Friday 13 April 2012

Throwing a sickie, what a palaver....

As I remember it, if you are throwing a sickie back home, you or someone else calls the school for you in the morning and it is done and dusted. Not in Japan, oh no, life could not be so simple!
Each child has a plastic wallet which is used to carry all the random pieces of paper that get shuttled from school to home and back again. When your child is sick, you fill out a form saying why they are sick and how long they are likely to be off, put it in the folder and give it to the hancho-san (head kid in the morning walking group). She/he then takes it to school and hands it to the respective sensei.
So far, so good.
But by 6pm we hadn't had the folder back so I went and asked hancho-san's mom, she explained that one of Ebi-kun's classmates should have bought it back. Hmm, I had no idea who was supposed to bring it back. What happens next couple have been material for a sit-com. I call my husband, he thinks he knows which kid should have bought it back so he calls his mom. In the mean time the hancho-san mama calls the school, she then comes round to our house where I am on the phone to my husband who is reporting back to say that the classmate goes to after school club and the mom was on her way to pick him up. I hand hubby over to hancho-san mama and they have a chat, looks like it is all sorted. Five minutes later sensei calls to say that the classmate forgot the folder and so he will deliver it back himself then the doorbell goes again and it is the classmate and his mom, 100 apologies because he forgot the folder (upside is that I now know who the mystery classmate is). She leaves and then sensei arrives with the folder. He then spends five minutes bowing and I am ready to bang my head against the nearest wall.

And guess what? Yes, we have to do it all again today! Hopefully without all the mix up and the folder gets returned by the classmate.

When we did eventually get the folder there was a note from sensei saying that he hopes Ebi-kun gets better soon and what they did at school today, sounded riveting
1. How to hold a pencil
2. How to walk around the school yard
3. and something else that was so exciting I have forgotten what it was!

Doesn't sound like he missed much.

I'm not sure if this method of calling in sick is the norm around Japan, it seems that our school has a lot more equipment and things to label than others, maybe we just pulled a short straw!

Oh yes, and about the invalid, he is spotty and seems to get itchy as the meds wear off. Last night he had a fever which meant he ended up in bed with me which resulted in me getting no sleep, someone will be taking a nap this afternoon and it might not be the spotty one. 


  1. You have a way with writing funny stories, it is great to keep a healthy sense of humor when your little boy is sick. I have a couple of questions: How many hours do they spend in school in Japan? My son, a first grader, studied in school recently a little bit about education in other countries and he came home and told me that in Japan your teacher may be allowed to spank you. I told him I did not think that was accurate at all and that I would find out more. I don't know if he confused another Asian country with Japan, but I am sure corporal punishment is not part of the Japanese educational system, right? I went to school in Mexico and about 37 years ago a teacher slapping your hands with a ruler or pulling your hair right above the ear was sadly still part of our elementary school practices.

    1. hours in school - well it varies on their grade, the older they get the longer the days or they have say 2 longer days at grade 3 and 4 long days by grade 5 something like that. First grade he will be there 8.00am - 3.00pm but one day a week is a shorter day. I'm not totally sure yet but I think the first hour they have to run laps of the yard and read and classes start at 9am - maybe, will have to report back on this once he has been there a bit longer.

      Smacking - no, I am pretty sure they are not allowed to anymore but back in the olden days, like when I was a kid it was allowed, smacks round the head here or the chalk board eraser thrown at you, back home it was a ruler across the palm or the cane across the bun (I never had that!)

    2. Thank you for taking the time to answer. I just showed your reply to my son.

  2. Oh so complicated! We have to do that too in Sidra's school. If he has to stay at home for three days, then we have to do the whole thing three times as well! Everything has to be labelled properly, and oh, no, you can't put name tag on your child's pencil case because you are supposed to write his name and class on sticker and stick it to the pencil case. Fun! :P
    Wish Ebi-kun get well soon!

    1. insane isn't it?
      Did Sidra have to have a specific style of pencil case?


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