You just never know in Japan…

Today we had to go and apply for a 3-year visa renewal in Kobe. While we were waiting, i took Annie to the restroom, and saw yet something else new…

Attached to the water fountain is a GARGLING MACHINE. If you push the left foot button, water comes out the left side. If you push the right foot button, special gargling liquid comes out the right side for one to gargle with. There is a sign that says, “do not drink gargling liquid.” (In case you’re tempted). Japanese gargle frequently to prevent getting sick. Owen has just started gargling, and we found out that they teach him to do this in his kindergarten. You just never know.

On Wednesday Owen and Annie went to play at one of his friend’s homes, along with about seven other kindergarten moms and their children. (Moms pictured below in the blurry photo I took on my cell phone).

While the kids played, I was so amused at how we moms spent the first 20 minutes or so… we would all hold our cell phones in together, and somehow by pushing the right buttons our cell phones would exchange profiles, so we would have each others’ phone numbers, email addresses, and photos. You really just never know here…

Then, this morning’s top newspaper headlines: “Suicides by students spike in ’06”. Eight-hundred and eighty six students committed suicide in Japan this past year…. one hundred of these students were elementary or junior high school. Bullying in schools is one of the reasons listed by younger children who commit suicide. One of the families we are good friends with has a seventh grade son who has not been to school for two years because he was so severely bullied in fifth grade. Another family has a high school daughter who has dropped out for the same reason. We’re glad that we’re here… wanting to bring hope to those who need it. Japanese are good at hiding their true feelings- our desire is to love through authentic relationships that allows for people to share with us. Because you just never know…

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