Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Vouge

Sawaki Roshi: Often a kid does things by blindly following others. When his friend eats a potato, he wants to eat one. If his friend wants candy, he wants some. When someone he knows gets a Kintama-bue (a bamboo whistle with a balloon attached to one end), he begs his parents, "Please buy a kintama-bue for me." And he is not always a kid.

Uchiyama Roshi: At the time that Dakkochans (a type of plastic doll) were in fashion, I read a letter in the readers' column of the newspaper. It said, "Because my daughter wanted to have a Dakkochan, we went to buy one at a department store. We had to stand in line, but they sold out while we waited our turn. We have a very disappointed daughter. Please produce many dolls for the girls so that everyone who wants one can get one."

It was really a stupid letter, but I found it interesting because it expresses an attitude that is so common these days. I remember the letter exactly; the mother complained as if she were weeping. Dakkochans would soon go out of fashion and no one would pay anymore attention to them, but for her, being behind the times was a fate worse than death. Similarly, parents think that in order to go to a first class primary school, their childeren must go to a first class kindergarden, so they stand in line in order to obtain admission. (Acceptance is base on the ordr of arrival.) Kyoiku-mama wants her chideren to play the piano, so they go into debt to buy one.
By following the fads of the day in buying things, many people find their lives worth living. First, three kinds of electric appliances; next a camera; after that a new car; and then an air conditioner. "Grow up a little" is my immediate response.


  1. Should be "Kyoiku-mama", not "Kyoiku-man".

  2. Sorry. I copied it right out of the book and since I had no idea what a Kyoiku-mama was I didn't correct it. I'll make the edit.

    Sorry for the inconvenience.


  3. The love of a parent for a child is possibly the most unconditional love many people will ever experience. How we express it varies.


  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. "Kyoiku-mama" is a mother whos sole purpose in life is the education of her children, i.e. sending them to a good school and get good grades. Used to be a social phenomenon in the 70s and 80s in Japan.