Tomorrow through Sunday, our family and home will host two students from a faraway land called Japan – or as the Japanese themselves call it, Jappan.
Our two guests are both teenage males and older than all our non-adopted children. In a way, it will be like having two older brothers for our almost 14-year-old daughter, Child One. It had better be just like that.
The boys are staying with us as part of a student exchange, sort of. Child One, whose all-girl school organized this, is not going to Japan, as far as I know.
The boys sent us letters in which they introduced themselves. I can’t find them and everyone else is asleep. All I remember is that one is called something like Kamikaze and the other one sounds like Hamotoru. They sent photos, too. The photo of one shows him smiling widely and mock flexing for the camera. The other photo shows a boy who looks sullen. I’m guessing that one’s Kamikaze.
Somebody gave us a check for $270 to take care of these boys, so in order to turn a profit, we need to find cheap ways to entertain them. We do have a lot of laundry to wash and I’m told their people love to wash clothing, but that’s really only going to take a day and a half. I could spend another few hours introducing them to some of the marvels of our Western world, like computers and the new DVD player I bought last week.
We’ve needed to plan meals around their own culture and diet. Did you know that they eat rice? Isn’t Wikipedia amazing?
These boys may not eat beef if, like most Japanese, they treat cows as sacred animals. They have a name for them: Kobe beef, after the NBA star they also treat with utmost respect. It’s not too different from us here in North America. If we see a really big black guy walking toward us, we will cross the street to allow him to pass by as far from us as possible. So, beef is out, but tomorrow night, we will serve the boys the classic Japanese dish of suishi: raw pork on squished rice patties. I hope they like leftovers, because that’s our plan through the weekend.
As you can see, we need to gently assess and compromise for differences in culture. These relatively young Japanese boys don’t want to talk about Pearl Harbor and I’m not going to discuss it with them; here in Canada, the fall of Singapore and the treatment of its prisoners plays more fundamentally in our national consciousness. If they finish the laundry by Sunday, we can sit down and watch “Bridge over the River Kwai” together. I understand the Japanese also like Godzilla. Who knew they were so into Matthew Broderick?
While the boys stay home and wash Saturday morning, I’ll be taking Child Three to T-ball evaluations. Child Two is spending this weekend on stage, in her first role in a non-school play. The play is called “Esther” and it is indeed about the Purim story. We would take Hamotoru and Kamikaze with us Saturday to see it, but I’m sure by now they’re tired of learning about Purim over and over in their international school in Tokyo.
I’ll end this post with a video of the mayor of Japan. Unlike our mayors, he has time to go out into the streets and perform good deeds for his people. Good for him.
I wonder if I should be handing out my blog URL on job resumes.