There’s a special pink-zippered bag among my daughter’s school belongings that I’ve discovered is the most important item.
They call it the Renraku-bukuro (contact/communication bag).
But I call it “The Daily Dispatches” and approach it with a “Sir! Yes Sir!” attitude.
My daughter is the messenger, carrying all-important paperwork, notices and messages from the teacher neatly glued inside the renraku-cho (contact/communication notebook) and returning completed items and tasks the next morning.
But this renraku-cho has been my confoundment these last days.
It all began when I suddenly realized that I wasn’t entirely sure which was the front side and which was the back.
Both sides had a title. Both sides had a label for specific information.
Surely the side with the small bar code must be the back— which made the book Japanese style (binding on the right) as compared to Western (binding on the left). We do it both styles here, so it was a 50/50 shot.
On the inside(front, I assumed) cover, I was told to fill out information regarding my child, the school, and our job, which I diligently did.
At the ceremony, the lady in front made important communications regarding a special yellow paper to be put in the renraku-cho. I had heard of this paper and had heard of its importance. I sat up a little straighter.
She showed the yellow slip glued over the place where I had filled out the information on the front cover. And it didn’t look like she had any information like I thought I’d been told to do.
But what really tripped me up was that she kept saying, “glue it to the back of the renraku-cho”.
Now I was really messed up because she had clearly glued hers to the front. Is it a western book now? Was I not supposed to fill it out the information? Where did I go wrong? Which side is the back of the book?
Am I being gaslighted?
What is going on here?
I browsed my paperwork trying to read it more carefully.
Yup, fill it out and glue it to the back of the book.
Well, I wasn’t sure of the information to fill out on the magic yellow paper anyhow, aside from her name. I puzzled it out again later that night, figuring that I’d just have to find out the next day.
The next morning, I stuck the yellow paper in my purse, and took along a health card I had filled out with my daughter’s daily temperature readings and sleep times/breakfast confirmed eaten.
I asked a parent in our assigned group what to do with this health card. She gave me a look of panic and concern and told me to put it in my dispatch bag. She noticed the yellow slip was missing and quickly explained how to fill it out.
Happy to know how to complete it, I now asked her where to attach it.
“To the back of the renraku-cho.”
BUT WHICH SIDE IS THE BACK???
My daughter returned home. I demanded the dispatch bag, which contained paperwork to be completed.
I opened the renraku-cho to find a note from the teacher glued in. Sometimes homework comes in this notebook. Sometimes I stamp, sometimes I’m to sign it. At any rate, I now assumed that this must be the front of the book, confirming my original suspicion that we were dealing with a Japanese-style book.
I flipped to the back to glue in the yellow slip and to my dismay, found the health card (which I had thought missing) folded and glued on one edge like a fold out. Apparently the teacher must have done this.
Well, now what to do??
In the meantime, I sent a message to the aforementioned neighbor to confirm the information I was to fill out.
THANKFULLY, she sent a picture. And as I zoomed in, I looked for clues on the edges of the yellow slip to see where she might have glued it in.
And I think I figured it out guys.
The yellow paper was to be glued onto the back of the front cover of the renraku-cho– glued on the top edge, laying over the information I’d filled out.
I said I think… but that’s the way it’s going to be guys. Because I glued that thing in, washed my hands of it, and put it out of my sight for the evening.
I have the whole weekend now to finish the rest of my tasks and submit my Dispatches to the teacher on Monday morning.