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.

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

Posted in day care, education, Japan, Japanese, Japanese culture, Japanese society, nursery school, school | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in festivals, health care, Japan, Japanese, Japanese culture, Japanese society, parenting, school, sickness | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kaiten Zushi Magic


Last week, my youngest daughter turned 5. Because three of us (both daughters and myself) were recovering from the mumps, we cancelled her birthday party and rescheduled it for the 14th. As a reward to both girls for their hard … Continue reading

Posted in eating, family outings, food, Japan, Japanese, Japanese culture, parenting, party | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Daddy-daughter vacation (kind of)


Friday, my two daughters (aged 7 and 4) and I set off on a four-hour bullet train (Shinkansen) ride without my wife. She did see us off at the Shin-Osaka bullet train station, but since she had a week-long business … Continue reading

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Self-reliance starts young


Two weeks ago, my daughter graduated nursery school. Last week, my grandmother passed away (my daughter’s great-grandmother). Today, my daughter walked to elementary school for the first time. And the cycle continues… This is cherry blossom (sakura) season in Japan, … Continue reading

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The end is the beginning


Our daughter is now leaving nursery school. From her birth to my wife’s maternity leave to my paternity leave, from building a new house to finishing a doctorate to switching jobs, from one daughter to another (who’s a completely different … Continue reading

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“Dutch backpacks” in Japan


It’s the end of February, and our oldest daughter is nearing the end of her nursery school experience. What a ride it’s been. Now she and her classmates are learning the “goodbye, our nursery school,” song which they will sing … Continue reading

Posted in education, Japan, Japanese culture, Japanese society, parenting, school | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments