Jonathan has only had two full years of Japanese education but already he is immersed in speaking, writing and reading Japanese. English is proving a challenge to develop and maintain.
Fitting in – or not
He is currently the only totally non-Japanese child in his school and along with that comes the culture that he is responding to and absorbing – the TV shows that all kids know and games that all kids play.
As well as TV and games, there are festivals that have spiritual elements but still hold attractions for Jonathan. For one, you go to the shrine, dress in a special kimono and have photos taken for the occasion when you reach a certain age. Jonathan feels, I think, that he is in some way missing out a little in that other kids have those photos and a classy Japanese experience and he does not. The reality is that he feels Japanese in some way, having been born and brought up here. It sometimes comes as a shock if he is reminded that he has another passport!
At some point we may consider the international school, but that’s far from where we live, and expensive… and going to local school gives us a connection as a family to the world around us we would never otherwise have. With home-schooling, too, we feel that we would only increase our natural isolation. We already stand out simply by being the only foreigners in our community, and to withdraw from local school would isolate Jonathan and us even more. Having prayed around all ideas, we think that for the primary years, perhaps it’s best to trust God and run with the challenges of being in a local school…
The prayers of supporters and people in prayer groups really matter.