Friday morning, a friend and fellow volunteer at the church I make rice balls with to help feed the homeless, entered the basement kitchen and said dramatically, “My friend’s husband just told her that he wants a divorce because he’s in love with a Japanese colleague. They’ve been having an affair for months. He’s unhappy and wants to sell their home back in the states so that he can have more money to start his new life with his soon-to-be new wife. They have five kids.”

Good morning!

Of all the shitty things that can happen to a trailing spouse and expat in a foreign country, having your husband leave you for a younger, more attractive “exotic” local is among the worst, ranking higher than having your husband jump in front of a speeding train and just below having him do that in front of you.

These stories of failed marriages are not rare and often share a common trajectory. Couple with kids moves to Tokyo. Marriage weakens due to stressful new job with added responsibilities, and day to day life in a foreign and sometimes hostile environment. Husband is bored with wife and starts to look at the local eye candy with greater interest. Husband takes the plunge and bangs a few locals, then falls in love with one of them. Wife claims she had no idea husband was cheating. Wife’s friends advise her on legal matters and offer words of support and privately think, “Poor so and so, I’m so glad I’m not her.”

Wilted and dazed, the wife is escorted to the airport by a close friend where she will board an airplane that will take her on the long journey back home, where she will soon face an unwanted future as a single mother with insufficient means and no job.

On the bright side, things will very likely go south for the husband and his new life in Japan. I’ve heard that after the baby is born, Japanese women don’t want to have sex anymore. And they have a perfect excuse not to want to. In Japanese culture, babies sleep with their parents until they’re four or five years old, sometimes older. “Don’t touch me. We’ll wake the baby.” She’ll have sex again only if she wants another child. If not, she’d much rather spend time with her friends than with her balding and expanding gaijin husband. Pretty soon the husband befriends others like him. These new friends grow old together as their wives despise them more and more. Their kids, not knowing English too well, grow more and more distant. Their life becomes a pathetic ritual. But there is always that speeding train…

Poetic justice is a bitch.

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