There are plenty in the garden and none too keen to dry out. They replenish the soil, of course, they have their uses, but not in Japan.
Marriage in Japan is not without its hazards. My only knowledge of this comes from radio and television, I don’t doubt there are many examples of successful marriages in Japan, but some of them succeed only because the happy couple don’t spend much time together. When the husband retires – and with the older generation it usually is the husband – then the problems begin. When you come right down to it they don’t have much in common, perhaps they never had, and don’t like each other that much.
Here in the YUK an expression is sometimes used by which the retired husband, now spending too much time at home, is said to be ‘getting under his wife’s feet’. In Japan two common phrases cover this and in much the same way. The retired husband is either ‘a pile of rubbish’ or ‘wet leaves’ – absolutely useless and a considerable inconvenience.
There are ways to solve this, of course. One party or the other could move out – of the matrimonial home, not to mention the matrimonial bed. Or rather than retire, the man could work till he dropped.
So if you come across a haiku entitled Wet Leaves, make sure you interpret it correctly.