Straw Boaters

We’re in our house! A more detailed post with photos and etc. will follow, but first I wanted to share this morning’s commute to school and the sheer cuteness that ensued.

We live about 2.5 km from the kids’ school, up hill both ways. Since Tuesday afternoon the kids and I have spent each commute figuring the optimal bus/walk combination that minimizes sheer flights of stairs. The school sits at the top of a bluff, called–perhaps a bit unoriginally–The Bluff by local expats. Today’s morning route included a 15-minute walk to the not-quite-nearest train station, followed by a bus ride that climbed The Bluff and dropped us off right at the school. Easy.

Just checking my phone! Not all taking pictures of random kids on public transportation!
Just checking my phone! Not all taking pictures of random kids on public transportation!

On the bus ride back to the station, I was one of three adults. The rest of the bus was packed with school kids in a typical elementary school uniform: white blouses, navy shorts/skirts with suspenders, black randoseru (square leather school backpacks), and straw boaters. With chin straps. Let me say that again: Straw boaters with chin straps. While most of the kids were young, some of the older ones looked about twelve, which probably meant that they were thirteen or fourteen since Japanese kids are shorter than their American counterparts. Think about the nearest thirteen or fourteen year old boy in your life. Now imagine telling him to dress for school in navy shorts with suspenders and a straw boater. With a chin strap.

The kids were unaccompanied on the bus, as all school kids are here. They got off at the station and joined dozens of their classmates in the trek to school.

Note the stream of kids uphill in the upper left corner. The blind woman center right was not their chaperone--they had none.
Note the stream of kids uphill in upper left corner. The blind woman center right was not their chaperone–they had none.

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