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.

So when my youngest daughter, age 5, suddenly asked me at the Monday morning breakfast table, “Daddy, will I die?” I struggled for a response. What can a parent say to that? 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 case the rumors were true.

The nursery school was becoming a kindergarten. Kind of.

Seemingly like everything else concerning children and education in Japan, it’s more complicated than needs be. Continue reading

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Who was that Masked Flu Avenger?

IMG_6728Looking 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 youngest daughter had come down with the mumps, then my oldest daughter and I both got it, too (neatly sandwiching Christmas and New Year’s).

That weekend was going well. Until Sunday around noon. It started with a brief chilling feeling. My kids complained the temperature of the living room was too high. To me it was like a walk-in freezer.

Twas the season. For flu. Continue reading

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