We have always been interested in knowing why foreigners come to Japan, their experiences and what drives them to stay or leave…
We held an interview with Machela, an independent mother from Jamaica living in Nagoya, who has been staying with us at JCM Rental. We were interested in finding out about her experiences and to see if she has any advice for other parents living here in Japan.
– Hi Machela! First of all can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your life here in Japan?
Hi! My name is Machela Osagboro and I am from Jamaica. I am an assistant teacher here in Nagoya. I have lived in Japan for 3 years and 8 months and I’ve been living with JCM in Nagoya for 1 year and 6 months. I live here with my son, Kae, who is two years old. He goes to a private nursery close to Nagoya station which is easily accessible by train from my home in Nakamura Koen.
– How has your experience in Japan been overall?
Overall it has been great! I have really enjoyed my time and experience here. Although it was tough having a child in a country with such a different culture! Thats when I realised I really needed help with things like finding a daycare centre and a good home. JCM has really helped me with everything there.
– How do you find the daycare system here?
Actually, I wanted him to go to a public daycare centre where he would have had more of a structured plan and curriculum as well as being able to wear a uniform. However the private school is very understanding and able to help me at any time which is really convenient because of my hectic work times which change often.
– What languages are Kae exposed to?
I communicate with him in English, however his school environment is totally Japanese. So sometimes he speaks Japanese and other times English. I think going to a public school would have benefited his language skills a lot more as the structure would have been better. So I can see that sometimes he struggles a little and becomes confused with other children.
– What kind of things do you do together when you are not working?
All sorts! We go to the park. There’s a pool nearby we love to visit often. Other than that we spend time at home and I teach him a lot of different things myself and keep him productive.
– What kind of challenges have you found being a single mum here in Japan?
Being a single mum in Japan can be very challenging and isolating. You have to be resourceful as it’s very difficult to find help. I cannot rely on family for example and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming. Luckily there are services and groups that can help. For example theres a group of mothers that occasionally meet up who can provide support.
– Can you give some sort of advice to someone coming to Japan who may be in a similar situation to you?
My advice would be to be resilient and flexible. It can be hard to find support so you need to find a network. JCM has helped me a lot and I don’t think I would be here anymore if not for them. They are totally understanding of my situation and made it very easy for me to find a home which is so important as a mother especially. So having a solid home base is really important to find.
– Where do you see yourself in a few years from now?
I would like to finish my post graduate degree. That was one of my original reasons for coming to Japan, to save for studies but that obviously got delayed after having Kai. I think nonetheless, education is very important and although my studies have been delayed I will definitely aim to finish them.
I would also like to find a base or settle somewhere but I do not know where that is yet…
– Finally, Kae, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Thank you to Machela and Kae for this wonderful interview and her insights into life here in Nagoya! Good on you and best of luck with everything!