2009年8月27日木曜日

pink powered ponderings

I think Meg smiled non-stop for about 5 hours yesterday.


Having decided to give up on the birthday party with friends idea for the time being (it's not the culture so it takes a lot of explaining, everyone comes with their mums and siblings which makes it rather crowded, K insists on an all or no-one invite policy to be fair which is a little daunting for me and M was ambivalent anyway.) we took the girls to Sanrio Puro Land in Tokyo for their birthdays. This was a compromise in itself as M wanted to go to Disneyland and K and I thought the park down the road with the three swings and a slide sounded perfect.

How was it? Hmmm, 5 hours of insanely cheerful music, crowds, materialism, cheap plastic toys, fake smiles, fake hair, oversized characters and some of the most pity inducing work uniforms I've seen in a long time. There were also some amazing child acrobats, authentic Thai cuisine (???), lots of free hands on things, more pink than you'd think was humanly possible and acres of pushy parents.

It must have been a sensory overdose (did I mention the whole place smelt like sugar, too?) but I got all philosophical on the way home. Started analysing my reactions to Kittyland (as Amy calls it)... I think more than anything what made me uncomfortable was the behaviour of the people there. Not the staff, the other visitors. It was like a pool of shark parents or something with everyone wanting to give their child the best time ever at whatever cost to those around them. People pushing excited/ willing/ unsure/ wary and even down right upset, pre-schoolers towards life sized characters in order to get the all important photo. You know, like this one:


Then there was the whole emphasis on money. With a passport you didn't need to pay for each ride but, by paying more money you could get your kid the first class experience- better seat, glitzy crown and cape to mark them as special etc etc. We went on the boat ride and could have bought the picture for 1000 yen... or the official Kitty house picture for 1000 yen.... or- yeah, you get the picture.

It's all so opposite of our day to day life. Trying to live simply, be self sufficient, reduce, re-use, recycle and find our fun in the details rather than going out and buying it.

But, that's a decision K and I made. The girls didn't choose to live here or to live like this. They go to a regular city-run kinder where they mix with kids who have DS and whatever the latest toy is and go to Disneyland and don't spend their weekends making their own fun while they spend hours hanging around a tomato field.

I think I have a lot of parental guilt over that one. While I think growing up like this is a great education for the girls, they seem to genuinely enjoy a lot of what they do, and I am happy with the values we're (hopefully) giving them, sometimes it feels a little selfish. You know, when your 5 year old can explain the process of harvesting wheat but doesn't know what a movie theatre is, or when your 3yo digs in the garden rather than a sandpit...

So every now and again K (a crowd hating homebody) and I suck it up and do something the girls really want to do. And while we cringe at some of it and (secretly?) enjoy some of it (the child acrobats really were quite amazing) seeing the girls just glowing and sparkling and smiling from ear to ear makes it all worthwhile.

That and assuaging all that guilt so we can drag them along to the field again this weekend for weeding and soil preparation for the Autumn crops.

Could it get any pinker?

10 件のコメント:

Gaijin Wife さんのコメント...

Can't beat digging in dirt though! and picking berries straight off the bush. Although, a pink bath every once and a while...

Sara さんのコメント...

wow i consider myself super girl - and puro land gives me a tooth ache well done heather

i agree the girls look like they had a fantastic time. i wouldn't feel too guilty about your upbringing theres plenty of time for them to make their own choices and be more "up to date" like the other kids when they hit oh.. say high school ;P

illahee さんのコメント...

looks like they had a great time! love the last photo.

Nay さんのコメント...

I agree with Gaijin Wife - lifing the life you guys do is an amazing experience for the girls. They don't need all that extra material crap to be happy. But sometimes it's nice :P

Looks like they had a great time!! I'm sure it's a birthday they won't forget for a while.

Lily さんのコメント...

Those are two happy girls. I agree with you about those type of places. Although we enjoy cultural institutes "pop culture" entertainment often is questionable in my mind. Why can't it be more wholesome? I do like Shimajiro though. The pushy parents is also one of the reasons I dread going to places like Aeon Shopping Mall.

But every so often I have to relent and do stuff like disneyland, rent a movie I prefer not to see. I was thinking about it and sometimes its best not to ignore it (at least in my case). Tomo picks up so much knowledge of these darned character stuff at youchien that i can't fight it but have slowly started using it as bonding time with us, discourse and showing interest in what he likes and then move on to more things I feel are suitable for him. I made a deal with him and the result was him getting a Pokemon book. He was so happy but he still has the influence of us and the novelty seems to have worn off and he prefers creating his own things.

Slime さんのコメント...

Sounds like the girls had an awesome time! We're only about 30 min from "Kittyland" and we've never been, my girls aren't very girly and they both hate pink! LOL

I think you do a great job of finding the right balance for M and A. I bet if you asked them they'd tell you they have a great life and have fun all the time!

anchan さんのコメント...

Are you kidding me?! You are giving your girls the kind of life other parents can only dream about! People pay good money just to sample your lifestyle, we all enjoy a complete change now and then. Your girls are blessed immeasurably!

Midori さんのコメント...

I agree with the others. Your life always sounds very idyllic and while being the complete opposite to mine in so many ways, it must be wonderful for the kids.
That puro pink land sounds like ALOT of fun though. I have yet to take Joey to an amusement park like that but ironically enough, last weekend I realised I probably spend too much time trying to make Joey do the stuff I want to do (museums, walks by the river, pub lunches..) and I don`t let him do enough hard-core kids stuff. I suspect a trip to Euro-Disney will be on the cards before the year is out! LOL!
Looks like they enjoyed themselves. Love the pictures!

Xana さんのコメント...

I think your girls have an wonderful life and if they don't appreciate it now, they will when they are 35. Or then again maybe they will rebel by becoming mascots at a Sanrio theme park (that'll teach 'em!) Giving them a small dose of it now may prevent that rebellion, so good for you! We have never brought the girls to a theme park, though I think we probably should some day soon. I don't know how I will get dh to agree, though.
I have finally broken down and agreed to let mine watch Puricua (gag!!!) on Sunday mornings. I'm thinking maybe my love of junky tv is connected to never being allowed to watch anything but public television until I was about 12, and that I am being too strict. Anyway it looks like your girls had a blast.

thefukases さんのコメント...

Thank you for all the kind comments. A week on and I am back to thinking the girls are doing fine living here. :) At the moment they're still full of Kitty this and Kitty that but I hope the memory that lasts is the give and take of it all- sometimes they follow us on what we're doing and sometimes we follow them on what they want to do.

Lily- isn't the brainwashing at kinder amazing?? My kids can sing the precure songs and name all the obscure guest characters and they've never even seen it. Freaky!

And Midori- thanks for reminding me that it's not because we live in the country that the girls have to tag along a lot- we'd probably do it in the city, too!

Xana- noooooo!!! working at Sanrioland???? Agghhh!! I think you're right on the TV thing though. I was allowed to watch the muppet show on Saturday nights and that was it. Hmmm, I think that's why I'm always looking for another soppy sitcom- making up for lost time! And Precure is on at the same time as the NHK gardening show isn't it? That's the real reason it's not on here... *^_^*