1. Home
  2. /
  3. couple
  4. /
  5. Ryuji Kashiwabara, “God of...

Ryuji Kashiwabara, “God of the Mountain
Teamwork is the key to success! Household chores and childcare “Tasuku Relay

 When he was at Toyo University, Ryuji Kashiwabara won the sectional prize in the 5th section of the Hakone Ekiden for four consecutive years starting in 2009, earning him the nickname “God of the Mountain. After graduating from university, he joined Fujitsu Limited, and after retiring from the sport, he has been active as a sports commentator and navigator while working for the company. We interviewed Mr. Kashiwabara, who is now married and the father of two children, about his busy life, housework, and child-rearing.



The pain of running the 5th district and the difficulty of housework and childcare are two different things.

 There is a height difference of more than 800 meters in the 5th section, which runs from the Odawara relay station to Lake Ashinoko, and it is the hardest section of all the 10 sections in the Hakone Ekiden. But the pain of running through this section and the difficulty of housework and childcare were completely different. Every day I realize that just because I have experienced the severity of climbing a mountain many times, it does not mean that I can easily overcome it (laugh).
 In particular, the nursing period for my older son was very difficult. I had to boil water several times during the night to make milk, and he cried a lot every night. I don’t want to sound like a “relay race,” but we somehow managed to get through the night by working in tandem: my wife would hold the child in her arms or change his diaper while I went to make milk and handed it to him.

Lifestyle changed drastically with the birth of a child

 Many things have changed since our children were born. When our oldest child was born, we were in the middle of the Corona Disaster, when everything was very restrictive, so we got a car license so that we could get around on our own. We had to bathe the child at night, so we no longer went out drinking. Even at home, I no longer drink alcohol while the children are awake. If something happens to my child, I don’t want to be unable to handle it. It happened once. When my older son had febrile convulsions and became unconscious, I was unable to drive the car because I had been drinking. Since then, I have decided to drink alcohol only after my children are asleep.
 My eating habits have also changed. Since I am retired, my diet is basically the same as my family’s, but I try not to eat carbohydrates in the morning or at night because I get sleepy when I eat rice. Especially at night, if I go to bed, I can’t do the remaining chores, and I don’t have time to talk with my wife. At night, after the children are in bed, I cherish the time I can spend with my wife watching TV dramas and spending time together as a couple.

There is a wife’s way of doing everything, “Not so!” To avoid being told “Not so!

 When I was at Toyo University, each of us had our own role to play in communal living in the dormitory. In addition to laundry and room cleaning, the underclassmen were responsible for cleaning the entire dormitory at 9:00 p.m. every night. Since meals were not served on holidays, I would cook my own meals or prepare pots and pans, and we would eat together. When I was single, I lived alone, so I did all the cooking, laundry, and cleaning. I am the type of person who is reluctant to do things, but once I decide to do household chores, I will do them to the best of my ability. In particular, I was very careful about food, including food poisoning, when I was an athlete, so even now I am meticulous about washing dishes and making sure they are spotless.
 However, in our family, my wife has her own way of cleaning up, and if I break it, she gets angry with me, saying, “That’s not the way I do it. I always ask in advance, “How do you want me to do it? If I have my own ideas about my wife’s procedures and ideals, I may say something like, “If you put them in here, it will be troublesome when you take them out, so wouldn’t it be better to put them this way? I sometimes give my opinion.
 In a family, one of the most common reasons for a bad atmosphere is that what we do for the good of one another is not good for the other, so we try to be very careful in our communication.


Express feelings with “thank you” rather than “I’m sorry.

 Raising a child in the Corona Disaster area was difficult and inconvenient, but there were many positive aspects, such as being able to pick up and drop off my children at daycare thanks to the introduction of telework, and being able to watch my children while opening my computer at home. My wife is currently working as a childcare provider, but when I am home teleworking, I watch the younger child while she takes the older child shopping, and we often share childcare responsibilities. In addition, when the children go to bed at night, they absolutely want to sleep with their mom, so I do the dishes and wash the dishes while my wife puts them to bed, etc. We cooperate with each other to make time for each other.
 However, on days when I come to work, or when I am not home due to athletics-related events or commentary, my wife takes care of the kids and everything else at home. On those days, the first thing I would do when I got home was to say “I’m sorry,” but one day my wife said to me, “I don’t like being told “I’m sorry” every time. Since then, we try to say “thank you” to each other when someone does something for us.

When scolding children, communicate logically, not angrily.

 Coach Sakai, who taught me at Toyo University, was a man who taught in a logical manner so that the players could easily understand what he was saying. Perhaps because of his influence, I do not get emotionally angry with my children, but when they do something wrong, I tell them, “Do you know what’s wrong? When they do something wrong, I tell them to reflect and think for themselves. I don’t know if talking logically will convince small children, but I think it is best not to lose this stance.
 For example, if they are joking around with their food, I will say something like, “Mommy took the trouble to cook it for you, but you won’t eat it anymore,” or “The producer will be sad,” meaning, “Let’s think about their feelings. Then they would say, “I’m sorry,” and start eating again.


An ideal team built through the cooperation of husband and wife

 If I were to compare our family to a relay race team, my wife would be the athlete and coach, and I would be the athlete and support staff. My wife supervises the team so that we can run smoothly, and I can easily provide support. My wife gives me clear instructions. When I say that, you might think I’m a person who waits for instructions, but I prefer not to do anything unnecessary (laughs).
 But I do make allegations from time to time. It’s that balance, isn’t it?
 I am not very particular about the children’s school, but my wife is the type of person who gathers a lot of information and thinks about it. I often follow my wife’s policy, but in the end, we always talk about how it would be better to let the children do what they want to do and choose. What if they say they want to be track and field athletes in the future? Of course I would support him!

 I would like to continue to build an ideal team where the family can feel comfortable, always remembering to express my gratitude and respect for my wife, and working together as mutually trustworthy partners.