I've learned this summer that part of the process of becoming a new parent in Japan is accidentally elbowing a realistic baby doll in front of a crowd that gasps in unison.

Thankfully, I'm not the only one at the Suginami Health Center this particular afternoon in August learning how to give a newborn a bath — and plenty of other dads-to-be aren't exactly acing this challenge, either. That's why we've all gathered here for a parenting class, after all.

There's plenty to prepare for ahead of having a kid. Most of the essential to-dos are the same in any country — from finding the right hospital to gathering the necessary products the newborn will need when they finally arrive home. Yet having a child in Japan presents specific issues to keep in mind alongside the rush to find the perfect car seat.