Kayo Hashimoto was just 24 years old when she fell in love with her English knight in shining armour. “Roy was my English teacher at a run-of-the-mill school in Ichikawa. The other teachers were dorks, but Roy wasn’t. That was the magic with Roy; he wasn’t a dork.”
Roy Atkinson, the then 27 year old non-dork of the teaching staff, was able to read the air, take Kayo out to a British pub, and then get her back to his flat for wild sex. So wild was the sex, that Kayo believed that she would have trouble anchoring Roy down when they married a year later.
Little did she know, however, of the strict rules that would come with living with an Englishman. “It started with his insistence that the scrambled eggs must be placed on the toast, and served up while piping hot. He explained it all to me with an air of great urgency, like your mother telling you to wear fresh knickers every day.”
The strict breakfast regime wasn’t restricted to the plate, either. “I put milk in my cup of Earl Grey tea, and that triggered him too. He went on a rant telling me that only a slice of lemon could ever be added to Earl Grey. This was all done in the manner of your mother telling you to wipe your bum after doing a poo. He makes out that I’m the thick one, when he can’t cook a meal without over-boiling every single thing, and he mispronounces every other Japanese name and place with no sense of awareness.”
Atkinson’s rules extend to just one seasonal tradition, but just by itself it shames the famed Japanese love of the four seasons. “Every year from late November he turns into a Christian and tries to win arguments simply by reminding me that it’s almost Christmas and I should be more considerate. Just the slightest micro-aggression will prompt him to go on and on about Christmas time being a time for caring about others. And, all he ever does for Christmas is buy me some saucy lingerie so that he can play out his Page 3 fantasies with me.”
Those fantasies usually require Hashimoto to dress up as a headmistress and then command Atkinson to “assume the position”. After that various disciplinary acts must be carried out, much to the chagrin of Hashimoto. “I’ve been told by many men that I look so sweet in my old high school uniform. I iron the pleats regularly and have some knee-high socks ready to wear, but instead he wants me to behave like an older woman with authority. Sometimes I think his ideal woman is that older woman in Harry Potter and Downton Abbey.”
“The chocolate must be Cadbury’s,” continues Hashimoto. “If J-League football is on television he has to observe that the standard is well below the Premier League, and the top three buttons on his shirts have to be done up when hanging them out to dry. Then there are boobs. He has to comment on every woman’s boobs when we watch a tv program. This one has shapely boobs. That one has enormous ones. This one is obviously wearing a padded bra. No pair of tits on tv can escape his critical eye. I think he’s just watched too many Benny Hill re-runs.”
Despite their differences, Hashimoto concedes that they do have some common ground. “As a couple, we’re only truly happy when we’re on an overseas holiday. That’s when we can be as arrogant and as blinkered as each other. You see, I waltz around referring to everyone as a gaijin, while he happily refers to everyone as a foreigner.”