Bringing children to Tokyo does not have to be an overly stressful experience. The Japanese people are known for their friendliness and desire to assist foreigners. However, there is a language barrier that must be overcome. Like many Asian cultures, there is a big focus on respect towards elders and the family in general, which makes the Japanese understanding of family matters.
Tokyo is the glorious capital of Japan, with a growing population of over nine million people. It is known for its dynamic crowd movement, street food, entertainment and amusements for all age groups for foreigners or locals living within the area. Furthermore, Tokyo is a busy city occupied by both government officials and private businesses, but with an active lifestyle that makes it one of the most expensive cities to live in around the world. Foreigners or ex-pats moving to Tokyo need to have sufficient savings or an agreement with their companies on ways they can cover their cost, especially on the accommodation, transport and health services.
Finding a Good School and Nannies
In the situation that a professional is moving to Tokyo with children, several issues, such as finding good nannies and schools, have to be considered. Tokyo does have many advertisements for nannies, which can be published by a company or an individual offering such services. The ex-pat can pick any nanny based on the descriptions and the amount that is being charged. However, for the safety of the children, the ex-pat should choose a nanny through a verified company to be on the safe side. The nanny selected for the children should have the necessary requirements and can be held accountable by the company in case of problems.
The ex-pat can get a recommendation of the best schools that foreign children attend. This will make it easier for the children to not stand out like a sore thumb within a school due to being the only foreigner.
Making Friends and Learning the Language
On the side of making friends, children can be shy when they first arrive in a new environment due to unfamiliarity and, in this case, the lack of Japanese. Therefore the best way for children to make friends will be through participating in different activities such as sports, events and children’s gatherings around the city. This will allow them to interact with other children and make more friends. Furthermore, the parents can bring the children along when meeting another family within the city, so they can start up a friendship between them. Moreover, children making friends will allow them to informally learn the Japanese language. The local friends will introduce a word or two each time they interact. However, parents can enhance their learning through formal means, such as getting a private tutor who will teach them individually.
Safe Playgrounds in Tokyo
Tokyo, being the busy city it is, still has safe areas for children to hang out, such as regular parks, playgrounds and also amusement parks such as Disneyland. Children can be observed from a distance by their parents while playing and visiting different entertaining spots that are suitable for their ages.
The Biggest Difference Between the US and Japanese Ways of Parenting
Parenting in Tokyo is different from the parenting style in the US. For instance, in Japan, the parenting style is much stricter, since they control and observe their children’s daily routine and involvement within society. Parents have the final say and make decisions for their children, ensuring that they continue the traditional practices done within the past generations. The practices involve the way they greet people, speaking softly to their elders, dressing modestly and staying at their parents’ place until they get a job or get married. The parenting style in the United States is much more relaxed as children are given more freedom to speak their minds. As they get older, they get to have the final say on whatever they want. For instance, US children are allowed to decide on what lifestyle they want to live in the future, such as their career and sexuality. Also, parents do not enforce traditions that have been done in past generations. Furthermore, the parenting style in the US is less strict in the dating scene of their children.
International Schools in Tokyo
International schools in Tokyo continue to multiply. Currently, there is a lot of international schools where both local and foreign students can attend, such as Nishimachi International School, the Saint Maur International School and the Seisen International School. The importance of international schools continues to grow as parents want the best education for their children. Japnese society also wants to include the English language as a means of communicating within schools and public areas. The parent should be able to select the school based on the affordability, distance and style of modules offered within the institution, such as matching them with American standards.
The differences between Japanese and American culture will be overwhelming at first. A willingness to learn about the culture as well as the language will diminish the initial shock for parents and children.