Perry checks in!

Dear bear friends:

Our week in Tokyo is up, and it's time to begin our travels again. You musn't worry if you don't hear from me quite so regularly! I will write to you, but may not always be able to connect to the Internet. We will be staying in four different places in the next four days!

Tomorrow, we visit Akita, in northern Japan, and from there, we travel to Nagoya. Akita will be interesting, as it is not as modern and up-to-date as Tokyo. I'm excited to be visiting Nagoya, because the 1998 Winter Olympics will be held there! While in Nagoya, Miss Cynthia and Doctor Steve plan to take me to Kyoto--a very traditional, old-fashioned Japanese city. I will enjoy learning more about Japan's past!

Until then, here are some interesting things I've learned. First, some table manners. Never mind what your mother told you--in Japan, it's considered polite to drink your soup from the bowl. Don't forget to slurp! Making noise slurping soup or noodles is a compliment to the cook!

When using chopsticks, don't point! It's not polite to lick the ends of your chopsticks, either. Do use them as pushers, holding your rice bowl close to your mouth as you push the rice toward you. If you must put chopsticks down, don't cross them. It's rude!

I have two new words to teach you. Actually, both are word suffixes; you add them to names to express an idea. The first is the suffix, "san." Your teacher, a neighbor, or an adult friend would be called by his or her name, followed by "-san". For example, "Miss Cynthia-san" or "Doctor Steve-san." Using the honorific "san" expresses respect, and it is used toward older people, or those in authority.

For good friends, there's a different honorific suffix: "chan." Miss Cynthia might call Doctor Steve, "Steve-chan." It means, "friend" or "I like you!"

I will write to you soon, friend-chan!

Your bear friend,

Perry-chan Bear Ewer

Perry's Travels: