The most important decision in preparation for our move to Japan was choosing a school for our children, ages five and nine.
Ideally, the school would be centrally located and would be in a small community with a great deal of parent involvement.
We found this in Nishimachi and decided to apply.
For us, the application process was pretty straightforward even with time constraints, since we started the research and application process far later than we should have.
From the very start, Nishimachi staff answered our many questions in a very timely manner and made themselves available for a tour of the school during our look-see trip, even though the school was closed during summer vacation. This really put our minds at ease.
We were a little nervous prior to the admission interview, which happened over Skype since the kids couldn’t travel to Japan at the time, but from the very start of the call the Elementary School principal made us and the kids feel super comfortable.
The turnaround time for their response was sooner than we expected, which allowed us to focus our attention on other aspects of the move.
Our “buddy” family was incredibly welcoming and provided us with tons of information and resources we needed in order to start our lives here.
Due to the work arrangement, we could only make the move to Tokyo after the new school year had already started.
Sadly, we missed all the activities that happened prior to the first day and the kids started a few days after. They didn’t have a chance to meet their new classmates, so the first day of school for them was filled with anxiety, naturally. And for us, too, since we didn’t know how the kids were going to react to the change.
We half-jokingly say that the transition to a new country was much easier on the kids than it was on us adults and that’s thanks to the teachers and students at Nishimachi.
Our children’s classmates and teachers were eager to welcome them and really made them feel at home.
We had their support during the most difficult times at the beginning and were given the chance to pass it forward by welcoming another student who started right after the holidays.
There are plenty of opportunities to become involved with the school and we feel comfortable to contribute as much or as little time as we can afford at a given moment.
Lines of communication abound and are always open. Seesaw allows us to take a peek into the kids’ day I can reach out to the teachers without having to look through the directory.
Overall Nishimachi is a great fit for our family and we are very happy here.