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squirrelmagnolia
February 9th, 2015, 03:38
Hello, squirrel here! I wanted to start a thread for us applicants/spouses who have children; so we can discuss questions, concerns, and ideas for getting kids ready for a (potential) big move.
I just ask that we keep it civil, i.e. no one tell us were crazy people for trying to drag a family to Japan. we are not the first nor will we be the last.
Thank you.

I have two little boys (6 & 3). they love to watch Ghibli movies, Dragon ball Z in Japanese. we've been slowly throwing out all but the most beloved toys, which hasn't bothered them too much. I need to get them to the dentist and pediatrician soon. I am absolutely dreading going on a 12 hour (or longer) plane ride with them by myself.
even if my husband doesn't get into JET, we've decided to make a life change and move very far from where we are now. this way we can get rid of all our crap even if JET doesn't work out.
my only concern with moving to Japan is people complaining about my boys being loud, they are constantly running and yelling at home, but they are (usually) very well behaved in public.

*baby squirrel tax*
5059

BifCarbet
February 9th, 2015, 03:49
One of my ALT colleagues took her two boys, though they were a little older. I think they were like 9 and 12. I'll ask her if she'll let me give you her e-mail address if you'd like.

miamicoordinator
February 9th, 2015, 03:52
Squirrel, i have two jets currently in japan(married couple)
that took their two children. Ill forward your husband their info so you can ask them questions directly.

They are having a wonderful time, and have their kids in japanese schools.

haitch40
February 9th, 2015, 03:55
Squirrel, i have two jets currently in japan(married couple)
that took their two children. Ill forward your husband their info so you can ask them questions directly.

They are having a wonderful time, and have their kids in japanese schools.
I have always wondered how that works. Kids that don't know the language the school is teaching in are doomed to fail everything until they learn the language right? I mean English is one class and the rest are taught in Japanese I assume.

miamicoordinator
February 9th, 2015, 04:00
I have always wondered how that works. Kids that don't know the language the school is teaching in are doomed to fail everything until they learn the language right? I mean English is one class and the rest are taught in Japanese I assume.

Children learn languages remarkably quickly. The will struggle at first, but within a year, they will be speaking japanese like a native. It is amazing.

Kurisuchan
February 9th, 2015, 04:31
I don't have children, but I do intend to take a spouse if I get the job. He's sort of like a child? xP

With the plane, if you have a tablet or a computer that you can put games, stories, movies, etc. on, that might be useful. Also, the plane I took to Japan had a sort of built in streaming service with a lot of movies and TV shows to watch.

squirrelmagnolia
February 9th, 2015, 04:37
its been 10 years since I've been on a plane. do they have wi-fi now? luckily I have a two tablets, a nexus and a kindle fire.

Zolrak 22
February 9th, 2015, 04:38
Depends on the plane, but most have WiFi (Even if you gotta pay a fee), though streaming isn't permitted if memory serves right.

Some have screens in the back of the seats where you can listen to music, play games and watch TV.

Edit :

I had a kid behind me on my last flight (after I changed seats with his mother, so the family could seat together).

I could have sworn he was kicking the screen by how much force he was apply to my chair for the majority of the flight.

Either that or he was really enthusiastic about the touch screen. I politely smiled, what with kids being kids, but it wasn't exactly pleasant. [emoji28]

Viral
February 9th, 2015, 04:40
Any long-haul plane service will generally have in flight entertainment; that means games, tv shows, movies, music - easily enough for hours of entertainment. A lot of the movies are generally new releases as well. Get some good headphones that are comfortable and you're good to go ;) .

Kurisuchan
February 9th, 2015, 04:43
Depends on the plane, but most have WiFi (Even if you gotta pay a fee), though streaming isn't permitted if memory serves right.

Some have screens in the back of the seats where you can listen to music, play games and watch TV.
This is what I meant by streaming. I would advise putting movies and games directly onto the tablet's memory.

Also, I didn't realize planes had wifi. I figured it wouldn't be allowed in the same way that you're not supposed to receive any texts/messages on your phone during a flight. I've only been on one once, so I don't know a lot about them lol.

Zolrak 22
February 9th, 2015, 04:49
There's services like GoGo:

http://www.gogoair.com

Depending on the flight and company they might charge you for it.

On my flight to DC, all I had to do was answer a questionnaire

On my flight to NYC, all they offered for free was messaging to those with T Mobile accounts.

squirrelmagnolia
February 9th, 2015, 04:54
I'm trying to find a way to turn DVDs into digital copies. I found a program called handbrake that says that's what it does but I haven't used it yet. I'd hate to buy movies on iTunes that I already own.

