Aloha, all, and happy holidays! I just bought Adam's book on my Kindle and also wanted to start using this forum, so joined up.
I'm Erica, and I live in Honolulu, Hawaii. I have two young daughters, ages 6.5 and 3 who are bilingual in English and Japanese. I speak a little Japanese, but my husband is fluent (although he only has elementary kanji reading ability) and we also have a Japanese-speaking nanny who is with our girls when they are out of school three days a week. (I am home the other two days.) She's been with us since our older daughter was 3 months old, and is like family to us.
It hasn't been easy, but it also wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be initially with our girls yet. They have taken to it really well. They love Japanese language and culture, and we keep it as a big part of our own family culture too. For example, we celebrate major Japanese holidays and almost only watch Japanese language media together, like movies and cartoons, etc.
We are also very lucky in Hawaii to be relatively close to Japan and we visit every two years at least (we just got back from a three-week trip to Okinawa and Tokyo), and there is a lot of Japanese culture and language opportunities here. We have Japanese schools for children which my girls attend, for example, and my oldest is in a kanji-level class now and my younger daughter just started morning classes twice a week, similar to immersion preschool, but the focus in on Japanese language.
Anyone else Japanese/English bilingual? I'm here just to hear about others' experiences and share resources.
Erica, welcome! It sounds like your bilingual journey with your daughters is going very well! The combination of the many efforts that you and your husband are making, as well as the helpful access to Japanese language and culture, is clearly paying off in strong, steady progress. Good for you, and good for your family!
Of course, when it comes to Japanese, the larger challenge is the written language because kanji is so time-consuming to learn. (I know this challenge very personally. ) So it's great that the girls have begun this process early and that they have such positive feelings toward the language and culture.
While our two main languages are the same as yours, for us Japanese is the majority language and English is the minority language. As my kids have always attended Japanese schools, they've acquired Japanese from school (and from their mother) and English mainly from me. But you'll find a lot more about my family and our situation in my book. I hope you enjoy it!
And do let me know if your family ever plans a trip to Hiroshima! We'll welcome you to the city!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular non-fiction book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide.
You guys are lucky to be so close to your target language, have an ml-speaking nanny and access to bilingual ML-ml schools. By the sound of it, things are going very well for your family in the bilingual front. If you want to share any tips, feel free!
Amy: And to all other fellow zookeepers of course!
Nov 4, 2018 18:13:28 GMT 9
Wojtek: Yesterday my daughter used a Polish word in an English sentence. From time to time she does it (don't know if I should be happy about that), but anyway what was amusing about that, she said it with an English accent!
Nov 5, 2018 18:23:45 GMT 9
Wojtek: I feel the English accent in our monolingual family has seemed to be something unreachable but in that mixed sentence, I heard the difference. It surprised me slightly.
Nov 5, 2018 18:23:55 GMT 9
Amy: So cute Wojtek! And such a lovely piece of news!
Nov 7, 2018 6:29:36 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice Wojtek! Give that little girl a big hug from Uncle Adam!
Nov 7, 2018 10:16:33 GMT 9
Amy: Beautiful pictures Adam! The serenity of the place transpired in every pic. Thank you for sharing them
Nov 11, 2018 21:58:40 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam Beck, Amy, she got a lot of ml exposure but there's only so many times I can watch a Bibi & Tina DVD. Glad she's back at school today.
Nov 13, 2018 0:16:03 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter's school had the annual lantern pageant yesterday. It always moves me to tears when I see the kids stand and belt out the songs in our ml. This year, the ml kids also recited a short poem on St Martin.
Nov 25, 2018 3:34:49 GMT 9