This blog is...
A personal blog. I rant about the things that are important to me, and sometimes they are meaningful and important things like the children who are stuck growing up in Japan's orphanages or other social justice issues. Other times they are entirely unimportant things like a really awkward tea ceremony experience, my dogs being cute/annoying or how much I hate rainy season. This is primarily a Japan blog but, in other words, not everything I write is about Japan.
This blog is not...
An authoritative source. The majority of internet searches that lead here and the majority of contact I get from journalists is in regards to Japan's orphanage/child welfare system and adoption. I do my best to research and verify everything I write, but I am not a lawyer, a social worker or a professional researcher in the field.
I have lived in Japan as a student, as a public school ALT with the JET Programme, and now as a university lecturer (or as I think my American friends would say, college professor?). The more time I spend here the more I understand and the more I realise I don't understand, and I still haven't lost the excitement I felt the first time I visited. I like sharing what I learn here, and I am always happy to hear from those who have a different perspective.
Explanation of "labels"
The labels are a way of finding other posts on similar topics. Unfortunately some of them are quite vague, but here's an over-view of the kind of content you can expect from each. You can click on them to view all posts tagged with that label.
A Difference of Common Sense: One of the best and worst things about ex-pat life is being surrounded by a culture that views your common sense assumptions as absurd and assumes that its assumptions are universal. It pushes you to grow and really makes you reflect on your preconceptions, and it can also drive you a little insane.
Adoption: Fairly self explanatory. Although I started writing about adoption in Japan and then our personal adoption experiences in Japan this label also contains some posts about international adoption issues.
ALT: Assistant Language Teacher, my job when I first started this blog.
Books: I love them and reference many, so I figured fellow bibliophiles might enjoy a book label.
Childhood: Posts that talk about the experience of childhood, both in Japan and elsewhere, as well as attitudes towards childhood and children.
Cooking: Doesn't really need explaining.
Culture Shock: This label is a bit of a mess. It started out as a failed attempt as a funny tag for times I talked about Japanese culture, but then I used it on some posts that actually talk about culture shock, so now I am just as confused as you are.
Daily Life: Posts about aspects of our daily life as Australia ex-pats in Japan. We're still learning!
Dangerous Play: Japan is full of opportunities for kids to injure themselves in exciting ways, from ten-foot climbing frames to festivals where kid throw kerosene-soaked flaming towels into baskets of fireworks. I love it.
Dogs: We have two shiba-inu, who are adorable and annoying and who led me to have passionate opinions about dog training and welfare.
Drama/Anime: TV dramas and animated shows for adults.
Education: When I talk about education systems of concepts that are broader than a specific grade level I use this label.
Elementary School: I taught in public elementary schools for four years, and now have a son attending one. As a homeschool graduate I find Japan's school system fascinating.
Emergencies: Earth quakes, floods, my dog getting a bit of bone stuck between his teeth...
Film: I minored in screen studies...
Flash-Back Friday: For posts that tell older stories and memories.
Geek: I'm a nerd and a geek and I sometimes mention geeky and nerdy things.
Guest Posts: I'm always on the look out for guest posters!
Health: Both personal and public health issues.
Homeschooling: I was unschooled K-10 (except for three delightful weeks in grade 4), attended a matriculation college for 11-12 and entered university at 15. I graduated from my fifth degree a couple of years ago. Despite being cited as a home schooling success story, I am pretty bitter and resentful about what was not, for me, a positive experience. I'm trying to get over it and see the good side to home schooling, but it's a work in progress.
Housekeeping: Things like how to clean tatami, how Japanese drains work and other excitement.
Ivory Tower: My darling husband likes to refer to my academic interests as "ivory tower" and "unrelated to the real world". He is wrong, of course. Everything I write is vitally important in deconstructing the metanarrative.
Junior High School: My ALT position also covered JHS, giving me four years of insight into the final years of compulsory schooling.
Kids' TV: Although all Japanese TV is kind of crazy, the kids' shows are in a class of their own.
Linkage: Posts that collate links on a topic, carnival submissions or any post with lots of links in.
Love Hotels: Japan has these... special hotels. Ones with rooms by the hour. They pop up on the blog more often than I expected, so I gave them a label of their very own.
Monkeys: The prefecture I live in at the moment is fameous for monkeys.
Motorbikes: I like them.
Mythology: Mainly Japanese, but not exclusively.
Naginata: A Japanese weapon that looks a little like a halberd, associated with women and priests. I used to train in it, but since becoming a parent I sadly haven't had the time.
Nasties and Annoyances: The things that suck.
Outdoors: Hiking, camping and all the fun out door things people seldom associate with Japan.
Pre-School: I occasionally taught at public kindergartens, and the man person's first job in Japan was at a private pre-school. They are fascinating institutions, and really different from my Australian expectations.
Roll of 28: An annual blogging challenge to share a photo a day for the month of February. I assume leap-years are exempt.
Shopping: Getting what you need can be challenging in a foreign country, while the act of shopping itself can be a lot of fun.
Simplify: I'm one of those permanently busy people who aspires to simplifying and de-cluttering. One day.
Social Issues: The broadest of all the labels. Everything from contested history, social justice, sexism, racism and body image to Japan's demographic crisis and dog training. Seriously.
Tales from the Trenches: Anecdotes about various committee meetings, PTA events etc
The Gaikoku: Japanese society tends to promote a monolithic image of the rest of the world, summed up in the use of "gaikoku" to refer to the non-Japanese world.
Things I Wish I had Known: There has been so much expense and stress that could have been avoided if we had just had better information in our early days in Japan. I hope this blog can help others.
Travels: Reading about other people's holidays is not usually much fun, so I only post about travels if I have a good reason.
Vegetarian: Being vegetarian in Japan can be quite a challenge. This label comes with recipes.
Vignettes: Stories without (much) cometary.
Why Japan is Awesome: Like I said, the excitement hasn't faded yet!
I also have labels for the seasons: Summer, autumn, winter, spring and rainy season.