Funny letter about the hoikuens (nurseries), yochiens (kindergartens)

On one of my yahoo groups (married in Japan) from another foreign Mum, I found this post very funny!

I told all our schools and yochiens, hoikuens etc (now a total of 6
for two kids) that if they wanted me to do what was in the letters
they needed to underline in red the bits that actually had the
information in them, or they’d get chucked away. After a few times of
the kids not having the proper thing on the proper day, all the
teachers have got the message! Once the kids get to about 3rd grade
they can read them themselves.

Basically anything that comes from the “Hoken teacher” (school nurse),
anything from the school library and anything from the school dinner
centre is rubbish and can be chucked away without reading. Anything
with long paragraphs and no indentations for “date” or “time” is
probably rubbish too. And anything coloured and brochure-ish is
*probably* advertising and rubbish. You have to be careful for the
last one because sometimes for school its an order form for the paint
set or whatever.

As for the millions of bloody bags, I found out the hard way that
every yochien is different and when we moved, I put my foot down about
making an entirely new set (actually I never made the first – I went
to the local Ito Yokado and bought the nearest approximations. When
faced with the wrath of the teacher because the letter bag was the
wrong shape, I laughed and said she might fold the letters twice to
get them in, I really didn’t care!) so the second and third kindys got
what we had for the first. And I put my foot down at the third when we
got a letter demanding a home made, quilted cloth bag 40 cm long and
5cm wide, with a button closure and a 5cm loop for hanging. I called
them and asked them what the hell it was for and when they said it was
a BAG FOR THE HARMONICA HOSE I lost my temper and sent the kid with a
ziplock bag with a rubber band looped through a hold punched in the
corner – they could take it or leave it but my life is too short to be
sewing snaky bags!

When I moaned to my students about this, one older lady said when her
kids went to yochien in the 1970s they had to hand knit the winter
hats and tough if you couldn’t knit. As they do now, they made a big
cockadoodle about how it shows the mother’s love. I have always told
the teachers that I love my children plenty, they know it, and not one
iota of love is transferred through a deliberately fiddly cloth bag.
(This is not to denigrate those who love to sew and do pour their love
out into their creations – I tend to show that kind of love to my kids
by making fun birthday cakes and making personalised books for them –
so I know that love does get demonstrated with handmade stuff, but I
don’t do it to order!)

My kids are 2nd and 6th graders now and don’t seem to be too utterly
damaged by my coldness to school letters and yochien minutiae!

I also had a huge problem with those stupid white things they wear for
school dinner doling out. After getting several sets back because the
kids dragged them on the ground and they were sent back to be washed
again, I just said I wouldn’t be washing any more, and every time a
kid brought one back it got put away in my attic till the end of the
school year. It was worse because in our tiny school every kid wore
one every day. I am not sure if my protests had anything to do with it
but as of this year they only wear them for their turn to dole out the
food and I only get one once a month to wash, which I can cope with!
Actually my now second grader has inherited my lack of enthusiasm for
rules is rules, and at kindy for the entire three years not one single
soul got him to wear his summer uniform which was a flowy light blue
smock thing. He took one look at it and said “I’m not wearing a
DRESS!” and that was it. Even the principle couldn’t and every summer
day he walked to and from kindy (in a walking group with the
teachers!) dragging it behind him. It was grey and faded at the end of
three years, but it never went on his back! And last year he flatly
refused to wear the school dinner white thing. The teacher had to
laugh because when she challenged him he said to her, “Well LOOK AT
THEM! They look like they are doing operations on their dinner and
it’s stupid.” She told him he could not dole out the food then, and he
said that he didn’t mind, losing the privelage was a lot worse than
wearing that getup, and she respected his decision! (Nice teacher!)

Lazy, bolshy Vicky in Hokkaido!


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