Blackcabbit's World

Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.

A Nerve-racking Start of a Pre-school Life

Kindergarten life begins…

Fireball refused to join in the activities of the Nyuenshiki.

Fireball refused to join in the activities of the Nyuenshiki,
because he could not keep his curiosity within the hall.

My son the Fireball, who is now 3 years old, had his first Nyuenshiki (入園式 / School Entrance Ceremony) on 10th April. It did not begin well. The early morning routine turned into a bawling competition between parents and child. Fireball was refusing EVERYTHING (i.e. breakfast, changing clothes, carrying his own bag & bottle… the list went on). He kept yelling “DAKKO DAKKO!” (the only Japanese phrase he’s very fond of), which means “carry, carry me!” Of which, it was directed exclusively at mummy.

If you have heard about the Japanese school entrance ceremony, you will know that it is a big formal event. That morning, my husband and I disagreed as to what to wear for the ceremony. For the first time, he insisted in wearing a business suit. I suspected that it was his way of blending in with the Papa-tachi (father group). I disliked dressing up or putting on makeup, especially while handling a struggling toddler, who will step all over me when I carry him. Moreover, WALKING to school with a 12.5 kg boy gripping on in koala-style, and on painful heels, is no laughing matter. Not wanting to be a mess by the time we reached the kindergarten, I dressed in my comfortable (but presentable) clothes and was true to my endangered Suppin Clan (Japanese slang for “No Makeup”). I was prepared to be frown upon. Anyway, I would be too stressed up to care. [The classic Blackcabbit’s delinquency at work. LOL]

A Parent’s nightmare

My boy’s social life has often been the biggest concern for me. Most of the time, I speak English to him (because my Japanese is not fluent at all) while the rest of the family speaks Japanese. So, I’m not sure if that has caused him to be a late talker. Often, when he meets other children, he will just run around them instead of playing with them. The kids around his age will ignore him since they find his words strange and foreign. I TRY not to let this worry me and trust that he will catch up, and for better or worst, turn into a little chatterbox (like his mummy).

Unfortunately, that morning, something happened and sent my anxiety level to sky high! We were gathering in Fireball’s classroom as the teachers addressed the large crowd. Most children were sitting in front. Fireball and some of the smaller ones insisted of staying with mummies. Out of nowhere, we met this very active, bigger-build boy. He suddenly kicked “M” the boy next to mine. M’s mother did not see it. So I told the boy sternly that he shouldn’t do that. Then, he turned and kicked Fireball several times. I stopped him by holding his leg, scolding him at the same time. The boy screamed at me, and with super lightning speed, YANKED a handful of my hair out!!! By then, the mothers around us were saying “Where is his mother, you should tell the teacher!”

Unable to locate the mother, not sure who she was, I approached the teacher-in-charge. She just smiled and nodded. Unbelievable! I wasn’t sure if she understood me, so I looked for my husband. He did not see what happened since he was at the back of the class but he tried to translate. Again, the teacher just nodded (and smiled). I went ballistic, all ready to confront the boy’s parents myself. “Fortunately” for them, they were no where in sight.

What worries me most is Fireball’s and M’s lack of reaction. Not only they endured the bashing quietly, they did not cry for help. I wasn’t sure why the teacher did not address my complaint. Maybe I should trust her years of experience and I’d love to find out her reasons or her secret strategy. Don’t they see the necessity of correcting the erratic behavior INSTANTLY? Personally, I felt that if this problem isn’t nipped in the bud, it will soon get totally out of hand. That boy will learn to enjoy being a bully, while smaller kids will developed learned helplessness. The lack of early intervention is probably why bullying is a rampant issue in Japan. We have monthly teacher-parent group sessions, so if  Shirankao (知らん顔 / feigned ignorance) is the adults’ way of handling bullies, I will make myself heard LOUD & CLEAR (even if I have to lose more hair in the process!). At the meantime, I will do my best to teach Fireball to avoid a bully, and most importantly, not learn to become one.

First Day of School

A typical shoe rack system where a school day begins here...

Here is where a school day begins…

One after another clingy, screaming, tearful little angel was drop off. My son’s dreadful separation anxiety was rather short-lived. I peeped through the bushes and saw him in high spirit. He was enjoying his new-found freedom. He went in and out of his classroom while the teachers were busy comforting his classmates.

Fish Craft Toilet Door

The window, on the toilet door in the classroom, has an interesting “Fishes in Water” decoration. They will “swim” (move) when you pushes the door.  What a simple but cute idea!

Handmade soap

Soap handmade by a group of mothers in the school.
It was recycled from used cooking oil and is supposed to be the ultimate grime fighter.

When I picked up Fireball after school, the teacher (not saying anything) just handed me a mysterious bag of something. It was his heavily dirt-stained apron and shirt after mud play. I guess I should be expecting this every time. ~~~>_<~~~ Now I know why they gave out the soap as “First-day” present. It proved to be extremely useful after all. LOL


Baby Celebrations – the Japanese Way (Main Page)
The Big Preschool Prep for ME!


4 comments on “A Nerve-racking Start of a Pre-school Life

  1. purin
    April 14, 2013

    OMG….there’s a Giant in the.class! I hope Fireball will tell you if he’s bullied in the future!

    • blackcabbit
      April 15, 2013

      Yalor, like Giant (Jaian) in Doraemon but with an angelic face. I’m training Fireball the best I can. I tell him that he has to “RUN” to teacher. (I even role-play) Sigh, but my boy just giggle, not sure if he is able to comprehend what I’m saying yet…

  2. Blackgodzilla
    April 14, 2013

    Wow that is one heck of a first day in preschool. You got me nervous about tomorrow for my son’s first nyuenshiki at his yoichien tomorrow. A good thing for us here is that bullying or similar acts are treated as a serious offense, some high schools will even get the police involve without a second thought.

    After living here in Kanagawa for awhile, I have notice the Japanese have shirankao for a lot of situations in their in everday life, except when us Gaijins (Outsiders/foreigners) are involved. I have seen the local population ignore major incident with one of their own, just to correct a very minor issue with a gaijin (dosen’t make much sense in my opinion). Fortunately my wife Hiroko is like you, she will not stand for any of that.

    Do you know if Fireball make any friends yet? If your not careful, he will get a girlfriend behind your back, like my son did at the Yamaha English School last year. LOL, the face Hiroko made on that day was priceless.

    • blackcabbit
      April 15, 2013

      No worry Blackgodzilla, I’m positive that your boy will do extremely well! Wow a girlfriend already! They sure start mighty young this day. ^_^b Your son is so cute. I bet he will be popular too! And I can imagine Hiroko having a different kind of stress compared to mine. LOL

      Yup, Japanese’s Shirankao nature can be trying. I know parents of other kids hate having their kids being told off by other parents. So do I, that’s why I rather discipline my son INSTANTLY before any one has the chance. :P Personally, I felt that in places where children gather, we as parents should help each other out, as a team, to watch out and protect the little ones (even when they are not our own).

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This entry was posted on April 14, 2013 by in Baby Log, Life in Japan, School Life and tagged .
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