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A top 10 for non-Japanese parents considering local schools

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While non-Japanese parents may believe they are bestowing an educational gift on their children by enrolling them in the local school system, the hard work and rewards can also result in unintended challenges for both parent and child. Whether your children are already in the local system or you are weighing up your future schooling options, here are 10 issues for parents to keep in mind.

1. Language brings culture

Though many parents may feel excited about raising multilingual children, cultural and social learning is also an important facet of the local learning environment. The foundation of schooling is a nation’s investing in its future and its next generation of engaged citizens. This means local schools imbue children with national and local values and beliefs, which impact upon a child’s identity, relationships and sense of belonging.

For example, Japanese schools are not the racially, ethnically or socioeconomically diverse environments that many English-speaking schools in the West are. Children who are different can stand out and, in some instances, suffer from ijime, or bullying — a problem well documented by Japan’s Ministry of Education.

2. It’s all compromise and sacrifice

Something’s gotta give. By this, I mean that when learning multiple languages either simultaneously or sequentially, a child may have a larger total number of vocabulary words but may only have 80 percent of the vocabulary of his or her peer group in a single language. Similarly, to maintain grade level in multiple languages in reading, writing, speaking and listening, there will likely be less available time for other extracurricular activities.

There are only 24 hours in a day, and it has been suggested that a child needs 20-30 percent of his or her waking time exposed to a language to maintain fluency. And, it must be noted that Japanese and English are very different languages in terms of pronunciation, alphabets and grammar. Unlike learning Spanish as a native English speaker, there is little overlap and reinforcement between the two languages.

3. What are your expectations?

While your child’s peers go home and continue to strengthen their Japanese by speaking it with their family, your child may fall behind without similar support. It is advisable to have realistic and supportable expectations for language fluency and acculturation for each language and culture.

For example, do you hope they continue through university in Japanese, or do you hope they at some point switch to be educated in their mother tongue, and how will that be supported?

4. Know your own limits

Related to point 3, your child’s success may depend on your availability and financial investment. If multiple languages are to be maintained, a tutor or after-school juku may be necessary, as teaching your own child can be an emotionally charged venture.

Do you have the time and knowledge of Japanese to keep up-to-date with the regular notices home and back-and-forth notes between parent and teacher in the renrakuchō daily diary and planner? If not, it may be necessary to have a support system in place. A good bilingual parent friend with a child in your child’s class, or hiring a freelance bilingual college student, can be of invaluable help.

5. All children are different

It’s a cliche, but every child truly is different, and while some children seem to have barely a hiccup balancing multiple languages and cultures, others do not fare as well. And though on the surface they may seem the same, individual experiences can be unique.

One child may be in a very social classroom and have lots of friends and increased opportunities to interact while another may be shy or stick with the other foreign-language speakers. Further, the homeroom teacher may or may not have experience working with non-native speakers, which may impact upon the learning — and learning expectations — of your child.

For example, some Japanese teachers may hold foreign children to a lesser standard, reasoning that if the child is behind, it’s OK, or at least understandable. Some schools and districts also have foreign-language assistance programs, where the foreign student can meet with a special language teacher daily, or a teacher will accompany him/her to class several hours per week for support.

6. Brace yourself for the different

Be prepared for surprises both good and bad, because the system will likely be different from the one you are familiar with. Everything from the written and unwritten school rules to the subjects and how they are taught, not to mention the facilities, may contrast with your own experiences growing up.

Even the school calendar, daily schedules with start and end times, holidays, and birthday cut-offs may be new. Summer vacations are shorter than in the West, and trips to the homeland may be short. And, don’t forget that kids walk to school on their own starting at age 6 in Japan, which can be a scary prospect for some foreign parents.

7. You are entering a community

For both you and your children, your community will be the parents, students, teachers and administrators of the school. If the school is where you end up making friends, you too may embark on a parallel socialization experience to that of your children, but your children may do this at a different and oftentimes faster rate than you. Likely, if you have chosen to enroll your children into this system and live more locally, you are OK with this. But sometimes, you may need to work a little harder to find a friend who can relate to you on a more familiar level.

8. Home dynamics

Depending on the various members of your household, the workings of each player can tip the balance. For example, while you may speak English to your children (and they to each other), as their Japanese improves, it risks becoming their secret language if you do not understand it. And, as the children get older, the mother-tongue influence diminishes as the children spend less time at home and more at school and after-school activities.

