Next up, a puppet show.  The effort they put into making this happen is quite impressive, so I can’t complain about it at all.  They have a big backdrop, they do voices, and sometimes even costume changes.  I try to follow along, but this one threw me for a loop.  The teacher came out from “backstage” wearing rain boots, a raincoat, and an umbrella.  She was speaking very expressively and smiley.  And then a baby bunny puppet appeared.  They had a conversation about the rain coming?  This is what I thought until the next part.

After she changed out of her rain gear, the teacher made a little ghost out of Kleenex and hung it on the tree from the puppet show set.  Uhhhh?  Rain, bunnies, and ghosts.  Riiiiiight. I get it?  It had to be a ghost.  Nothing else made sense, but then again, a ghost didn’t make much sense either.  While I was distracted by these deep thoughts, Ellie jumped out of my lap and stole the Kleenex ghost.  Uh oh!  I didn’t want to get in trouble again so I grabbed her quickly.  There was one other walker in the group besides Ellie and she was pretty active as well.  Her mom and I spent the majority of the class chasing our kids.  Nobody else was chasing their kids because their kids couldn’t do anything.  They just laid there.  Most of them could barely crawl.

They finished the puppet show with a song sung by the ghost.  It was a show stopper.  Is it snack time yet?  (I asked Aya later and she told me that it’s a practice done in Japan where the doll is called “teru-teru-bouzu” and it’s a weather fortune telling doll.  Supposedly if you hang it outside, it won’t rain the next day)

With the puppet show over, it was time for another song.  I didn’t know that at the time though.  The teacher held her hands out in front of her and connected them to make a circle.  She then swayed back and forth and said “Ghosh ghosh ghosh!”  She looked right at me and said, “Ghosh ghosh, washing machine?”  I nodded.  Then she said it again looking at me.  This time I said, “okay.”  And then she did it again!  “Ghosh ghosh, washing machine?”  I looked around the room and said, “yes I do the laundry.”  She smiled and said, “Ahhh sugoi neee!!!” (WOW! That’s amazing!”)  Then I believe she told everyone what I said because all of the moms clapped and said the same thing.  I felt my face turn bright red.

Naturally, the next song was about a washing machine.  There were all these synchronized moves with the song and the “ghosh ghoshes” but Ellie wanted to stand.  Again, all the other kids couldn’t do anything so they let their moms manipulate their arms and legs without a problem.  Ellie just wanted to stand and watch.  So I did the motions without a baby in my lap.  Just imagine what a washing machine does.  That’s kind of how the movements go.  This was a long two hours so far.

Yes, there’s more.  Next, it was actually story time.  Instead of reading a regular sized book, they make a giant replica of the book they will be reading.  They redraw the illustrations and everything.  And then while one teacher is reading, the other teacher is playing the piano for dramatic effect.  This story happened to be about frogs.  Now here in America, we all know a frog goes “ribbit ribbit,” right?  Well in Japan, the frog goes “kero kero.”  Huh?  I actually think all of their animal sounds are a little off.  Aya and I have been in many mooing matches arguing which animal sound actually sounds like the real animal.  Neither of us is willing to budge.  U.S.A. all the way!

After the book was finished is when the frog hats come in.  It was time to sing the frog song.  And what better way to do so than to wear a frog hat.  All the parents wore them on their heads and had our kids face us.  Of course Ellie didn’t want to do this and just wanted to watch everybody else.  So I sat with my frog hat on my head going “kero kero” in time with the music hoping Ellie would turn around and look at me.  Just imagine this scene.  All of us with our frog hats, the teacher playing the piano for this frog song, and two other teachers squatting at the front of the room like frogs saying, “kero kero.”  I probably should have been more amused, but all I could think was, it’s ribbit people, it’s RIBBIT!

Are you exhausted yet?  Because it’s still not over.

Finally, it was snack time.  All the moms gathered on one side of the room, and then me and Ellie on the other.  Strangely enough, there was a new comer who seemed like she really didn’t know what was going on, so instead of asking the other Japanese ladies, she asked me.  Me!?  I can barely read the clock in this room let alone understand anything that’s going on.  So I told her after snack time, it was “mom discussion.”  I said, all the moms sit with clip boards and an agenda and talk about things over there.  I sit over here.  I was surprised, but I thought it was cool she asked me.  I mean if I were her, I’d be the last person to ask.

With the moms discussing and the kids playing, I decided to take a few photos.  I wasn’t aiming my camera at anybody’s child.  I wasn’t even taking pictures of Ellie.  I was actually trying to take pictures of the walls and the crafts on the windows.  The teacher came over pretty quick though and informed me that pictures were not allowed.  “Only in March and April.”  Huh?  You can take pictures at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and you can take pictures at the Louvre in Paris, but you can’t take pictures at Japanese School.  I’m sorry I didn’t know.  “It’s okay, please put camera away.”  Dang, scolded twice in one session.  I was eyeing the clock.  This was a looong two hours.

After mom discussion ended we all regrouped for a good-bye song.  This was the Japanese hokey pokey song from last time.  Ellie did not want to dance but to run around.  She wanted to play the piano the teacher was playing.  She was all over the room and I was right behind her thinking, “you’re going to get us in trouble!”  I have to give Ellie a lot of credit for lasting through two hours though.  I barely did.  And at the end, she gave Anpanman a hug and kiss.

As soon as we got the official dismissal I scooped her up, waved a quick good-bye and was out the door.

Our Japanese classes were done for the summer and wouldn’t start again until September.  I have never been so excited for summer break before.  Now to sit back and enjoy the sounds of summer.

“Kero kero,” I mean “ribbit ribbit.”


  1. I never thought a second installment could be just as good as the first … my hat is off to you sir! Loved it!

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