The Right Environment



Since we bought our apartment I don`t think we have ever had a clear idea of what to use the Japanese room for. It`s the tatami matted extension to our living room and has in turn been our bedroom, the laundry room, the sprog`s playroom and so forth. Now it is surely in it`s greatest incarnation, the reading room.Of course it gets used for all most of the above as well, but mostly it`s the library and reading room. What I have noticed, what I hoped for (and perhaps arrogantly expected) was that the creation of this space has had a huge impact upon my daughter.

There is another bookshelf on the wall opposite this one. Not so big, but full to the brim with the parents books. This has always been in the reading room, but the room has never felt like a reading room until now. Moving the above shelf tatami room and moving all of my daughter`s books from her bedroom to the shelf has put her books in the community space.

The bedroom is only really usable for 2-3 months of the year while the weather is neither too hot or too cold. The tatami room is both cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The bedroom is away from the family, the tatami room is where everybody else is. Now, my daughter spends at least part of every day with a book. I have had to start buying more and more of the ladybird ‘read it yourself’ series to keep the variety available in English, but to be honest whichever language she is reading in I am happy that she is enjoying the environment and the activity. That said I was most proud when she read three of the ladybird series to Nana last time we skyped.

The room also looks good! After I finished building the other shelves for storage in the dining area and moved all of our books onto the bookshelves, I sat down on my reading chair (a floor level folding chair common in Japan) with a glass of nihonshu (Jaanese sake) and a new book. Heaven.

Once out kitten has stooped chewing everything in sight I hope to get a beanbag for the room and we should be set. I really believe that the decision to dedicate the room to books will bring more rewards with time.



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One response to “The Right Environment”

  1. Chris says :

    Fully agree (again!) Nick. We’ve also got our own reading room, just off the living room, and when there is enough space to create “the right environment” it is a wonderful thing to have. I’ve always said to my girls that books are meant to be shared, and this comes into its own with the reading room – if the girls see one of the ‘parents’ books and decide to pick it up, they know they have the right, and the shared space breeds inquisitiveness. And I also love the fact you have a world map on the wall – I’m a big one for maps, and being able to point out where places are when the girls come with questions. We also have a big map of the United Kingdom, split up into its constituent parts, so that I can explain the difference between the UK, GB, England and the British Isles etc. It also helps, we’ve found, when the children are reading books set in the UK to be able to show them (or let them find) where places are in the UK – the books are then set in context. And you also have the postcards on the wall by the looks of things (as is that a postcard/photo of the cover of the The Beatles abbey Road album I can spy?). Best wishes Chris

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