The only time more than two generations live in the same house is when something has happened--a move, a house fire, or a major job loss, even sickness. The mindset of all involved is "this is VERY temporary, just until we can find our own place!"
Do you know anyone who's parents have their future all mapped out for them? What are their feelings about that? "This is what will make my father proud, so even though I really don't like geometry, I'm going to be an architect when I grow up!" or is it more like "Why can't my folks let me do what I want to do? It's my life!"
As much as I could try to raise my son the way I was raised, I can't. The principles I was taught can be taught in any culture, but the culture itself has a lot to teach, as well, and I can't help that. The lessons the Japanese culture taught me are not the same lessons that my son is learning from the American culture. This is where I need to be on guard, paying special attention to what seeps into his brain by osmosis.
Here’s a funny tidbit of growing up in Japan that has since become a family joke. Each vowel in Japanese has only one sound. In English, 'a' says the sounds such as in “Father hates cats.” In Japanese, 'a' only says the sound such as “father.” In Japanese, they have 3 alphabets (in case you were excited about fewer sounds to learn). One alphabet for Japanese words, one alphabet for foreign words, and kanji. So there I was, reading a word on a box at the store. It’s in English, which doesn’t always mean anything.
(Click to enlarge so you can read it.)
Thank you very much.
PS. I know you’re dying to know what “Don’t touch your mustache” translates into. When someone says “thank you”, you respond with “you’re welcome”. The Japanese words for “you’re welcome” are “dou itashimashite”, which when you say it really fast and with the right accent, comes out a little sounding like “don’t touch your mustache”.