Chloe attends an all Japanese pre-school. And while it’s incredible to watch her develop a second language and get to experience her Japanese culture, it often sends me out of my comfort zone. I could easily just do drop-off and pick-up and nothing more, but I’m determined to not be invisible and be the involved parent I want to be. I have been involved, but sometimes it’s not always in ways that I would expect, or prefer. I don’t know if it’s a Japanese custom, or just-at-this-school custom, but the school likes to have a group of parents from each class to “perform” for the kids at the holiday party. That’s how I found myself doing a synchronized dance about rice with a group of moms at the holiday party.
Let’s play a game! It’s called, find the flush button!
This isn’t my first trip to Japan. And it’s not my first time going to the bathroom at the airport. Actually, after every flight to Japan I go to this bathroom. This specific stall. And every time I do, I completely forget how everything works. This time I almost locked myself inside with the lights off.
For Chloe’s first birthday I started researching Japanese style cakes to make for her. I was mainly looking for a lighter style frosting. I had made a rich homemade cake with a heavy cream cheese frosting for Ellie’s first birthday and after one bite she threw up. So for Chloe, I thought she’d appreciate the lighter style Japanese cakes and frosting. During my search I came across these awesome looking roll cakes. Roll cakes that had designs on them. But not only did they have designs on them, they were baked into them. My mind was officially blown. I didn’t know when or how, but right then and there I vowed to one day make that cake. That day had come.
I like how every kid has their own secret language that only their parents can understand. This is more evident when children are just learning to talk. It’s not just a matter of decoding mispronounced syllables. It really is a mysterious language of grunts that few people can decipher. Since I’m the one who spends more time with the girls, it feels extra special when Aya doesn’t even have a clue what they are saying, but I do.
Six years ago I wandered into a bar in Kuki, Japan. I was giving Aya some alone time with her parents so I decided to set out on my own. Feeling a little overconfident and wanting a sense of independence and adventure, I hit the streets loaded with about ten Japanese words in my vocabulary and a digital translator dictionary that I had no idea how to work.