Gregory and his family are moving to Japan for his dad's job. After the long flight, they arrive at their new apartment. Gregory is surprised to find lots of things that are different: he needs to remove his shoes and wear slippers, he has to sit on pillows at the table, and he has to take a shower before getting into the bathtub As Gregory's dad points out, "That's the way we do it in Japan."
We read The Way We Do It In Japan, written by Geneva Cobb Iijima, and illustrated by (Albert Whitman & Company, 2002). Gregory’s mom is from Kansas, and his Dad is from Japan. They live in America, but when Dad’s company transfers him to Japan, Gregory quickly learns that the two countries are very different! In Japan, they use chopsticks, pay for things with yen, drive on the other side of the road, sit on zabuton, and sleep on futons. Gregory is very worried about how he will fit in at his new school. But happily, he learns that friendship isn’t culture-dependent. Words and phrases from the Japanese language are woven into this story, with helpful pronunciation guides at the bottom of each page to aid the read-aloud experience.
'The Way We Do It In Japan' is a warm story relating a child's honest and positive reactions to his family's move from San Francisco to Tokyo, Japan. Gregory's experiences and reactions to new and unfamiliar situations prompted much discussion in my first grade classroom. Every child identified with Gregory on some level. This book was a welcome re-read in my classroom!