TOKYO — Masahiro Yoshida hung up his suit jacket and pulled a pink apron over his button-down shirt. After avoiding the kitchen for most of his 65 years, it was time to cook.
Older Japanese men, lost in the kitchen, turn to housework school
So like a growing number of older men here, he signed up for classes. His six-month course at the Better Home cooking school covered skills such as how to mince garlic, chop mushrooms and shop for meat — all integral for the stroganoff he would attempt before graduating. “I had no idea how complex the cooking process was,” Yoshida admitted.
Strict gender roles have governed domestic life in Japan for generations. Men often retire without ever having held a paring knife or washed a dish. Those who lose a spouse often find themselves unable to do the most rudimentary chores. An old Japanese saying — “Danshi-chubo-ni-hairazu,” or “men should be ashamed to be found in the kitchen” — has spooked husbands from most any household work. Even