November 6, 2014
All who know me well, know that I love languages and efficiency. With Japanese I found the perfect match! The more I dive into this new language the more I appreciate its structure and its efficiency. For the non-Japanese speaker and listener it might sometimes be challenging because we are used to so many indicators to nail down the exact meaning of what we say. Japanese language only uses the necessary. For example: “Which of the two is better?” In this sentence you have to use a comparative in many languages and some of us may still remember the times when we repeated “good-better-best, bad-worse-worst, big-bigger-biggest etc. In Japanese you just ask “Which of the two is good?” Because it implies the meaning of one being better than the other. This is only to give you a slight idea. I am going to do the first level language test next week which will take me to the next level – the conjugation (!) of adjectives!
Apart from my language classes, I am really enjoying the Japanese autumn. Even though there has been a lot of rain notwithstanding that we are supposed to be in the dry season. The other day when it was very, very windy, I asked someone (Japanese) if there was another typhoon coming up. She looked at me in great astonishment and said that of course there wasn’t any typhoon coming up as we were already at the end of October. I did not comment on the dry season and the one week of rain during the school holidays.
But if it is not raining, the sky is blue and the air is crisp. And we still had shorts and t-shirt weather beginning of this week when we went to Kodomo-no Kuni with the kids and some friends. Kodomo-no Kuni means “World of the Child” and is an enormous park filled with all kinds of playgrounds, huge slides, pony riding area, outdoor swimming pool (closed) and many more. It is close to Yokohama and within a 40 minute train ride. We arrived around 10:30 and stayed all day until the park closed at 4:30 and we did not even see all of it!
And as so often in Japan, we found such a wonderfully organised place! Right at the entrance there is a large open bituminised space. Big buckets with chalk are waiting for the children to colour the ground. And of course there is a big, child-size hand wash station with soap right next to it. As is at all places in the park where you can touch animals. They have cows, sheep and calves at the “farm”. There is also a little zoo which we did not go to. At the farm they had (half) a plastic cow which you could milk. Despite the fact that it had no front part, Leonard made sure we understand:
“This is not a real cow. It is only water coming out!”
We were too late for the animated games at the open space, but we could still see the (dry) wading pools filled with recently cut sheep wool. Some children were still “bathing” in the wool!
We will definitely go back soon!
As I already mentioned last week, the festive season has started and today I went to the first Christmas bazaar at the Tokyo American Club to look for some handcrafted Japanese Christmas presents. The cookie decoration classes (!) are starting as the school’s blackboard tells me and when I picked up the boys from their playdate today, their Japanese friend’s house had Christmas decoration! So we better get ready as well as we will be hosting our usual St. Nicolas party on December 6.
I think I am running out of fun facts on Japan. I have to pay more attention.
Alternatively I can offer a fun quote section today. Lilo asked me yesterday evening: “Where are you going to live once we children moved out of the house? Will you live in your own house or in an old people’s home?”