Volunteering at a Library

At dinner time, my husband mentioned the opportunity to earn Creativity-Action-Service (CAS) points working at the international school’s library to our daughter Margo.

Every year, upper schoolers have to collect 20 points in each section and working at the library would supply her with enough points to cover her service requirement for the year.

She was not too enthusiastic about the idea, so we tried to persuade her a bit and I ended by telling her this personal story. If her father had not worked at a library in the U.S., her brother would not have been born in Japan.

My husband, then a college student, supplemented  our no-income status by working weekends at the college library. The year was 1990, and the recession would soon reach its peak.

As  a young wife, without a work permit yet, I was too bored to stay home on weekend nights and went to the library myself. Books are my best friends.

At the library, I met my very best Japanese friend, Nobuko. Through her, we learned more about Japan and its need for English teachers. She pointed out  an ad posted by the Japanese embassy in the library’s foyer, looking for teachers to join the Japanese Exchange Teaching (JET) program. With both of us intrigued by Nobuko’s tales about Japan, my husband applied and got accepted.

Off we went to Japan, specifically Kitakyushu on the most southern island of Kyushu in Japan, where we lived and worked for three years.

Hence,  her brother Thomas was born there.

Boshi techo - the Japanese maternity book

More about the boshi techo on Comprehensive Living Guide for Foreign Residents in Japan.

Anyway,  libraries are wonderful places of discovery for like-minded patrons, wonderful books, peace and quietness, making new friends, and straying off the beaten path.

Kyushu’s Kappas

The book Kyushus Kappas, written in German by Anne Helene Albrecht, is about Kyushu’s most famous mythical creature – the river sprite Kappa. Japan is full of mythical tales and Kyushu seems to be full of Kappas.
The author describes their various origins, skills, personalities, as well as their importance held in Japanese folk tales and customs. Many tales, pictures and historic research by ethnologists make up the book. It is an interesting collection for readers of German with an interest in Japanese culture, ethnology, and lovers of mythical tales.

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