So I was on the Internet checking out Ayun Halliday’s food blog when the doorbell rang downstairs, heralding the arrival (fifteen minutes earlier than expected!) of Jio’s teacher. She was here for the Official Home Visit, which every parent in Japan must endure during the primary school years. Japanese mothers, I’ve heard, start cleaning their houses a week in advance and make a big show of serving tea and treats. My husband said that some parents give teachers gift certificates to Sogo. I can’t remember the word he used, but it sounded like “protection money,” which in our case might have been apt. Anyway, our home visit was decidedly anti-climactic since the teacher’s already been to our house three times. She – and the principal – have seen my living room at its absolute messiest. I did clean up, but I didn’t serve tea or treats. I was going to, actually, but I was unprepared and it would have seemed awkward for me to jump up in the middle of our fifteen minute conversation to put a pot on to boil. And besides, she probably forced herself to drink tea at the three or four houses she visited before mine. Nevertheless, I’m sure that my husband would be APPALLED to know that I didn’t serve refreshments. Not only am I the anti-education mama, but also it appears that I’m the anti-hostess.