Between parents, if one parent is taking on the brunt of more heavily loaded schooling responsibilities, he or she may grow resentful toward the other. And, lastly, if the school culture is different from that of the home, parents will need to create a balance that works for all members of the household.

9. Know what learning is going on

The Japanese school system is centralized and quite fixed compared to most Western schools, which means that there is a standardized curriculum that you may or may not agree with. The teacher instructs a classroom of around 35 students from the front of the room and there is little individual instruction or debate. School chores, like serving lunch and cleaning the classroom, are the norm, and students are expected to finish their school-prepared meals in elementary school.

Parent involvement at the PTA level is often an unspoken requirement of all mothers for each child for the duration of the academic year. Starting in grade four, many students begin attending juku to prepare for middle-school entrance examinations, which means a majority of their more challenging academic learning is happening outside of the classroom. This can change the classroom dynamic, especially if your child cannot keep up.

10. The need to supplement

If you would like your child to attend a university in an English-speaking country as a native speaker one day, how are you keeping up with their English? In the U.S. system, typically, reading and writing with more critical thinking become more intense starting in upper elementary school, so speaking it in the home is not enough. At the same time, to keep up with Japanese peers who speak Japanese at home, along with the tutor, are your child’s extra-curricular activities in Japanese? But keep in mind that written and spoken Japanese are very different in their word choices.


Ultimately, the most intimidating thing for parents is that you can’t go back. Though hotly debated and researched among numerous scholars, it is generally accepted that it gets increasingly difficult to reach native-level language fluency as we age. And though there is not a set cut-off date, there has been research indicating that the window for your child to speak with a native accent begins to close at 6 and has closed completely by the onset of puberty. That said, factors like time commitment and motivation may overcome such challenges.

As with language acquisition, a child’s cultural values are also established and reinforced in their formative years. Just like you may never be able to speak like a native if you learn the language past age 10, for example, you may also never be able to create a fully Western child with Western ideals if they have been in the local system until a similar age — unless the parents are aware of this dynamic and work to counterbalance it.

Like the truism that there is no manual for your child, there is also no set of instructions on how to best support your foreign child in the local school system, but I hope this list helps. What’s more, every family is different. With those known unknowns in mind, the best advice may be to make a day-by-day assessment and rejigger accordingly.

Teru Clavel is an education consultant, researcher and writer. She is the mother of three children who have attended local schools in the U.S., Hong Kong, China and Japan. Learning Curve covers issues related to education in Japan. Your comments and story ideas: community@japantimes.co.jp

  • Oliver Mackie

    “…you may also never be able to create a fully Western child with Western ideals if they have been in the local system until a similar age — unless the parents are aware of this dynamic and work to counterbalance it.”

    Why on earth would you put your child into the Japanese education system if your goal is “to create a fully Western child”? As the article correctly states elsewhere “language creates culture.” The idea behind raising truly bilingual children is to raise truly BICULTURAL children.

    • Firas Kraïem

      “Why on earth would you put your child into the Japanese education system if your goal is “to create a fully Western child”?”

      Maybe because “international schools” are ridiculously expensive?

      • Oliver Mackie

        Depends where you live. There are public schools with an international focus in Kanto and Kansai. But it is true, private schools cost more. However, you tend to get what you pay for. Ultimately though my original point still stands: if you really want a “fully Western” child, you won’t get one from the Japanese public system. (I must confess though I consider that a rather undesirable goal.)

      • Gordon Graham

        Sometimes you get much more than what you pay for.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Indeed, given that public school here is in many ways much better than most elsewhere, you can say that we get much more for what we don’t pay than do others.

        (Actually we have taken our older child out of the public system, but not because we were dissatisfied with the public school he attended.)

      • zer0_0zor0

        Indeed, sometimes things you didn’t even bargain for.

      • zer0_0zor0

        Unless you’re a neo-colonialist…

      • Oliver Mackie

        Sorry, lost me there….

      • zer0_0zor0

        I meant that wanting a “fully Western child” would not be an undesirable goal for a “neo-colonialist”, by which I mean people not interested in integrating into Japanese society at all, in this case.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Got it. Good point, as I have encountered quite a few of them here, actually.

      • delpillar

        Yes that is right.

        For public elementary school, virtually free… perhaps maximum of 50 US Dollars per month.

        International School: 13-Man-Yen (at current exchange rate) is about 1,100 US Dollars per month. K-International School along OEDO LIne is 40-Man-Yen per quarter. About 120-Man Yen per year (10,000 US DOllars per year) just for basic tuition fees

        There is one-time admission fee of about 6,000 US Dollars. (correct me if I am wrong).

