For foreign residents, having a child in Japan can be a daunting prospect. Going to the hospital and trying to figure out what the doctor is saying in complex Japanese medical terms is just one of myriad trials.

However, as Kenji is my firstborn, I had nothing to compare this with — which, on reflection, is probably just as well. Now that the dust has settled, raising a child in Japan is pretty much as one might expect: busy, fun — and challenging at times. I've become an expert at changing diapers (30 seconds start to finish!), saying "No!" five times in a row, and have spent what seems like hours pointing at my face and saying "Dadadadadada." All in all, I assume it's not so different from having a child in one's native country.

One difference I have noticed, however, is the way people react towards my son, based on the fact that he is half-Japanese. Many people have heard stories of elementary-age non-Japanese students being bullied or ostracized. This is surely unacceptable, but as my son is only a year old, this isn't a problem yet.