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.