Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mr. Ninomiya

We are running in and out of the house with hardly a minute to spare. Mostly my things, like teaching, but Leiya has been a good sport and sort of taken over my ladies' classes to just talk about what she has been doing and feeling while she's been in the States the past two years. It is eye opening to me too! She talks about classes, the grading system, teachers, drug and sex prevelancy, parties, sports, all the things that seem to her to be different from Japan. Very interesting, occasionally worrisome, but all in all she opens a window into Amercan life for Tetsu and me and my students.

A week or so ago
Pamdora asked me about Ninomiya Day and why it was called that so maybe I'll explain that before I sign off. As I understand it, in the 1700's there was a famous Japanese economist and philosopher named Kinjiro Ninomiya who taught peasants mathematics or something. Throughout Japan he represents the work ethic of perseverence and hardwork. There is a statue of him carrying a load of kindling while reading a book which is seen throughout Japan often on school grounds. I'm not sure why he's so important in my city but there is a large shrine named after him and the children spend some time studying about him in grade school. Maybe he's like Abraham Lincoln who walked 20 miles to school in the snow everyday and studied by candle light (or whatever the stories were.) Ninomiya-san may also have lived in Nikko at one time. (I have a feeling my Japanese friends reading this blog are going to correct me on this this week!)

Anyway, when we were taking Leiya out to dinner a couple of days ago I noticed a statue of Ninomiya-san in the parking lot (why the parking lot?) so I whipped out my camera and took a picture! Doesn't he look diligent studying his book while traipsing through the wilds of the parking lot with his kindling bundle on his back.


Connie said...

Tanya, I was wondering how teenage life is different in Japan. Yes here in the states parents tend to be permissive and the kids have much freedom, money to spend, and time to spend with friends. The teen years are the rebellious ones and I wondered how the Japanese parents manage this stage with their kids and if life is much different or much the same.

meggie said...

It is always fascinating to learn about other countries & customs!
I loved those coffee cups, & also the cat in the chair!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Ninomiya was indeed committed to excellence! We have so much to learn... thanks for taking the time to teach us so many things from your culture. Fascinating.