The beginning of April in Japan means the start of a new school year. My girls are now in third and fourth grade, but Facebook gave me a good reminder about their first day of elementary school. The excitement, the nervousness. It's a lovely time to start everything off, with the cherry trees blooming and spring weather just trying to warm up. I had taught at an elementary school for 4 years, but some of the things I hadn't realized still kinda surprise me. For example, we were asked to have our child walk to school on their own(which meant we stalked behind as a family watching to see if they looked both ways crossing streets and stuff), or the amount of things needed to start the year. we spent close to 20 man yen(roughly 2000 dollars) on everything, from p.e. Uniforms, to math set, to pianica(like an air powered piano) and then all the separate bags that each thing has to go in. Seeing how Japanese children start off their lives in society really shows some of the ways that these cultural norms are formed. What are some of the things you've observed about Japan that is normal, but just not normal f or you?