Perfect Day at Home

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Perfect Day at Home
Author: Hideo Okuda
Specifications: ISBN  978-4087748529
240 pages
13.4 x 18.6 cm / 5.4 x 7.4 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
Tokyo, 2007
Awards: Shibata Renzaburo Award, 2007
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The author directs a warmhearted gaze over the lives of husbands and wives in six ordinary families in contemporary Japan, with a remarkable knack for putting his finger on telling ripples in people's everyday experiences. The central character of Sani dei (Sunny Day) is the 42-year-old homemaker Noriko. She decides to put a picnic table she no longer needs up for auction on the Internet. It's her first time, and she feels a thrill when it goes for a higher price than she had expected and the buyer expresses gratitude. Now that she's had a taste, she begins selling other items, ultimately putting her husband's guitar up for sale without his permission, purchasing an autographed copy of a book just so she can put it up for auction, and so forth, getting in deeper and deeper. Until this, she had been languishing, unappreciated by her family, but now she walks with a spring in her step and emits a glow that makes people remark how good she looks.

In Koko ga seizan (Anywhere a Resting Place), the 36-year-old Yusuke finds himself out of a job when the ad agency he's worked at for fourteen years goes bankrupt. He receives no severance pay. His wife returns to the company she had worked for before getting married and having a child; he becomes a househusband, looking after their kindergartener and wholeheartedly throwing himself into the task of packing lunches for his wife and son.

In Tsuma to genmai gohan (My Wife and Her Brown-Rice Diet), the protagonist is an author whose wife comes under the sway of neighbors who are proponents of natural living. She puts the family on a brown-rice diet, and while he's not entirely unsympathetic to the movement, when casting around for story ideas he comes up with one that makes fun of her and the neighbors, leading to tensions between the couple.