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Special Report on Childcare] Experiencing “Moving to a New Country Alone with a Child
Housework and Parenting” in the style of Yoshito Okubo, former member of Japan’s national soccer team

 Yoshito Okubo, a former Japanese national soccer player who retired in 2021, is a father of four sons.
In his final year, when he decided to return to Cerezo Osaka after a 15-year absence, he initially planned to go to Osaka by himself, but his third son, Tori, who was in the fourth grade at the time, said, “I’ll go with you! He was a J-League player, but he was also an active member of the J-League. While playing an active role as an active J-League player, he also struggled as a “househusband,” taking full responsibility for housework and child rearing.
Starting with “Miso Nashi Miso Soup,” he is now so skilled that he even processes his own fish.

 When I first started living alone with my third son, I made instant miso soup and only added the ingredients, forgetting to add the miso, and my son was furious, saying, “It has no taste! My son was furious, saying, “It has no taste! (Laughs.) Also, when I made fried eggs, I did not have a lid for the frying pan, so I had to cover the lid with my bare hands.
Then one day, my son told me he wanted to eat oyakodon. I had never made it before, but I imagined how to make it and gave it a try, thinking that even if it was bad, I could eat it and it turned out quite delicious.
 Furthermore, I wanted to try the fish boiled and seasoned that my mother used to make for me, so I started with the process of processing the fish. First, I checked how to process the fish on social networking sites, and even though it said “a tablespoon” of seasoning, I didn’t know which spoon to use to measure it, so I made it by eye, imagining the taste of my mother’s cooking. Boiling became my best dish. I didn’t know the right answer, and I probably made a lot of mistakes, but after experimenting and trying different things, I surprisingly became able to do anything.

Switch between work and housework! Don’t expect perfection, just “do it!

  I have been asked how balancing housework and child-rearing affects my play during games, but soccer was soccer and housework was housework, so it did not affect my play at all. During night games, I would return home at around 23:00. Even if I felt terrible after a loss, I forgot about the game because I had things to do at home after I got home.
 It might have been tough if I had sought perfection in housework and child rearing, but I did not seek perfection and just did what I had to do, to the extent that I could do it.
Maybe that was a good thing, too, because I saw it as a positive experience and growth opportunity to do not only soccer, but also housework and everything else.
 When I was younger, if I missed a one-on-one with the goalkeeper in a game, I would drag it out so badly that even if I tried to sleep, I would remember the scene all the time and the adrenaline would kick in and I would not be able to sleep. But I thought to myself, “What’s the point?” I tried to forget about it after the game. Since then, I have been able to switch over to a more positive attitude.

Hoarding chores is a yellow card! The ironclad rule is, “Move when you realize it early!”

 I hear that many men are not good at housework, but I believe that they can definitely do it if they try anything. I think it is an excuse to say, “It’s too hard, it’s too hard” without doing anything. Even if I couldn’t do something at first, I could do it if I tried, and you can’t improve unless you try and fail. If you make progress, you will be happy, and it will be surprisingly enjoyable.
 I also think it is important to do chores right away, not later, even if they are tedious. If you let chores accumulate, you will hate them even more the next time you try to do them, so when you notice, even if you don’t want to do them, get moving. Once you start moving, you will not be able to stop. If you finish it that day, you can sleep well at night and start your day with a refreshed mind the next morning. This “refreshed” feeling is really nice, and I worked hard to feel this.

A “thank you” from his wife is a driving force! Dads also take the initiative through praise communication

 I think that communication between husband and wife is also important to encourage fathers to do housework. I once did the dishes, and when I put them away in the wrong place at the end, my wife got angry with me and said, “If that’s the case, I’ll never do it again” (laughs).
 So, if you thank him for what he did and don’t get angry if he doesn’t do it perfectly, he will be happy with the praise and say, “Well, I’ll do it again next time. If he continues to do it, he will feel bad if he doesn’t do it again. If you can “make him do it” in this way, I think he will take the initiative.
 We are now resuming life as a family of six, and I have naturally started to do the housework that I disliked when I lived alone with my son and the things I thought would have been easier if someone else had done them for me back then. My wife tells me “thank you” and “you’re a great help” more often, and that still makes me happy.

The Okubo Way! The Secret to Successful Communication with Family Members

 I always try to have a conversation with my sons so that we can talk about anything like friends. I tell my sons that if they have something they don’t like, they should just tell me. Talking helps my sons feel better, and I can also make them laugh by responding in an amusing way. I think we are a fun family with lots of conversation.
 I want my children to grow and develop, so when my son is feeling down, I tell him, “Don’t worry about it. If you worry about it, you won’t be able to do anything, so don’t worry about it. I want him to grow up by trying various things, and if he fails, he will know what went wrong.

What I Want Parenting Dads to Know About Growing Up

 People say that housework and child-rearing are hard work, but it’s not just hard work. I think that if you do whatever you do while thinking of it as your own personal growth, you will enjoy it. First of all, don’t seek perfection. I think that is important.


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