We relocated to Tokyo from New York City with our two young children in 2018. As an American family who will likely be in Japan for a finite number of years, we wanted our children to have experiences at school that would offer them the greatest exposure to Japanese culture. Of all the international schools we considered, it was clear that Japanese language and traditions are an important and authentic component of the Nishimachi curriculum.
Nishimachi is rich in Japanese tradition and the tight-knit school community is culturally diverse. Our children have friends from all corners of the globe, and their parents have become some of our closest friends in Japan. One of our favorite things about being a Nishimachi parent is the sense of camaraderie amongst parents, both when we casually see each other at drop-off/pick-up each day, and as we celebrate events throughout the year. Nishimachi feels like a small neighborhood school and we love the proximity to our home and having the chance to be on-campus with other parents to volunteer or participate in fun school activities such as Food Fair, Omochitsuki, and Setsubun.
Our children have embraced many new experiences at school. Our son was introduced to taiko (Japanese drums) as an after-school activity while he was in Kindergarten. His interest has grown into a full-blown passion for taiko (and his legendary teacher, Moko-sensei!) Taiko has been one of the highlights of his Nishimachi experience. He loves to practice with other students and looks forward to performing at Food Fair and other school events.
While we could never have anticipated that our choice of school would be an important factor during a global pandemic, we feel very lucky that we selected Nishimachi for our children. Being small in size has enabled school leadership to be nimble during this unprecedented time. We feel they have made thoughtful decisions to prioritize young learners and keep students healthy, safe and on campus as much as possible. While it has been a challenging year for all schools, we are really excited to once again enjoy all of the school events that made our first two years so memorable.