That’s How The Fight Started…

There’s an old joke that goes like this:

My wife wanted something that went from 0-150 in less than three seconds. She’d been hinting at it for a while.  So on her birthday, waiting in the driveway, I left a scale.  

That’s how the fight started.

I told that joke to my dad who added, “Are you sure that’s not how he also ended up in the ICU with that scale embedded in his forehead?”  


My husband and I fight rarely. There are a lot of reasons.  Neither of us hang onto anger longer so once we calm down we’re done. We both enjoy debating, not arguing.  And neither of us tend to be sensitive or take the other’s disagreement that personal.

Instead of “You don’t like blue! I like blue!  If you hate blue, you hate me!”

We’re both like, “I like what I like.  That’s just me.”

The only things that get me angry easily are computers and video games. I hardly play video games anymore. And computers make me want to get one of these:

(Computer repair kit)

There are a lot of reasons a couple doesn’t fight often.  They may simply not have a reasons.  That doesn’t mean they are a healthy or strong couple (especially if one is holding back and seething about that). They just have never been tested or put under real stress.

Anyhow my husband and I had a fight Saturday.

Our fights don’t involve screaming, cussing, or any sort of shouting. They involve some crying (on my side) and speaking in terse voices.  The reason for the fight had to do with money.

No, not our living expenses.

The clinic payment.

We had visited the clinic that day and we still owed for last week’s visit. My husband needed to move the car because our parking time was almost up. He left me with nearly $300 (30,000 yen) to pay.

I went to the counter when my buzzer rang and, paid the first bill with $200, and the second with the rest.  Without double checking, I took the receipts and put the change in my wallet and returned to my seat.

Peeking in my wallet, I frowned. Something wasn’t right.  I pulled out all the money and counted. I knew I had $50 (5,000 yen). So why was there so little change.  About $40 was missing. I wondered if I had overestimated how much I already had in my wallet.

Then I did a foolish thing: I left.

When I got to the car, I gave my husband the change and the receipts.  He started counting it up and asked “Why is it $40 short?”

I insisted I had $50 that was mine, but I didn’t count before I put the change in.

Things went downhill when in his imperfect English he implied I was “clumsy” with money. Looking back, I don’t think he meant it this way (joys of arguing in your non-native language).  Nevertheless, I took it personal.

That’s how the fight started.

Finally, I suggested the clinic had made a mistake. I wasn’t sure and I feel nervous to complain in Japan.  They call people who complain too much “Claimers”.  However, my husband insisted we speak to the staff or he wouldn’t be able to trust them.

So I tried to not look like I had been crying and we returned to the clinic.  In very polite, but direct, Japanese he explained what happened and asked if they had given incorrect change.

The staff was very kind and gave us a buzzer while they opened the register to count.

After a few minutes, they called us back and said that the drawer had the right amount.

My husband and I returned home.  I was still feeling pretty sour and bad (worrying that maybe I was bad with money and confused what happened).  An hour later, the clinic calls again and asks to speak to my husband.

They are super, super apologetic.  When they closed out the register and counted all receipts they discovered a $40 surplus of cash.  They had made a mistake.  The staff lady believes she accidentally handed me a $10 (1,000 yen) bill when she was supposed to give me a $50.

At last I felt vindicated.

I wish I had counted there when I noticed something off about the change.  My husband politely grilled them about the mistake, mentioning, “it caused a situation between my wife and I.”

The clinic staff were very apologetic.

And all worked out.

When the dust settled, we weren’t angry anymore and my husband apologized to me for coming across as criticizing me.

And that’s how the reconciling started…


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When I was in my twenties, I moved to Japan and met a man there. We embarked on our adventure through life and love. I have lived with him in Japan ever since. We want to start a family, but that is proving difficult. I struggle with infertility. We almost had a child, but that ended in tragedy. Now we enjoy each day and hope that one day we'll hear the pitter-patter of little feet and the bubbly laughter of a child. In the meantime, I enjoy writing, love, studying, traveling, and working. These posts are my thoughts and stories of my life here.

2 thoughts on “That’s How The Fight Started…”

    1. It’s true. I assumed the fault was mine.

      Math has always been a weakness of mine. So when there is a problem with the change, I always assume I counted wrong.

      I was upset with my husband for pushing us to confront the clinic, but now I’m so glad he did.

      Looking back, nothing is more amusing than listening to Japanese politely confront each other. It is the most polite argument one can hear!

      Their words are filled with subtleties and hidden meanings. They’ll keep smiling throughout it, never breaking into a frown no matter how heated.

      Luckily, the clinic wasn’t one of those arguments. The situation was diffused fairly quickly and neatly.

      But I’ve seen my husband when he got really heated. The polite facade never cracks on either side. Scary…

      What’s it like when Germans argue?


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