Friday, May 4, 2012

cultural differences

It’s hard to go anywhere in Okinawa without encountering nursery-school children. We see them everywhere – at the zoo, or the park, marching in a parade, or walking down the street. They are ALWAYS wearing matching hats, and almost always wearing matching t-shirts as well. They are quiet, orderly, and well-behaved. They eat complicated-looking Japanese food with perfect chopstick technique. Oh, and they’re ADORABLE.

I’m spending this weekend in Orlando, visiting Hillel, Sharon, Dafna and Liav, and this morning I got to visit Dafna’s nursery school for their Shabbat celebration. It was a “controlled chaos” situation of the best kind. All the kids – Dafna and Liav included – spent about 20 minutes jumping and singing and generally getting their sillies out while getting excited about Shabbat.

Doda and Dafna, the Shabbat Ema
Liavi baby!

Without ever having been inside a Japanese preschool, I can safely assume that such a celebration would not happen there. First, they don’t celebrate Shabbat. But it’s also just so hard to imagine Japanese kids ever being silly. I mean, I’m sure they are, but they present such a together outward appearance that it makes it hard to imagine that anything else is acceptable at school. Just one more cultural difference to think about…

Shabbat Shalom!

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