It’s Monday again, and I’m in the middle of Golden Week, a major week-long holiday in Japan. However, I have work only today, and a couple four day holidays. But Monday also means it’s time for another question about Japan. It’s S. R. Carrillo’s question again.
What’s it like to have raised a family there, as a foreigner?
As you can see from the picture, it’s weird. Or maybe that’s just my daughter. There are certainly some challenges raising a kid in Japan while I’m a foreigner. I can’t speak for families whose parents are both foreigners, though. They’d have a totally different experience. However, since my wife is Japanese, I get to experience the Japanese side of life, as well.
Basically, I get to spend some time with my wife’s family and see what it’s like in a Japanese family. We mostly go during the New Year period, so I get to see the traditions associated with that holiday, which is the biggest holiday of the year. They welcome me into the family, which I’m very happy about. There are some language barriers, but I do my best to speak with them in Japanese. But I feel my Japanese skills are too inadequate for decent conversation.
Aside from that, there are some interesting things to experience. Since my daughter is haafu (half Japanese), she gets a lot of attention. She’s always called cute, like a doll, and beautiful. You see, people in Japan often say that kids who are half Japanese and half something else (usually white) are beautiful. She gets that a lot! It seems that whenever an old lady comes up to us, they always have to mention it.
I haven’t noticed any negativity or any racism. Where we live, foreigners are quite common, and mixed kids are often seen. But one thing I notice is that there are some people who try to speak to my daughter in English, despite the fact that her first language is Japanese. She can understand English, but she speaks mostly Japanese. Which leads to a problem for me. Sometimes I don’t understand her, especially when her Japanese isn’t pronounced correctly.
I’d say things have been good. My daughter’s experience has been wonderful. No problems other than having to stay in the hospital two years ago for pneumonia. That wasn’t fun. But that’s another story.
Thanks for the question, Sierra! If you have any questions about living in Japan, please go to this post and add your question to the comments.