September 15, 2016
We are back from our summer vacation for 5 weeks. Lilo is now a proud middle school girl and the boys are first graders. It is amazing to see how Lilo embraces her new school life. She is highly motivated, full of energy, takes responsibility for all her stuff, needs no reminder to do her homework, …. And in addition to all of this, she is so much nicer to all of us. Even to the boys. She has started doing homework with Leonard and all of a sudden he does not complain about homework any more and gets it done much faster than before (which means with me).
Despite the fact that the boys have to get on a bus to school at 7:10 am, they are also highly motivated to go to school. They are both enjoying it a lot. Especially the swimming classes which is also due to the fact that they are allowed to jump into the water which is generally not allowed in Japanese pools. Linus is a quick and easy learner. He reads very well in English so that we started reading German at home and he is doing really great. He likes to be neat, have his things in order and wants to be a good student. He told me he had no mistake in his last (first) spelling test. I haven’t seen the test yet, but I believe him. Leonard might not even have realised that there was a test. He is a little bit slower in reading and he is less interested in neatness. But his social skills are very strong. The teacher suggested that he should become the class leader. That definitely resonated with him and made him very proud.
The other day they had a class discussion about which responsibilities / small jobs everyone in the class could take in order to make life easier for everyone. Jobs like cleaning the whiteboard or storing the crayons, arranging the books and similar were discussed. Leonard suggested that it would be good to have someone tall who could reach things on the higher shelves for everyone and also store things away. Great idea, said the teacher. “This person could be me”, said Leonard, being the tallest in his class.
It feels so good to be back here, even if we already had some typhoons and some smaller earthquakes. Even if cooling down in the evening still meant 24-26 °C for the first four weeks after our return.
Two weeks ago I went to a very nice flea market – one of my favourite things to do. In one of the stalls I discovered a pair of old kokeshi dolls which looked really different to the ones you usually find. I fell in love with them immediately, but looking at their price tags (each was marked 6,800 Yen) made me hesitate. The vendor told me that they were very old and that I could have them for 5,500. When I was about to leave, he went down to 5,000 Yen. When I walked slowly away, I thought about the many times that I regretted not having bought something I really liked and how you can never find the things again elsewhere. So I decided that I could as well invest my money into something I really like. The vendor packed them for me, I handed him 10,000 Yen and walked away. After a few metres I felt someone tapping my shoulder: “Sumi masen”, the vendor smiled at me and held out 5,000 Yen. His price was for the pair!
Last week we went to the Ninja exhibition at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. If you have not seen it, go! It is a wonderful playful experience. It is still on until October 10. Ditte and I queued in two different lines and bought our tickets. Both of us stating: “Ninja exhibition”. When we wanted to enter the exhibition, I was told that I did not have the right tickets. We then discovered that Ditte had paid about 4,500 Yen for her tickets, but I had only paid 1,500 Yen. There was a short tense moment in our discussion between the two families about who had said what to order the tickets and what to do now, but the guy at the entrance control just took my tickets and asked us to wait a moment. “Chotto mat-te kudasei”. A few minutes later he came back with the correct tickets. I took my purse in order to pay the difference, but he just bowed and asked us to proceed, apologising for the inconvenience. Speechless – this customer service just leaves me speechless.