Teaching Children New Culture and Customs

Teaching Children New Culture and Customs

We have been invited to stay in Sydney with one of my long-time friends who is about to start with her cooking course on teaching children new culture.

We were teenage penpals in high school – myself in Adelaide, Australia; and her in Osaka, Japan. By then, we all did not have families of our own. However, years later, I am going to meet her as I continue with my single parent travel across the globe. I am currently on a family travel and I just can’t wait to see her become my son’s temporary teacher of Asian culture.  For this trip, I don’t think I will need luxury travel experts since my friend will guide me.

We arrive, and immediately we are asked to remove our shoes at the door and to go through the 1/2 net curtains that hang at each door-frame.  In this case, the house is pretty entirely decked out as a Snoopy Japanese shire/museum.

We eat on the low table with cushions on the floor.  As my son loves to eat in front of the TV, this is no biggie for him!

He is promptly informed not to walk on the top of the futon bed, and definitely not to use it as a trampoline!  Our friend is graciously sleeping on the floor.

We hit the sack, on what feels also a bit like sleeping on a floor, as a futon has no cushioning, but surprisingly, I find it is fabulous for my back, and I wake up after a pain-free sleep.

Our host, greets us in Japanese of which she insists my son learns and speaks a few words – he doesn’t get why, but she keeps pushing – yeah!  We also bow, and placed our hands under our chins and repeated a Japanese saying before eating – which we both mastered.

Next day we ask her to choose a dining place for a late “birthday lunch celebration’ for her, so she selects one of the most sought-after Chinese Dumpling Houses.  I thought my son was about to break down, as she informs him he cannot play his 3DS on the table – it is rude.  She shows him how to use chopsticks, and orders food for all of us.  All the dishes are new and strange to us.

Not being a tea drinker myself, I am not surprised to see him spit out his drink, which is very ungracious.  She strictly reprimands him for this.

He tries to get away with just eating rice for lunch. Yumi is persistent and asks if he can prepare him a special surprise dish, which amazingly he agrees to, eats and enjoys. It is a mix of sauces, dumpling, and other dishes.  Next, she is feeding him off her chopsticks, and he is eating as she shovels in all the new foods.

(Day one, she has him eating new foods)
Yumi, in a nutshell, has a gift.  She is great with kids – fabulous, in fact!
She also is about to embark on opening her own cooking school; teaching Australians the art of cooking healthy and easy Japanese dishes.  Including easy dishes for children.

She engages him to a point where I almost feel jealous.  They are cooking, laughing and bonding, as she has him on his own stool, creating new Japanese foods he will eat.

(Making Teriyaki Sushi Rolls)
(Rice Balls which are part of the Japanese Picnic we take to Luna Park)

Our day at Luna Park is a load of fun, and it is great having Yumi share it with us.  We are all pretty worn out at the end of the day, and she buys him a “Wild Mouse” cap, to prove he has survived the roller-coaster ride.  This hardly leaves his head for days!

(Fun at Luna Park)
With great style, she continues to teach him Asian customs and to learn new foods.
I am so impressed! I personally would have a war.

I watch at times as he chews and chews, and he really gives it a good try – and I sit in awe of her skills that she possesses and how at the start of this trip, he has managed to overcome a great hurdle – trying new foods.

(Yum Cha)
(Afternoon tea at the Opera House)
(Yumi makes a special spa bath and plays with my son at night)
Each room has different mats, curtains, Japanese products and ways to do and not to do things.

Each day has new dishes to try, and new words to learn. We are conquering “Culture and customs mountains” with fervor.

(We learn how to set the table “the right Japanese way”
And he also masters chop-sticks!)
At the end of this week, I must say a huge “thank you”.
Thank you to an amazing lady, who is strict, loving, and persevering; and who has really done a great job of launching this new adventure.
(left Adelaide 11th August 2012
Left Sydney Australia 18th August 2012)
Questions and Comments
  • Do you encourage your child to learn about new cultures and customs?
  • As a single parent, how do you ensure your child is as diversified as the current times?
  • Please leave your comments below.

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