Care packages

“Care packages” are packages your mom (or dad, or sibling, or grandparent, or even a friend, but I always think of them as “mom packages”) sends you when you start living away from home. It’s a kind of tradition in the US, at least where (and when) I grew up.

Here’s an article from Tofugu that reminded me of care packages.

“Umai crate: the definitive 7-month long review”

It’s about a subscription box service for cup ramen. There are links there to similar services for Japanese snacks and toys, too. Ok, so they’re not care packages per se because you’re paying for them, but it might be an idea for a gift for someone who has everything… And it’s an idea for a budding entrepreneur, too.

I still get care packages, but from my mother-in-law. She sends us packages once in a while, with homemade (well, home-grilled by my father-in-law) surume (like squid jerky), vegetables grown in their local area, and other fun things like a certain local brand of cup ramen that is my husband’s go-to comfort food. That’s why I thought of care packages when I saw this Tofugu article. And I sometimes send care packages back, with homemade cookies 🍪


Discussion questions / writing prompts

  • Do you get care packages if you’re living away from home? What do you look forward to the most? If you don’t, what kind of package would you like to get?
  • If you could create a subscription service where you get a box of something each month, what would you like to get? Flowers? Fruit? Tea? Books? Would you prefer to choose what goes it in or be surprised?
  • What kind of subscription box service would you like to start? Do you think it would be an easy business to run?

The right to recline

In recent years, there have been countless incidents on airplanes in which passengers get into fights about space: Who gets the armrest? Is it ok to recline? This article talks about ways to prevent such arguments:

“How to Resolve Fights over Reclining Airplane Seats: Use Behavioral Economics” (Evonomics, May 12)

Reading this reminded me of a bus ride I was on in Cambodia. Across the aisle, I saw a man reclined in his seat, sleeping peacefully, while the mother and child behind him looked less than comfortable.

What do you think? Should the man have checked first before he reclined fully? Or is it the responsiblity of the bus manufacturer to design better buses, trains and plances, to make sure kids-on-laps aren’t squished?

Four years of trash in a Mason jar

It’s an idea for a 30 Day Challenge. See how little trash you can produce in one month and how many of the changes you make to your daily life are sustainable for you.

It’s also a good research project theme: how much trash and food waste do Japanese businesses produce, and how easy would it be to change policy in ways to encourage them to produce less waste? A lot of supermarkets now charge ¥2 or ¥5 or ¥10 for plastic bags, but convenience stores don’t. Should they?