Sister – new life
My sister rented a 4 1/2 tatami mat-size (about 9 x 9 square feet) apartment with a small kitchen and a communal toilet. There was no shower room, so she had to walk for 10 minutes to the closest public bath.
Our third aunt had rented this apartment for the past few years before moving in with her new husband. My parents and I visited her at her new home in an affluent area close to central Tokyo. The house was a traditional Japanese architecture made of Japanese cypress. My aunt’s husband was a quiet man and conversed with us politely while my aunt kept pouring tea in our cups.
When she had a painful divorce, my aunt had to live in a lesser living condition, but her remarriage moved her up to even better-off life. At 13, I was coming to understand what my mother meant when she couldn’t divorce my father because of financial reasons. Women’s living standards depended solely on the husband’s wealth, at least for the generations of my aunt and mother.
I also understood that my sister chose to live what seemed to be a frugal lifestyle. My parents were going to send her some monthly allowance so that she could focus on her study without long hours of a part-time job. She looked excited about her new life, and I was, too, thinking of my life in 4 years.