  • Japanese Bull Fighter

    “If they decide to send their children to a local Japanese school,
    non-Japanese parents need to be prepared for a very different learning environment to the one they remember from their childhood.” This would also be the case for Americans putting their children in the typical public school in the US. The legal requirements for states to receive funding under No Child Left Behind have produced an emphasis on testing that vastly exceeds the stereotypical view of Japan to say nothing of Japanese reality. Further, according to recent reports half of the children in American public schools come from families below the legally defined poverty line. The “culture shock” from putting their kids in American public schools might well be greater than that coming from putting them in Japanese public schools.

    • kietero

      Truth. And with Common Core being the standard in most schools in the States, children in America hve a vastly larger learning curve in the real world than Japanese children do. At least the Japanese ease children into the real world society where as American public schools are the capitol of continuing the anguish of culture shock for over a child’s entire lifetime…

  • Gordon Graham

    I’ve been extremely pleased with the schooling and care my two children have received in the public school system. In particular how it fosters responsibility, discipline and independence.

    • tim

      Interesting, especially the point about “independence “. Around what age are your children?

      • Gordon Graham

        One is in the 1st grade, the other in 5th grade elementary school. One way in which they are encouraged to be independent is they are given a homework list daily which has to be checked off and returned the following day. Also, schoolbooks and notebooks are not left in the classroom, they must be brought home daily. Kids must check their schedules and prepare their materials the previous day. My kids both come home from school, have a snack then start right in on their homework without any prodding whatsoever. They’ve become accustomed to their responsibilities. They also set their own alarms and get themselves up in the morning. They have an allotted time at which to meet their group with whom they walk to school . I enrolled my son in a hockey school in Canada two summers ago, he was the only kid in a room of 30 who tied his own skates and carried his own equipment bag, 29 parents on their knees were being whined at for not having the right underwear or socks or tying skates too tightly etc. My kid had an expression of disbelief on his face.

      • tim

        Excellent, thank you. Mine will be starting elementary school next year, but I’ve already been impressed by what she’s learned in nursery. Our experience so far tallies with your story. Searching for a negative, the only one has been a lack of freedom to be indvidually creative. My Japanese wife noted that all the kids’ artwork looks the same.

      • Gordon Graham

        I understand the freedom to be creative knock but it really hasn’t imposed on our kids’ individuality. They’re both very different personalities who express themselves enthusiastically. My daughter plays the piano and has become quite good in a short time, largely due to the discipline shes acquired from her daily school routine. While she draws she playfully animates her drawings by talking with them. I don’t really feel that creativity needs to be taught. It’s something that comes naturally from within. My son couldn’t give a lick about music or art. He prefers ice hockey and video games. While he lacks creativity, he’s excelling in Japanese and mathematics and is reading at a native speaker level in English mainly because he’s disciplined enough to do his homework first before getting on his Xbox.

      • Oliver Mackie

        You say your son is reading at a native level in English because he’s doing his homework, but is that the homework he’s getting from his public elementary? I can’t imagine that they are teaching English writing at an English native level…

      • Gordon Graham

        No, they’re not getting English instruction at school (well once a week and at an insignificant level). I’m sorry if I made it sound like that. I didn’t mean to. One thing foreign parents have to be aware of is they have to be committed to supplementing their children’s education at home with phonics, reading and writing in English, French, German or whatever their language is. I started my kids on phonics at age 3 and had them reading and writing by the time they entered elementary school. However, not even that is enough if you want them to achieve native speaker fluency. I bought my son a Sylvania Usagi doll house for his 3rd birthday so that I could play with him and build up communication skills through play. Now I use the Internet to discuss things of his interest (the same for my daughter). Kids are pretty good at picking things up without having to dumb it down, so there is no need to use simpler words or grammatical structures, just ask if they know what you mean by such and such and give clear explanations when they don’t. Anyway, you have to make a constant effort if you want your kids to be truly bilingual.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Got it. I took a different route (will detail it all later) and enrolled my son in Intl school from the middle of 2nd grade (Japanese system), where Japanese is taught once a day with Kanji at the same level as local schools. Everything else is in English and regarding reading and writing he’s got a lot of catching up to do. I did work on speaking and listening at home a lot from age 3, so that hasn’t been an adjustment problem.