Kurisuchan
February 9th, 2015, 04:57
I'm trying to find a way to turn DVDs into digital copies. I found a program called handbrake that says that's what it does but I haven't used it yet. I'd hate to buy movies on iTunes that I already own.
Some DVDs come with electronic copies for download when you buy them. Any of your DVDs say that on the front? Might be easier than trying to find a program that can get around a rip block that some DVDs have.

Zolrak 22
February 9th, 2015, 05:00
There are ways to do it, but we aren't legally allowed to mention any. [emoji14]

(What's wrong with bringing some DVDs to Japan? I understand if it's about space, but it shouldn't be that hard to bring a few in a case.)

BifCarbet
February 9th, 2015, 05:09
It seems like Wifi is way more common on domestic flights. My last trans-pacific was in August, and there still wasn't wifi. Airlines will typically have that info on their sites, so once you get your flight info, you'll be able to find out.

squirrelmagnolia
February 9th, 2015, 05:22
I was thinking more on the flight. normally I would just play them on the laptop, but hubby will have that with him. I'm not to concerned about it. were brining most dvds in zipper cd case and just tossing the plastic cases.

nostos
February 9th, 2015, 06:18
Just knock the kids out with Gravol; problem solved.


Seriously, though, having them on Japan time right from the start can help with adjusting to the time difference.

Virgil
February 9th, 2015, 06:43
Children learn languages remarkably quickly. The will struggle at first, but within a year, they will be speaking japanese like a native. It is amazing.
Since they are that young, they will learn exceptionally fast.

Viral
February 9th, 2015, 07:16
Handbrake is a perfect program for burning DVDs and converting them into a format that other devices (such as iPods etc) can recognise. I've used it before and it works a charm.

squirrelmagnolia
February 9th, 2015, 08:29
Awesome! I'll definitely give it a try. i just want to have two or three of their favorite movies on my tablet or hell even my iPod just in case of emergencies (like a 6 hour layover or flight delays)

Viral
February 9th, 2015, 08:42
Yeah definitely a good idea. What airline are you flying with? As I said earlier, while you're on the plane you'll usually have a plethora of current movies, especially a pretty good range for kids of all ages (probably one of my favourite parts about flying) :P .

Gizmotech
February 9th, 2015, 12:46
I have always wondered how that works. Kids that don't know the language the school is teaching in are doomed to fail everything until they learn the language right? I mean English is one class and the rest are taught in Japanese I assume.

Well, in ES it's not a big deal, and in JHS they get some support. So my friends son and daughter came over last year. He started 1st year jhs. His mother said he was getting a few extra classes a week for Japanese and Kanji to catch him up, and it's taught by either the Japanese teacher or the homeroom teacher.

Now this is in the sticks, so I have no idea how this would work in a bigger city.

Also keep in mind that Japanese ES is not as difficult as our 1-6 programs are in the US/CAN. So there's plenty of time to catch up. Also, you can kick start your kids by getting them into language learning programs/applications like Anki/wanikani/kanjidamage to jump start their kanji/vocabulary knowledge and let the school sort out the rest.

word
February 9th, 2015, 13:05
Depends on the plane, but most have WiFi (Even if you gotta pay a fee), though streaming isn't permitted if memory serves right.

Some have screens in the back of the seats where you can listen to music, play games and watch TV.The plane to Japan won't have wifi, unfortunately.

It probably will have screens for each seat unless you're incredibly unlucky.

The media you can select isn't streaming, exactly; it's being served from a computer on the plane. Most airlines have a few movies and TV shows from various genres, and some even have simple games.


I had a kid behind me on my last flight (after I changed seats with his mother, so the family could seat together).

I could have sworn he was kicking the screen by how much force he was apply to my chair for the majority of the flight.

