In Nagata Ward of Kobe City (1978-1990)


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From 1978, my partner and I lived in Maruyama area of Nagata Ward in Kobe City.  Through raising our 3 children, we connected with neighbors and lived a slower paced life, focusing on advocating community living to the people around us in our everyday life.

My daughter was born in 1979.  It was a normal delivery.  I raised her with breast milk from the start.


My older son was born in 1980.  He was born 40 days premature and weighed 2,200 grams.  I visited the obstetrician the day before giving birth.  I am quite sure the doctor realized that I was close to labor, but he was the only obstetrician in that private practice, and he had plans that evening.  I think this is why he sent me home telling me to “lie down and rest” even though admitting me into the hospital would have been the right thing to do.  Before daybreak the next morning, I was starting to give birth.  When we called the doctor, he told us that he was away and could not come back in time and to call the ambulance.  I gave birth to my son in my own bed at 5AM.  Even though this all happened in the early hours of the morning, our neighbors noticed something was wrong and came to our aid.  They called the ambulance, guided the ambulance, and took care of our 1 year old daughter while we were taken to the hospital.  The ambulance arrived after birth, and we were rushed to the municipal hospital.  I was discharged after 5 days, but my son had to stay in the hospital for a whole month because he was born premature.  I went to the hospital daily to breastfeed, but I was unaware that I had caught chicken pox during my visits to the pediatric ward.  It seems I had never had chicken pox, and I did not have immunity.  By the time my son was discharged, I clearly had chicken pox and my daughter caught it and finally my new born son.  My son still has noticeable blemishes from the spots he suffered soon after birth.


My younger son was born in 1981.  It was an easy normal delivery past the expected date.  I raised all my 3 children with breast milk.


In 1982, my daughter started kindergarten.  All 3 children went to the same kindergarten.  It was a 3 year kindergarten so that children started when they were 3 years old.  I took my children to and from kindergarten every day, attended parent’s meetings, and when to Parents’ Day.  I made myself visible as the parent at every opportunity.  At the kindergarten, once a month, there was a party for all the children with birthdays in that month.  Mothers of the children with birthdays in that month would get together and make lunch for all the children at the kindergarten.  At the party, the parents of the birthday children had a chance to speak in front of all the children.  In this speech, I used popular kid’s heroes of the time like the Five Rangers and Ultra Man to explain to them.  “You all think the Five Rangers and Ultra Man are really cool, right?  And you think the bad monsters are all weird looking, right?  If you keep watching these TV programs, you might naturally start to believe that people like me who look different are bad guys.  You might start to believe you have to fight us and kill us.  But shouldn’t it possible for us to get along with the monsters?  Even if some people look different, or their voices sound different, if you weren’t scared of them, may be they can be your friends.  Even if they look different from you, may be they are really fun people.”  I kept talking to the children like this throughout the 6 years my children when to kindergarten.


After the older 2 children started to go to kindergarten, my younger son who was born in May (school year starts in April in Japan) had to wait another two year to start kindergarten.  Every morning he would pack his lunch the same as his sister and brother, and instead of going to kindergarten, he when to play at a neighbors’ place.  Our neighbors kept an eye on our children, and through our children, we built strong bonds with our neighbors.  The neighbors came to our place almost every night to drink and party.  The parents and adults knew each other well, and the children all grew up like brothers and sisters.  All the adults around them were like parents.  It was quite customary to see adults scolding other peoples’ children if they were up to no good.

My partner was in charge of all the housework, but once childrearing started to settle down, he decided to go to university.  Now, my eldest who had just started 3rd grade of elementary school was in charge of making dinner.  When we decided what to make, our neighbor came over to teach my daughter how to make it.  The neighbor had 2 daughters of her own, but she said “I haven’t taught my daughters how to cook much.”  She came over almost every day.  My daughter learned home cooking from her.

この投稿文は次の言語で読めます: Japanese

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