Bill and Karen: Most annoying habit picked up in Japan

By on January 31, 2009

This Valentine’s we spread the love and ask some of Tokyo’s most romantic couples to get in the mix and share their innermost thoughts on life, love and  canned coffee!

This year’s Valentines, Bill and Karen Pond, speak up.

What brought you here?

Bill says: A great job opportunity and I wanted to see Karen in a kimono.

Karen says: My husband’s job brought us here; plus a sense of adventure. Not to mention, I think our youngest son is meant to be a sumo wrestler. 

Who had to convince whom to come to Japan?

Bill says: She is fibbing a little. I had to arm twist just a bit……I came home with a bottle of red wine and didn’t bring up the new job offer until the wine was gone.

Karen says: No arm twisting! We were all very excited. 

What is the funniest cultural faux pas your partner has made?


What is the funniest thing you have seen in Japan?

Bill says: Karen’s Japanese pronunciation is a tad shaky.  One time she tried to order a cup of coffee in Japanese.  After a number of confused looks on the clerk’s face, the clerk asked if Karen spoke English.

Karen says: We both love the Singing Elvis group at Yoyogi Koen on Sunday afternoons.  I also find the dressed up pets to be particularly impressive and kawaii desu. 

What is their most annoying habit picked up in Japan?

Bill says: My wife yells “Irashamasai” when I come home from work.  She has also threatened to put waxed versions of that evening’s dinner in our entrance way.

Karen says: My husband sings Neil Diamond at karaoke. 

What is the biggest change in your life since being here?

Bill says: We go on many more exciting vacations. 

Karen says: We have a ping pong table in our living room. Long story. 

Who calls the shots? and be honest!

Bill says: No comment, although Karen looks great in trousers.

Karen says: No comment…

What is the perfect family day in your household?

Bill says: A little Frisbee, maybe a trip to the batting cage and then dinner at a local restaurant.

Karen says: Playing Frisbee at Yoyogi Koen and then enjoying delicious burgers at Arms Restaurant. 

What was the biggest family nightmare?

Bill says: We had been here a week and were just getting used to the subway.  All of us got on a train, except for one son who thought we had said “next train.”   The doors closed and he waved goodbye.  We quickly retraced our steps and found each other but the 10 minutes apart seemed to last a few hours.

Karen says: When one of our sons was left behind on the train platform. 

Homesick  blues – What is the cure?

Bill says: Karen in the kimono.

Karen says: Skiing!

Sake, Calpis, or canned coffee-what’s it going to  be?

Bill says: I am going with the green tea Haagen Dazs ice cream bar.

Karen says: Canned coffee.

A word on the in-laws…..

Bill says: Karen’s parents visited a year ago and loved seeing the Red Sox at the Tokyo Dome.  They accurately predicted that they would be interviewed on TV if they wore their Cape Cod sweatshirts…….

Karen says: My parents stayed with us for a week and I wasn’t sure if this arrangement would work out. But, it was a great visit. In fact, one day, we woke up and my parents weren’t in our apartment. After an hour or so, they finally came home… with Mister Donut treats and a Misdo point card!!

Who takes the role of good cop, bad cop with the kids?

Bill says: The kids call her Sarge for a reason.

Karen says: No comment.

Who takes the rubbish out?

Bill says: My turns at taking out the rubbish come quite infrequently.

Karen says: Rubbish? What rubbish? 

What was the most romantic thing he / she has done for you over here?

Bill says: Yeah, the rice cooker was pretty sweet.  I think it is romantic that she agreed that the ping pong table would be the “theme” of our living room.  

Karen says: One night my husband surprised me with a rice cooker. It wasn’t what I expected, but it is a darn good cooker! Actually, a favorite romantic night was a fantastic dinner at Legato Restaurant in Shibuya. 

What do you appreciate most about your partner?

Bill says: She looked really good in a bikini during a recent beach vacation.  As we say in Maine, she is also wicked funny.

Karen says: His sense of humor, his cooking and his new beard!

A final word

Bill and Karen: Tokyo has been one of the best experiences of our lives.


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