Thursday 4 March 2010

Kindergarten prep

I will warn you now, I will be boring you all with all the hoo-haa that goes on before your kid even steps foot in kindy in Japan. Yesterday we went to 'kindy preparation day' we had already ordered uniform pieces so we had to pick that up and then have an explanation of how to label everything and about the bags that need making.
All items of clothing and bags need to have his name on them, obvious really, but not those discrete labels you sew in the back of a t-shirt, nope, big 2"x1" labels on the front of his shirts and the bum on his shorts. EVERYTHING needs a matching button sewing on to it (even though it already has his name on it, go figure!)
Then there are the items like the skipping rope, crayons and flat marbles, they all need matching stickers on them, yes, every bloody crayon and marble and there are about 50 marbles in the bag.
And finally there was the bag explanation, he has a little yochien bag, blue for the boys, red for girls and a matching bag for his indoor pumps (yes, buttons on them too). Then he needs....
  • renraku bag must be 30cm x 40cm
  • book bag as above but need a pocket too
  • towel with a hook sewn onto it
  • 3 drawstring bags, all different fabrics for his marbles/tangram/harmonica
  • strap for crayon box
  • 3 napkins 22cm x 30cm must match bento bag
  • bento bag
  • cup bag to match bento bag
  • toothbrush and cup bag, different to bento bag
  • bento box strap
Now, you don't have to make all these but there is a strong feeling that it is expected of you. I am not that fazed by it all because for starters I knew what was coming and secondly I can sew but if I couldn't I would be getting pretty stressed just now. I am a member of an online group for foreign wives in Japan and often see posts bitching about the whole thing but there is a reason behind most of it. The cubby holes in the yochien are a certain size so it makes sense that the bags fit the cubby hole. Not all the kids can read their own name, hence the matching button on everything, the meals are prepared at the yochien so it is easier for the staff if each kid has matching bento things and so on, see, there really is method in the madness.

After all that we were ushered into the main hall where we were greeted by all the current yochien kids, moms and staff clapping, we then sat down to watch little plays and dances performed by the kids, very cute.

We have to go again in a couple of weeks for another explanation day, not sure what they are explaining next time....


  1. Wow! It is interesting to read about the differences in schools.

  2. Ever since I heard ebi-kun was going to kinder I have been looking forward to hearing about the bags and stuff you make him! (I know, sad life here, huh?)

    The buttons thing is a hassle but it was explained to us that kids often can't read their friends' names and the button helps greatly with lost property as they can return gear to each other.

    Enjoy your next meeting! I'm guessing...hmmmmm- ah! Maybe the one about hankerchief for drying your hands in the left pocket and for blowing your nose in the right?

  3. heather - I want to laugh at your 'silly' hankie comment but I know you are probably right!

  4. neat to read--I look forward to seeing what all you make for him

  5. i heard all the mums order the bags off the internet!

  6. Jo - I think some people do buy them ready made and the craft stores have a service where you take in your yochiens list of demands and they make them up for you - for a nice fee of course. Last year I made the mistake of going to buy fabric in March, the stores were swamped with moms buying all the gubbings they needed and all the sewing books this time of year are filled with cute bag ideas.


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