Sunday, 27 April 2014

Sunday Surf

Sun-drying seaweed in Kamakura
This week the linkage is pretty parenting heavy, but let's start with a couple of completely-unrelated-to-children posts.

Ex-Pat Life
At the end of a particularly good farewell brunch on the weekend I sat talking to our host, they’re leaving after 13 years in Doha. She talked about this special life, how your friends become your expat family. “It’s the one family you actually get to choose. That’s what makes it so good”.
We will be hit hard this summer, with some of our favourite people leaving Japan. I might have to pull this post out again in August.

“Anyway,” I continued as I unscrewed the wine, “let’s say your parents were going to buy a new house. Who’d make the ultimate decision, your mom or dad?
“My mom. And you better not eat those Calbee chips. They’ll make you fat.
“But they’re delicious. They’re black pepper. I love them. And I thought your dad brings home the paycheck?
“True, but it’s not his; it’s the family’s.
“Does your mom give him an allowance?
“She does,” she said with a smile, and this seemed to make her happy.
“Okay,” I continued. “So if they were going to buy a car, who would decide?
“Furniture? Sofas and tables and stuff?
“Mom, of course.
“Washing machine? TV? Fridge? Sony Playstation?
“Probably my mom,” she said, then added, as if surprised, “Huh, Japan is matriarchal!”
“I’m having a moment of clarity,” I said.
“You should’ve bought a bottle with a cork,” she said.
Ken takes a serious topic and puts a very entertaining spin on it. I have been pondering writing something on this topic for a while, but he has nailed it so perfectly I feel there is nothing left to say.
While I don"t agree with much of what he says, in this case I think he's spot on. A man would never have been so hounded by the media for the same mistake.
The word comfort is from two Latin words that mean "with" and "strong".  God is with these women and He makes them strong.  He is with us and He makes us strong. Amy Carmichael said, "Comfort is not a soft, weakening commiseration; it is true, strengthening love."  I hope that sort of comfort is what Haitian women are experiencing as they are brought home after giving birth.  
Just a lovely post... go look.


Even though he didn’t carry the bottle all the way to me, I cheered so enthusiastically, another trail walker couldn’t help but wander over to see what my commotion was about. I started to gush about Bowdu’s amazing retrieve, but stopped short when I saw this guy was accompanied by a Labrador Retriever; I might as well have been raving about my Shiba’s beautiful dump in the woods.

Parenting, Adoption and Education
Why would you want a kid who talks back?
Well, because you aren’t always right; and because other people aren’t always right.  A kid who just accepts what she is told, uncritically, is a kid who unequipped to deal with a world full of propaganda and urban myths and flat-out lies.
 Between late January and mid March, the Guangzhou baby hatch took in 262 children. This was an unexpectedly high number, causing the baby hatch to close in late March. In late February, a photojournalist captured 24 hours at the Guangzhou baby hatch, exposing some heart-wrenching, tear jerking moments.

Here's where it affects the RAD. For years, Genea has had the most insincere tone interacting with little beings. Seeing her new baby cousin, she'd say "aww. Oh look. At. The cute ba- there's a squirrel  can I have a lollipop  you have to wash my clothes now", with the same tone as if she were saying " I gotta take out the trash". It made my internal organs cringe but honestly, I stopped noticing it ages ago. Just part of Genea, one of those things she is going to have to learn. But with Bindi, it's sincere. She sounds like she really does think Bindi is cute. It sounds natural, and that right there is amazing all by itself.
 Samahope is a non-profit organization that uses crowdfunding to provide funds for doctors to give life-saving medical care to both mothers and children. The doctors Samahope partners with work in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America, as well as right here in the city we call home, San Francisco.  These doctors do everything from correcting birth defects to providing safe birth services to helping families cope with trauma (ahem, right up our alley). And while you can give to these amazing doctors anytime during the year, there's an extra special way you can do it for Mother's Day, all while honoring your mom and giving her something special to remember.
 The fact that this is now being passed around by proponents of homeschooling and “unschooling” who are not religious and considered “progressive” is concerning. It seems that there is a new hatred of public school that is beginning to take root, and it has nothing to do with Christians. All the illogical, misinformed, sensationalist arguments against public schools that I’ve seen for years, is being repackaged, regurgitated, and spit out all over the websites of people who think they are some kind of pioneers, that this “rebellion” against formal education is all their idea. They ridicule other parents who put their kids in school, saying we must not love our kids if we send them to “government brainwashing centers” (sound familiar?). Which, of course, usually makes me laugh out loud because I’m pretty sure the homeschooling leaders of the conservative movement of the ’80′s invented that term.

A high school sophomore in Pennsylvania who had been bullied all year by classmates with no help from his teacher decided to audio record the bullying on his iPad as evidence.
But instead of disciplining the bullies, school officials called police on him, threatening to have him arrested for felony wiretapping.
 No quote for this, but I seriously want one! Best feature: you can take it outside and study under a tree.
Many working mothers have had to give up their jobs just because they can’t secure spots for their children at such facilities. The problem has become so acute that there is now a term describing difficulties confronting working mothers with first-graders: “shoichi no kabe” (the hurdle of the first grade).
Even students who are fortunate enough to gain admittance to an after-school club benefit for only a limited time. Many clubs — particularly the traditional, publicly funded ones — accept students only through the third grade, meaning that older children often have nowhere to go after school. Many end up staying home alone, often with a TV or computer games as their only companion.
We have had so many issues in this regard that I am definitely going to devote an entire post to the topic, but this is good introduction to how f-ing stupid the system here in Japan is.
His roommate got to go home on school breaks and had a mother who called to check in on him. Adrian had no one to call when he struggled at school -- nowhere to call home, no one to send a gift, no one to see how he was doing. He worked nearly 60 hours a week just to pay for college, and when eventually his grades slipped, he was kicked out. He struggled with the ups and downs of depression. As Adrian said of children in foster care: "We are not equipped to go through this world alone."
 Although this article is about America, there are very similar issues faced by children in Japan who grow up in orphanages.


While I do read this blog (about foster parenting and autism) regularly, I confess I am sharing these posts solely because they have lots of pictures of the beautiful island of my birth, and made me nostalgic.

Share this article :


  1. On a day I did not feel like laughing, the "Dogs" story made me laugh. Thank you!

    1. Glad to hear it! I noticed that you have been a little quiet lately, I hope all is well.


Because of all the spam lately, comments on old posts will now be moderated. This means it may be some time before your comment appears. You can always email me directly, check the contact page for details.