Genbo’s been going to school for a week and a half now. He thinks it’s OK. Kinda fun sometimes, kinda boring sometimes. He recounted a disappointment in which his teacher told him they were going to go on an “adventure” (冒険) to explore the school, but it wasn’t a real adventure, because she just kept on talking the whole time. Get used to it, Genbo.
He and everybody else from the area meet in front of our building at the ungodly hour of 7:30 to walk to school. It’s almost a half-hour trip for them. And, on the way back all the Japanese moms (and I!) stand outside waiting for them. Eventually this will give way to them just coming all the way home on their own, but it’s nice to go and greet them while it’s still OK, savoring the last bits of innocence. Here he is coming walking with his best friend, Nao-kun.
Update: A comment reminded me to mention that, even though the area is safe anyway, there are volunteers (extremely nice elderly folks apparently without much else to do, for the most part) placed every 100-200 yards to make sure the little kiddies are safe.
Cherry blossom season is coming to an end, alas, in Kyoto, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned, for it means an end to tourist-caused traffic jams (not as bad this year as most because of the recent spate of disasters) and the opportunity to take some photos like these.
Couldn’t decide which of the next two I liked more. The first is stopped down for more depth of field, while the second has a much narrower depth of field to give it a dreamier feeling. Hard to tell the difference in the thumbnails anyway, though. Gotta click through.
I like the way this big rock looks like it was caught in an avalanche of cherry blossoms. The last photo is a close-up of the same scene (different shot, different perspective).
Today was Genbo’s first day of school. Or, technically, his 入学式, or ceremony to start the beginning of school. First day of classes is on Monday. Everybody around him has been excited about it, but Genbo has not given any indication of caring one way or another. Unfortunately it was a gray day today, and shortly after I took these pictures it started raining.
Here he is at the school gate, wearing his uniform and a randoseru. The school technically has uniforms, but you don’t really have to wear them. Lots of kids do, but anything in relatively subdued colors is fine. Basically, anything that’s not gold lame or sequined is fine. The randoseru (taken from the Dutch, according to that Wikipedia link), is a weird Japanese phenomenon. Genbo’s cost upwards of $500, which is maybe a little pricier than average, but not by much. The cheapest they go for is about $350. It’s a highly-fetishized leather object in the culture that marks a child’s entry into school. They are used for the full six years (which is how long elementary school lasts in Japan), and they are built to last 60 if need be. Does that justify the price? Not in my opinion, but since when is that relevant?
School yard and gym, flanked by Mi’i-dera, a major temple in the areafull exif
Checking out the board to see which class he’s infull exif
Notice everybody with their bright, shiny new randoseru, strictly color-coded according to gender, ’cause this is Japanfull exif
Another shot of the cherries and the temple up on the hill. Not a bad view for a playground.full exif
I liked this rack of unicycles, which are popular in Japan for young children. full exif
Now we come to his classroom, 一年生2組, or the second class (out of four) of the first-graders. His yellow hat, which only first-graders wear on the way to school, and various text books await him in his assigned seat. (I recently learned that even college students have assigned seats!)
I love this next picture. He’s been in his chair less than 30 seconds and he’s ALREADY BORED! And, in grand Braverman tradition, not bothering to hide it. Notice the hook on the desk so the randoseru doesn’t get sullied by being put on the floor.
These two are already friends, and he’s feeling a little left-outfull exif
I had to leave a little early to do some work, but everyone else went to the gym for a series of long and I’m sure excruciatingly boring speeches. Here are Genbo and his new classmates filing out of their room together for the first time.
The school abuts the canal (疎水) which brings water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto and then down to Osaka. Here is a shot of a cherry-lined section of the canal right near his school.
Genbo graduated from daycare on March 19. It was a much bigger deal than I can imagine occurring in the States, with local petty politicians, representatives from local schools, etc. in attendance (and taking up the best seats).
Here is mommy waiting for him to present the diploma to her and say “Thank You” (a tear-jerker moment)full exif
Zoe took the opportunity to get dressed upfull exif