It was meant to be a quick trip to the eye doctor. Leon had missed his annual school eye exam because of headaches. So we were instructed to visit a clinic.
I wasn’t even planning on staying—just dropping Leon off on the way to work. (For those not in Japan, this is common).
But Leon was behind on math (because of the aforementioned headaches) and I could help him in the waiting room.
Leon kept being called back into see the doctor.
In 4th grade, both our boys were, to our great surprise, picked up by the Urawa Reds academy. This was after 5 selections and 2 interviews, being whittled down from 150 to 9.
Before you get too envious, our younger child has since been dropped in the transition from elementary school to Jr. High School. Our elder child (now Jr. High School 3rd year) is still on the team but he'll find out in June whether he makes it to the High School team or not.
It's difficult being dropped from
A close friend of ours, Seiji Nakayama, died in Urawa this January, aged 47. The funeral hall was over whelmed with mourners. Approximately 700 school friends, students and soccer teammates waited outside on a cold dark February night to pay their respects to his wife and family. He drowned rescuing his son and his friend. The extremely cold water caused a heart attack. Difficulties exiting the water, taking over 40 minutes, resulted in Seiji’s death.
Dave and I went to the wake of our dear friend, Seiji Nakayama yesterday. He died aged 47, saving his and another child from a river. He was a great guy. Loved by everyone.
Unfortunately, we don't think the wake did him justice. 500 people came to pay their respects, but only 20 could fit into the tiny room. Everyone else crowded on the stairs or huddled in their hundreds
We’re often asked by family if we miss America / England? The honest answer is no. We love living in Japan with our two kids. There is so much about their childhood that their cousins back home can’t have or do.
Children in Japan have freedom to go out on their own without a guardian. From the age of 6, children walk to and from school by themselves. After school and on weekends, they play
Amy and I came to Japan, in 1996. Very happy with our job, accomodation, new friends, food, new places....but the neighborhood nightlife was like pre-war Britain, I'm guessing here. Tokyo is brilliant for nightlife, but we wanted to meet people where we lived, Saitama.
The turning point was seeing famous UK DJ Fatboy Slim
The Principal’s Office
It was NOT where I wanted to spend my Friday night. In the principal’s office of my 13 year old’s Jr High School.
It all began a week ago when Alfie was LATE home from school, and late for soccer practice. We began to fear the worst. We called school. Alfie was in the principal’s office. Great. What had happened?
Some of Alfie’s friends had been lighting paper / trash
Japan’s a changing
When you think of Japan, diverse doesn’t spring to mind. But if our little school is anything to go by, Japan is changing. When we first started Dave and Amy English School, all of our students were Japanese. Not anymore. Japan's demographic is changing rapidly.
Recently, we have noticed a sharp increase in foreign students hailing from China, South Korea, Germany, Vietnam, India with a sprinkling of mixed families from
In Japan, there is a saying: the nail that sticks out gets hammered down. In other words, people who are different will be forced to conform. This has historical and cultural roots that I am not qualified to discuss but I want to show how important it is to be different in a world of conformism.
You might be saying to yourself, you are the ultimate conformists. You are English teachers in Japan! Well we DID