      • Gordon Graham

        I understand that there’s a lack of emphasis on critical thinking in Junior and Senior high school, or so the grapevine murmurs, so it looks as though I’ll be busy through high school keeping my kids questioning and on their toes.

      • Oliver Mackie

        That may well be true, I can’t speak from experience other than teaching HS kids who show aptitude for CT all across the spectrum. The IS my son is at follows Cambridge and later IB if one wants. He’s 8 and in “science” they’re already doing gravity vs propulsion vs friction vs air resistance vs I don’t remember, a fact which I was pretty impressed with (though they aren’t going into them deeply.)

        Regarding CT though, I am very much of the opinion that this is much less down to the school than the breakfast and dinner time conversation at home (if indeed there is any.) We place a strong emphasis on eating together at least once a day, something that we are able to do (due to my relatively light working schedule and the more efficient use of time at IS resulting in no need for classes in the evenings.)

      • Mark Makino

        The way I’ve heard it put is JHS is when the focus of schooling shifts from self-actualization to sorting by ability. There’s a lot of academic writing on this change in priorities but unfortunately my library access just expired.

  • Dan

    The single biggest issue for me is making the choice of not to enter the Japanese schooling system is severly limiting my kid’s choices of university and I’m making this decision when she is 3! By sticking them in an international school they will not be able to enter most of the universties in Japan and therefore will either have to study abroad or go to one of the English speaking universities such as the International Christian University or Temple, neither of which has a great reputation and only offers limited subjects.

    It terrifies me that by putting my daughter in an international school at the age of 3 we are basically telling her she will never become a doctor unless she goes to university abroad.

    Above, the article said entering a foriegn university may be hard for someone schooled in the Japanese school system but I think more importantly it is much harder for someone to enter a Japanese university if they have been schooled in a foreign system and seeing as your kid is unlikely to want to leave Japan where her family and friends are it’s surely better to just go with the local option.

    • kietero

      What are you talking about? Temple has a wonderful reputation. They’re just insanely expensive…

      And as far as your belief that your daughter will not get into a Japanese university because she would go to an international school, think again. focus is not just on academic performance but on Japanese ability. Unless the international school sucks, there will be a huge focus on Japanese learning… y’know, considering this is Japan ‘n all.

      • Dan

        Unfortunately IMO it`s just not possible for an international school to teach enough Japanese to give students the ability to compete with kids with a full Japanese education for places at the more prestigous Japanese universities. I know the ASIJ only offers a few extra classes a week and there`s just no way this is enough to cover the 15 years or so of constant exposure to academic Japanese that it is necessary for kids to enter a decent Japanese uni.

      • Oliver Mackie

        With respect, that’s your opinion but it’s not what I’m seeing. Please see my post below on time savings resulting in more time and energy for specific study at specific times as well as the growing importance of the AO route for avoiding uni entrance exams.

    • John Brown

      Both public and private have their pros and cons, no doubt. But I would like to point out two things regarding your post, Dan.

      First of all, the demographics in Japan are changing. The rapidly declining student population is leaving Japanese universities with little choice but to change with the times. That means by the time your children are of college age the whole “Japanese education” requirement will be a moot point. If Japanese unis do not begin to accept foreign and “nontraditional” students, they will wither and die. Most institutions know that, and there are a number that are already making changes.

      Secondly, just to point out, ICU is one of the top universities in Japan, albeit, a small one with limited degrees. But there are also Akita International (another top uni), Kansai Gakuin, Yamanashi Gakuin, Sophia, and probably others of which I am unaware that accept students who did not go through the Japanese educational system. Furthermore, a number of other top universities are talking about changing entrance requirements in order to bring in these students (as many of the international schools in Japan produce outstanding students), including Todai and Waseda.

      The point is, don’t get sucked into the lies the local boards of ed feed you. You won’t doom your child to a life without higher education in Japan if you send her/him to an international school.

      That being said, good luck in your decision making! I, too, have two young ones and am trying to decide which route to take. It’s not an easy decision because I don’t want to lose my child to the system (as I have heard is often the case), but I also want them to be able to function in Japanese society (not to mention, I’m not too thrilled about the idea of paying an arm and a leg in private school tuition fees).

      • Dan

        Thanks for the info, I definitely need to look at those unis a bit closer. I`d be interested to know how many offer internal medicine degrees that would be acceptable for a graduate to enter the Japanese medical profession and whether they are taught in English or Japanese.

