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Destination: Niigata

Japan With Kids - Forums: Moving to and Leaving Japan: Moving To Japan: Destination: Niigata
By Justine Blackburn on Tuesday, April 4, 2006 - 10:05 pm:

Hi, I don't know if you can help me, My family and I are moving to Niigata prefecture in May for at least 18 months.

We have a 3.5 year old boy and we really want to make sure he get to spend time with kids his own age.

We have been told by our relocation company it's unlikely we'll be able to get him into a kindergarten because we speak very little japanese (Our son uses English only)
Only my husband will be working with our son & I on Dependants visas.

We really want to make sure he gets plenty of kiddy contact with his peers, does anyone know how we can acheive this?

It'll be a long 18 months for us all if he can't play with kids his own age!
Thanks for your help! Justieb

By phides nunez on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 4:41 pm:

Hi Justine, I'm Phides, a Filipino graduate student in Niigata Daigaku. I live in Niigata City (near the city hall and Niigata station) with my son who's turning 5 in two weeks. He speaks English (as a 5-year old can)with me as well as with all my fellow international students here. Actually, it's the only language he knows how to communicate effectively. Sad to say, his Filipino is just as bad as his Nihongo (much to my dismay). He has a "playgroup" of some sort with 2 Japanese girls, and a Sri Lankan girl. I say "of some sort" because we don`t really meet regularly, only when we feel like it, and then we set up a date (on weekends), as the kids go to hoikuen everyday. Unfortunately, the girls don't really speak Englsih, and in fact, one purpose of the playgroup is for the girls to learn English from us. In turn, the Japanese mom and an aunt help a lot, especially with the hoikuen because I can`t speak
So if you'll be moving to Niigata City, I hope you'll contact me. (phides[at]

I've been hoping for an English speaking kid with whom my son can play. I know kids generally are better able to break the language barrier than adults, but still, I can see how frustrated my son could be when he calls out to all the Japanese kids at the hoikuen with "Hey guys!" or "That`s great!", and no one gives any reaction at all. Hope to hear from you soon.

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