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The life of an expectant expat in Dubai. More Info

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August 2012
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Bumps, Babies and Beyond

Reconnecting with my Japanese Heritage…in Dubai?!

August 28, 2012

I’m not sure if I’ve made this clear or not but I love being Japanese. I love Japanese food, Japanese variety TV shows, J-Pop music and most of all the traditions and customs of Japan. Even in every day life, Japanese people are so polite to each other (something I need to learn more about).

Unfortunately I am not very Japanese in how I live my life. I can converse in Japanese with children under the age of 5 but once they hit kindergarten, I’m struggling to keep up. I’m not a very good housewife (I don’t pack elaborate bento box lunches, instead I send them off with money to buy lunch at the cafeteria). I use far too many swear words, far too often (that’s the American in me).

One of the reasons we moved from Festival City to Deira was to get closer to the Japanese community in Dubai. Living in Al Ghurair City puts us in the middle of the highest concentration of Japanese expats in Dubai and puts me *that* much closer to reconnecting with my Japanese heritage.

I have made 3 friends here (1 Korean and 2 Japanese) since we moved last year. I met all 3 ladies through my children, which is always a good icebreaker. 3 new friends doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me it is. Breaking into the Japanese community can be tough because of language and cultural barriers. Japanese people tend to keep to themselves and many of them don’t feel comfortable speaking in English.

As soon as school starts back up I’m planning on setting up some playdates with these ladies. Hopefully I will improve my Japanese and gain my proper Japanese manners back. :) I also reached out to a Japanese playgroup and a Japanese cultural learning group for kids. The first one is for Baby E and me and the second is for Big K and Lil S.

I have always wanted the kids to learn Japanese and be more in touch with their heritage than I am. It is one of my parenting goals, let’s hope I can meet it! I also selfishly hope that through putting my children in these Japanese classes and playgroups I’ll start to reconnect with my fading Japanese self. As much as I want my kids to be proud of being Japanese, I can’t offer them any more than what I know (which is very little). But I’m open to learning and can’t wait to watch my little ones soak up the culture of a country I love!

Once I get all the information I’ll post it on the blog for other expats in Dubai who might be interested in meeting more Japanese people. Maybe I’ll meet one of you there someday!

Mom, I know you read my blog. Don’t be afraid to comment. I’m still waiting for a response to my last email to you. :D

by Busy Mommy. Find out more about Busy Mommy here.

2 Responses to “Reconnecting with my Japanese Heritage…in Dubai?!”

  1. I agree, Japanese people are very polite.
    Your post reminds me that I have to speak to V in our home language

  2. Yes it’s so easy to fall into speaking English with our children, but learning our first language is so important. It keeps you connected to your heritage (like being able to speak w/ grandparents) and also gives you an advantage as an adult with job opportunities.

    What’s exciting is my children (especially Lil S) are excited about learning different languages. As a child I didn’t want to learn Japanese, I wanted to be like all my friends and speak English. I’m glad my kids aren’t like me in this case.