a longer, more detailed post is forthcoming, just to give a slice of my life here in good ole japan. but in order to whet your reading appetite, here’s a list of things i learned while attending a day of youchien with my three-year-old (and one-year-old in tow).
- when japanese mothers think of making sandwiches and “cooking” together with their three- and four-year-olds, they picture themselves wearing surgical masks, and then pack them along with them. american mothers (i.e. ME) do NOT. and are maskless while everyone else cooks “safely”.
- butter, little weenies, and ketchup is a key sandwich type for the little kids at our youchien.
- three-year-olds absolutely cannot be rushed. it just doesn’t work. they simply don’t understand the importance of hurrying, and it ends in tears and tantrums, without fail.
- big youchien events, where all the moms are present, make me feel more left out and more like a foreigner than most other things in my life here.
- its frustrating to not understand all that is being said during a meeting with moms and teachers, and the “i can’t understand this” smile-and-nod bit gets old after a while.
- being the only foreign family in a school is a tough job.
- little japanese kids could care less if you understand what they are saying or not, they just like talking to you.
- when you have really, really bad days, a baskin robbins mocha blast can help you feel the teeniest bit better. (and even more so if you have one two days in a row.)
- a whole day at youchien, lots of formal japanese interactions i don’t understand, my one-year-old getting into everything he shouldn’t, moms and teachers sharing jokes i can’t grasp, and noise from many many MANY little kids is enough to make be break down sobbing before i can make it to my car.