アイルランド出身で、日本人の夫と2歳の息子（ショーン Seán ）と一緒に静岡県に住んでいます。
I'm Lian, an Irish mum living near the gorgeous Mt. Fuji in Shizuoka, Japan with my husband and little boy, Seán.
I've always wanted to start a blog about my life in Japan, and what better time than the busiest and most challenging of my life. In the past year I have become a wife, a mum and settled down on the other side of the world.
I want to share the things I love and don't love about Japan, and what it's like to be an Irish first-time mum in this unique country.
I'm writing this mainly for myself and my family, but it anyone with an interest in Japan has a look for a few minutes of their day and thinks "hmm, interesting" I will be really pleased.
I don't reckon the Internet will ever disappear, so this blog is something I can read in the future and look back nostalgically as I read my Dickens by a warm fire (or under a kotatsu) with my husband in our old age.
Thanks for reading.
Activity: Let’s Plant A Seed! Here is how we did this activity, please try it for yourself!
We planted sunflower seeds just like in the book “I Can Grow a Flower” ! Seán is learning about a seed’s journey to become a flower.
「I Can Grow a Flower」の絵本で紹介されている方法です！
It is great practice of Seán’s fine motor skills to scoop and pour the soil, to pick up one seed and put into each pot. (If you don’t mind getting messy!) He was also able to put his hands in and feel the soil, which is good for his sensory development.
大人が見守っていれば、小さな子供でも土をすくったり、ポットに入れたり、タネを蒔いたりする事ができます♪ Fine motor skills ＝「細かい運動能力」のとても良い練習になります！
Please note that this activity should either be done outside, or with plenty or newspaper put down as it will inevitably get messy!
We bought biodegradable small pots in the 100 yen store. Seán put some soil in, leaving a few centimetres at the top. He then placed one seed into each pot, covered with soil and sprinkled some water on top.
Before Sean was born, I was an avid reader and always read at least a few pages before going to sleep. These days I don’t have much time for reading, but I can still enjoy books with Sean before bedtime! I try to choose books that I think we both will enjoy. I hope to instill in him the same love for books my Mum did in me.
Sean is now two years old and he really enjoys reading time together. Today I’d like to introduce some of my favourite English books for 1- 2 year olds. We have bought many books for Seán since he was born, but these are the ones that have had a lasting impression, ones that he requests again and again!
1. Leslie Patricelli’s “Baby” Books.
This is a series of books, and by far Seán’s favourites at the moment! I would recommend them for ages 6 months up to around three years. There are books about a variety of every- day topics that children will recognize and be familiar with. The concepts are easy to understand and the drawings are simple, bright and so colourful. Seán loves looking at them. I think he can relate to the main baby character, as he discovers, explores and learns new things with his Mommy and Daddy. Doggy and Kitty. Among Seán’s favourite titles are “Toot”, “The Birthday Box” and “Big Kid Bed”.
I first read this to Seán at about 9 months old, and many times since then, and I hoped he would grow to like it. Now it’s one of his most requested books! I believe the book’s rhyme and rhythm is captivating, and the repetition is funny! There are so many funny characters, including Sam- I Am and the “Grumpy Guy” as we call him! There are plenty of crazy scenarios in the book, it is long but fast paced so he never gets bored.You could say that one of the lessons in the book is you have to try something before you can know if you like it or not! And another may be to listen to that nagging voice because it might be good for you!
Seán loves the friendly and brave little blue truck, who helps a big bully of a digger who gets stuck in the mud. Along with beautiful images and lots of imitable animal sounds, this story teaches the important lesson that your friends will help you out when things get tough. You are never too busy and important to give someone a smile and a greeting.
4. Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
This is a cute and colourful book, like all of those in this series by these authors. A little Monkey has lost his Mommy, but a friendly butterfly helps him to search for her. A funny and charming book that also teaches children about the differences in appearance between animals. It has a rich variety of descriptive words used when talking about the various creatures met in the jungle. It also tell us that some babies don’t look like their parents, but they are still family.
This is a cute book, and Seán likes the well- meaning dog George who makes a bit of a mess after his owner goes out! It shows children that even when you try to be good, you slip up sometimes! But that’s ok. And, after some time you may learn to resist temptations!
Hello everyone! I hope you are all well, and staying safe. We are doing fine here in Shizuoka Japan, staying home as much as possible and being careful.