    • Oliver Mackie

      I’ll post more about my experience later, but just for now, you are incorrect. Even under the current system (which will change anyway, as posts below have noted) your children will be eligible for a public or private university in Japan IF THEY GRADUATE FROM AN ACCREDITED JAPANESE HIGH SCHOOL. It is irrelevant what elementary or junior highs they attended. The question then is, can they enter a Japanese HS after intl JHS. The answer in most cases is ‘yes’, though it is a case-by-case decision by each school. The most important point of course is whether they can pass the entrance exam. If they can, then you might often find they even get bumped up the rankings if they have particular language skills, as is the case at the fairly prestigious Tokyo Metropolitan HS that I work at.

      • Dan

        Thanks for the reply but it`s not really what I meant. My bad for not really expanding my point. I appreciate that in theory all we have to do is send her to international school then at 16 switch her over to a Japanese high school and then hey presto she`s going to Todai but in reality it`s just not going to happen. I should`ve elaborated the doctor example; what I was trying to say was that if she goes to international school it`s unlikely she`s going to want to leave and when she graduates she will never have the Japanese ability to cope with the requirements of studying medicine in a Japanese universtiy, it`s hard enough for students with a complete 15 year Japanese education.

        Her other choice would be the international universities Temple etc, but like I said the choice of subjects is tiny.

        So the point I`m making is that granted although it may be theoretically possible to go to a decent Japanese uni, by sending her to an international school we are in reality closing off so many doors (medicine, law, etc) that it`s just not worth the risk.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Noted. Medicine I cannot comment on but I don’t think law would be a closed door. I personally know a Russian/Japanese kid who got into Keio to do law (not Todai true, but still pretty prestigious in private law practice) without being particularly outstanding at Japanese language at all. Indeed his Japanese language teachers (whom I work with) said he was below average for a student from our school, which is very good but not top elite. He got in through the AO route rather than having to take the entrance exams, something which is becoming more and more common. Indeed there are some public schools which specialize in ‘international students’ (e.g. Kokusai HS in Kobama-Toudaimae) where the vast majority of students go the AO route to places such as Keio, Waseda, and Aoyama.

      • Dan

        Cheers, you clearly know your stuff, and it`s nice to know there is hope but I do think he`s the exception not the rule.

        Who knows? I`m just having a whinge. At the end of the day, I`m sure an international school education is a more privaliged life path than most will receive.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Whinge all you like! These are tough decisions in which we potentially have much money, emotion, energy, and time invested. I’m not necessarily saying the the Intl route is always the best way, but (not just for you, for anyone who may be reading this with similar decisions to make) remember the following:

        -you are absolutely free to opt back into the free public system at a moment’s notice at any time.

        – as has been pointed out by others, things are changing very fast and 10 years from now opportunities to enter universities will be very very different (in a good way) than now.

        – it’s all good! Shall I send my child to the very good local public school or the very good international school? Somewhat of a ‘first world problem.’ Well, it would be if most of the public schools in the ‘first world’ of Europe and the U.S. hadn’t gone down the toilet. Just whsper thanks that your kid is being brought up in Japan!

    • Roy Warner

      What is wrong with ICU’s reputation? It has an admissions hensachi that equals or betters some departments of Keio, Waseda, Jochi, etc., and in my experience its students are much more likely to be able to communicate in the foreign language they’ve spent 6 to 8 years studying. Furthermore, its pedagogy and curriculum, while limited, much more closely resemble those of liberal arts institutions in the Anglophone world (be that good or bad) than those of other Japanese schools. I have known several physicians not from Japan who were educated abroad or in Japan and earned medical licenses in Japan. If I were not from Japan and wished my children to receive an education not available in Japan, I would hasten with my children to a nation that offered the desired education, secure employment, and take up residence there.

      • Dan

        I appologise for insulting ICU but my point is by sending her to an international school ICU is one of the few options available to her and as I`m sure you`ve rightly pointed out the humanities departments in ICU may well be superior to other top Japanese universities it is a small university and only offers limited subjects
        and therefore her choices for a life in Japan are severly cramped.

    • Susie

      @Dan I would rather have a doctor educated abroad than one in Japan anyway! Trainee Japanese doctors have *no* clinical hands-on experience while at university and only actually get to work with a patient for the very first time after gradation. It’s just rote memorisation same as at school.

      • Dan

        Careful Susie, my wife is a Japanese doctor :-)

        My point is that my daughter would have to go abroad to become a doctor and as she may not want to do so having grown up here, perhaps with a boyfriend at the time and not wanting to leave her dear old dad who is terrified of life abroad, we are effectively closing that door for her (the door to becoming a doctor in Japan) at the age of 3. On top of that, if she then wanted to return to Japan to become a doctor the hoops she would have to jump through would be ridiculous. Honestly my wife is a Japanese doctor and in her 20 years experience she has never met one practicing foreign doctor in Japan. It`s not like the UK where it`s almost impossible to find an English doctor.
        My point is about closing doors and by sending a kid to international school you are effectively ruling her out of any kind of professional job (law, accountancy, etc) as the barriers to entry are so stacked against them. A graduate from an international school in graduates school with at best a teenage literacy ability in Japanese and this is not sufficient to pass exams for top professions in Japan. Personally I think the barriers to entry are necessary for this society. I for one would rather have a doctor who is Japanese and can write a prescription that is intelligable for the pharmacist to correctly fill out than a foreign doctor with the reading age of a 7 year old but with hands on experience.

  • MegaSeoulKKKorea

    I wish them all the best….

  • Mark Makino

    “it has been suggested that a child needs 20-30 percent of his or her waking time exposed to a language to maintain fluency” I’d like to see a source for this.

  • Tim Johnston

    If you have the money, send you kids to international schools.
    A friend of mine who’s child attends a Japanese school is pleased with the quality of education,but on the other hand………as soon as his Son returns from school each day, He has to de-program him from all the over the Top societal rules that children are drilled with each day. He said he feels this leads the Child to be nervous and to lose his identity.
    In Japan identity is hard to come by. Freedom of thought and the acceptance to be different is frowned upon. The Education System needs to ease up a bit and not be so rigid.
    T.J.

    • Gordon Graham

      What a crock! Who de-programs his kid from all the BS you lot feed him?

  • Michael Bradley

    The underlying premise of this article seems to be flawed – neither I nor any of the other parents I know who send their kids to local Japanese schools do so out of choice. We do so because we have no realistic alternative. We are all westerners married to Japanese partners and want our children to grow up bilingually. Private International Schools are way beyond our means. Apart from that, I wouldn’t disagree with the main thrust of the article.

    • Oliver Mackie

      “We are all westerners married to Japanese partners and want our children to grow up bilingually. Private International Schools are way beyond our means.”

      Michael, I do not dispute the experience of you and those you know. I am also a westerner married to a Japanese, but private international schools are not way beyond our means. There are 3 key points I have found, listed in descending order of importance. They are 3 issues to address, posed as questions and with my answers in brackets, to make clear their relevance.

      1. Does your wife work? How much does she make? (Yes, and takes home about 5.5 million.)

      2. If you are in English teaching as many are (including me), then what qualifications do you have? ( I have a Masters degree, acquired distance whilst in Japan, which enables me to make 6+ million whilst only working 30 weeks a year and no evenings. This enables me to support my wife by doing more than half of the meals, taking to and picking up from school, and so on.)

      3. Which International schools are you considering? (Not the very elite like Saint Mary’s or Saint Maur, but rather the new generation of more recently established schools which cost less – about 3 million tuition for two kids.)

      I hope this helps and please feel free to discuss this further.

      • Michael Bradley

        No offense, but would it help Oliver? Why would your household income have any bearing on mine?

      • Oliver Mackie

        None, of course. My point was simply that if your situation was not that different from mine, i.e. wife with similar income to mine and your being in teaching either with similar qualifications but lower income or time (which would be rectifiable with help), or without but now realizing that with them what might be possible, then international school might not be as impossible as it seems.

        Still point taken and I will delete the majority of what I posted, as I don’t want personal info up for no purpose.

  • Toolonggone

    I would not recommend to send kids to local Japanese school throughout high school, unless either side of parents have Asian(preferably, Japanese, Taiwanese, Korean) cultural heritage; 2) if parents are planning to live in Japan in a long term; or 3) making a solid investment in research(e.g., Ph. D in Japan studies, Japanese language). The mess the MEXT and Abe administration are making with education reform today–especially English as foreign language, moral education, history, is menacing to students and teachers across the nation. You also need to get the background information about local school–including available resources for assistance, classroom communication, relationship with students/teachers, etc. Most challenging issue is communication with school representatives. Many parents will likely have trouble getting what is going on–especially when their kids get involved school-related incident. In that situation, they are mostly hesitant to speak about the whole story.