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steven (Offline)
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08-26-2010, 06:11 AM

It just so happened that I went to four different day cares in my area for work recently. I asked them how their hours were (beign a foreigner living in Japan, I like to learn about stuff like that to kind of build my understanding of the mechanics of things). They said that the preschools will usually end at around 5 or 6. Sometimes kids have to stay later because their parents are both working. However, not every school will have those late hours, so sometimes they move the kids around in the evenings. Also, Saturdays and Sundays are unusual (Sundays I think being non existant except once in a blue moon at one of the schools). So on Saturdays (and sometimes Sundays) parents will bring their kids to a school that is open. As a JET, you WILL work on the weekends occasionally.

Just pause for a second and imagine trying to deal with all that in a foreign language... while you're busy with work. If you're in the super country side, mind you, this situation may not even exist at all (as in no "practical" daycare).

Incidentally, even in the country side, grandparents are looking after their grandchildren less and less (not that there's anything against that... maybe they have other grandchildren they look after or maybe they live in another area).

Another thing you should consider is bullying. I'm the type that thinks a little bit of bullying (both ways) is a pretty natural and normal thing that happens with kids, but sometimes things can go too far. If you have a foreign kid in a pre school in Japan, they will be bullied on a daily basis for sure (not necessarily physically, but verbally). I'm not sure how that would work with a language barrier though. There was one kid at one of the day cares who was foreign (who was basically Japanese with a foreign face), and you could tell that kids would get on his case some times (although most of the time they were friendly to him). Depending on your kid or the kids that are bullying, that could escalate into behavioral problems that would be hard for the day care people to deal with (as your kid might not speak Japanese and they certainly won't speak English).

One other thing you need to think about is the fact that you are a single parent. I'm not going to speculate and say why you are a single parent, but the Japanese in your "country side" community certainly will. I feel like I'm going too far for saying that, but you will definitely get questioned about that ALL THE TIME. I can say that where I live, while they are increasing more and more, divorces are seen as the cause for a lot of problems that kids have. Even being a JET, you are still considered a government employee with which comes a lot of responsibilities (like being a model citizen). There are certainly exceptions in the ALT community as well as the Japanese community to what I just said, but it is certainly expected of everyone.

As far as the "Sea of Japan" side of Japan, the winters are pretty harsh. I've never really travelled far during the winter, the most I've seen is Ishikawa and Toyama during the winter and they get pretty good now (and thunder snow, which is apparently a rare occurance in this world). I suspect Fukui would get a lot of snow. Niigata... well I'm fairly certain the book titled "Snow Country" was set in Niigata, so I'll just leave it at that. When you get stuck in the mountains of those areas, the amount of snow can get crazy.

I'm sure you are very strong and ready to take on anything, as a single parent and all, but how does your kid think about that? Do you think your kid would be able to deal with such a 180 degree change in life? I agree with what MMM said, from JET's point of view, I don't really see why they would hire you over a single person (ie no kids & no partner) who has just graduated from college. You'd better think of some very good reasons why they would if you want to get in. That's the reality of this as I see it.

EDIT: Espie, how old are you by the way? Also, although they may say this every where they have JET offices, apparently getting into JET through the Los Angeles branch is the hardest of all of them as there are the most applicants from that area. In otherwords if you are in LA then your chances are very slim... but that is for them to decide and not me of course.

Last edited by steven : 08-26-2010 at 06:16 AM.
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espie (Offline)
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08-26-2010, 06:29 AM

Thank you for your replies. I consider them to be relevant and honest to the point of your knowledge.
I'm 29, from New Zealand, PGDip 2010, Blonde.
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08-26-2010, 06:31 AM

I don't want to discourage Espie from applying. If she can get in, great! If they can accommodate her family, great!

As a JET I think my work day was done around 4:30...if that is the case then day care that ends at 5 will work. I think I was asked to work 35 hours a week. In my time I think I was asked to be somewhere on a Saturday maybe once a year from my school. I was also supposed to go to the renewer's conference, which it sounds like has been cancelled. (Too bad. It was a real good time.).

Your point about bullying is worth considering. I guess I would worry less about bullying at the elementary school age because of skin color, but more from language ability. I don't know if Japanese schools have JSL programs like the ESL programs we have in the US. I worry more about hazing at the JH and high school levels, but kids can be cruel at any age.
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espie (Offline)
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08-26-2010, 06:45 AM

Thanks MMM, an encouraging reply. There are always ways to do things. If you want it enough, right? Anyway, there is always plan B, C, and D.
My son would start elementary school in Japan next August (if my arrival is April, he may come later on, once I am settled) or endure a few months of kindergarten. Other forums have mentioned how it is valuable that they attend some kindergarten as it is less regimented and they can adapt at a more relaxed pace. My son is adaptable, highly sociable and of a more blending ethnicity (not blonde).