I’d like to talk a bit about our daily life in this post. Some people may wonder (I know I did) about how to raise a baby in a foreign country, or some good ways to foster a bilingual brain.
When I first had a baby, like all new mothers I wondered if I was up to the job, if I would know what to do. Adding the fact that I was doing this in Japan, thousands of miles away from home and familiar customs, perhaps you can imagine how anxious I was.
I managed to get through the first sleepless months with a newborn and settled into life as a mum in Japan. I’m so lucky to have a happy, healthily growing and developing boy and have had a very happy two years. Of course I read many books, blogs and received advice from friends and family about parenting, but one of the things that helped me the most was realising that there is no one perfect way to raise a child. The method that worked best for Seán and I and our family (this goes for all families of course) is unique, with pieces taken from here and there and adapted to our own style.
Maria Montessori method’s idea to “follow the child” really makes sense to me. When it came up sleep training, weaning, and potty training (which we are still working on), I found that making a routine that suits our family and that we can all be happy with is the best.
I hope to raise Seán to be an independent thinker with both empathy for others and self confidence. I try to talk to Seán as an equal an explain things to him calmly.
I found that having a somewhat set schedule/routine for every day really helps Seán to feel comfortable as he knows what’s coming next. It also helps us as parents to break the day up into manageable pieces.
At the moment we are social distancing, Daddy still goes to work but Seán and I stay home, and I do not teach home English lessons at the moment. So our schedule is somewhat different to usual.
Though Seán is only 2, I try to have a fairly set routine with some activities, outside time and play time included. Seánie still needs to nap, sometimes he will fight it and fall asleep before dinner which is not ideal. So I try to make sure he goes down around 1pm. He has 3 meals and snacks inbetween throughout the day, his eating really fluctuates week by week but as long as he is healthy, energetic and growing I’m happy!
I mainly speak English to Seán, and at the moment his English is slightly stronger than his Japanese. But if I am to continue his bilingual upbringing, I know I will have to put in more effort as the years go on. We live in Japan and that means everyone other than mommy speaks Japanese! His environment now is mostly English with mommy, the outside world is mainly Japanese as is daddy and his Japanese grandparents.
I have been an English teacher in Japan for years and usually teach kids at home, so I have a pretty good repertoire of English games and songs. I like to do games often with Seán.
Here’s an example of a weekend schedule in April 2020, during this period of social distancing.
7am Seánie wakes up. We open a window to let in fresh air and talk about the day and today’s weather, filling in our chart.
7:30 Mommy and Daddy’s coffee time! Seánie has milk and picks a fruit to snack on! Mommy makes breakfast, on weekends we often have French toast or pancakes. I like to use whole wheat as much as possible, I really miss Irish “brown bread”.
8:00 Toilet. Get dressed. Seánie picks what to wear from his clothes and socks. After breakfast we do some simple exercise and then Seán has free play time or watches Anpanman.
9:00 Clean up time. Mommy does some tidying, washing etc. and Seán plays. Sometimes he helps me fold landry etc. Then I join him for an activity, painting, play-doh or a game.
10:00 Even while social distancing, I like to bring Seán outside once a day for sunlight and fresh air. We stay away from other people and busy parks, usually doing a nature walk or run on the grass.
11.00 Come home, use toilet (potty training), wash hands. Possibly change clothes. Mommy starts to prepare lunch and Seán can help. I give him some role in each of my tasks, however simple. We often have onigiri, soba, udon or pasta.
12:00 Lunch. Tidy up. Now Seán has some free play time and we wind down for a nap. We read lots of books and I often sing a song and rub his back to help him fall asleep.
1-3 Seánie’s nap. Mommy and Daddy do video editing, housework or other necessary jobs.
3:00 Toilet. Wash hands. Snack. Activity/game. If we can’t go outside again, we go on the balcony and do some sand/water/ messy play. We tidy up together.
5:00 Prepare dinner. I try to give Seánie a job in the kitchen to help with preparation! On weekends we eat together as a family, and Seánie often eats the same dish we are eating.
6:30 call Mommy’s family in Ireland. It’s a great way to keep in touch and Seán has to use English with Granny and Grandad since they can’t speak Japanese!
7:30 Books, pajamas, brush teeth, bedtime routine
8:00 Seánie is (hopefully!) asleep. Mommy and Daddy get some work and editing done and take a break.
We will upload a video on YouTube introducing a typical day in our life, so please check it out if interested!