Today I went to a sports college to help a friend with her class by talking about the differences between Japan and New Zealand sports/exercise systems. Considering New Zealand has recently been quoted as being the third fattest nation I didn't really want to push too much of the success of the New Zealand efforts, but one thing I always do discuss is the Japanese club activities system and how little time it leaves for families to spend time together (I know I have written about this before...but it is one of my pet gripes). Anyway, to prove my point I asked the group to think about their time in junior high school and raise their hand if they spent at least half a day a week with their family doing something together (not something special, just being in the same room and talking etc.). Not one person in the class raised their hand. Okay, then how about every 2nd week.... again not one hand. Right how about once a month - surely you spent time with family members at least once a month... not one hand! The stakes were raised to 6 months and three out of the 20 students raised their hand. Once a year... we were up to 10 people. Finally, once in the three years of junior high school.. still only 10 people. Just to make sure they weren't just too lazy to raise their hands I asked how many people in the room had NOT spent ONE day (or half day) doing SOMETHING with their family during their THREE years at junior high school. The result - 10 hands were raised. To be honest I found that a bit scary, especially as they didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with that..... here's hoping that if that did happen to happen with my children that they would at least feel a little sad about it!