Plain Talk


Mothering options: France Vs. Japan by Anne Corinne

Being a mother is always challenging. Being a foreign mother in Japan is even more challenging.

Just as any new mother without experience would do, I often question my educational decisions and want to do the best for my child. But having a French background and living in Japan is sometimes confusing to deal with.

Should my baby and I sleep in the same bedroom? “Never!” would say my European friends. “Let your new-born baby in her own bedroom and make her become independent”. “Of course!” would answer my Japanese friends. “Give her a feeling of security. Some kids stay with their parents until the age of 12 years old.”

If my baby cries, shall I always hold her in my arms? “Definitely!” would a Japanese mom tell me. “No, would a French mother say, otherwise she will become temperamental with you”.

My baby has started to walk? “Make sure she always wears slippers with a firm grip for the heels” would my French family recommend. “Leave her barefoot as much as possible” would suggest a Japanese mama.

How shall I educate my toddler? “Be strong and firm” would advise French parents. “Keep gentle and patient” would their Japanese counterparts reply.

Can I have a bath with my child? “Absolutely! O-furo is a great way to relax with the family” would any Japanese dad say. “Nakedness between parents and children should be avoided” would Western psychologists write.

My opinion about this? Somewhere in between. I sometimes feel misunderstood from both sides of the world. Wherever you are and whatever you do, there will always be people who disagree with you, anyway.

There is one thing for sure: getting to know two different parenting approaches is a chance for my child. A chance to learn double. A double chance to understand others.







子供と一緒にお風呂に入った方がいいかしら?「もちろん! おふろは家族全員でくつろげるいい機会だよ。」と日本のババは言う。「親と子供が裸同士になるのは避けるべきだ。」と欧米の心理学者達は警告する。



Plain Talk


The Randy Reviewer

Nurturing Happy Hearts and Minds An interview with Dr. Tsuji by Randy Swank

My son recently quit his junior high basketball team after a year of trying to fit into an environment where endless drills were the rule, teammates delighted in criticizing one another and having fun was the last thing on the agenda. Needless to say, the team lost most of its games.

I was therefore excited about meeting Dr Shuichi Tsuji, a motivational trainer and sports psychologist whose philosophy is often at odds with the way Japan sees sports. He has become famous for demonstrating how sports psychology can help not only teambuilding, but personal development as well.

Born into a family of Tokyo doctors in 1961, Tsuji admits that his first love was always sport. “I played basketball for 12 years, from junior high school until I finished medical college,” he says.

After graduating from Hokkaido University, Tsuji was inspired by Hunter “Patch” Adams, the American physician who believes people’s health is affected by their quality of life. “Most doctors focus on curing the sick,” he says. “For me, though, it’s more important to work on keeping people healthy through lifestyle management and condition support.”

Determined to combine his passion for sports with a hands-on, non-academic approach to psychology, and inspired by Takehiko Inoue (the author of the best-selling basketball-themed comic Slam Dunk), Tsuji wrote a book that sold 350,000 copies. While surprised at the book’s success, he felt convinced that people were ready for his ideas.

In the West they often use positive thinking (PT) to deal with such problems, but Tsuji says it doesn’t work well for the Japanese. “According to PT, you have to turn every situation into a positive one. The problem with this approach is that it requires a lot of kiai, or fighting spirit, and eventually it drains you of mental energy and you feel exhausted,” he says. “Therefore, I have replaced this high-maintenance method with a more natural approach of ‘being here, now.’ My slogan is ‘No flow, no win,’ and it refers to the work of highly respected Hungarian psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. According to Csikszentmihalyi, people are happiest when they are in a state of flow and are so absorbed in what they are doing that they forget about everything else. In sports, we have a similar idea, what we call ‘being in the zone.’ Unfortunately, the zone is very narrow. Many people stubbornly try to reach that ideal state of mind and, when they fail, they get caught in feelings of worthlessness. So I came up with a slightly different concept which provides an easier way to reach the state of flow: gokigen.”

The word, Tsuji says, refers to a feeling of contentment. “It’s like looking always at the sunny side of things, which is something few Japanese usually manage to do,” he says, breaking into a laugh. “My job is to infuse people’s activity, be it sport, business or whatever, with a more light-hearted, positive approach. A positive-minded person is more likely to be physically healthy and have good relationships with others.”

With Tokyo set to host the Olympics in 2020, Tsuji says the country has to change its attitude to sports. “In Japan, differently from other countries, people think that sport and culture are two distinct things. Also, for most Japanese, sport equals blood, sweat and tears. I beg to differ. For me it’s fun and play, first and foremost,” he says. “My mission is to change people’s mentality and raise awareness of the role that sport plays in enriching our life.”

