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 ...

| Jan 13, 2003

Learning from living things, often the hard way

Since I write this column at home, school holidays are always a problem. It’s impossible to get any work done with my kids hanging around. One day during the recent winter holidays, I complained about feeling pressured. The deadline for today’s column was looming, ...

Will dramatic arts take a backseat?

| Dec 16, 2002

Will dramatic arts take a backseat?

Two months ago, my 8-year-old came home from the Japanese elementary school he attends and told me about the play his grade would do at the upcoming gakugeikai (drama festival). “I can’t remember the name,” he said. “But it’s a Japanese story about a ...

| Nov 22, 2002

Are our schools ready for a big one?

Every few months, I have the same nightmare: A major earthquake strikes Tokyo when my kids are at school. The city is in ruins. There’s no electricity, the phones are out and the trains have stopped. I run through the streets, unable to find ...

Fishing for parental help on field trips

| Nov 8, 2002

Fishing for parental help on field trips

For me, a major benefit of moving to Japan was not having to chaperone school field trips anymore. I’m sure there are parents who enjoy going on field trips with their kids, but I’m not one of them. I don’t like being outnumbered, especially ...

Shared research yields ideas for schooling

| Oct 25, 2002

Shared research yields ideas for schooling

When we first enrolled our son in Japanese school, there were occasions when he came home earlier than I’d expected. The first time, I happened to be at home. “Why were you dismissed early?” I asked my son. “I don’t know,” he shrugged. “The ...