Note - this was edited based on things that Bing has told me. Actually, I don't know where he gets his aversion to writing. It's just talking through keyboards, and he loves to talk!
He sent me a message on Facebook with four key reasons that he wants to go to Japan:
So, really, why would a thirteen-year-old want to travel to a distant land where the food is weird and the language is completely different? Not only is the language different, but they don't even use the same sort of alphabet that we do.
I think it may just to be out of the house for what would otherwise be a long boring summer. There are 12 weeks of summer, and if both parents and a step-parent are at work, drumming up activities is hard for kids that age. They are too old to be at a day camp yet too young to have jobs.
Sure, he could play XBox 360 for the summer. Sure, he could wash dishes, cut grass, update Facebook and listen to his mp3 player for all summer. He likes to read and do all that stuff. But, show of hands, here:
How many of you readers are parents who have taken their kids to the most exciting place in the world, like Disney Land or something like that only to have them say "I'm bored," fifteen minutes after getting back to the hotel room "I am bored. There's nothing to do!" How many?
Sorry, lost count. Too many hands.
Twelve weeks is a very long time in the life of a thirteen year old. I think he wants to go just so he isn't terminally bored at home. Last summer was difficult enough, and his need for entertainment has grown. He's at that age where there are greater risks of kids being on their own for a full day.
But there is something conspiratorial in parents sending their kids to a foreign land. We know that when they go, it may be just to them the exciting idea of being somewhere else than stuck at home.
Here's what they get:
1. Cultural immersion to broaden their horizons. Looking at the world from a different perspective enable them to approach situations back at home in a different way. When I was a kid I went to Mexico. Now, when I look at the illegal immigration issue I have a different perspective than someone who hasn't. For example, I know through simple observations that Mexicans aren't lazy people sneaking across the border for benefits.
2. A broadened cuisine. Bing isn't really a big fan of fast food anyway, but the diet in the U.S. is even without that limited in scope. What we think of as "Italian," "Chinese," "Mexican" and other ethnic foods are generally not foods found in those countries. Try ordering "French Fries" in France, or "Fah-jeetas" in Mexico.
3. The TV is different. Sure, today, we can see snippets of Japanese TV on YouTube, but that is a small sampling of what they have on their screens every freakin' day!
4. The houses are different. People sleep on rice paper, unless they have Americanized their sleeping habits.
5. The money is different
6. People keep cnidarians for pets.
Anyway, Japan is a different world compared to Minnesota. Bing's mother and I need a bit of help to buy the airline tickets to Japan, and that is what this whole blog is about. Maybe Tom will be able to twist Bing's arm enough to get him to "Liveblog" his trip to Japan.
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