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Clanky2011 (Offline)
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Should I stay or should I go? - 09-02-2011, 08:19 PM

After living in a small town in Kyushu for 10 years I made the decision to move back to the UK in 2009 with my Japanese wife and 2 children. The reason for this being that I was worried that my daughter, who was in 2nd grade elementary at the time, was being bullied and not making any friends at the school. Since being in the UK it is fair to say that she has made more friends and seems to be a whole lot more relaxed.

My problem is that on top of really hating the job I am now doing (Police Officer) and wanting to get back to the one I loved and was good at - English conversation teacher, I also feel I am cutting the kids off from their true home and my wife from her family and culture.

We recently went back for a 3 week stay and the kids seemed so at home there. Since being back in the UK both children have said that they want to go back to Japan, although my daughter has said that she is not keen to go back to school there.

Any advice would be appreciated as I don't think that I can keep my insecurity from affecting my wife and kids anymore...
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astrogaijin (Offline)
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09-02-2011, 08:30 PM

Could you get your daughter into a different school? If she was being bullied in her old school, don't send her back to that one.
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acjama (Offline)
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09-02-2011, 09:28 PM

You yourself provided more reasons to move back to Japan than to stay in Britain.
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09-02-2011, 09:52 PM

I am going to second the suggestion of different area / different school if there was definite bullying happening. But to be honest... Second grade is really a bit early for any real bullying. Out of school activity at that point makes far more a difference than in school interaction when it comes to the number and closeness of friends. It is only later that children are really able to make and manage friendships on their own... It sounds like you left Japan before that stage, so your concerns about bullying may have been unfounded. It is very hard to compare the difference in school life and friends at one grade level to another as the social capabilities of children change so much over time... So more friends years later in a different country and different school doesn't mean that she wouldn't have had more friends and been more relaxed in the same school in the same country after another year or two - or even in a shorter period with more community involvement, etc.
I suspect that your daughter's reluctance is based far more on her current friends and school experience than on negative past experiences. What child wants to leave friendships at that age?

If you were much happier living in Japan, I say to go for it. A happy home life is something that should be be given priority. If you are stressed and your wife is stressed, it is only a matter of time before the kids are stressed and the marriage itself becomes stressed. I would choose the possibility of issues at school over the definite of an unhappy home life.


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tokusatsufan (Offline)
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09-02-2011, 10:10 PM

Hmm. I can see how that could be a hard decision.

Maybe on this occasion,who knows,maybe staying in the UK isn't such a bad idea after all. You could maybe get a job where you go to Japan a lot. Do they want to go to back to Japan to live or just for holidays? I suppose you can't exactly split the year.

EDIT:Actually,after reading Nyororin's post maybe you should go back to Japan.
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09-03-2011, 02:52 AM

It is an awkward problem, also I can understand your trouble. My university English oral teacher come form Canada, and his wife is a chinese. In our china, foreigner`s children is study in international school, and also there are many chinese children study there, but they never exclude foreigner children.


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Clanky2011 (Offline)
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09-03-2011, 08:24 PM

Thanks all for the sage and understanding replies! To be honest, I think the option of going back to Japan and supporting my daughter should any problems arise back at school would be the better one. The UK is rapidly turning out to be a difficult and unfriendly place to live for a family.

I do worry a little that 2 years away from the Japanese education system might go against my daughter, but also think that we could bring her back up to speed through kanji and other lessons at home.
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09-03-2011, 08:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clanky2011 View Post
After living in a small town in Kyushu for 10 years I made the decision to move back to the UK in 2009 with my Japanese wife and 2 children. The reason for this being that I was worried that my daughter, who was in 2nd grade elementary at the time, was being bullied and not making any friends at the school. Since being in the UK it is fair to say that she has made more friends and seems to be a whole lot more relaxed.

My problem is that on top of really hating the job I am now doing (Police Officer) and wanting to get back to the one I loved and was good at - English conversation teacher, I also feel I am cutting the kids off from their true home and my wife from her family and culture.

We recently went back for a 3 week stay and the kids seemed so at home there. Since being back in the UK both children have said that they want to go back to Japan, although my daughter has said that she is not keen to go back to school there.

Any advice would be appreciated as I don't think that I can keep my insecurity from affecting my wife and kids anymore...
Can I ask a slightly off topic question? what town were you in...?


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09-03-2011, 08:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clanky2011 View Post
Thanks all for the sage and understanding replies! To be honest, I think the option of going back to Japan and supporting my daughter should any problems arise back at school would be the better one. The UK is rapidly turning out to be a difficult and unfriendly place to live for a family.

I do worry a little that 2 years away from the Japanese education system might go against my daughter, but also think that we could bring her back up to speed through kanji and other lessons at home.
Although the idea may be unappealing to you, and probably your daughter, a good idea might be to look into putting her into special education classes for the first semester or two back in Japan. Most schools offer 2 or 3 different types of special education classes, and one of them is focused on bringing children up to grade level in their weak areas through one on one tutoring. Children who are particularly weak in one subject (say kanji in your daughter's case) leave the regular classroom during those classes and work one on one with a teacher. Once up to grade level, it is just a matter of consulting with the teachers to move back to regular classes.
I don't know about the area where you would be living, but schools around here are very willing to work with parents. My son is currently in first grade and I have really found the rumors of Japanese schools being cold, strict and inflexible places about as far from reality as possible. Of course, you have to make the first move - but after you do they are incredibly eager to improve the experience for the children. (Within reason, of course. I have seen foreign parents frustrated when the school doesn't want to teach by a different textbook, or to use a different curriculum, etc... )

Something you may find helpful to look into now, before moving, would be the Benesse home study courses. They have them for every grade level, and I believe they will send them abroad without difficulty. At the very least, it would give you a good idea of the gaps between your daughter's current schooling and what is standard for the same grade in Japan... And give you a course of study to start at home to prepare her.

You said you have two children? How old is your second?


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09-04-2011, 04:19 AM

After so many positive replies, I feel rude for giving an opposing view, but if I were in your shoes, I would be worried about financial stability. I don't know your specific financial situation, so feel free to ignore what I'm saying, but I imagine that a police officer makes better money than your average English conversation teacher and would also have far better job stability and opportunities for career advancement and pay raises. And even if you don't like your job as a police officer, you could still easily switch to any other number of careers offering similar benefits in the U.K. In Japan, even if you speak excellent Japanese, your choice of careers outside of English conversation teacher tend to be very limited. Of course, you said you enjoyed being an English conversation teacher, but that brings me back to my main concern, money.

Of course, your situation may be completely different from what I'm imagining and you may have no financial worries for any number of reasons. It's just the main concern I would have as far as raising a family goes. Good luck, whatever you decide!
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