Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Before And The After

First off, let me admit something. Before we left for the States, Bailey spoke Japanese and pretty much only Japanese. Who could blame him? His friends are Japanese. He watches Japanese TV (for the most part). And, while he prefers to be read to in English, it seemed that he preferred expressing himself in Japanese. With talk of moving back to the States in about a year's time, I was worried to say the least. How would Bailey fair in a kindergarten full of English speakers?

On the airplane from Tokyo, the flight attendants spoke to Bailey in English, but his answers always came in Japanese (much the same as it had been when I spoke to him in English back before our trip). The first week was much like that, actually. I can't count the number of times I had to translate so that people could understand him. It was like we were watching the all-Japanese-all-the-time network.

Then, it became Japanese- Japanese-English-Japanese-Japanese. And, slowly it evolved to the point of full length English sentences and it has stayed that way for the last few days despite our return to Japan.

I am sure that when he goes back to pre-school in about a week that the reverse will happen until he is back on the all-Japanese-all-the-time network again, but at least I will feel better knowing that the seeds of English are there somewhere, just waiting for the next big thaw.


tAnYeTTa said...

stopping by to say hello! i think it's really neat that he speaks two languages!:)

chelle said...

Welcome Back!

Totally cool that he is bilingual!

Midori said...

Good to see you blogging again. Will send you an e-mail with my new blog address later. The bilingual thing is amazing isn't it? Joey is currently going the other way and not using Japanese at all but whenever he is with Japanese kids, he switches again and it is amazing to see. (although at his age, there isn't really much use of either language but you know what I mean...)

kuri & ping said...

Trisha, thanks so much for leaving a comment on my blog! I loved reading your original and the design is fabulous! Looking forward to reading more!

Sarah said...

We made a decision before our kids were born that we would try our best to speak mostly English in our home since they were going to get Japanese everywhere else. I do find that when Emi & Misaki come home from school they speak in Japanese for about an hour and then it wears off and they go back to English for the rest of the evening interjecting Japanese only they don't know the English word (vocabulary they learned at school, etc). The older three speak both languages fluently and switch back and forth depending on who they're talking to. At our church there are two other bi-racial families (like us) and my girls speak English with their kids if they are playing alone but as soon as another Japanese-speaking child comes along they all switch to Japanese so they can include the other child. I'm pretty impressed with their ability and also relieved because when we go home to Canada for a visit they can play with their cousins without any language hinderances.

I have also spent some time (not recently, though) teaching the kids how to write their ABC's and some phonics but I realized this year that I need to be more consistent with Emi so she can keep up with a 1st grade level in reading and writing.