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.

“Japan should rethink gender roles”? Yeah, no kidding


On December 5th, I gave an invited lecture-slash-workshop at a university in Gifu, where conservative values reign and men and women think they can run the families like it’s 1899. The very same I made the trek up there, an … Continue reading

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Ten Years of Taking Leave


Looking back, it’s amazing to me now that I dared to even apply for a year of paternity leave while living in a foreign country. But I’ve never regretted the decision. As I told an audience of university students and … Continue reading

Posted in book, day care, education, gender roles, Japan, Japanese, Japanese culture, Japanese society, parenting, Paternity leave, school | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in education, Japan, Japanese, Japanese culture, Japanese law, Japanese society, parenting, school | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment