| Nov 20, 2003

Empty school buildings: reuse or recycle?

Not far from where I live, there’s an elementary school with just 36 students. It’s not a private school. It doesn’t have a special curriculum. It’s a regular public school designed to serve several hundred students. But the neighborhood has changed into a business ...

Guest teachers build barrier-free minds

| Jul 31, 2003

Guest teachers build barrier-free minds

My 8-year-old wanted to use my computer. “I need to search the Internet for a picture of a kurumaisu,” he said, in his usual blend of English and Japanese. Never mind that both his parents are American; he’s lived in Japan since he was ...

Get in touch with your inner Tarzan

Jul 20, 2003

Get in touch with your inner Tarzan

It can be difficult to get my kids moving on weekends, but I knew just how to motivate them for an outing one Saturday. “Hey boys,” I said. “Wanna go to a park where visitors fall into the water so often that they rent ...

National hygiene begins in the classroom

| Jun 5, 2003

National hygiene begins in the classroom

I always like to hear from readers, but it’s especially nice when they provide ideas for my column. Several wrote in recently about severe acute respiratory syndrome. “I saw a piece on the news about Japan hoping it can avoid SARS because its citizens ...

Family biking weekends for a song

| May 11, 2003

Family biking weekends for a song

UTSUNOMIYA — Comfortable lodging for a family of four, with meals, for less than 20,000 yen? Yes, it’s possible, even in Japan. That’s all my family paid for a very enjoyable overnight in Utsunomiya, at a public facility that promotes bicycling. Utsunomiya is a ...

More breathing space in the classroom

| May 8, 2003

More breathing space in the classroom

Last month, just before the new school year started in Japan, I ran into a neighbor at the supermarket. She’s a bit high-strung and gets worked up over school matters, so I try to avoid her. But she collared me by the cabbages and ...