Either that or he was really enthusiastic about the touch screen. I politely smiled, what with kids being kids, but it wasn't exactly pleasant. [emoji28]Resistive touchscreen. They're cheaper but a lot sh*ttier so they require harder presses sometimes. I f*cking hate this for precisely the reason you've described and wish the airlines wouldn't bother with touchscreens at all.

haitch40
February 9th, 2015, 13:13
Also keep in mind that Japanese ES is not as difficult as our 1-6 programs are in the US/CAN. So there's plenty of time to catch up. Also, you can kick start your kids by getting them into language learning programs/applications like Anki/wanikani/kanjidamage to jump start their kanji/vocabulary knowledge and let the school sort out the rest.
I have no idea how hard US school is either lol. I come from the UK.

uthinkimlost?
February 9th, 2015, 13:18
haitchiness
http://i3.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/000/312/563/05d.jpg

word
February 9th, 2015, 13:20
The differences are pretty remarkable. I wouldn't say that US school is hard (by any stretch of the imagination) but the approach taken at US elementary schools is significantly more academic than that taken in Japan. In Japan, elementary school seems to be more about training kids to be proper Japanese people (well-behaved, participating in everything, not being fat, eating whatever sort of food is put in front of you and being grateful for it, bobbing your head when you take a breath while singing, painting artwork in a traditional style, etc.).

sourdoughsushi
February 9th, 2015, 13:44
Guys, the touch screens. Just use your fingernail lightly, please.

Jiggit
February 9th, 2015, 13:46
UTIL do I have to infract you for taking part in some kind of Haitch40 witch hunt?!?111one

uthinkimlost?
February 9th, 2015, 13:48
UTIL do I have to infract you for taking part in some kind of Haitch40 witch hunt?!?111one

http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/fallout/images/5/5b/Oh-you-Dog.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20130213155526

Ini
February 9th, 2015, 13:58
In Japan, elementary school seems to be more about how to be about training kids to be proper Japanese people (well-behaved, participating in everything, not being fat, eating whatever sort of food is put in front of you and being grateful for it, bobbing your head when you take a breath while singing, painting artwork in a traditional style, etc.).

Ha! not in Saitama. ES is about trying to keep them on site so they cant commit any crimes against the general public while keeping them away from anything sharp that could be used as a weapon. Saying that in other areas of Japan words assessment is pretty good.

Zolrak 22
February 9th, 2015, 19:14
UTIL do I have to infract you for taking part in some kind of Haitch40 witch hunt?!?111one
By now it's probably how people show him affection. [emoji28]

Sherlock
February 10th, 2015, 00:14
From the responses on this thread it seems that young kids pick up speaking Japanese quickly. but for very young kids would this hurt their English language skills like writing? I think the original poster says they have a 5yo. Would a child that age who spends 3 years in Japan be prepared for their native countries schools after returning? Don't have kids myself just curious.

squirrelmagnolia
February 10th, 2015, 03:38
right now My 6 yo can read and write very well, i figure once you learn it its hard to forget. if we go to Japan I'll still work with him on it though. but the 3 yo, well i guess it depends on how long we stay in Japan. but you'd be surprised how much they pick up just from reading to them. so we will have to make sure we have books in English on our kindle.

Zolrak 22
February 10th, 2015, 04:03
If anything, you could always sign them up at international schools should there be any in the area. (Though I don't know about the costs)

webstaa
February 10th, 2015, 13:00
I flew ANA a few months back and they had wifi on the international flight - not free, and no streaming allowed, and extremely slow (I think closer to 256k...)

word
February 10th, 2015, 15:09
I flew ANA a few months back and they had wifi on the international flight - not free, and no streaming allowed, and extremely slow (I think closer to 256k...)

Interesting. Would've had to have been satellite; I didn't think any international carriers had that capability yet.

Valkerion
February 11th, 2015, 04:16
From the responses on this thread it seems that young kids pick up speaking Japanese quickly. but for very young kids would this hurt their English language skills like writing? I think the original poster says they have a 5yo. Would a child that age who spends 3 years in Japan be prepared for their native countries schools after returning? Don't have kids myself just curious.

Depends on how the kid was treated I would say. An acquaintance of mine just moved back to the United States (New York) after about `12 years there, and raising a kid from a baby to 9 years old. His kid was enrolled in typical Japanese schools and can speak/read at that level fluently, but he also taught his kid plenty of English at the same time so he can go back and forth between them without much thought nor accent issues.

Finding that balance of the two is the best way I would guess, but the general shock of moving to a new place with new people will always be a little tough on a kid, especially the younger ones, different language or not.

haitch40
February 11th, 2015, 04:27
I am interested in how you would deal with the etiquette. How long does it take a child usually to adapt to another culture when they are still learning the rules of their own?

nostos
February 11th, 2015, 07:38
I am interested in how you would deal with the etiquette. How long does it take a child usually to adapt to another culture when they are still learning the rules of their own?

I'm not sure if there was something specific you're thinking of, but to be honest...in general, my kid (4yo) is better behaved than a lot of Japanese kids. Parents here seem to be pretty lenient with their young children.

