September 19, 2014
We arrived in Tokyo three weeks ago and yet everything feels normal. It feels so normal that I already stopped making notes in my head for things I want to talk about in this blog. There are still some noteworthy things to mention and you will find them at the end of this post.
Each time I come back to the apartment, I feel like coming “home” despite the fact that we only have rental furniture and it feels a bit like camping sometimes. But nobody has ever complained about the fact that we only have 8 glasses to share between the 5 of us or 8 plates etc. The kids don’t mind that we cannot cook any sophisticated meals due to the fact that we only have a limited choice of kitchen materials. Anyway, they like eating out. The boys are diving into the Japanese kitchen, trying everything and enjoying the new tastes. If they come across something they don’t like, they do not say “urrgh” as they used to do back in Switzerland – they just make a funny face and say:
“This is good, but not for me.”
Even Lilo who is so picky about food, is open for new discoveries and has become a big fan of noodle soup and “Katsuretsu” – Japanese Schnitzel. She bravely finished her pan cakes with sweet red bean paste and just said that she may not want to eat this too often.
Lilo is just her usual self: making friends everywhere she goes within seconds. I really admire her openness and friendliness. Playdates are lining up and she loves to go to school to meet her friends. She also loves to go to school because it is a bit easier than at the Swiss International School in Basel. Which is great. She is motivated to do her homework, she succeeds in getting things right easily, she takes responsibility for her stuff and she started her after school activities: Choir, Hip Hop Dance and Aikido!
After school activities for the boys are a bit harder to find as the school does not offer anything for their age. They will start with Aikido when they will turn 5 in January. Let’s see how this will influence their brawling at home…..
A week of autumn vacation is coming up and we are planning to go somewhere for a few days. This will be a challenge for my Japanese skills as travel arrangements can be made in English for trains and hotels, but once out of Tokyo, it may get hard to get by with English. Well, that’s part of the game and my Japanese is advancing pretty quickly. I miss practicing it in this international English speaking community of parents and neighbours, so the challenge will do me good. Now we have to figure out where to go with millions of other people with the same intention!
One not so funny fact for you:
- There are not trash bins in Tokyo. If you get a coffee to go, you take your cup until you reach your destination as you will not be able to throw it away anywhere on the way. Yet the city is super clean. It is cleaner than Basel (which seems to be somehow impossible). People just do not throw anything on the ground.
The reason is the removal of all rubbish bins from public streets, parks and subway stations after the gas attack on the Tokyo subway by the Aum cult in 1995 which killed 13 people and left 5,500 injured.
“It seems as if there is an innate human need to translate overwhelming trauma into something within our sphere of control, no matter how small. Americans [and others] throw water bottles away at the airport, the Japanese carry them home. Not so different, really.” Eryk, Blogger – ThisJapaneseLife