Growing up in Texas, I always looked forward to fall. September was back-to-school time. New pencils. New notebooks. New backpacks. But in Japan, back-to-school time isn't fall. It's spring.
With the cherry blossoms and flowers in bloom, there's rich association with new beginnings and the start of spring.
When kids are starting school for the first time, they get a variety of new tote bags—whether that is tote bags to carry library books, bags to carry cups, bags to carry bento boxes, or bags to carry shoes. It's really amazing how many little bags little kids carry. And for the past few weeks leading up to the start of school, my wife has been churning out new bag after new bag.
My youngest son, who is three, just started school this week. My older son is already in grade school, so this is all old hat for him. But it's exciting to see them both grow up and go off to school. Slightly, bittersweet, too. Because, like the bloom of cherry blossoms, childhood is far too short.