The Way We Do It in Japan

Gregory and his family are moving to Japan for his dad’s job. After the long flight, they arrive at their new apartment. Gregory is surprised to find lots of things that are different: he needs to remove his shoes and wear slippers, he has to sit on pillows at the table, and he has to take a shower before getting into the bathtub! As Gregory’s dad points out, “That’s the way they do it in Japan.” When Gregory starts school, he’s afraid that the kids won’t like him. That morning, he works hard writing the letters of the Japanese alphabet and is glad when it’s time for lunch. But he’s embarrassed when he takes out his peanut butter sandwich and sees everyone else eating rice and soybeans. Gregory wonders if he’ll ever fit in.

  • 9780807578216
  • January 2002

Other Places to Buy


  • Gregory’s experiences in his new home and school provide children with an introduction to Japanese customs and lifestyle.

    - Booklist

  • Exoticism is clearly the draw, and Iijima’s details of bedding and soaking tubs and school-hall shoe cubbies are intriguing, Billin-Frye’s gently humorous line and watercolor cast of individuated Japanese classmates is alluring, and thoughtfully included pronunciation guides for Gregory’s first Japanese phrases will have listeners happily expanding their linguistic horizons.

    - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

  • Large, colorful illustrations with realistically drawn children add to the appeal of the story. This friendly story of acceptance in a new situation will also serve as a good introduction to children learning about this culture.

    - School Library Journal

  • Billin-Frye’s engaging watercolors complement the encouraging tone of the text by featuring characters with pleasant facial expressions and body language, and placing Gregory in surroundings that are attractive and will seem familiar to listeners.

    - Booklist

  • If only all such transitions to a new country went as well!

    - Children's Literature

  • Definitions and pronunciations of Japanese words are provided below the text. Lighthearted cartoonlike art suits the upbeat story.

    - The Horn Book Guide


Common Core

RL.1.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9 RL.2.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,10


  • Accelerated Reader Points: 0.50
  • ATOS Level: 3.40