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Along with a child’s entrance into the Japanese school system comes another rite of passage for parents (read “mothers” in 99 percent of cases): experiencing the Japanese PTA system.

Here, volunteering for the PTA often conjures up negative images, with the mere mention of those three initials enough to make many a Japanese mother grimace, giving the impression that it’s a peculiar form of parental punishment. How do foreign women manage in such an environment?

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