Having studied piano since she was in junior high school. my wife gave piano lessons to the children of the neighborhood after we were married. At the time, I was in my third year as an elementary school teacher; I had 40 students in my class. My salary was low (40 percent of it went to pay our rent), so I, like many other teachers at the time, supplemented my income by tutoring a child privately after school, something public school teachers are no longer allowed to do. At the time, it seemed more natural for a wife to do things at home rather than to be employed somewhere. There weren't very many "working women" then; in fact, there weren't many places for them to work.
When our son turned three there was a World's Fair in Osaka. He remembers us taking him to the pavilions, holding his hand tightly so he wouldn't get lost.
The economy was strong at the time, so the salary level for government workers, including teachers, was scaled up almost 30 percent that year. Our hopes for a doubling of our salaries in three years was dashed by the first oil crisis, after which our pay was raised only 2 or 3 percent annually.
Our daughter was born that year. There were rumors that goods were going to be scarce, so people began hoarding things like sugar and toilet paper. I remember carrying home many bags of sugar at one time. At school, as well, each pencil and piece of paper were not to be wasted. The difficulties lasted only briefly, however. Our lives were focused on our children during those years. When they were little, my wife and I took part in traditional Japanese events with them, such as the bean-scattering ceremony on...