Satomi’s family

2014 Tokyo

Satomi, a 31-year-old full-time housewife, lives in a town an hour and a half from the center of Tokyo by train. She lives in a duplex house with her daughter, her husband who is running a company and his parents. For Satomi “family” includes not only her family who she lives with but also her parents, and her husband’s sisters and “they are connected as a ‘family’ on LINE”.

She uses LINE on a daily basis with her husband, his parents and his sistersand they are all registered in a group called “family”. She is frequently contacted by her husband, his mother, and his sister’s with messages such as “I’ve finished work now”, “I’m late because the airplane’s delayed”, or “Why don’t you all have dinner at our place?” However, Satomi says, “I communicate with them only in a businesslike manner because I don’t want them (her husband’s family) to know what I am doing.

She prefers to use Facebook to share her recent activities with her friends and her parents. She used Facebook a lot to communicate with her father during the time he worked abroad for two years. She wanted to show him his growing granddaughter. She says “On Facebook we can casually view each other’s activities while e-mail requires a reply each time”. She had a friend request from her mother-in-law, which she accepted however she ended up blocking it. “We have a different sense of distance. She is sometimes overly friendly. I prefer to keep a suitable distance with others. I don’t like her knowing my private business”, she explains.

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