Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Solomon starts school

Its May, 2011, 5 months passed by without any blog, despite many blog-able events. I have been waiting for more than a month to just dispel the procrastination and sum-up all my energy to compose this post …

On 2011AD, April, 9th, Saturday, Antony Solomon Britto s/o Edward Victor Britto, started school. My friends Shin and Jeff accepted our invitation and snapped almost all the unforgettable moments. Anto, as we are used to calling him at home, and Solomon as many of my Japanese friends know him, was not nervous. In fact he looked very cute in his over-sized school uniform.

First photo when he was half-way through, dressing ...

The school, hmnn… the kindergarten, that Solomon will be attending is one of the popular private Kindergarten's around. We wanted Solomon to attend a good school as most of the parents would want. Living in Japan, and not knowing the intricacies of schooling, we just took things easily. We just wanted Solomon to mingle with the local community and so initially we thought any school would do. Being a staunch catholic, my wife wanted Solomon to attend a catholic kindergarten. We found one far away from our home, but did not really like it.

When Solomon was just over 2 years old, one of our well wishers, the Tani-family, took us to Senzan youchien, which literally means “Senzan Kindergarten”, located on the scenic mountains east of Kyoto. It was love at first site. First, it is located on a scenic mountain far away from the Kyoto traffic, noise and other pollutions …

 Solomon Walking with one of the teachers

But there was one problem, it was a Buddhist establishment, and they teach each one of the kids about lord Buddha and carrying a Buddhist version of rosary is also mandatory. Initially we did not like this idea. But then there were too many positives and after many long long discussions … we just told ourselves that this is the place that Solomon would be starting his long … academic career.

But then there was another problem, we learnt that getting admitted in the Kindergarten was not easy. So we inquired with many parents of kids who already attended Senzan, and talked to the Principal teacher, and many more people who would give us some information or the other.  There were many drawbacks, the first one, both me and my wife are not fluent in Japanese, Solomon too … And then I do not have a permanent job in Kyoto, so my transfer is due any time. Anyway, it did not happen for the past 3 years … So on the day of application we went a lot lot earlier than everybody and waited outside. I had diligently filled out the application form in Japanese by myself. And we breathed a sigh of relief when we received the admit card a couple of weeks later.

I dressed in my only suite, with Shanthi and attended an Interview in the Kindergarten. Solomon was smart on that day, and we passed the interview with ease. He easily differentiated a small square from a bigger one, a lengthy pole from a shorter one, and drew a circle and the interview (children’s aptitude test) was over. Actually he knew to draw only a circle, and was asked to draw one. He was lucky. We were relived and was a bit proud of him. He did not cry and was at ease with everybody, a character passed on from my DNA.

Unlike India, in Japan, schools start on Saturday, enabling parents to attend the starting ceremony without taking a day off. So, on the 9th April, we were dressed in formals, Japanese style, which means we were dressed in black. Solomon in his school uniform.

Nyu-en-shikiAs he woke earlier than his usual waking up time of 9AM, Solomon looked a bit tired, but somehow he was coping up. He looked happy on our way. Our Japanese father, who runs this flower shop, took us to Senzan in his car.

In Oto-san's car ...

Most of the Kindergartens in Japan allow kids to attend classes well before they join, so my wife and Solomon visited Senzan every Thursday and so he was used to many of the, what I can say rules. As most of the building have wooden flooring we need to either change shoes or remove our shoes for some special slippers.

Solomon wearing his shoes ...My friend and tennis coach Shin, snapped many of the photos along with Jeff, so all credits to them.

The picture of Solomon inside my mind did not really catch up with the speed of his growth. He was already starting his school. I was overwhelmed, with a sense of responsibility, which had come as a flash. I did not even imagine that it would be this big. I looked at other kids, and many of their fathers busy shooting their kids with video-cameras. I was clearly confused, and trying to smile all times.

Solomon was led inside his class-room, where only one guardian was allowed, so I had to come out, while I was chatting with Jeff, Shin had managed to sneak inside the class and took some snaps. そろもん is the Japanese character for Solomon, and you can see this in his chair, shoe stand and desk.

Chair with his seat pillow ... Shoe stand His desk

After some briefing inside the classroom, where they introduced the class-teacher and the kids, they distributed the school diary, Buddhist rosary, and repeated the instructions for the umpteenth time. While all the kids were sitting diligently, Solomon, tired of sitting in a place started playing.

Enjoying his cooking ...

And after I forced him to sit in his seat he starting playing with the kids around him. In all he was not sitting in a place and by far the naughtiest in his class. As usual I was a bit worried.

Playing with the kids ... 

With his school diary After the classroom session, the kids and parents were made to sit for a long lecture, which Solomon and the other kids would not understand. It was obvious that my wife did not understand, while I did not listen.


After this the senior kids of the Kindergarten performed some kind of prayer, with flowers and things like that … I could not see it, but Shin had snapped this photo.


Shin followed Solomon to all the places, to the point that he followed him to the toilet ;-) …


After all the formalities there was a group photo session. Solomon did not want to Stand in the usual line and wanted to sit with his mother. As foreigners we always get some (special) treatment, and here too, the principal gave away her seat for Shanthi.

Group photo

We have a special rapport with the principal who we guess played a big part in our admission, we snapped a photo with her,

With the Principal We also snapped some photos with Shin and Jeff. The tall one is Jeff and other one is Shin and here is one of them.

With Jeff and Shin We also snapped a family photo under the cherry blossoms … we will cherish this photo for a lifetime I guess …

DSC_0224 We did not directly return home as we were hungry, so we ate Pasta and Pizza, and went to hana-pot to take a snap with our Japanese parents ;) and also took a snap with the Tanis who were instrumental in Solomon joining Senzan …

With Oto-san and Oka-san 


Solomon got a wonderful cake from hana-pot, and we ate it on the next day … In the cake, there is a Patrol car which Solomon likes very much. It is written, “Riromon, Nyuen shiki omedetou” , Riromon is a mistake, I think it should be Solomon.


Solomon looked a lot smarter on the actual first day of school. I will write a lot more about his first few days at school later.