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Wise Mama Sakura 

A conversation with Sakura Akiyama

@sakurinoa

March 26, 2021

 

Tell us a bit about you and your family (names, ages, where you live, style of parenting/philosophy)

My name is Sakura. My husband is the same age as me, we are 38 years old. We live in Kanagawa prefecture, Japan with our three sons, 7 years old, 5 years old, and 1 year old. My second son goes to Montessori kindergarten. The same goes for the eldest son in the first grade. When we decided on our sons' kindergarten, we thought a lot about whether to choose a kindergarten with an emphasis on play or not. During their short and precious infancy, they want to cherish not only the instruction of adults into them, but also the play that they themselves think about and create. Especially at home, I hope to create an environment so that they can play with toys that are not restricted in their way of playing, and toys that do not interfere with their imagination. I want to provide them with an endless freedom and peace of mind at home after they study under the rules of schools and kindergartens.

What are some of your favorite activities to do with your children?

My sons like to play pretend. They immerse themselves in the worldview of movies and create stories, and have endless play. Whenever they become someone, they need Playsilks. I am often surprised to see their ingenuity when they wear them. My sons and I made a braided string for play using old Playsilks as the material. They use it with the same ingenuity as Playsilks. The older two sons also play with wooden blocks and figures of birds and animals. These are also open ended. Other than this, craft, cooking, and outdoor exploration are their favorite activities.

 

What are your top 10 favorite toys?

  1. Unpainted building blocks

  2. Playsilks

  3. Ostheimer birds and animals

  4. Kellner stick figures

  5. House play toys

  6. Board games

  7. Binoculars

  8. Compass

  9. Colored building blocks -Grimm's, Grapat

Do you have any words of wisdom for new mamas?

It's been 8 years since I became a mother. There are still many things I don't understand, and there are some things I have come to understand little by little. Recently, I've been feeling something since I started spending time with my third son, who is one year old. I think that when a child gets the ability to do one thing, in exchange, he or she has become unable to do one thing. I feel a small loneliness in that gap. For example, he gradually forgets to crawl after learning to walk. It means that if he starts walking tomorrow, today may be his last day to crawl. He tries his best every day at his pace. He tries to move on. The only time I can see what he is now is now. Rather than looking at what he can't do now, I'd rather enjoy the way he is now. So its important to appreciate each day. That thought was supposed to apply to older brothers aged 5 and 7, but I tend to forget about it. My third son, who is one year old, makes me aware of it.



Does your family have a special bedtime routine?

Before going to bed, every night, I ask my older sons to make simple preparations for breakfast the next morning. It is the preparation of soup stock that is indispensable for Japanese breakfast. They prepare dried sardines and kelp and soak them in water. The flavor is extracted by spending one night soaking. The next morning, I add a lot of vegetables and melt the miso to make miso soup. My sons are confident that this soup will warm up our bodies from the inside and fill our bodies and hearts. This soup preparation by them means time to think about tomorrow.

 


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