Library Volunteer-Everyone Poops

In the 1990’s, I was in my college town of Lawrence, Kansas (home of the University of Kansas.) I entered a bookstore to look around. A picture book called “Everyone Poops” was on display. It surprised me (but in a pleasant way,) because I had never ever seen “poop” mentioned or illustrated in a picture book before. Wow! 

“Everyone Poops” was/is a Japanese picture book for kids by the ultra-famous Taro Gomi (Gomi Taro in Japanese.This is more about his books.) When I arrived in Japan in 1995, I noticed that poop drawings were common here. My junior high students might doodle poop for fun (always in the shape of the top of a soft-serve ice cream cone) and poop was frequent in manga (Japanese comics.) Poop drawings were absolutely no big deal, although I hadn’t seen them at all in the U.S. (I think poop has recently reached America’s shores and the country is now excrement friendly in illustrations.)

When I was in the U.S. during the past summer, I saw the English version of Gomi’s “Everyone Poops” in a used book store and purchased it. I thought it would be perfect for my library volunteer activity of reading aloud to kids at my son’s former elementary school.

Once in Japan, I borrowed the same book in Japanese from our public library. I also prepared eight flashcards to teach words from the book. I thought certain words are very useful, but they won’t get taught in regular English classes that the students will attend. Yet, aren’t poop and flush useful words to know if one finds oneself constipated while travelling abroad?

I was slightly worried because this book is about poop… But not too worried because Japanese parents and teachers, etc. are much more open to these kinds of books than American parents and teachers.

Despite “Everyone Poops” being virtually the only Taro Gomi book that Americans know, this book isn’t especially famous among today’s Japanese children. A few of the kids I read to knew it, but not all. (It’s an old book.) Taro Gomi, on the other hand, is an author that all the kids recognize. He’s both prolific (tons of his books are not published in English) and extremely famous.

So basically, the book was a success. The English and Japanese are written at the level of a toddler’s understanding–which is about right for the elementary school students who don’t know any English at all. And isn’t it cute? And teaches a great lesson. 🙂

Mass Hysteria…………………..No, thank you. All the facts are needed before panicking.

This post (and the headline) above is in reference to the mutated flower photos that went viral a few years ago.

I’ve just listen to one of Malcom Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcasts–it’s about mass hysteria. So as I finish my year-long “Flowers in Fukushima City” project, I want to say that we must not look at one photo on the internet, jump to (often faulty) conclusions, and freak the heck out.

As you have seen in my posts during the past twelve days, Fukushima City is NOT a place of mutated flowers and butterflies.  (I repeat: During the past year, I looked for mutated flowers and NEVER saw a single one.)

The flowers in and around Fukushima City appear normal, as shown in the photo I took about a week ago (in September of 2018.)

What’s interesting is that around 2015, my husband was shucking an ear of corn. He discovered that there were “twin” corn cobs…similar to the ones shown in the photo in the following news article, but not nearly as separated.

Was a the corn a Fukushima mutant? NO! Absolutely not. How do I know this?

I know this because the corn was grown in Hokkaido, and shipped to us here at our home. (It’s common in Japan to ship fruits and vegetables around the country like this. Japan is a country of foodies.) Hokkaido is far north of the power plant and the corn was unlikely affected by radiation from the meltdowns.

This brochure is from that company in Hokkaido. It’s gourmet!

So what do I personally think happened? Well, gosh, I don’t know. My mom’s an identical twin. So maybe what happened to her (and her sister) is exactly what happened to that corn.

Or maybe…the twinned corn is a result of super farming? Breeding corn to produce superior (high yielding) strains of corn to feed more people? I don’t know, but the corn my husband found resembled the corn on the far right in the photo of the following news article:

So what I am saying is this. Don’t give in to irrational thinking. If it’s a field you are not personally an expert in (Hey, any floriculturists out there?), then realize there may be different possiblities as to why a flower looks different. It may not be (or it may) be due to radiation.

Don’t give in to mass hysteria. Let’s use our brains, that’s why we have them.

Flowers Year Round in Fukushima City–AUGUST 2018

From August of 2018. I was visiting my parents in the United States in the beginning of August, and when I came back I visited my husband’s parents in Yamagata Prefecture. So these photos are from the very end of August.

There! That’s flowers for an entire year in and around Fukushima City! And I’m still noticing them…. It’s now September and so many pretty flowers. 🙂



Flowers Year Round in Fukushima City–JUNE 2018

June—as expected, lots of flowers. Above photo is at the foot of Mt. Shinobu in Fukushima City. I took it at a small park.

Hydrangeas in the background. There are a lot of hydrangeas here in June. The weather—warm and rainy–seems perfect for them.

A train line…. It’s not a JR line. It’s a local Fukushima line.

(JR=Japan Railways)

Once more at the foot of Mt. Shinobu. In fact, I think it may be the same exact bush! LOL But a different day.

Flowers Year Round in Fukushima City–MAY 2018

There are a lot of photos in this post because once spring arrived, I kept seeing flowers everywhere.

This is Paseo Dori Street, near my house. I love this curved cobblestone street. It’s so cute. Unfortunately, some of the cobblestones have been torn up and paved over with regular cement for construction (of water pipes, I presume.) I guess it is too expensive to replace the cobblestones. 😦

Okay, these flowers are similar to the ones that went viral several years ago. (The ones that were deformed.) So I was looking super carefully for deformed flowers. I could NOT find any. No deformities in all the daisies I looked at, including those not in the photos.


The blooms on the tree in the above photo are so interesting. This is Shinhama Park.