Virgil
February 11th, 2015, 08:11
Interesting. Would've had to have been satellite; I didn't think any international carriers had that capability yet.
UA had satellite on my flight over.

Zolrak 22
February 11th, 2015, 09:10
Parents here seem to be pretty lenient with their young children.

The shame and social pressure arrive in middle school, I believe [emoji14].

webstaa
February 12th, 2015, 10:41
Interesting. Would've had to have been satellite; I didn't think any international carriers had that capability yet.

It's pretty much all satellite, even domestic. What prevents international flights from having it (usually) is rules of countries they fly over - some countries have different rules (and rules that are not set by the air transportation authority. For example, in the US - the FAA controls the basic rules of the airline, but the FCC also sets restrictions (aka no radio transmitters while airborne.) AFAIK if your flight might possibly go through Russian airspace, they don't offer wifi...

borilocks
April 10th, 2015, 09:28
Hi! We've been in Japan for 4 years now. My husband is a JET (starting his 5th year this summer) and I am shortlisted for 2015. We have 3 kids, 7 yo, 4 yo, and 2 yo.

I just kind of skimmed through previous comments, but just wanted to weigh in on the language barrier issue. Yeah, kids do learn remarkably fast but be prepared for 6 months of frustration and confusion on their part. As a parent it is really heart wrenching seeing them go through this.

My oldest was 3 when we arrived and we put him in a Japanese yochien a few months after arriving. He was very upset that no one understood him and vice versa. Around the 3 month mark he could understand but couldn't respond in Japanese and around 6 months his listening skills were at about 90% and speaking skills were about 70%. It took another year before he was at the same level as his peers. This adjustment period was very hard on him but now he actually has one of the highest grades in his class in Japanese reading and writing.

Keeping up with English is not a big issue either. They obviously get a lot of conversation at home and we try to do reading and writing practice 3 or 4 nights a week. We used the Hooked on Phonics program at first and then moved to early reader books and daily writing practice. Games like Scribblenauts really help too.

If we can't manage to teach our children a basic mastery of English maybe we should reassess why we are in Japan ;)

borilocks
April 10th, 2015, 09:49
Squirrel, I suggest putting your younger son in yochien once he fully adjusts to moving to Japan. Being able to understand those around him, especially other children, is necessary to process the world and develop self confidence. Japan is a massively kid friendly country and yochien are awesome. They are not just daycare, it's a chance for them to learn the language and culture, run around outside, and learn basic reading, writing, math, music, and early life skills. Seriously, we need to adopt the yochien system back home.

Let me know if you need any info about finding a yochien or hoikuen, applying for one, or generally what to expect. In my experience, you can't count on your city hall for much when it comes to this. They just handed me an outdated list of yochien in the city and had no idea about the application process. All the rest was left up to me to muddle through.


Unfortunately, your oldest son will miss the first semester of first grade. For his benefit, you should probably begin teaching him to read and write hiragana now already. They only start katakana with the second semester of first grade but he may be pretty overwhelmed if he has to learn both writing systems at once. You can find Kumon hiragana workbooks on amazon, which are pretty great. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt to start teaching him to say numbers in Japanese.

If you want, I can send you a summary of what the expected math and reading level is for the beginning of first grade 2nd semester. Japan is insanely uniform with its elementary school education, so I wouldn't be surprised if your son has all the same Japanese and math books that my son did last year.

squirrelmagnolia
April 11th, 2015, 07:53
Borilocks, Thanks for the info. My husband lived in Japan Previously in the military and Japanese Language is his major at Uni, so the language has been apart of the boys lives from the beginning albeit at a very basic level. I'm a little concerned about the whole schooling thing, mainly because we homeschool now. my oldest has never been in school, he is at a first grade level in his school work, but I'm worried about the structured environment. He is a very free spirit and I don't want to see that squashed. everyone recommends putting him in school once were there and we are seriously considering it, but....I don't know, I've stayed home with him since day one. here in the states everyone worries about "socialization" with homeschoolers, which in my area its really a non issue because of the great homeschool groups we have. But once there I can see it being a problem... Oh Mom problems! I'm just trying not to worry about it too much until we know our area. we are really just focusing on cramming Japanese currently.

mothy
April 11th, 2015, 09:13
Japan is the worst place possible for free spirits. I hope you don't plan on staying long.

ambrosse
April 11th, 2015, 09:48
One of my good ex-JET friends knew a single mother (on JET as well) who lived down the hall from her. She had a 13/14 year old daughter who she put straight into school.
I guess it was a bit of a struggle at first, but then she ended up loving it and didn't want to leave.

