I have an 8 year old and a 4 year old, and one on the way, due in late September.
What you said sounds about right, yoichien (kindergarten) is actually alright, but shogakko (elementary school) is where it starts to go wrong. Second grade was hell for my daughter. It was not tolerable in any way, shape or form. I have been called a bad mother for removing her (by PTA mothers from the school), told I am wierd, my daughter is strange, that she has to learn how to `gaman` to tolerate to stand the bullying. We have been called dirty foreigners, generally very very bad. Everyone from PTA members, to grandparents, to a woman in the supermarket seems to want to tell me how awful I am to homeschool.
However, I had a daughter who was being physically and emotionally bullied by a large group. Who had started to withdraw and stop talking (yes my eight year old went silent). She was learning nothing apart from `people can be cruel`. She was being kept in at breaks because the teachers refused to deal with the bullies. I had other kids coming up to me and saying `your daughter must not use kanji to write her name, she is not Japanese`. It was just beyond tolerable.
It just gets worse and worse from what I have heard from other mothers. More restrictive, more rote learning, more bullying by teachers and students....
We are working on a move - we should be gone by Spring. It cannot come quickly enough for my family.
If a young newly married non Japanese woman in Japan asked me for advice, it would be to make her life out of Japan. It is far too hard here. I know some people have made it work, but more who have not.
We are enrolled with calvert school, and managed to fill in the right papers to remove our daughter from the system. For what its worth she is doing amazingly well academically and is fine socially. Far far happier.
Oh, if anyone is interested, Sanno hospital has been very nice for prenatal care but only have had one visit so far, but for anyone who wants a vbac in Japan, there is no way they would allow it. If I end up staying here, they will jsut deliver by section before I get a chance to go into labour.
OMG, what a nightmare! I'm sorry for you, and scared to death for me! We are here for the long haul!
Mmmmochi mama, I like your name too! But your story is heartbreaking! I am glad, at least, to hear that you are planning a move.
For us, we have bought a house, DH's career is here ... a move doesn't seem viable. I will just have to "ride it out" and see what happens. Things are OK right now. DH has started our 5-year-old DS in a rugby school in our neighborhood -- aside from the sports aspect, he wants DS to belong to a group, make friends, etc.
We do have an unusual situation in that DH works in international aid, and we will be spending some time in Africa as well (in Aug. we are going to Ethiopia for 2 years.) So we will be in and out of the country, and, I guess if our kids got bullied, we could always whisk them off to Africa. .... Hoping to make it work.
Good luck to you too!
i do hope things will work out for both your families and yourself
i just have this little pinch in the heart thinking of how Japan keeps missing the best people and stick with its worse...
i do love Japan lots and lots although i hate it so much...brrr how can i pull my feelings together...
i believe it might have to do with the romantic perception i had when i came to Japan for the first time...i have had it for many years before arriving here,i do know that some Japanese would love to see a change coming to their nation many Japanese would love to see their culture and tradition rehabilitate or merge into modern times without this distortion...which makes it all so ugly and grey...
just a moment of...romantizationing i guess..pardon me ladies do continue...
Yes, I have to say, that if I could do it all over again, I would not choose to raise my kids in Japan. Because of the school system, because keeping their English intact is a constant struggle, because my Japanese seems stuck at about 75%, and because I find it hard to connect with people on a deeper level. Sigh!
Having said that, we live in a beautiful neighborhood, I love being able to walk and bike everywhere, and the kids are happy at their yoichien. I don't know what the future will bring. Trying to stay positive, but experiences like mmmmochimama's scare me!! I guess we wouldn't rule out moving either, if things came to that.
I'm really looking forward to spending the next couple of years in Ethiopia -- I guess bc of the English-speaking environment, I feel more at home in Africa than in Japan (we lived in Nigeria & Kenya before).
I do wish we hadn't bought a house here, so that we would have more freedom to move in the future. Sigh again!
Anyone who reads this forum will be scared off Japan :)
Hi. Introducing myself, since I'm new to MDC. So glad to find a group from Japan!
We're in Misawa, Aomori prefecture. Americans. My husband is a civilian working on a military base. We live in the community, but can use the base all we want. We do shop, eat and site-see in the community. But all of my friends and my organizational affiliations are fellow Americans I met through the base. That said, I love Japan. It's so beautiful. The people are considerate and pleasant. And it is so safe! But I don't know that much about Japan, other than as a "tourist."
We have a 14-month-old boy and are going to start TTC #2 in a few months. We may still be here when #2 is born, or we may be back in the states. Depends on if our contract gets extended. Regardless, I'll be using medical on base. I have a friend who's delivering in a Japanese hospital, because her pre-existing conditions make her higher risk than our little clinic can handle. She has a translator who attends all appointments with her, and she's having a great experience so far.
Jeez this doesn't seem like the right place to post this but I can't stop thinking about all you mamas and kids (and everyone else, but I'm a mom of young kids so esp you guys). My heart goes out to all of you and I hope you and your families are safe and as comfortable as possible... that sounds so cheesy but I don't know what else to say. Sending much love to all of you. (and donations to the best of our ability).
Dear Japan mamas and others, I'm thinking of you every day. How terrifying your lives must be.
Is there anything members in other parts of the world can do for you except think of you and hope for the best under these terrible circumstances?
Dear Japan Mamas,
My heart aches for you and your country. I cannot even imagine the magnitude of suffering that you are enduring. Please know that many are thinking of you and your sweet children in this horrible time.
If you have ideas or suggestions for how we could help, please let us know.