A very normal week here. I did attend a workshop at Corporate for a new class we’re offering. The newest class is our highest level class available, and I’ll be teaching it three times a week. Awesome. The workshop was great. I saw plenty of people I knew. Many folks who had left the country after the earthquake had returned. Cool.
The workshop did have one low point. An extremely flamboyant young man made a scene. In a room full of 50 attendees, this person wanted to take and hold the spotlight. During a simple part of the day when we could offer opinions he made a joke about the recent earthquake. “Oh my God, this one time I was traveling in Japan and the craziest thing happened. There was this HUGE earthquake that destroyed my office. Then a massive tsunami came into land and washed away all of these villages killing thousands of people…” He trailed off when he realized 49 people were burning a hole through him with their harsh stares. Little more than a month after the quake and it was still far too soon to be cracking jokes like that in mixed company. The dunce kept his mouth shut for the rest of the day. And we rejoiced happily.
The weekend was relatively low-key. I accidentally pulled an all-nighter in the Ono at a karaoke bar. (For the record, I’ve now taken to calling Sagamiono simply the Ono. I think it’s clever.) My voice is just now returning to normal.
I had dinner with the training girls on Monday. We ate in Shin-Okubo, Tokyo’s Korea-town. The food was great and the company better. We had dessert at a popular cafe nearby. The cafe was modeled after a coffee shop in a famous Korean drama. All of the employees were attractive young men. Yawn. All of the clientele, attractive young women. My friends all stared dreamily at the boys behind the counter. Meanwhile I locked eyes with and winked at a few of the patrons.
For a country with a dwindling population, Japan sure seems to have a lot of babies. What I find of particular interest is the method young children are carried around. The most popular choice is a baby carrier. I’d seen this method a few times before but it’s ubiquitous in and around Tokyo.
Imagine if you will, a kind of backpack. There are two shoulder straps and a solid backing. It can be worn either on your front or your back. After you securely strap the carrier on you, slip in your baby of choice and you’re off to the races. This allows you to free up your arms and carry, push or pedal whatever you desire. These things are really quiet pragmatic. I’ve seen tiny little Japanese women with one baby stuck on her back and another on her front. Somehow managing to balance the failing children, she also carries bags with both hands. Amazing. This should be an Olympic event.That said, sometimes I’m terrified by what these parents are doing and more terrified by what they’re not. I’ve witnessed countless newborn children hanging from these devices. Literally only days old. Too young to be carelessly dangling from someone. Additionally, most infants haven’t fully developed their neck muscles so their heads just flop around with each step their mother or father take. It seems once the kid is strapped in you no longer need to think about them.
While there are some drawbacks to the carriage, they’re are some upsides. Mostly it’s how cute the little kids look. I think it’s because they look so helpless just hanging there from their guardian. Like a baby joey in his mother’s pouch. I also got a huge kick out of the women with their baby carriers this winter. Many ladies had special coats for their baby parcels. They strapped their babies to their chests and slipped on tailored overcoats that had extra give in the chest for their new baby bump. Practical and fashionable.
Mostly these little people and their tiny harnesses only give me baby fever. They make me excited to have my own little carbon copies. But that my friends, can wait for quiet some time. Some time indeed.