There was a bizarre Japanese TV show that was on a few years back called OH! Mikey, in which an American family moves to Tokyo and must get used to their new life in strange Japan. Since the characters are all played by mannequins who never move, well, it's one of the strangest things you can possibly imagine. Anyway, in one of the episodes, Mikey tells his mother Barbara that the teacher will be dropping by for a visit soon, which makes her sure that Mikey has done something scandalous at school. In reality, it's customary for teachers to visit the homes of their students once per school year, to observe the home environment first-hand and to talk with the parents about any concerns they might have for the new school year. It's another example of Japan being focused on the important issues of education and child-rearing, and it's something I'd like to see considered for adoption in the U.S. My daughter's home visit was today, and my wife spent an hour discussing various topics with her teacher. As usual, my daughter going to the U.S. for the summer was a minor problem, since even during summer vacation the other kids will attend various school events as well as practicing the theme to Space Battleship Yamato on brass band instruments, a rather unlikely tradition at their school. But my wife stuck to her guns, letting the teacher know that going to the U.S. to learn English and do fun things like Girl Scout Camp is equally important to our family.