I guess what I meant by rural from my original question is somewhere with plenty of parks, less congested, with easy access to countryside.. pop 5,000 to 30,000+ as opposed to 300,000 to millions.
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espie (Offline)
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08-26-2010, 07:42 AM

Quote:
There are no au pairs in Japan
Are all the ads fake? Nobody comes to Japan to au pair on a working holiday visa?
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08-26-2010, 07:59 AM

Quote:
f you have a foreign kid in a pre school in Japan, they will be bullied on a daily basis for sure (not necessarily physically, but verbally).
I think that to make this leap you have to do a lot of exaggerating. Foreign kids don`t necessarily get bullied on a daily basis even in higher grades, let alone in kindergarten/preschool where bullying itself is pretty close to nil.
Maybe kids will be curious. Maybe they will be cautious. But bullying is a completely different world.
In preschool kids barely NOTICE, let alone discriminate based on skin color. My son looks pretty foreign and the difference kids can come up with when pressed is that he has lighter colored hair. Not a single experience of bullying even though he is slower than the rest of the kids and has other issues.

The type of bullying you`re thinking of is the 3rd grade and up stuff. When the kids are old enough to notice the difference, know what it is, but not be able to reason and deal with feelings about it and the reactions of other children to it.

Fukui, Shiga, and Ishikawa get very little snow along the coast. Niigata is famous for the snow, but even there along the coast it is fairly mild. It`s stuff that is on the other side of the mountains from the coast (Warm ocean air rises and hits the colder drier air from the other side of the mountains - overtaking it and snowing like crazy on the mountains and the opposite side from the ocean.)
When there is snow along the coast it tends to melt right away and not stick. I think I have seen maybe one or two cases of snow actually sticking in the 10 years we`ve been hopping back and forth to the Fukui coast.... And it is almost always warmer up there than here.

When it comes to preschool/kindergarten... I really do not think things are going to be anywhere near as simple as it may seem.
The long day places aimed at working parents (hoikuen) generally have waiting lists. You register your child at least 6 months before you need them to start, and in some cases a year if there are more kids than spots. You cannot just walk up and enroll, especially if you need to make use of longer hours. Also - when it ends at 5, it ends at 5. You need to be there BEFORE 5pm or your emergency contact will be called. I have seen cases of parentss not getting there by 5:15 and the preschool handing the child over to the local children`s service, while contacting the parent`s work, relatives, and the police.
It does get slightly easier in elementary school as you can register for afterschool programs... But as a single parent, you may not find those what you want. For every one in this area at least, you are obligated to volunteer one day every two weeks at the least, and one weekend a month. The volunteer days are weekdays and begin at around 1:30pm, so you will need to have those days off work.

I don`t know how JET will handle this, but employers of single parents in Japan require childcare information to even receive the position. They will refuse to hire a person who cannot show that they have proper care for the child. This drops a lot of people in a catch-22 loop as in order to receive long hour childcare they have to display a need (a job with longer hours), but in order to get the job they have to show they have care providing the necessary hours.


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08-26-2010, 08:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by espie View Post
Are all the ads fake? Nobody comes to Japan to au pair on a working holiday visa?
The only "au pairs" I have ever seen or heard of in Japan have been those used by expat families.

Japan simply does not do babysitting and nannying type stuff.
The only au pair organizations in Japan are for Japanese wanting to do so outside of the country.

I do not know what the ads are for, but it is not something done in Japan. Chances are the ads are from companies doing worldwide au pair stuff, with Japan just included in the list... Even though there are no positions.


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08-26-2010, 08:28 AM

I would recommend Liberty International School in Tsukuba, Ibaraki. I worked there for a short while and I feel it fits your criteria. The staff are amazing and the lessons are of high quality. The head teacher and staff all speak Japanese and English so you will have no communication problems and Tsukuba is about as rural as you can get for what you want.

Libertyinternational.co.jp

If you have anymore questions PM me.


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08-26-2010, 08:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by espie View Post
Thanks MMM, an encouraging reply. There are always ways to do things. If you want it enough, right? Anyway, there is always plan B, C, and D.
My son would start elementary school in Japan next August (if my arrival is April, he may come later on, once I am settled) or endure a few months of kindergarten. Other forums have mentioned how it is valuable that they attend some kindergarten as it is less regimented and they can adapt at a more relaxed pace. My son is adaptable, highly sociable and of a more blending ethnicity (not blonde).

I guess what I meant by rural from my original question is somewhere with plenty of parks, less congested, with easy access to countryside.. pop 5,000 to 30,000+ as opposed to 300,000 to millions.
1) JETS arrive in July.

2) 5,000-30,000 is a city in Japan. Grassy parks are a luxury, and to be honest (no offense to Nyororin) I would not take a child to Japan to be raised there.
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08-26-2010, 09:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MMM View Post
and to be honest (no offense to Nyororin) I would not take a child to Japan to be raised there.
I`ll hold back any offense and ask for clarification on this one.

How is raising a child in the US so much better?


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