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Dear Diary Boy
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Dear Diary Boy

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  16 reviews
When her five-year-old son passed the rigorous entrance exams to one of Japan's top private elementary schools, Makihara, a single mother, thought they were on their way. Taro would wear the historic dark blue uniform and learn alongside other little Einsteins while she basked in the glory of his high achievements with the other perfect moms. Together they would climb the ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published July 3rd 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing
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4.12  · 
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 ·  52 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's been awhile since I read a book that was hard to put down, and this was one of them. This memoir intersperses excerpts from her son's (Taro) diary in elementary school and was written in chronological order from when he was infant to eighteen years old. Taro is a bright boy who loves to read and is well liked by his friends. As the title says, Kumiko and her son are like polar opposites and clash a lot over his schooling (i.e. lack of motivation to do homework and study). We also get a glim ...more
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found myself reading this memoir of a Japanese "kyoiku mama" (education mama) with a mixture of bemusement and horror. Makihara, a single Japanese mom with an illustrious past as a foreign correspondent, writes of her success at getting her adopted son into a prestigious private Tokyo school and of the ensuing years overseeing his education. At times, she makes so-called "tiger mother" Amy Chua seem like a kitten! Her frank and insightful account is lightened by excerpts from her son's school ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, great read.
Diane Nagatomo
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book made me feel so glad I sent my children to an ordinary Japanese elementary school where they could enjoy their childhoods and lead normal lives.
Elizabeth Sullivan
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read the book in one sitting. It is well written - clear, concise, thoughtful. The author is willing to admit her mistakes and why she made the mistakes. In a society where fitting in is so important, Kumiko and Taro had an uphill battle. There are few single mothers and even fewer adopted, foreign-born children. While her family was so accepting of her son, she knew that society wasn't going to be that easy. I also related to the struggle to get a child to do homework, pay attention, and succ ...more
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
õppisin lapsena koolis (millegipärast põhiliselt vene keele õpikust), et jaapani lapsed peavad kohutavalt palju õppima. siit raamatust selgub, et nad peavad seda ikka veel, aga eriti, kui käivad glamuurses erakoolis. mitte ainult esimesse klassi astumiseks ei tule teha katseid, aga enne seda tuleb teha katsed eelkooli, mis selleks ette valmistab. selle raamatu minajutustaja laps ei olnud eriti andekas ja kukkus väga paljude eelkoolide katsetel läbi. no ja siis järgnes aastate kaupa lapse- ja ema ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was horrified to read of the fiercely competitive attitude to education in Japan, where even pre-schoolers are required to attend cram schools in order to achieve a place in prestigious private schools. Then combine the extremely demanding curriculum with a child who is discovered to have ADHD and you have a recipe for failure. The pressures on the child and his single mum were immense. Fortunately he is eventually taken to a place where he can succeed on his own terms, and learn that there ar ...more
Gregory Rutchik
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Go Taro, Go,” is just an example of the love and energy pointed towards this child by his mother. Her journey to mother hood and then thru it as she raises Taro - an adopted son - in the rigorous Japanese elementary and middle school. Taro’s grandparents’ love of him anchors the journey in many ways. Exquisitely told, laughing and at times wincing at the difficulties of life - regardless of where it happens - makes this a great read for anyone.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read. Some aspects of the life of schoolkids in Japanese private education system are nearly unbelievable. The stress of these little children pushed and regulated by the ambition of their mothers / parents - would kill an adult. I do not understand how they survive it.
I simply have no words to describe my how sorry I feel for them....

I liked the writing style of K Makihara very much. Also he honesty.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
Most of the questionable choices this mother made seemed to lead up to an epiphany and a greater understanding of her son. Except they didn't. At the end he went to boarding school and she got a book deal for being a terrible parent. I wish I had not contributed to her profit.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it
This was really just a reflection about a mother's choices for her son, and a way to express her worry that they were not the correct ones. We all worry this way about our children. If only we could go back and do it over again with the benefit of hindsight.
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book because I was curious about education systems and child-rearing practices overseas. This book provided insight into elitism in Japan. It was especially poignant to read about the mother and child's loss of innocence and happiness in the pursuit of conformity and status.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Engaging account of a single mother's experience with private grammar school in early 21st Century Japan
Dylan Huynh
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, nonfiction, c
This is a remarkable, beautiful book about the author’s and her young son’s “adventures” (that’s the word used on the cover of the book) at a demanding private elementary school in Tokyo. As you read it you learn about the Japanese educational system and also about many other aspects of Japanese culture and about the author and her charming son. Sometimes you smile; sometimes you say hmmm, how interesting; sometimes you feel pangs of sympathy or flashes of recognition; and sometimes you want to ...more
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
La tentación de lanzar este libro a la cara de la gente que se empeña en que todo en Japón es bonito y brillante y guay es real.
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