Thursday, May 3, 2012

Flat Stanley Celebrates Constitution Day

My new yukata!
Today is Constitution Day, or Kenpo Kinenbi (KEN-PO KEE-NEN-BEE).  This is the second national holiday that falls during Golden Week.  Showa Day, on April 29, was the first.

A constitution is a written promise of how a country will be governed.  Japan's constitution was adopted in 1947.  It describes the jobs of the Emperor, the Prime Minister, and the leaders who are elected to represent the Japanese people in the National Diet (DEE-ET).

It is raining in Tokyo for the third day in a row.  For hundreds of years rain fell in Japan every day from the beginning of June until early July.  The Japanese people call this "the Rainy Season".  Last year the Rainy Season started and ended a month early.  I think it is a month early this year, too.

How can we spend a rainy day in Tokyo?  Let's look at some more pictures and read a book.

Most Japanese people own bicycles that look like this one. Many people ride bikes to work or school and many others ride bikes to train or subway stations where there are special parking lots for bicycles. Most bikes have baskets in front of the handle bars. Many bikes have baskets behind the seat as well. Baskets make it easier to carry groceries and school books. Bicycle riders in Japan are not required to wear helmets.

Everywhere I look in Tokyo I see art. Even the footpaths in some of the older parks and gardens look like works of art to me! How many different shaped rocks do you see?

This kind of path is called "nobedan" (NOH-BED-AHN).

I was very surprised the first time I visited a public restroom and saw a traditional Japanese toilet. I could not figure out which was the front and which was the back of the toilet.

I did not have to use a traditional toilet because there are lots of "Western-style" toilets in Japan these days.  "Western-style" means they look like the ones at your house and school.  Some "Western-style" toilets here have heated seats. That's a really good idea!

We decided to buy a book of Japanese stories.  Shopping on a rainy day in Japan is fun.  The shopkeepers and clerks are so nice.  First they put our book in a clear plastic bag to protect it from the rain.

Then they put the book inside a paper shopping bag with handles. After that, they put the shopping bag inside an upside-down clear plastic bag. We sure did not have to worry about getting raindrops on our new book!

"The Toothpick Warriors" is a good story.
Should I tell you this story when I get home?

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