emi: … and her job is, um, “domestic helper.” – it’s a fancy term for unemployed, typically for unemployed single women.
H: That’s really odd – unemployed is “domestic helper.” How absolutely polite and Japanese.
emi: I know. Actually, there are several different versions of Japanese unemployed, but I think “domestic helper” is extremely well done as a term. It’s got such a positive connotation. I think it’s a beautiful example of the art of Japanese language.
H: That’s interesting.
emi: Among my mother’s generation, “trainee in homemaking” was popular, but not anymore. I remember a unisex term “parasite single” was introduced a decade ago, but I am not sure if it’s still used. Because those young folks won’t appreciate it, you know. “Neet” is the other one. Unlike those negative terms, “domestic helper” sounds kinda
nice and is, well, socially acceptable I would say. In fact some women are happy to call themselves “domestic helper.”
H: Well I guess unemployed does not mean “broke” in Japan.
emi: Good point! A “domestic helper” should have money as long as she has someone to, um, help domestically. In other words, one has to live at home with her parents to be a “domestic helper.” And the greatest thing is that she has freedom as well because the help is not usually an urgent business.