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 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. Please support The Bilingual Zoo through Adam's Patreon page www.patreon.com/bilingualmonkeys.
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!
What's on your mind right now? Just type and hit "Enter" to share it here!
Amy: Unfortunately, she has resigned and is leaving shortly. I was so proud to introduce her to my eldest, one day that I had brought her to show her round my office. And to introduce other bi/multilingual colleagues. Show how important languages are.
May 8, 2019 4:58:26 GMT 9
Mayken: That must have been wonderful, Amy! I'm sorry she is leaving. I would love to find someone like that. We had an English intern last year who spoke German and French. We chatted a lot.
May 8, 2019 6:06:01 GMT 9
Caro C.: Oh Amy I sort of feel related to what you are saying. Some months ago I made a friend from the US. She happens to be a neighbor with four kids. We’ve been sharing back and forth and I’d love my baby girl to eventually be able to share with her children
May 13, 2019 12:55:09 GMT 9
Caro C.: Although maybe they will be a bit old for her, still we (I mean their mom = Sarah and me) both are very happy and grateful for each other as friends.
May 13, 2019 12:57:05 GMT 9
Mayken: As of yesterday, I am aunt to a baby girl who lives in our ml country with 2 ml parents, and I'm already planning to get them a nice nursery rhymes CD for our first visit.
May 16, 2019 20:03:47 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice, Mayken! Have a happy visit!
May 17, 2019 9:10:21 GMT 9
Caro C.: OMG I just came across this song and it filled my heart with joy and excitement...perfect for all of us who are parents: youtu.be/g1fcnhB8GOY
May 19, 2019 14:01:55 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Caro, thanks for sharing that lovely song. Raffi was one of our very favorite musicians when my kids were small. We listened to him all the time. I highly recommend his albums as a source of very enjoyable and very effective English input.
May 20, 2019 15:32:26 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter is on a field trip this week and I feel like I've lost my main purpose
May 20, 2019 20:03:33 GMT 9
Raquel: That's cute, Mayken. I hope you enjoyed all that extra free time.
May 29, 2019 18:17:39 GMT 9
SheilaC: I am concern about our upcoming big change to Public school with all English teaching and minimal Spanish. We have been lucky until now with Spanish speaking Nanny and Spanish immersion preschool. We are doing 2-day per week with Spanish after school.
May 31, 2019 10:51:49 GMT 9
Amy: @sheilac, I suggest you create an actual thread on the "Questions & Concerns" board, so fellow Zoo Keepers can help you with your concerns. 256 characters is too little to discuss something that is so important to your heart
Jun 2, 2019 23:44:41 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam Beck, thanks for that very interesting and timely post - it justifies the large order for ml books and DVDs I'm about to place in view of my daughters upcoming birthday!
Jun 3, 2019 23:46:00 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Great to hear this, Mayken! And happy birthday to both yours and mine! (They have the same birthday, don't they?) And if anyone missed that post, here's the link once more...
Jun 4, 2019 8:03:42 GMT 9