Saturday

After work, in the parking lot, there was a newborn baby swaddled and facing backward in a minivan. His older sister is a sixth grader at the school where I teach, though I would not call her my student as I have never taught her. There is something aloof about the sixth graders, something that makes me feel out-of-place when I am around. But yesterday I looked at this new human, the exhausted mother, her belly still swollen, her hair mostly gray due to the lack of hair dying during pregnancy, and the intimacy was overwhelming and unexpected. In the…

Tuesday

The fourth grade curriculum here, much like the fourth grade curriculum anywhere, includes a focus on civic affairs and history. We live in Hiroshima. Students here grow up with a heavy burden, passed along from their ancestors. And in fourth grade, they go to the Peace Park, visit the museum of tragic artifacts, and talk to foreign visitors about war and peace. As a teacher helping students with the talking to foreign visitors portion of the field trip, I attended a talk given by a survivor of the bomb, hibakusha in Japanese. She was just 8 years-old when the bomb…