2010年4月14日水曜日

a 2 1/2 hour rite of passage

Had another Japanese rite of passage last night. You know, up there with your first naked dip in the communal bath, first drunken karaoke, first time someone falls asleep on your shoulder on a train, first time you fall asleep on the train, first time you bow while talking on the telephone etc etc. This time it was the dreaded elementary school arithmetic set. Whoa baby.

Like all rites of passage the rumours had trickled down to the uninitiated and I'd heard tales of hundreds of itty bitty pieces, minute stickers, eye strain and hours sacrificed to the cause. I had nodded, looked empathetic and intoned a low "ohhhhh" but honestly I had thought it was all a bit of a beat up. I mean come on. Sticking a few name stickers on some cards and counting rods? I've sat through a speech riddled five hour Japanese wedding reception. I've been VIP at back to back kinder sports days (they're really only cute when it's your kid in the events...). A few stickers? Not going to phase me.

Or so I thought until I tried it.

before:

after:

For the benefit of my parents and other lucky souls who will never have to endure this nightmare an explanation: The green, pink and blue sticks? Not sherbet. Counting rods. One hundred counting rods. Each meticulously named. There's also counting tiles, counting cards, the purse full of money, various posters and sheets of paper, a paper ruler, shaped blocks etc etc. And in the yellow box with the (very smart) dog running away as fast as he can? Why they are ever-so-cute flower shaped counting tiles. Really very sweet. But you have to get a name sticker into the crescent shaped petal. That's what the tweezers are for.... Yup, tweezers to delicately lift each itty bitty sticker, manoeuvre it into the exact place (it is a perfect fit so there's no room for error) and pat it down with the end of the tweezers without it sliding away. Agghhh! (As an aside- don't you think maths looks like fun here? Seriously, I don't remember having any of this cool stuff. I think we had a class set of plain wooden counting rods and that was it.)

So yes. 2 1/2 hours, shoulder cramp, eye strain and a headache from concentrating too hard later and I am a fully initiated arithmetic set stickering mum.

And Meg is on pain of death to never, ever lose a single item in this set as I don't think I could label it again. Nooooooooo!

11 件のコメント:

Semsavblanc さんのコメント...

Oh, Meg will remember what you've done for her forever! Just like we remember Mum staying up half the night covering our books in brown paper and gluing the name tag with the cute kookaburra or kitten that she diligently cut out of the Womens Weekly! The things mother's do out of love and duty! Beautiful!

jojoebi さんのコメント...

that's it! we are homeschooling!!!

Nay さんのコメント...

otsukaresama deshita!! The things you have to do... And mum used to complain about contacting our school books each year, lol!

Sara さんのコメント...

so what happens if you DON'T label everything.... i've met some total deadbeat/slacker japanese parents here that would NEVER EVER do that.

i wonder what happens... maybe i will find out in 6 years if we are still here~~

anyways good on you! now just to wait another 2 years until its amy's turn - woo hoo :P

achan さんのコメント...

Well hubby told me yesterday that Nagano ken has the BEST public education system in Japan followed by Toyama hence mothers get jobs like that!! I didn't hear of our first graders having to do that!! Lucky girl.

(I hope her name was spelt right!!)

Claire さんのコメント...

It's easier the second time round. Honest! With DS1 it seemed to take forever. Not to mention all the numerous forms to be filled in and stamped. I remember asking DH to finish one because I couldn't face one more piece of paper and bursting into tears when he demurred, much to his astonishment. This time with DS2 I whizzed through the lot like a pro.

And pity the poor people with kids in private schools, who aren't allowed to use stickers but have to WRITE the name on every tiny tile and rod!

Rachel さんのコメント...

Sara I never got around to labelling Lena's! Nothing happened. Zilch. Zip. Nada. I think the teacher sent it home during Golden Week for me to try again then when I failed the second time, she gave up. So they all know Lena's bits - they're the ones with NO name!!

Heather, did you have printed labels or did you have to write them yourself? We had printed stickers for Amy, but Lena's for some reason we didn't get them and I had to write them myself, which is why they never got done. That and having a new baby in the house.

kuri, ping & the pinglet さんのコメント...

Do you think I could send the Pinglet's things to you when she goes to elementary school? It's always better to have someone with experience take care of these things. :)

anchan さんのコメント...

And did you have to cover each sticker wit a piece of tape to prevent it from peeling off? I think I will pay one of my boys to do it for me when M starts school!

Katrina さんのコメント...

oh I TOTALLY sympathise with you! THis was me exactly a year ago. It took me and DH about 3 hrs i think. We had some printed names from hana's challenge ichinensei set but the school only gave her blank stickers so we had to write alot of them by hand...blahh not looking forward to the second round of that when lil bro gets to be ichinensei...
otsukaresama!

Gaijin Wife さんのコメント...

Ditto what Kuri said. You could start a business :)