Both our sons look set for eventually entering tertiary education. We can in fact already tell which one will study hard and which one will party hard. Care to hazard a guess as to which is which?

lazy 1

lazy 2

Earthquake Hat

This is ID’s earthquake hat. It’s a compulsory purchase for all children attending his nursery school. I can’t imagine how the teacher would get all the children in the class to don these during an actual earthquake, given the generally short duration of earthquakes and the associated panic they tend to cause. But the photo attests to the fact that at least he wore it once, and that it, evidently, makes him happy.

Earthquake Hat

ID Starts Nursery School

Our little man is all grown up…. sniff sniff.

The Japanese academic year starts in April and our eldest son, ID, will turn 4 this month. From tomorrow he’ll be attending the local nursery school. Today we attended his Entrance Ceremony. (Yes, there are ceremonies for everything in Japan!) He will be in a class with 15 other 3-4 year olds.

The United Nations of Nursery School
The United Nations of Nursery School

We were surprised and delighted to find that he’ll be sitting at a very international table. It’ll be just like the UN with Japan, Australia, The United States and The Philippines all represented. We anticipate his teacher uttering these famous words at some point in the term: “Do you kids wanna be like the real UN or do you just wanna squabble and waste time?”

Entrance Ceremony
Entrance ceremony - It apparently all got a bit too much towards the end of the morning!

And this was given as a sign….

It didn’t take long for the regular roadsigns to lose their lustre for our three year old son, ID. Having thoroughly exhausted the numerous options available under the Japanese Highway Code, he has commissioned his own additions as specified in the technical design drawing below.

The new signs are all of the cautionary rather than regulatory category. If you are absurdly bored or very easily entertained perhaps you can try matching the signs to their official names:

  • Rubbish on Road
  • Eyeglasses ahead
  • Toilet in road
  • Donuts may be present ahead
  • Cereal and Milk on Road
  • …. and my personal favourite, Caution – darkness!

New Roadsigns

There ‘snow snow in Adelaide

Position of Adelaide and Nagoya
Relative Positions of Adelaide and Nagoya

Nagoya’s location almost exactly mirrors that of my hometown of Adelaide. Nagoya is 35 North, 136 East. Adelaide is 35 South 139 East. This means that if you draw a line extending directly north from Adelaide it will pass through this part of Japan, and it is the same distance to the equator from either city.

Given that we have relatively mild winters in Adelaide and we never get any snow, it always surprises me how much snow we get in Japan. In northern Nagahama in Shiga, where I used to live, the local residents woke up to 80cm of snow this morning. Here we only had about 15cm, but the boys still enjoyed their first experience of playing in the snow.



Does Japan Overpackage?

Did you know that the Japan Packaging Institute’s official goal is,  “Challenging the future of packaging by means of originality and ingenuity“? I didn’t either. Yesterday we had takeout pizza for lunch. The shop asked us if we wanted to pay extra for the benefit of receiving the pizza in a pizza box. We politely refused, and this was the result:

Takeout pizza in millions of little boxes.
Takeout pizza in millions of little boxes.

In highly related matters, here is a picture of my ninety-five year old grandmother-in-law eating pizza. Awww!

95 year old having pizza