There’s a movement among single Japanese women, according to Kaori Shoji in the Japanese Times, to become your own lawfully wedded yome – that is, wife. After all, married men go home to a sweet loving wife who takes care of them, (and single men can always call mum on their way home), but a single woman rarely has that kind of support, goes the reasoning behind this. But if a single woman is her own yome, she can slip into a wraparound apron (kappogi) and take care of herself and her household.
The duties of a selfie yome are to take care of the main breadwinner in this single household – the working woman herself. She doesn’t scramble of bed and gulp down Starbucks on her way to work, she takes care of herself. She makes herself a gentle breakfast with green tea, she makes herself nice meals, and she cares for herself when she is sick and hungover, as a married woman would do for her husband. I can see the many advantages of this – with single portions, you can have some tasty gourmet meals, and relax in the evening with full control of the remote. The kappogi is said to be ideal for single women (in spite of its associations of servitude) because she can dress for work and then cover it all up and keep her work clothes clean while she attends to household chores.
Modern life certainly makes it easier for a woman to be her own yome. With appliances like slow cookers and microwave ovens, she can come home to a meal prepared earlier, and relax and unwind from the day without having to cook. A bit of organization and making sure her own needs are taken care of will not only make her happier, it will make her a better employee. Everyone needs someone to take care of them. Why shouldn’t a woman be her own wife?
Note: Yes, I am aware yome might not be the right term (okusan may be more correct) but it the term Kaori uses and she explains her choice in the original article.