The culture shock in Japan never ends. This has been confirmed by a good online friend who has lived here for over 20 years. Like me, he is an American and has a family here. There are times when I thought I was losing my mind. Getting hit with a triple dose of life is not easy. I moved to Japan and was still a relatively new wife and mom. My baby was one year old and I had no idea about parenting in Japan. I knew even less about the school system.
Well, in Japan kids go on overnight trips overnight school trips(Otomarihoiku)with their school at 5 years old! I was horrified I tell you. Before I had learned the details of what would be going on, I imagined a not so great situation. Kids running around screaming unsupervised and in potential danger. I imagined the worse basically. My American culture brain was not having it. I said no when my husband presented the permission slip. I said it loudly and swiftly.
My husband is an extremely patient man and he is not very excitable at all. He calmly walked away from my crazy behind and presented me with some facts later on.
Actually, he presented me with a video of previous overnight stay school trips. Oh my goodness, it was a lovely and beautiful experience. It was a chance for the children to fellowship and bond. In small towns friendship is something that is really important as the children grow up and go off to school. Bullying can be a big problem and I think a trip like this might give the children a chance to practice more kindness.
Venturing outside of the daily school environment also gives the children a chance to exercise their judgement and manners. I am not going to pretend like it did not make me nervous as I kissed him goodbye, but I did. As I raise my children I realize there is never going to be a time when I am ready for them to try new things, or be without me.
In Japan the children also walk to school and return home by themselves. I will tell you how horrified I was by that in another post.