It's graduation season here in Japan. For some strange reason, they're asking me for proof of high school graduation at work. Um, my PhD isn't good enough for you? (It's not actually a PhD, but it's something you get after four years in school AFTER four years of undergrad.)
This past Sunday, the Pumpkin Daddy took a somewhat cranky Pumpkin Princess outside while I got dinner ready. A pregnant mother came out of the adjacent apartment building with a cute baby girl about 2 years old, and said she was so glad that there were other babies in the apartment complex, she was staying with her parents to have her second baby and were there any parks in the neighborhood? The Pumpkin Daddy said he didn't really know, and the mother said, "oh, of course, she's not made her park debut yet!"
Ah, yes, the park debut (Koen debyu). The first time a new mother takes the baby, a year old or so, in the pram, to the nearby park. There are other mothers with babies there, but they already have their own cliques. It takes a lot of savvy diplomacy and a sense of humor and an engaging personality to enter the social world of weekday parks. Some mothers, unable to break in, become park nomads in search of a society that will accept them...
Darned if I'll ever go there. I finished with cliques my 2nd year of university. It's weekend picnics at the local forest preserve for this Pumpkin Clan.