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Monday, April 25, 2011

My Daughters are Not Wall Flowers

I came across this photo in my photostream on my Flickr account and it got me thinking about my children.  It was titled "Wall Flower" and I thought about the concept of a wallflower.  Still beauty or shy beauty certainly does not aptly describe my children.  They are constantly in motion bumping into things, running around, singing, jumping, playing doing about anything they can to get the attention they crave.

When it comes to the world outside,
they are not shy,
they are not well-behaved,
but they are to me, beautifully made.

I am surprised how easily they make friends and how their energy seems to be contagious to the other kids around them.  Some kids give energy and some require it to engage in play time.  My daughters are the stimulators, the first ones to go for the gusto, how they exhaust me and their mother.

Yet when I take a step back, I am amazed at the beauty of it all.  They are untainted and delicate, waking each morning to the world as pure children, unique in their ways. 

I only hope that as they develop that they learn to speak not only Japanese and English, but also that they learn to speak with wisdom and understanding.  I want them to understand the value of words and power of words. 

Eyes of those around them are watching them and when their time comes.  I hope they can share themselves in a way that is a blessing to those around them.

They might grow tired and sit down for a break, but they are far from your typical "Wall Flower".

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dinner in the Dark at McDonalds


As a result of the earthquake in Japan and the continued problems with restoring power, most places have significantly reduced their use of electricity.  Here is an example.  We went to McDonald`s tonight for dinner and the lights were out.  We thought it was closed but as we entered we saw people sitting in the dark and eating.  There was light by the register of course since they need power to run the register and cooking side of things.

It was a very interesting experience and a reminder of the situation we live in.  Conserving electricity is a major priority in Japan and it shows how willing people and businesses are to sacrifice convenience for the sake of others.

The video is dark and disorienting.  I took it for me so I can remember this time one day and for you readers so you can experience a little of what it is like in Japan for us.

Things are back to normal in a way, but still there is uncertainty lurking.  There are signs of the times that can either terrify you or make you thankful to be alive and well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Starting School

Anna on the way to Opening Day Ceremony at school

Well, it has already been a week for Anna.  She started school last week on Monday with a ceremony and now has entered the ranks of Shou-Gaku-Sei. (Elementry Student).  You can imagine how troubled we are to see her go off to school, with all the earthquakes happening almost daily. 

But Anna was in high-spirits as the week began.  She woke me up 3 hours before school started asking me if she could go to school yet.  She was so excited and inquisitive about school and things she was going to do there.  Not growing up in Japan, I really couldn`t answer much but the general stuff about what school is like.
So after eating breakfast and making doubly sure of all her stuff we began to walk to the meeting point, so Anna could meet with some friends to walk together to school.  So I took my cane ( Yes I am recovering from hip surgery by the way!) and we began to walk, but Anna went ahead much faster.  She even turned back to me and said, "I know the way. you don`t need to come, daddy."
So I followed from afar just to make sure.  It is about 5-8 minutes to Anna`s school.  Anna, being determined as always, walked quickly noticing some other kids up ahead. She walked past the meeting point and continued to go towards school following the flow of the other children.  Being in my condition I couldn`t chase after her, so I decided to wait and apologize to Anna`s friend and explain to her mother that Anna had gone ahead to school.

So ended the first morning of the send off. 

As the week progressed, Anna started to become tired.  The early morning preparations and stress began to take effect.  She said, the all but familiar phrase, " I don`t want to go to school anymore!"

Upon hearing that I had to laugh, knowing how pumped up she was at the beginning.  Of course with some coercion she was able to go and keep the streak going.  Today she arose a little late, but was in plenty of time to go to school determined to do well

Anna has a lot to learn, and so do I about school in Japan.  There are a lot of responsibilities and tasks given to little first graders.  There are a lot of necessary items and equipment that must be remembered.  It is quite daunting for these little 6 year olds to have to remember so much. 

I just hope that Anna doesn`t lose the pure child-like heart, as she begins the journey of education.  She seems to be enjoying meeting many new faces and playing at school and hearing that makes me smile.

I am sure there will be more stories to come about Anna and her adventures on the playground and in the classroom.