What’s App With You?



Flicking through the gossip magazines and seeing the images that the world portrays as beautiful, sometimes it is hard for girls to feel beautiful. Have you ever wondered why all those stars are flawless? In reality, those stars don’t really look that flawless. Even movie stars have acne, wrinkles, and just plain bad skin. They have teams of people making sure that everything looks just right through the magic of photo editing. If you are feeling down and having a hard time feeling beautiful, comparing yourself to those impossible images, why not do the same? Edit your photos like stars do and help your self-esteem, so you will realize that no one is perfect and gradually accept who you are so you can feel confident about yourself. Have fun with the features and hopefully, you will realize no human being can look perfect all the time without editing.

Venus Calendar:

If you are tired of the same old boring way of keeping schedules and tedious data entry, then Venus Calendar is for you! The app allows you to plan out your day by writing it in sketches and doodles − much like you would do to an old wall calendar. Venus Calendar is designed for simplicity and sanity. Let go of all the alerts, notifications, and oppressive schedules eschewed by traditional calendar apps, and find a new fresh way to get things done. Be creative. Express yourself. Make each day unique and different and fun. Try Venus Calendar. Because life isn’t supposed to be a time clock you punch in and out of. It is a canvas where you paint your experiences, and leave your mark.

Tokyo Voice Column


A Full Time Hands On Mom by Jennifer Nakajima

I emphasized on being a full time hands on mom because I literally am one. Raising your own children here in Japan is quite hard it demands time and effort since hiring baby sitter or helper was quite expensive and not so common to Japanese people. Hence even if I have a part time teaching job and a college student as well, I need to take my full responsibility who prefer to look after my kids and be a good wife to my husband. Although it is quite hard and need a lot of patience to do I love being a mother and I love my kids.

In the next school year after this short spring vacation, my two sons will go on to the next grade in school. And as usual we will so much busy again aside from teaching my kids to their everyday homework, attending some school meeting, programs, and other school activities that parents are required to join like enzoku and undokai.

Beyond those responsibility as a mother the technique is "Multitasking". Yes, to be able to do those Mother's love a super power multitasking is the solution. While doing some household chores I teach and guide them to their homework likewise cooking yummy foods for a dinner too.. Whenever they were asleep then its my precious time for studying and reviewing for my exams. Isn't it funny right? A full time hands on mom by the way is like a Super Mom. Yeah right, all children need and wanted those mom after all.

Once you are a parent, you have to learn to put your priorites below your children and to make sacrifice spending more of your day caring for them than you do caring for yourself. And of course, you should not neglect yourself completely but we should get accustomed to the idea of putting our child's needs first. Motherhood in Japan and wherever you are is a woman's great and incomparable work.

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love. ~Mildred B. Vermont





『フルタイムママはもっとも高尚な職業だ。なぜなら純粋な愛が報酬だからだ。ミルドレッド バーモント』

Strange but True


Wanna be a gold digger? Literally.

When Derek McLennan’s metal detector began bleeping in the middle of a field, little did he know it would set him up for life. His find − including silver bracelets, brooches, a gold ring, a Christian cross and a bird-shaped pin − was quickly revealed to be the richest collection of rare Viking artefacts ever found in the UK. Now, three years after uncovering the 10th century hoard in Dumfries and Galloway, 47-year-old Derek is set to receive a cool £1.98million. The Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, who rules on ownerless goods and property in Scotland on behalf of the Crown, has ruled the items should be handed to the National Museums Scotland for display. But the ruling says the museums must also pay Derek full market value for the find. Derek McLennan is to receive £1.9m for his ancient haul in Dumfries!

Married to a gold digger?

According to this website "Data Robot", these are the six simple questions which tell you if your relationship is doomed to fail or not. It claims it can tell if your relationship will last in just six questions. As for the questions themselves, they really weren't what most people would expect i.e. they were in no way probing or convoluted. Even better, there were no awkward ones relating to sex, or arguments, past misdeeds or ugly behaviour. It's perhaps the most straightforward compatibility test invented yet. 1.What is your relationship status? 2.How many years have you and your partner been together? 3.How old are you? How old is your partner? 4.What is the highest level of education you both completed? 5.How many children between the ages of 2 and 5 live with you? 6.On average, how many different relatives do you see each month? See? Pretty straightforward. So much so, you almost wonder how it can possibly deduce the success of your relationship...


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