake.
Arihiro-san: We use every part of the animal because it is life and one must not waste even a tiny part of life.
Kimiyo-san: If I were not in this business, I would be a hairstylist, making everyone look and feel good!
Arihiro-san: I would be a carpenter, because I enjoy designing and making beautiful things for others.
Kimiyo-san: Every Dec. 31 he washes my whole body as his appreciation for the whole year. I don’t wash his body because he doesn’t let me! If I wash his body, we’re equal and he doesn’t want that. He wants to be sweet to me!
Judit Kawaguchi loves to listen. She is a volunteer counselor and a TV reporter on NHK’s “Weekend Japanology” http://www.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/japanology_e.html