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This journal is written by Kuma (Felis catus) and Kuma's owner Y (homo sapiens). We have moved from Japan to Australia in 2011.

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2016-06-09 00:44   A gingerbread which deviated from the norm

Y (Kuma's owner)

Everybody is individual and different. I believe that the differences make this world attractive. Conversely, if we are all same, as if we were like cookie dough from a cookie cutter, this would be unattractive. We are not gingerbread which has the same ingredients and shape.

I sometimes think of myself as a gingerbread woman which deviated from the norm.

Since I was small, I have been thinking of my differences from other girls. I was a girl who loved brick toys. I had lots of stuffed toy animals and trains too, but I definitely loved brick toys or toys with which I could make three-dimensional forms, and origami is one of them.

I remember when I was seven or eight years old, a woman gave me a colouring book. There were many pretty pictures in it. A boy was given a book that had printed patterns showing how to assemble a three-dimensional car. I was disappointed because I wanted the book that the boy was given. I wondered why adults assumed what I liked?

When I was a junior high school student, there were parents and teachers who still had old fashioned ideas. One day, I took a class about the Japanese constitution. The teacher asked the students, "Can you think of any unconstitutionality in your life?"

When I heard the question, one thing came to mind. At that time, the girls had to take a homemaking course (such as sewing and cooking) and the boys had to take a skill course (such as woodwork). I saw the boys carrying a small bookshelf at school. That bookshelf caught my eye because I was interested in woodwork. "Did they make that bookshelf at school? I want to make it too!"

Then I said to the teacher, "There are two different courses of homemaking and skill, I think this is an unconstitutionality. I think there must have been some girls who want to make a bookshelf (I was talking about myself) or some boys who want to learn cooking. We should all have a chance to learn both courses." What happened after I finished my talking was lots of laughter. My classmates laughed at me, even the teacher laughed. However, boys and girls in Japan all learn both homemaking and skills at school now. See, I was right! I did not have an insight, I just wanted to do what I was interested in, that was the reason I noticed that unconstitutionality.

And now, a girl who loved brick toys and wanted to make a bookshelf at school still loves bricks, which are called puzzles. I have attended the monthly gathering of the Academy of Recreational Mathematics, Japan (ARM, Japan) a few times. Well, I hadn't realised the gathering's English name. It sounds very academic, doesn't it? Actually, it is a kind of friendship club for puzzle lovers. ARM Japan seems to have about 180 members but I have only met three or four women there. As you see, the members were predominantly men. One of them asked me why I like puzzles. He is a professor, and he said that every year he meets new students and asks if anyone is interested in puzzles but he hasn't met one. No wonder I haven't met women who love puzzles before.

Long ago, a dancing sunflower doll became very popular. When my girl friends saw it, they said "How pretty!". Yes, I agree, it was pretty. However, I was thinking about its internal mechanism. "How does it work?"

My friends are not interested in mechanisms, so if I talk about mechanisms, I would make my friends bored. As you see, I am the type of person who loves to go to hardware shops rather than boutiques.

When I see people, especially women enjoy chatting, they look so happy to me. I am jealous of them. I have not had much chance to talk with women about what I am really interested in. If I have common hobbies or interests, I could have women friends who can enjoy the same topic. Luckily, my husband has the same interests as mine so I talk with my husband about puzzles, science and woodwork.

I hate labeling people, because I was labeled wrongly by school teachers and adults around me when I was a kid. I want them to know that not every girl loves the colour pink, cooking or whatever. Everybody has different tastes and interests. It is not right or wrong.

And then, one question remains. This question is related to my problem.

As an obvious fact, there are some differences between men and women. For instance, when I go to a hardware shop which sells woodworking tools, I rarely see women there. I would like to know why there is a large difference in the gender of the customers depending on the shops? Why have I not met many women at the puzzle gathering? I would like to ask a brain scientist about why.

Well, I know it is pointless complaining about the differences. This is my brain. All right, I am going to try something my brain is good at. I could notice that the two courses of homemaking and skill were unconstitutional because I had a different point of view. I believe if I do not belong to the majority, there is another chance for me to think of new ideas that other people do not think of. Perhaps, a gingerbread which deviated from the norm can do something unique... I hope.

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