My Casual Life : November, 1999

Keeping an account

Mieko Nagano, Oita City, Japan

I keep 35 account books on my shelf. It is a surprise and at the same time impressive to see them and realize we have been married already more than 35 years.

When I was a girl, I used to help my mother in preparing for a new year and summing up a household account book for the past one year. It was very natural for me to believe that when I got married, I had to keep an account book. When I got married, my mother prepared me a new account book - the same stylebook she was using - without fail.
In a train on our way back from the honeymoon, my husband opened his purse and handed the contents, saying "Well, my honey, I ask you to manage our family budget from now on." I still remember clearly that I realized my responsibility to create our new home.

Since then, I have been keeping the household account for 35 years. This comes from not only my effort, but also from the great amount of help by my friends in "Group of Friends." The Group was founded by Mrs. Motoko Hani, the inventor of her own-style account book, who taught us the importance of keeping an account, saying, "An account is the base of a home. It is not only a private matter, but also a public activity. Home must be simple, but society should be rich." Her saying is the basic concept of our Group.

Our new home started with the income no more than 20 thousands yen in 1965. Our household account books record not only the flow of money, but also our life itself engraved in the book. They tell us our history, starting from two, movement to a new land, the birth of our son, his growing, his school days, and starting out in life.

Some of the book contain dollar-based money flow, indicating a dear old life in the USA. Our only son was then in a junior high school in Tokyo and we were living in Chicago.

After 36 years service, my husband put a period to his business life last March. I appreciated him very much. Since then, our income turned from salary to pension. Thanks to my long time custom of keeping an account, I have been able to grasp the detail of the household. So, I could stay cool even after the income had decreased, and I can figure out my annual budget without any trouble. It is one of my greatest pleasures. My husband also helps me in building up a household account program using a personal computer.

My only son also learned how to keep his petty cash book just after he had started to write. He left his home and entered a dormitory of a junior highschool in Tokyo named "Jiyuu Gakuen", or "Campus of Freedom." He soon learned how to manage his big money of the budget and outgoings such as school expenses or the cost of living by himself. He has been keeping his own account even after he became a businessman and then got married. He and his wife now keep a new account with helping each other.

The tradition of keeping household account books have been handed down from my mother to me, and then to my son's new home. This is a great pleasure for me. I am now involved in a campaign to keep recording a household account in our Group of Friends. In every November, we will have the classes opened all over Japan how to improve a home life through the management of the household account.

I hope I can live a healthy life by keeping our account together with my husband.

January 1998: Oita, prefecture of abundance January 1999: Oita river
February 1998: My kitchen April 1999: Mr. Terao's Record
March 1998: My son's new home May 1999: Personal computer corner
April 1998: Shopping August 1999: On peace
May 1998: PC life starts
October 1998: New COARA
November 1998: Group of Friends

Mie homepage

go to coara homepage