@memmoree said: showed this to Shu, he is sort of curious about these kinds of things, wonder if adoption practices will ever loosen up and the gov starts thinking about the kids interest rather than their absent parents’ rights

Yes, exactly. The adoption system focuses on the rights of the parent (very strong in Japan) at the expense of the rights of the child. 

Link to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

I wrote a post about this before but tumblr ate it. Trying again.

I’m three weeks into working at a summer camp for kids in children’s homes, aka orphanages, run by a non-profit. The first two weeks were in Miyagi and mostly serve kids in the Tohoku area and the second two weeks are in Chichibu and mostly serve kids from Kanto. 

The kids are, by and large, really awesome. I am actually surprised by how few problems they seem to have, on the surface, adjusting socially. The homes are doing their best to take care of them. 

Still, the situation for kids without parents in Japan is pretty shitty. Human Rights Watch just recently established an office in Japan and the first thing they did was put together a 150 page report on children’s homes in Japan. The accompanying video is attached. 

The stats are pretty bleak for Japanese orphans. They live their whole lives in a controlled environment then at 18 they’re turned out and told to fend for themselves. Most of them won’t go to college. They disproportionately end up in the sex trade and low wage service industry, or organized crime. But the kids that I’ve seen this summer? Are bright, charming, intelligent, and capable, by and large. There have been several sets of twins, and siblings, as well as some kids who have mental issues like autism spectrum or learning disabilities. But most of them are not noticeably different from the kids I have encountered in public schools and eikaiwas. 

pattyfingersintheholywater said: Oh, what was the novel called? Sounds interesting. How’d you get into writing professionally?

Caveat: this was a first novel and so the writing quality was uneven, and the title is SUPER cheesy. I wrote a loooong rambling review of this book (not my usual style) on Goodreads. Anyway, it’s called Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and I found the perspective of Chinese Americans on the Japanese American internment experience really interesting. 

As for writing, I always had a blog. I started to contribute to other small blogs, then bigger blogs. Friends and contacts helped run websites that had larger articles, and let me contribute. I started to answer calls/ads for bloggers and articles. As I collected more and more clips, it was easier to get more jobs. Now I have enough clips that people approach me somewhat regularly, which is cool because I’m quite lazy about pitching. But: just write, a lot. In addition to bloggy-stuff, try to write the kind of stuff you think you might like to do professionally, be it news articles, fashion stuff, service-y pieces, travel, whatever. Then when it comes time to apply for paid work, you can show and tell that you already know how to write that stuff. 

25 things

Greetings from Miyagi!

1. Visit a new prefecture 

2. Finish a crochet project

3. Travel to Saipan

4. Ride the night train across Japan (from Tottori to Yokohama)

5.Cook ten new recipes 

6. Dress up as a maiko (had to do this for work and never would have otherwise)

7. Travel to Sweden

8. Take the lowest level Spanish proficiency test (putting this off as I have work)

9. Attend a non-yoga fitness class

10. Take a friend to volunteer at the soup kitchen

11. Read 50 new books (39/50; I read an interesting novel about the Chinese American community and their relationship with the Japanese American community during the Japanese internment of WWII)

12. Take at least an amateur class or photo walk to learn to use my DSLR better

13. Write for a new client/publication (I was approached by one pub to write for them monthly, was asked by another editor for a semi-famous website to pitch but haven’t yet. A few new jobs booked and one article on a new platform this month.)

14. Go to 6 shows (concerts; my friend Matt came over on tour! 3/6)

15. Send 12 packages (4/12)

16. See Takarazuka or similar (I went to see a 舞踊 performance at a playhouse in Kyushu and it was the most cross dressy, vampy, awesome thing ever. Pics to come.)

17. Meet my (adopted) cousin whom I’ve never met

18. Go camping someplace new (I am currently halfway through a job doing a sleep away camp for orphans, and am in the mountains of Miyagi. It’s beautiful here.)

19. Spend a night in a Buddhist temple

20. Visit my aunt who got cancer and whom I haven’t since before then

21. Make a cat enclosure in the back yard

22. Figure out why my internet has sucked for four years and get it fixed

23. Find and write about five new restaurants (3/5, my new client article was a restaurant)

24. Shoot and develop some of the many film rolls languishing around the house

25. Pay off a major bill

Those in italics are completed, bold are new

  1. voyagebound said: Ugh Jesus Christ.
  2. sabotengirl said: I WANT TO PUNCH HER DUMB FACE! she’s probably not, that’s why she’s insisting so much.

Yeah, and she kept using it even after another staff person (there are several mixies on staff) made a joke after her introduction about being a “mudblood.” AND one of the guys is 1/4 Japanese, his dad is a hafu who was an orphan in Japan in the 50s. Because not that long ago (and sometimes still), mixed race kids were so shameful that they got stuck in orphanages. Some huge stigma there about being mixed blood. And even after he was talking extensively about his dad and his motivation for coming here to work with orphans, she STILL keeps using the word “pure.” Dumb as a doornail? 

@sabotengirl, I think you’re kinda right… she is “pure” Japanese, but has never lived in Japan. Grew up in SE Asia in int’l schools and stuff. 


Just met one of the staff members of my summer job, and after asking me where I was from, she went on to explain to me that she is “pure” Japanese (she said in E). I interjected, “as opposed to impure?” But she just kind of looked at me blankly.


No explanation needed.

All the yes.

My house is so quiet. The four kittens have all gone to trial homes, and one has been adopted. They are so adorable and sweet and friendly. 

We were lucky to have found them and raised them at two weeks. We hugged them and kissed them and cuddled them every day and as a result we got four extremely cuddly, purr-y, lovely babycats. Most of the buddy cats that we met were not nearly as friendly as they are. It pays to snuggle early and often!

Had a dream that I was talking to a guy and about 45 seconds in he was like… 日本語。。。上手ですね。。。どこの国ですか?

Then after I woke up I couldn’t remember if that really happened or not. 


SHIROMUKU 白無垢 、 IRO-UCHIKAKE / UCHIKAKE 色打掛 and the TSUNOKAKUSHI hood, worn before and during the Shinto wedding ceremony. SHIROMUKU is one of the most prestigious wafuku (traditional clothing) in Japan. SHIROMUKU and the entire ensemble the bride wears with this kimono is white, from her outer robe, uchikake, to the kimono worn beneath the robe, kakeshita, which are created in rich fabric, such as silk or satin, and often includes elaborate embroideries.

I know I wrote about this on my old blog before but, “tsunokakushi” (the white hoodlike one) literally means “hides her horns.”

(Source: 25ans.jp)