There is a curious form of exercise in Japan known as ラジオ体操. It's a broadcast put on by the Japanese government that everyone does in the morning involving flailing arm movements and rotation of the midsection. The first time I did it here I found it quite charming. "This is the attitide America needs!" I thought. "The delight in things that are good for you and the constant pursuit of health! Awesome!" Subsequent days of doing this changed my mind however. I could think of a lot better ways to spend that ten minutes of my time, such as sitting at my desk on the computer like the lazy American that I am. Now two days ago the head of the Ai Community Center (which is right next to my apartment building) rang my doorbell at 6:40 am to inform me that every morning some elementary students gather to to exercise at 6:30- I was welcome to join them if I liked. So yesterday I did. Actually, when I left my apt at 6:25 my intent was to go for a run but as soon as the kids spotted me they started waving their arms frantically and shouting "Here! Here! It's here you want to go!" Although they were mistaken- I really wanted to go elsewhere- I ran over anyway and joined them. Much to my chagrin the "exercise" turned out to be- you guessed it!- rajio taisou. However I found out I enjoyed it much better doing it with little enthusiastic kids, and much better while wearing tennis shoes rather than the dress shoes I am forced into at work. Unfortunately then again at 8:20 I had to do it at the office again.
At 10 we went to a day care to play with even more elementary students. At first they were all so shy- no one wanted to ask any questions or come anywhere near us. However within an hour I was giving more piggy back rides than I ever thought possible, and Ian was being used as a human high jump for several lively boys. They also started asking the sort of impertinent questions little kids are great at like "Why are Americans' noses so long? Are you pregnant? Why is your hair blonde?" Darn it, they were cute though. By the end of the day, when they were finally slightly tired out, I had one girl sitting on my lap, a boy sitting next to me with his head on my arm, and two girls behind me playing with my hair.
I love little kids. At least most of the time.
Right now I am resting- this morning we went to all the six elementary/middle schools in Yokota, and this afternoon we went to the seven in Nita (mine.) We also walked around a cool park with huge rocks fallen everywhere apparently caused by some demon's love affair with a neighboring princess. At one of the schools we drank tea from a glass with a sleeping bunny that read:
The Precocious Rabbit Cafe: We're glad to see you- Feel free to drink without reserve!
<------ This is the self-introduction I am giving out to all the schools. Don't I look so official?