Saturday, June 9, 2012

new hens on the block

This simple etegami was inspired by a photograph I found on studiololo's blog. It shows some hens with beautiful plumage, and the caption explains that they are the newest hens on her friend's farm. I was initially attracted to the lovely feathers, wondering if it was possible to reproduce them in an etegami. But as I continued to observe the photo, my mind built up a whole background story in which these hens played a central role.

The appearance and the posture of the hens made me think of certain young urban mothers in Japan who move into a new neighborhood. These young mother hens are very fashion-conscious. They are desperate to fit in with the popular mothers of the new neighborhood. They wear their full make-up and their jewelry even to meet the kindergarten bus.

In order to make a smooth adjustment into the new community, they have to learn (without being told) all the subtle rules of the playground, and the kindergarten bus, and garbage pick-up, and the "pecking order" of the women's community. It would be enough to make me move to the South Pole. But I have always ignored that stuff, because I am accustomed to not belonging and I can live with it. To many young mothers, though, it's a huge thing. Women have lost their sanity, attempted suicide, even homicide, because of the stress, and this phenomenon is often depicted in Japanese TV dramas.


  1. Japanese society has much to admire, but these kinds of pressures are a high price to pay for a relatively peaceful life. On the other hand not every body carries a gun!
    Beautiful etegami Debbie and your insights into life in Japan are fascinating.

  2. Wow, Debbie,
    I totally agree with your view. At first, I thought it could be "雷鳥(in winter)," but hens and the serious post that implies your long struggle, detemination, tactics to survive. You're also brave to speak loud. Good on, Debbie, keep it and share them with us!!
    With my best cheers, Sadami

  3. You did a great job with this! I'll cut and paste it and show it to my friend (who doesn't blog.)

    That's very sad about the new mothers over there. It's almost as if they're shunned. You'd think other mothers would embrace them and their newness.

    It's always fascinating to read your stories.


  4. Thanks for sharing the pressures of Japanese society on young mothers. An eye opener for me. Glad to know that you are your own person and not a victim of these pressures. Good for you for sharing this so wisely and well.