Traditions

Thoughts from the road

We have now been in Japan a solid 3 months.  We arrived on August 14 and today is Wednesday, November 23. (Okay it’s actually Nov. 30 now.  I’m so behind.)  I am typing this on the airplane to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  The kids have a Fall break before the next trimester begins.  They are off school from today, Wednesday, and do not return until Tuesday, November 29.  This coincides with Thanksgiving break back in the US.  I was hoping someone from abroad would come visit during this time since the Fall tree colors are so beautiful but no one could make it.  So we are flying out instead. We took the cats to a pet hotel (in Japanese it’s peh-toe…

Autumn Momiji

It’s Tuesday, November 29 and I’m so behind on my posts!  I have several posts started but none of them finished.  I aim to get one completed right now. One of the reasons that John and I have looked so forward to coming to Japan is to see the Fall colors on the trees.  John especially has been excited about the change in seasons since he had to leave seasons behind when he moved to California.  I heard that it has actually been raining in California recently and that is great news because the state needs every raindrop it can get. We went to three places to see Japan’s colorful Autumn trees.  Momiji is the Japanese maple by the way,…

Undokai

Undokai is a nationwide Japanese school event that is also known as Sports Day or Sports Festival.   I would venture a guess to say that every school in Japan has an undokai.  And in fact, our Japanese school back home, Orange Coast Gakuen in Huntington Beach, had their own undokai too.  At OIS, undokai was originally slated for Saturday, October 8, but fears of rain postponed it to Monday, October 10.  This is noteworthy because October 10th is actually the national holiday known as Health and Sports Day.  This date in history commemorates the opening ceremony for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the first time that Japan ever hosted the Olympics.  Everyone has this day off!  Except us because we…

Shoe Rules

In Japan, when you arrive at just about any house, apartment, some businesses, some schools, some restaurants and on and on… you will step into an area called the genkan.  The genkan is the entryway of a structure where you will take off your shoes and leave them before moving further into the house, building or wherever it is that you have arrived.  When it is required, taking your shoes off in the genkan is a pretty strict rule. Here is an explanation of genkan from Wikipedia: –The primary function of genkan is for the removal of shoes before entering the main part of the house or building. Genkan are often recessed into the floor, to contain any dirt that…

Rice Everywhere!

Update:  the photo above shows a rice harvesting machine cutting down the rice plants.  Later a woman was stuffing the stalks into the machine and I think it was separating the grains from the stalk.  (October 14) I’ve been thinking about this rice post for a few weeks.  So I’m going to start it now, Tuesday, September 27, and see where it goes.  There are rice paddies all around us.  I thought that rice was grown in large, rural fields over acres with lots of water flooding the plain.  Stalks of rice plants for miles and miles.  Well, here in Minoh there are rice paddies tucked in between houses, in between stores, by the gas station, next to restaurants, just…