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. Yes, I know my profile photo's backward. I just think it looks better this way.

“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

Posted in gender roles, Japan, Japanese, Japanese society, parenting, roles, work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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