Granted putting a smaller child into a Japanese school may be a little more nervewracking for you, but it might be beneficial (especially when trying to teach your child Japanese :) ). If it doesn't work, you always have the option to homeschool again.
I say give it a try! :D

borilocks
April 12th, 2015, 09:23
For the average Japanese family it is nearly impossible to homeschool. The laws are very strict, requiring that all children between 6 and 14 attend a registered school. Some parents are managing to find loopholes in the law though and the homeschool movement is spreading incrementally, year by year. I know one mother in our city of 500,000 that homeschools and she tells me that she is the first and only one in our region. She has to fight tooth and nail every year to convince the BOE that her girls are not just being left at home to do nothing.

For our benefit though, the law does not require that non-Japanese children attend school of any sort. You can send them to private or public school, homeschool, unschool, or whatever you want and no one will ever check up on it. If you choose to homeschool there will be no support, resources, or testing but no one will stop you.

Do you think your son will get enough Japanese exposure homeschooling? It takes hours of immersion on a nearly daily basis for them to become fluent. I think my kids would feel really isolated not being able to talk to anyone other than us and one of our goals moving here was for them to learn a second language and to experience the culture firsthand.

nostos
April 12th, 2015, 10:01
Alternative schools do exist here. In my town we have a forest kindergarten and a Sudbury school (the kids attend SS part time and regular elementary school part time). I think its unusual, but you never know what will be available until you get/arrive at your placement. I have been invited to have my child attend either of the schools (with or without a parent), but we ended up putting her in regular hoikuen, as it was just a better fit for us.

squirrelmagnolia
April 12th, 2015, 22:15
Borilocks, We are leaning towards putting him in school, because we do really want him to pick up the language. it really just depends on what the schools are like where we are placed. Mainly my issue with it is that I’m fundamentally opposed to children sitting in school for 8 hours a day. So let me ask you a question. What is your son’s school schedule like? Do they do P.E. everyday? How often do they do art or music class? I know every school is different, but at least I can get some idea what it’s like.

webstaa
April 13th, 2015, 08:52
Borilocks, We are leaning towards putting him in school, because we do really want him to pick up the language. it really just depends on what the schools are like where we are placed. Mainly my issue with it is that I’m fundamentally opposed to children sitting in school for 8 hours a day. So let me ask you a question. What is your son’s school schedule like? Do they do P.E. everyday? How often do they do art or music class? I know every school is different, but at least I can get some idea what it’s like.

It depends on the age of you kid/s. The Ministry of Education has guidelines for what classes should be taught how often. Here (http://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/shotou/new-cs/youryou/chu/) is the link for the JHS, 105 hours/year is usually around 3 times a week. Plus mandatory club activities (most of which are sports in a lot of schools.) There's version for elementary schools too, but I've misplaced the link, if I find it, I'll update this post.

greyjoy
April 13th, 2015, 14:30
Mainly my issue with it is that I’m fundamentally opposed to children sitting in school for 8 hours a day.

Is this your main argument to your kid attending school? I find homeschooling to be almost universally a bad idea, but that's at least a "heart in the right place" reason.
The kids at my schools have no shortage of ways to expend youthful energies. PE most days, recess every day after school for elementary, clubs and inbetween classes everyone runs amok for ten or fifteen minutes before sitting down for the lesson. Calligraphy, art, music, and computers, all in all a much more rounded education than I received in school before high school.

sourdoughsushi
April 13th, 2015, 15:41
I agree with greyjoy. From what I'm seeing, these kids are getting a pretty varied school day filled with more movement than I had as an American student. While it may not always nurture 'free spirits', I think going to school and being around other kids could do him a lot of happiness long term in living an adjusted life in Japan. Kids can be mean, but denying him of any socialization doesn't seem correct to me in this case.

If it's elementary, most kids start the day off by walking to school. As mentioned, art and pe and music are huge parts of the curriculum, with home economics added in at upper elementary levels. The kids often get a little run around time halfway til lunch, and then a full 20 minutes or so of recess after lunch. Three days or so of the week have cleaning added, which includes moving the body a little more.

If no one gives you a better idea before next week, I'll try and see what a regular elementary schedule looks like for an entire week of lessons when I go visit so you can get an idea of how often music etc is.

