Culture Shock of a Four-Year-Old in Canada

My daughter has spent only two nights in Edmonton now, and there are so many changes for her, I have to wonder what’s going on in her mind. She’s had a tough, yet exciting couple of days. But there are some things that she hasn’t been able to adjust to yet.

She now has her own bedroom. She loves it. She loves her new bed, desk, and shelves. She’s slept in the room for part of the last two nights, but due to jetlag, she’s woken up in the very early morning screaming. She was alone. She’s not used to waking up in bed alone at night. This will take a little time for her to get used to.

She went to the playground yesterday. It’s a big playground with many children playing. I heard several languages there, including English, Punjabi, and Russian. There are a lot of Sikhs living in this part of the city, and it’s very multicultural. My daughter was told that she needs to speak English, and she understood. She knows that English is a language that she understands, but she doesn’t speak it much. She went up to kids, said “Hello” in English, then continued to speak to them in Japanese. No kids would play with her, because they couldn’t understand her. It’ll take a little time, but she’ll eventually be speaking English fluently.

The water may have made her sick. She was used to drinking filtered pure bottled water. Now she’s drinking filtered hard water. She threw up three times last night, and I had to go to the drugstore to get an electrolyte drink for her. She’s been fine all day, though.

She actually ate regular meat yesterday. For dinner, we had pork chops, and surprisingly, she ate a lot of it. Normally, she doesn’t eat meat like that. She’ll only eat ground meat or chicken, because they’re easier to chew. But she had no trouble with the pork chops.

She’s also not completely sure of my mother yet. She’s only talked to her via Skype before, but now she has her in person all day to talk to. My wife and I went out briefly to get some salad, and we asked her if she wanted to come or stay home. She decided to stay home. Well, she cried, spent time at the den by the front door waiting for us, and then went to bed holding a book. She fell asleep and stayed asleep until about 11 pm tonight. Now she’s wide awake, watching Disney Junior.

Have you ever had a child have difficulty adjusting to a new living environment? Let me know in the comments below.

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Our Odyssey to Canada

Our move to Canada is finished. We made it. But I haven’t been able to tell you all of the details about our move. So, here is the story.

Moving Out

A week and a half ago, we moved out of our apartment in Fujisawa. We sorted all of our belongings, had a company take away all of our furniture and garbage, and then we had to clean. We stayed in a hotel in Yokohama for two nights, the 23rd and 24th. The hotel room was tiny, but the breakfast was great. It was nice having a buffet breakfast. But as we cleaned, we realised how little time we had. We were rushed. We did get things done and packages sent to both our Canada address and my wife’s parents’ house.

Saitama

We spent five nights in Saitama prefecture, just north of Tokyo. During those days, we met friends, packed more, and sent even more boxes to Canada. We got my wife an Electronic Travel Authorization for travel in Canada. I submitted our address change to Immigration. But I think the biggest thing is a lot of last things. I saw my oldest friend in Japan for the last time during my stay in the country. I ate at Big Boy for the last time. On our last day in Japan, I visited a shrine for the last time, Warabi Shrine. This is it.

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We were accompanied to the airport by my wife’s parents, which was very nice of them. But the most difficult parts were still to come.

At Narita Airport

When we checked in, my wife had to explain to Air Canada that she was traveling to Canada without a visa and a one-way flight because her permanent residency was still being processed. They had no problem with that. Our luggage was checked, and then we headed to security. Security was straightforward and easy. Then it was passport control. Surprisingly, no issues with my wife’s lack of visa. We were let through and into the departures area. We took a brief break and took a few pictures of the planes.

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One of our problems was trying to cancel our cell phone service. Unfortunately, Softbank’s store actually wasn’t a Softbank store. We couldn’t cancel our contracts. I did get our plans reduced to 400 yen per month per phone, though. We made our way to the gate, and waited. As we boarded, we discovered that the plane was a very modern jet with newer entertainment systems. I watched a couple movies, Jurassic World and Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. The former was mediocre, the latter was good. But first, our last view of Japan:

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Vancouver

We landed in Vancouver and had to go through immigration. That was probably the most painful part of the process, because Canadian immigration officers tend to be emotionless robots that interrogate rather than question. They had difficult questions for my wife, but she got through it. They told her that she can stay in Canada for up to six months without a visa.

We stayed at a hotel near the airport and had a view of Mt. Baker, which is often said to be the Mt. Fuji of the Pacific Northwest. It’s a similar kind of mountain, a volcano.

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Our stay in Vancouver was rather uneventful because our daughter fell asleep. We couldn’t really do much. I’d hoped to go swimming in the hotel with our daughter, but since she slept, we couldn’t. We did get her to wake up and go out for dinner at a nearby mall, though. We slept in the big king size bed and woke up in the morning to beautiful weather. As we left to go to the airport, I spoke with the man at the front desk a while. He has a friend living in Japan as an actor. Our flight was very short, and we soon arrived at our next destination.

Calgary

We were picked up by my sister in Calgary, and we went straight downtown to visit the Consulate-General of Japan. I had to get my driver’s license translated into English, and after two trips to the post office to get copies made and to buy a stamp, I finally got the application done. And soon after that, we were on our way to Edmonton.

A Drive to Edmonton

During our drive, we snacked, drank, and talked. And my daughter fell asleep.

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The drive was fairly uneventful, and we soon arrived at Edmonton. And when we got to the house, my daughter met my mom for the first time in person. But she was absolutely crazy about the dog. She kept chasing him around, and he’s sixteen years old and deaf. We went out for dinner at Harvey’s and bought some things at Save-on-Foods.

Settling In

On our second day, our first full day in Edmonton, we did some shopping and visited a playground. The playground near the house is huge and very busy.

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My daughter had some difficulty with communication, as she kept speaking Japanese with everyone. No one understood her. Later on, after we had dinner, my daughter fell asleep fairly early. But just a few minutes ago, she woke up screaming in her bed. You see, she has her own bedroom now, and she was scared because we weren’t there. Now she’s in our bed.

I tried to take some video about our move, but there weren’t many opportunities to take video. However, I did get some, and I’ll make it into a video. Also, I have some more posts to make about our first couple days, which I’ll do this weekend. I also hope to have several videos up soon. So, keep a close eye on this blog!

If you have any questions or comments, you can type them below.