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|
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…