Tuesday, April 28, 2009

april (g)

i love humans.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

april (f)

Hello there.

I'm going to take a break from the blog for a bit. And hopefully from the internet. If you want to get in touch you can reach us on skype (technically the internet, i know) at iheartkansai or drop us an old fashioned postcard: 1070-1 Fukue-cho Gotou-shi, Nagasaki-ken 853-0007. We'd love to hear from you.

Hope you are all well and we'll be in touch soon. Take care.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

april (e)

Hello Weekend. How glad I am to see you.

Sebastian is doing well in his new class. He has a new teacher this year as his old teacher quit due to conflict with my infamous boss. The boss' sister is Sebastian's new teacher. She's been teaching at the school for about 35 years so she has experience. She's known for being strict but I've seen that since she's been back in the capacity of a regular teacher (she was an assistant for a few years), she's become quite affectionate and warm towards her students. Sebastian likes her so far. She came down to the office where I was one morning to express her surprise at how much Japanese Sebastian knows now. He can do more than just function now, he is actually in the mix. I am constantly surprised when I hear him speaking Japanese because he knows more than I do. He doesn't hesitate to question which particle he should use. He just uses it. And, he is starting to write in hiragana at school and loves it. So, our nomadic ways have been tamed for a bit since we at least want him to finish kindergarten here.

This weekend we are going to explore different parts of the island then return here for some sewing and preparation for next week. It is almost time to switch to the summer uniforms (next month) and we have to make sure it still fits. Sebastian is the tallest kid at school now, if you can believe it. It is really strange to see him at school assemblies, his auburn head bobbing a bit above the black heads of his friends. And then to hear him turn to his friends and speak so easily... my heart swells with pride but more with admiration. He inspires me.

Hope you are all well. Take care.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

april (d)

on the way to his first day of kindergarten:: opening ceremony:: he played the drums in in ode to joy

waiting/playing while sebastian became an official kindergartener

easter check list:

-dye eggs: check
-make deviled eggs: check
-make chocolate eggs: in progress
-make potato salad:
-make carrot cake with "grass" and "easter eggs" on top:
-make bbq sauce:
-help prepare the way for a certain bunny to visit: check

in our house, we celebrate easter in a very secular but fun way. i honestly tried to figure out how to make baked beans but all we have here are azuki beans and soy beans. i did order this pattern but it hasn't arrived yet so the easter bunny had to modify her plans. i am making their easter candy by melting good chocolate and pouring it into egg shaped molds. i have little colored foils for wrapping them up. tomorrow morning if the weather is as gorgeous as today, we will trek up to the central park and bring the colored eggs with us. i know we will look a little odd, but so what? when have we ever not looked odd?
i hope you are all enjoying the weekend. take care.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Saturday, April 04, 2009

april (b)

from the lobby of a multi-storied abandoned hotel here on the island

so, just so you know, i am still interested in your input about the last post. i have always had questions about this but things have been stirred up in my mind by reading a collection of essays about parenting abroad.

last two days of spring break. hair cuts and baker's clay. rain and sandwiches.


listening to this this american life episode about the recession.
looking at these pictures of different recession related images from around the world.
looking forward to this movie that jason introduced me to with the description that it seems a bit like us.
trying to figure out where we fit into this puzzle. as usual.
hoping you are all well.

take care.

Friday, April 03, 2009

april (a)

warning: this is a really long post.

i don't know. i just don't know.
i've been thinking too much lately. thinking about what we are doing here, on this island, in this country. i know the immediate reasons but the long term? i am uncertain.
i've been considering racism and bullying in japan. wondering if things will ever change. wondering if it is better to give up or stand up.
every generation always says the next generation will have it better. that things are better than they once were. but on this island, we live as in amber. there is no change.
the argument that rises when people question racism, discrimination, condoned school violence is that it is their country. they get to choose.
is it just my happy-go-lucky white american view of multiculturalism and globalization?
does this explain why i feel that everyone around the world needs to let go of prejudice and accept that we are all in this human mess together?
is it better in america?
i don't know. my america is the american south, a region riddled with racial tension and tremendous prejudice. a place where even in my last part-time job, i saw a girl get fired because of "cultural differences" that didn't mix well with the team. aka she was black. i defended her but i didn't quit over it. i needed the paycheck. which made me feel part of it.
which brings me back to japan. we are the token whites. our children are fair and nico looks like a kewpie doll (he gets called kewpie-chan all the time). people give them money, presents, and snacks just for being cute. nico gets it more than sebastian this time. sebastian no longer has red hair but nico's blond is still shining bright, fitting into the stereotype of ideal foreign-ess. he gets a ridiculous amount of attention for his looks. luckily he's not very aware of it, for being two he naturally expects everyone to treat him like the sun. in general, toddlers in japan do get a lot of attention but nothing compares to this.
and yet, is it acceptance? no, it is just the blond hair. so again, i feel in our own way we are supporting racism since it works in our favor right now.
do i have the right to make my children the discriminated against minority? should i gamble that sebastian and nico will be the lucky ones? that they will have good friends and supportive teachers, unlike many others? it's not the minority status i fear, but the institutionalized racism that allows bullying to flourish. the fact that so little is done to amend it makes me wonder, what am i doing here?
at times like these, i try to put on my objective lens that i crafted during my undergraduate studies. but the mama lens refuses to be removed.
raising the kids bilingually and biculturally has to be worth it, right? we have to hope so. but maybe we are wrong. are the benefits of bilingualism enough to overcome what could potentially be a traumatic childhood? i am just being neurotic i suppose but i have to get this out here and ask you, what do you think? seriously, i really need some perspective. thank you.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

march (l)

so this last week of my spring break is chilly and a bit grey but we are still having fun.

today we made pizza with some of sebastian's school chums and while they played with mountains of plastic go onger toys, the mothers broke out their dictionaries, confessed their ages, and were wowed by jason's typical weekly menus, based on washoku.
tomorrow is another day of hanami, this time with his class. it is a weird thing being involved in these school-related functions. i am actually hoping just to send jason so i can have some time with nico at home but most likely i will be roped in as well. i don't want to sound anti-social, i just think it is a different world for those moms. they made plans for making okonomiyaki after school next week, but of course, i can't go. because i have to teach. it is strange being a working mother in a land where staying at home to mother is the norm.
but unless something changes, jason will continue to be the stay at home parent and so he gets to make okonomiyaki and negotiate play dates and talk about the wonders of the daikon. i am not really jealous as it has always been this way for us. jason lives in a different part of japan. i get the insight into education and he gets the insight into vegetables and family matters. to each his own.
for those curious, we use this fantastic book for most of our meals.