Jwang
April 13th, 2015, 15:47
http://www.nier.go.jp/English/educationjapan/pdf/201109BE.pdf

Aqua
April 13th, 2015, 16:19
Those are fantastic resources/viewpoints right above me, so I just have a few notes from my elementary schools that might offer some extra insight:

- They had music class enough to have a full percussion + piano + recorder (owww) ensemble for graduation! For my junior high, everyone is in chorus and can choose to be in band (it's a club).
- I remarked to myself the other day how nifty it was that students don't have to be still for more than two hours at a time with the well placed breaks, and that isn't even counting the smaller breaks between classes where I see students reading, drawing, talking, and a little rough-housing. Some have responsibilities in or out of the classroom, but they always involve moving around.
- One school plowed their snow onto the playground and made a bunny slope to teach 'em skiing during P.E. I stared longingly out of the window.
- Lets Speak English - #17 - Center of the Ring (http://www.marycagle.com/letsspeakenglish/17-center-of-the-ring) I'm just going to leave this here because it's true.
- There's a lot of structure, but that's Japan.

squirrelmagnolia
April 14th, 2015, 00:43
this is why we're leaning towards putting him in school in Japan. the more research I do into it the better it sounds. The Japanese school system (at least in the elementary years) sounds fine, at least better than what we have here in my state.
my other question is when do they get out of school at the end of the day? and how much homework are they expected to do? at the first grade level. he's only 7.

Jwang
April 14th, 2015, 06:45
A 1st grade student will normally leave after lunch (1-1:30pm) 1 day a week and after 5th period (2-2:30pm) the rest of the week. Homework at that age depends on their teacher of course but a page in their notebook a night of either kanji drills or maths problems is fairly standard from what I saw.

Beer Baron
May 5th, 2015, 15:50
Interesting. Would've had to have been satellite; I didn't think any international carriers had that capability yet.

Recent flights I've taken have wifi but be aware they turn it off over Chinese airspace (which is a huge amount of the journey from the UK)

Randomgirl
May 15th, 2015, 19:57
I have a very free spirited almost 6 year old in school right now, and she loves it. They go by when kids are born, so she is in kindergarten through until April of 2016 here technically, although she'll be starting grade 1 when we return to Canada in September (didn't recontract). Her free spiritedness is no issue at school. They say that she is genki, and thatat her age, being genki is the best. She is learning a lot about how to be independent as well as part of a group at school. I think that is the main goal.she walks to school with her grade 5 buddy every day. They play outside a lot. She has to pack her own school bag, and she has to take responsibility for bringing everything home. She has chores at school, and 2x a month she is 'toban' - the class head - responsible for the leadership of the class and the distribution/eating of school lunch (amazing, they learn about nutrition, and eat at least 7 different vegetables per day). I was worried that her free spiritedness would make compliance hard, but she doesn't want to let down her class, so she has risen to the occasion. I love the younger grades/years here - they don't seem to lose their genki until about grade 5 in my experience - great for creative explorers,imho. She spoke and understood a bit of jJapanese when we left (she's mixed), and it only took her 3 months to become fluent. She sometimes gets frustrated with my lack of fluency tbh. In any case, this is my experience!

squirrelmagnolia
May 16th, 2015, 05:12
Thanks for the information. I like the idea of teaching kids to be independent. Now that I know we're going to Okinawa my research can get a little more specific. seems pretty laid back so far. I just have to wait to find out which city (or tiny island) we're going to.

squirrelmagnolia
May 16th, 2015, 05:17
one other question Randomgirl, does it seem like your daughter is well accepted in the group? my kids are blonde! so I know they are going to stick out. I worry about over attention as well as bullying.

Randomgirl
May 19th, 2015, 21:54
Yes, though it was tough at first because she understood and spoke some Japanese. The other kids were too young to get that she wasn't fluent, so when she misunderstood the rules for games and such, they'd hit her or call her names. But I am in a small town, and I teach at her school, so I think most of the kids were told by their parents to be nice. Now, I am friends with the parents too (join the PTA or hang out at the playground!). I also teach her teachers' kids, so everyone is very nice to us, lol! She is different here, but she's different back home too. I figure that, to some extent, learning to cope with/ deal with her reactions to bullies is a life skill. She'll now come home and say that "so and so kun called her baka, but he's not nice to anyone, so he's probably the baka one." Stuff like that. I'm not sure the level of bullying here is different from back home, tbh. There is a certain cachet to being foreign, though being based in Okinawa, you might come up against some people with strong views about foreigners based on their encounters (and those of ancestors) with the military. Offer it as an opportunity to educate yourself, your kids, and others, and things will work out!