Sunday, October 10, 2010

letter to a third grade class

My friend Rina is teaching a class of third graders and asked me to write a letter to them about Japan!
Not being one to waste words, I will repeat it here.

"Hi Rina! I've been living in Japan so long sometimes its hard to remember what's different! but lets see, here we go...

Dear Rina's Class
hello everyone, and 'konnichiwa' from Japan!
I've been living in Tokyo for around six years, and I see lots of beautiful, cute, cool and strange things here.

Japan has weather similar to the east coast of america, so it has four distinct seasons (not like LA!) the winters are cold and sometimes snows, and the summers are very hot and humid, with loud bugs called cicadas in the trees.

The spring (in April) is famous for cherry trees blossoming, the trees have beautiful pink blossoms that bloom and blow away in the breeze like snow.

There are many mountains in Japan, and a good number of these are volcanoes. The tallest mountain (Mt Fuji) is a volcano, and if it erupted the lava might reach Tokyo! I don"t know if you have learned about the tectonic plates yet, but Japan is right on top of a fault line, so there are lots earthquakes, at least one or two a year.
But there are nice things about this, the volcanic activity makes the water under the earth hot, so Japan has natural hot springs, which are like a steamy hot baths that makes your skin feel nice and smooth.

Inside the house, we take off our shoes and wear slippers to keep the floors clean. In the winter we sit around a low table called a kotatsu that has a blanket over it and a heater inside, it's so nice to snuggle inside on a cold winters day and warm your feet and legs.
Bath time is really bath time, we take baths in big deep tubs every day, but we wash off first in a separate shower so the bath water stays clean, and reuse the same bath a few days.

Mostly houses are the same as american houses, but the kitchen is a little different. there aren't big ovens. In my kitchen we have a stove and sink and refrigerator and microwave, but also a rice cooker because we eat steamed white rice every day, usually with fish and miso soup. The oven we have is very small with a strong flame, and you put water in the bottom, it's used for cooking fish. It makes the fish way tastier than if you cook them in a big american oven.

Inside of Tokyo (the biggest city in Japan), it is a big, modern, and very clean city. People are very polite. Service in shops and restaurants is very fast and friendly, and there is no tipping here.
To get to work every day, most people use the subway or bicycles. It is very expensive to park so not many people drive every day, usually just on the weekends to visit relatives in the countryside.

In the countryside there are lots of rice fields (because we eat rice every day!) the rice is grown in a field with water, and is light green in the spring when it it planted, and gets dark green in the summer and starts to look like a giant golf course. Then in the autumn, the fields dry up and the rice turns a golden color, and the farmers cut it and dry it for a few weeks, then it's ready to be harvested! I love the countryside because the mountains and rice fields are beautiful all year round."

any questions, class? ;)
So many things I didn't get to... but hey. how would YOU summarize a country in a page or two?


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