The pencils

Eva is curious. Muriel called me before daybreak out of concern. Kaimacat's are provided by the school. Jan's teachers don't like Winnie the Pooh or Hello Kitty. What on earth is up with the pencils?

Here in Japan school starts afresh in April. A lot of my friends and readers have kids transitioning into new schools. We are going from kindergarten K3 to elementary Grade 1 in our family. This means lists and lists of stationery and other requirements. One of the things on the list is pencils .

When I was a kid I think we used the plain old HB pencil. If someone went on a trip to Hawaii and brought you back an aloha pencil that was the best! Dad traveled on business and brought home a "Quality Inn" pencil, wow, you were popular!

As far as I can tell writing is a fine art here and great penmanship is a desirable attribute. Thus the birth of a massive stationery industry. The range pencils and pens available is astounding and glorious. The colors - it is truly like a candy store.

Our school stationery list says 6B pencils. To prove how seriously this is taken I just asked my husband about them. He didn't even need to think, he replied instantly that 6B pencils are dark and soft. Perfect for the new to writing? I guess that's what they think.

So there you have it. I got four 6B pencils. I've painstakingly labeled them with Biggie's full name with 6mm label tape. I will have to do this for every marker, eraser and crayon that he has to take to school (there's no sharing, all personal belongings). I have stocked up on the label tape in preparation.

We live in a constant state of culture shock. LOL


  1. Oh, Ok,I understand . We have to give 3 different pencils (2H, HB and 2B) so they can use different ones for different things.I have no idea, how they (kids and teachers) keep a track of it..
    And the school starts in April? Seriously???? Not in 1st of September? WOW
    But now I want to know everything about handkerchiefs too! LOL!

  2. honey, honey.

    I really think that you should find a hobby and concentrate on that and get off this obsession with pencils.

    by the way (insert sinister background music here).............

    it all just keeps getting worse and worse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Like the theme song from the Omen?

    School starts in April, yes! I still can't get used to that. In New Zealand school starts in February!! You probably find that even stranger.

  4. You may have noticed this, but that label tape, if it is like mine, will sometimes pull off of pencils for some reason. I always put a piece of tape on top of it too.

    The labeling stuff it so annoying. I just did 16 markers, plus the tiny little caps to the markets, then had to put tape over all of them, plus label both the top and bottom part of the box, plus the big rubber band that goes around the box. Thank goodness there were only a few extra supplies to do for nenchu - not like last year for nensho.

    Some days I just want to say, "To heck with it. If she loses it I will buy more!" That too will cause a nervous breakdown at the school though.

  5. Sherry your school is prone to nervous breakdowns, right?

    Our school has regulation shoes. Two days before the graduation three of my friends were pulled up for non-regulation shoes on their kids. They were expected to get new ones!!!!

    Needless to say I didn't notice one single kid's shoes during the ceremony.


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