Raising children in Japan has certainly been an interesting experience for me, and I’ve passed through many different phases along with my kids. As soon as my son was born I realized that I didn’t understand Japanese “baby talk,” the body of words that adults use with babies and children, and I remember consciously learning how to speak it, which was kind of strange. Japan being Japan, it’s common for kids to snap into certain social grooves, and virtually every boy here will watch the current sentai fighting team or Kamen Rider shows, while every girl fawns over whatever the current Sunday-morning magical girl series is. The ubiquity of these shows defines each generation, and my wife grew up in the Candy Candy era, while my son was part of the Rescue Sentai Go Go Five generation. Boys in Japan will also become obsessed with trains around the age of five, and I have fond memories of memorizing the names of every Shinkansen bullet train in the entire country with my son, and riding more than a few.
I enjoyed my son’s “train obsession” phase more than his “collect beetles” one.