Letters from DAIBA FujiTV English Blog

A 58-year-old’s Child Care Diary #5

Dec 13, 2013

Dear friends.
Hello, my name is Nissy!

Taisei has been able to count from 1 to 10 since a year ago, but has made little progress lately. He doesn’t show much interest in numbers and figures.

This is my fault.
When I read a picture book to him, I always try to make him become interested in numbers.
“Let’s count the number of crows!
Let’s count the number of cats!”

One day, I said to him, “Let’s count the number of stars!”
Taisei shouted back, “Stop it! Don’t count anymore!”

I should have created a more favorable environment for him to spark interest by himself.

Most Japanese moms are enthusiastic about teaching their toddlers how to count numbers. Many of them are able to count from 1 to 100 before going to an elementary school. Numbers are assertively taught in Japan.

But even if they are able to count to 100, they find it difficult to understand the concept of numbers. In example, if they were told they had to divide 10 pieces of candy to 5 children with each child receiving 2 pieces each, they are clueless to the idea.

They simply memorize the way of saying 1 to 100 without really understanding the what the figures actually mean.

The decimal system was created based on counting with our ten fingers. On the other hand, the numerical intellectual system is a human invention. Thus, we have to repeatedly provide stimulus to the toddlers’ brain again and again in order to make them understand what the figures mean in reality.

And one more thing!
The Japanese way of counting is very complicated.

First and foremost, there are 2 ways of counting from 1 to 10.
hitotsu(1), futatsu(2), mittsu(3), yottsu(4), itsutsu(5), muttsu(6), nanatsu(7) ,yattsu(8),kokonotsu(9),tou(10)

This is a counting system from ancient times.
The other one is
ichi(1), ni(2), san(3), yon(4), go(5), roku(6), shichi(7), hachi(8), kyuu(9), jyuu(10)
This is a counting system introduced from old China.

In actuality, we mix up these 2 different systems when we count something.

Secondly, we have what is called “Josuushi” or counter suffix that changes irregularly depending on what are you are counting.

For example, when you count pens, we say,
i-ppon(1), ni-hon(2), san-bon(3)

When you count people,
hito-ri(1), futa-ri(2), san-nin(3)

When you count days,
ichi-nichi(1), futsu-ka(2), mik-ka(3)

There is no one rule you can follow!

What is interesting when you count dogs or cats, we say
Ip-piki(1),ni-hiki(2), san-biki(3)
When we count bigger animals like horses or elephants,
it-tou(1), ni-tou(2), san-tou(3)
And for birds,

We have 500 different Josuushi in Japan.

I hope Taisei will come to like numbers because he has to learn such complicated concepts regarding numbers in Japan.

When he is in a good mood, I sometimes ask Taisei,
“There are many of your favorite tangerines. How many are there?”
It is difficult for him to answer “5 tangerines” immediately, and he has to count from 1 to 5.

But one day, there was an incident which surprised me.

Taisei suddenly asked me
“How old are you, papa?”

When I answered “I am 58 years old,”
He shouted
“You are an old man!”
and kept laughing his head off.

He doesn’t understand the figure ”5”, but does he understand the figure”58”?
Or does he know that a 58 year old papa is uncommon?

This is so strange!

Have a good day,

Posted by.nissy | | Comment (0)

A 58-year-old’s Child Care Diary #4

Nov 15, 2013

Dear friends,
Hello, my name is Nissy!
Taisei has been gluttonous as usual. 
Today, we had lamb loin chops for dinner.
Lamb is one of his favorite meats.
Actually, citizens of Japan don’t eat much lamb compared to other countries in the world.
We eat an average of 15kg of pork, 11kg of chicken and 8kg of beef a year.
But in case of lamb, the total is only 0.4kg a year!
On the other hand, Australian people eat 17.5 kg of lamb annually.
Japanese people love beef, but we eat more pork or chicken because beef, especially Japanese beef is very expensive.
Lamb is a popular meat everywhere in the world. There is no religion in the world that forbids eating lamb.
Lamb is regarded as the most valuable ingredient in British royal cookery or in the world of French cuisine.
Why do the Japanese dislike eating lamb?
During the food shortage in the postwar period, Japan imported a great quantity of mutton from old sheep that
 were not able to produce wool any more.
The muttons were very firm and smelly
Even now, after Japan is able to import tender and odorless lamb, the Japanese  don’t try to cook lamb for their children.Most are not used to eating lamb during childhood.
It is said that this may be one of the reasons why the Japanese came to avoid eating meat from sheep.
Many super markets in Japan don’t even carry lamb meat.
But my wife and I like lamb very much.
We like its inimitable scent and gamy taste.
This loin chop steak cost 236 yen for 100g.
If you want to have beef steak using Japanese beef, it will cost you anywhere from 800 yen or 2000 yen for 100g.
We usually tell Taisei “Lamb is so delicious isn’t it?”
We have been trying to educate him to like lamb.


…Because we don’t want him to grow up liking Japanese beef more!
Have a good day,

Posted by.nissy | | Comment (0)

A 58-year-old’s Child Care Diary #2

Sep 24, 2013

 Dear friends.
Hello, my name is Nissy!
3 year-old children in Japan go to either a nursery school or a kindergarten. My boy Taisei goes to a nursery school.
Roughly speaking, kindergartens are educational facilities where children are meant to study. Hours are set from morning to noon, for 4 hours.
On the other hand, nursery schools are welfare facilities for children whose parents are not able to provide sufficient childcare due to work or other engagements.
Children can stay from morning to evening, for 8 hours. They take a nap after lunch so that they can pass time as if they were at home.
In short, it serves as a place of living.

