Author Archives: MThomas

About MThomas

Long ago, I gave up my high school dreams of becoming the next Carl Sagan and instead wound up working (in order) at McDonald's, a '60s-themed restaurant, a video rental store, a used bookstore, a computer seller, Kinko's, a Jewish newspaper company, and an HR firm. I eventually became a teacher of intercultural communication in Kyoto, where I vainly attempt to apply quantum mechanics to language teaching, practice martial arts and Zen Buddhism, and always keep one eye on the sky.

First Year Wall (Part 2) – The (not-so voluntary) parent-teacher conference


In mid-April, I went to a parent-teacher conference. Actually, it was more like an enforced PTA committee, which one parent per kid had to attend. As a group. We sat at our kids’ desks (tiny!) and introduced ourselves. This was … Continue reading

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The First Year Wall (Part 1) – Gakudo and the Kid


Three weeks ago, our youngest daughter went to nursery school for the last time. The following Monday, she started gakudo (学童, short for 学童教育 gakudokyouiku, which is usually translated as “after school program”). Since both my wife and I work … Continue reading

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End of an Era: Goodbye, Nursery School


And so it begins. The end of the start of the rest of my children’s childhood. By which I mean our youngest daughter graduated from nursery school / kindergarten. Thinking back, we’ve been coming to our local nursery school every … Continue reading

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Death of a Cherry Tree


This past Monday, city workers came to cut down a cherry tree near our house. It had been there for years. We found out later that a neighbor had complained that leaves falling in her backyard were a nuisance to … Continue reading

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How Do You Talk to Your Kids About Dying?


Last weekend we all had a great time. Swimming and piano lessons Saturday afternoon followed by dinner out, then all day Sunday at an amusement park/facility with another family, ending with an early supper and kids’ TV show before bed. … Continue reading

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Farewell, Nursery. Hello, Kindergarten


After turning five in January, our youngest daughter finally made to the end of nursery school (“nen-cho,” 年長). Or so we thought. We had heard rumors in previous years that the system might change. It turns out that in this … Continue reading

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Who was that Masked Flu Avenger?


Looking back now, I can laugh. The first week of February was rough. My wife had to work both weekend days, at the end of an already exhausting end-of-semester work week. I had also had little sleep. The previous month, my … Continue reading

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