On Tuesday, in between classes, I got a call that this guy, kiddo number 2, was being taken to the hospital. Since the call came to my office at a time when I was surrounded by coworkers, I was encouraged to go to kid #2’s side, despite the fact that I did not catch the full name of the hospital when his homeroom teacher said it.

Here is where our choice to have neither a car nor a cell phone was challenged. I rushed back home to get his insurance car then dropped by the school where I asked the office staff for the hospital name, all on my sturdy fixed gear bike. Then I rushed up to the train station, grabbed some cash from the ATM, just in case, and went to the very sleepy neighboring town where I found him and the Kyoto-sensei (vice-principal) waiting in the eye hospital’s lobby for me. I don’t know what was less proper, letting the Kyoto-sensei pay for the fees in the case I could not be there, or making him wait for me to show up and pay the fees. Either way, I went with the latter option and paid twenty-two bucks for the examination of a poked eye.

Yes, so he is fine. He has eye drops and an appointment to confirm that he is fine scheduled for tomorrow.

What came from this incident was further gratitude that we are raising the kids in a place where the school is super-attentive, where we have insurance to cover poked eyes (even the twenty-two bucks will come back to me as it is covered by the school’s sports insurance), and a work place that is understanding of the demands of family.

What also came from this is a determination to get cell phones. This seems rather strange, I am sure, especially in a land where everyone, including school kids have cell phones. But we have managed to go without this round and for the most part, we get by using WiFi and smoke signals (well, at least one of those). It makes life frustrating for kid #1 but other than that, we like the freedom that comes with not having a phone. And yet, the time has come to relinquish that freedom and take up the responsibility of having a reliable contact number.