Monday, March 01, 2010


Girl's Day (With a Boy)

Tomorrow, March 3rd, is Girl's Day in Japan--it's also Doll Day (which is sort of like being a girl, from a certain point of view). For the equality conscious, don't worry-there is a Boy's Day on May 5th, though this has since become "Children's Day." I love that in Japan, a holiday is set aside to celebrate the spirit of children. But anyway, when I was growing up, Boy's Day was still for boys. All the same, my parents let me celebrate both. I figured I'll do the same for Ewan.

The lovely Kyoto-style shop "Kiteya" in Soho hosts cultural events-in addition to selling adorable scarves and bags and hair accessories. I am on their mailing list and jumped at the chance to take Ewan to a Girl's Day gathering, even if he's a little young (and a boy). As it turns out, he was not the only little boy there, as other multi-ethnic parents had the same sort of idea in mind. Here, a shop worker reads a story in Japanese using a technique known as "kamishibai." With kamishibai, a story is broken down onto oversized cards, with text on the back, making it easy for a reader to display pictures of children's tales, while reading aloud. This story was about a little dog whose sleep was disturbed by a strange sound, and he went off to find its source. The reader read in Japanese and it was moving to see how many bi-lingual kids were in the audience.

Once the story was over, the kids were given dual-language instruction in origami folding. Of course, I did this with my mother as a child. I wonder if it is the kind of thing that shapes a child's mind early on-all the concentration and precise folding of paper and love of making things . . .

As I mentioned, my mother is here, so she assisted Ewan. Only a little.

Ewan proudly displays his cup and ball, which he put together as though requesting a scoop of ice cream. Clever boy . . .

There was really only one thing to do after an afternoon "in Japan." So, off we went to Blue Ribbon sushi. Ewan sat in the window in his car seat and the rest of us feasted happily. After eating one round of sushi, we all discussed what we'd like to eat for a second and smaller round. I remember my parents talking about sushi like this as a child-that was back in the days when my folks would drive 2+ hours to San Francisco to find sushi, because it hadn't gone mainstream yet. They would talk about what had tasted particularly fresh and good and how much more room they had to eat, etc. My husband, mother and I had the same conversation (I wanted sea urchin, Gordon and my mother wanted eel) and I thought to myself that Ewan would grow up hearing the same thing, and that made me happy.

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