But many nursery schools in Japan are becoming similar to kindergartens and they have come to provide drawing classes, music classes or athletic gatherings under the guidance of experts.
One of the reasons for this is the decline in birth rates and the increase in working women. They want nursery schools to serve an educational role.
In recent years, it is difficult to find vacancies in most nursery schools.
We had to wait 6 months for Taisei to get accepted.
Taisei used to like going to the nursery school but he sometimes refuses to go.
The reason is because his best friend was transferred to another nursery school.
He has experienced a farewell for the first time in his life.
But he is going to have more and more painful good-byes in his future.
Hang in there, Taisei!
Anyway, when he refuses to go to nursery school, my wife has to act like an actress by herself.
She will say,
“If you don’t want to go, I am going by myself. Good bye Taisei! ”
In most cases, this brings immediate results and Taisei will say,
“No, don’t leave me alone. I want to go, too!”
But the most effective trick is,
“If you go to school, I will buy you ice cream”
In Japan, they say it is not good to use something as bait to lure children into doing something.
But I think that it is OK or unavoidable once in a while.
Summer in Japan is so hot and humid.
Taisei shows us a great smile.
And we adults are also lured by baits…such as attractive ladies (men) or money.

Have a good day,

Posted by.nissy | | Comment (0)

A 58-year-old’s Child Care Diary #1

Aug 23, 2013

Dear friends,
Hello, this is Nissy!
It’s great to see you again.
I had been writing in this blog until last summer and am going to resume again.
The theme will be the same, ”child care”, but I have to change the title of this blog
“A 58-year-old’s Child Care Diary” instead of “A 56-year old’s Child Care Diary”.
Taisei is now 3 years and 10 months old.
He is 1 meter high and weighs 15 kilos.
He is growing up so fast!
On the other hand, his mental development is not going so fast.
His language acquisition is slow.
He is very shy and not good at greeting others.
When he meets somebody new, he will say ” Hello” in a very tiny voice.
He always wakes us up in the middle of the night for no reason saying, “Okite!“ (Please wake up!)
I remember that his first word in his life was “Okiroyo!” (Hey, wake up!)
Well…I guess it is an improvement that he is getting to be more polite.
 Furthermore, he doesn’t show curiosity towards words, more specifically, Hiragana (Japanese syllabary), figures nor drawings.
The only thing he is interested in is eating!
I remember the very first sentence he said in his life last November.
That sentence was ”Kyou gohan nani suru?” (What are you going to cook for dinner today?)
Well…we can’t help it because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

As for myself, I have been trying my best to help my wife take care of our child or assist in household chores like many young fathers of Japan in recent years.
Most Japanese fathers from my generation put their career before their family.
This may be one of the reasons why most Japanese wives like their children more than their husbands.
In Japan, some wives sympathize with this expression.
“A good husband is one who is healthy and absent”
Some wives don’t want their husband around the home but they have to be healthy to earn a good sum of money.
Recently, there has been a rise in a peculiar Japanese disease called ”Retired Husband Syndrome (RHS)”.

As husbands approach 60, the national retirement age, as much as 60% of their wives begin to show signs of RHS. The idea of their husbands being at home makes them depressed and physically sick.
I am going to retire in 2 years.
I don’t want my wife to become one of 60%.
That’s why I am trying my best although I know that trying my best is not always rewarded.
Have a good day,

Posted by.nissy | | Comment (0)

A 57-year-old’s Child Care Diary#41

Jul 27, 2012

Dear Taisei,
Frankly speaking, I didn’t know that the baby care can be so painstaking at times.
It was quite exhausting for me to keep holding you for a long time.
It was a torture for me to be woken up many times during night time .
This might be because I was 54 years old man when you were born.
I am sorry about that.(;_:)
As you may notice, we have been learning and incorporating American baby care method.
For example・・・
We never sleep with you in the same bed as most Japanese parents do, and instead we let you sleep alone in the next room.
I have tried “Cry it out method” which let you keep crying instead of hugging you until you will get tired and fall asleep. Most Japanese parents never do such a method.
We wanted you to be independent.
But that’s not the only reason.
To make a confession, we wanted to have a good sleep and that was another reason to follow the American method.
We are sorry about that.
However, though we may have been terrible parents for you, we really appreciate you because you have given us a lot of changes.
You have changed our parents.
Some of them were so sick but they are getting well now.
You gave them energy and they want to live to watch you grow.
You have changed me and my wife.
We have a feeling of solidarity because we are aiming for the same goal and our bonds became stronger.
You have changed me inside.
Me wife’s life was totally changed and she was exhausted from the baby care and house chores. When I noticed that, I thought I had to change my mentality to become a better husband in order to support her as well as a good father.

Japan is facing many problems.
You might have a lot of hardships ahead instead of a bright future.
But no matter what will happen, I will support you and guide you on the right path.
Lastly, I have a favor to ask you.
Often times when you are eating a banana and a half of the banana falls off, you always cry hard, bring the banana to me and say, “Put them back together right now.
Someday soon, I hope you will come to understand that it is extremely difficult  to put them together.

 I love you with all my heart and soul.
 Your father

Posted by.nissy | | Comment (0)

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