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Tampa Japanese Meetup Message Board The Tampa Japanese Meetup Discussion Forum › Looking for playmates for my son (and me!)!

Looking for playmates for my son (and me!)!

Akiko B.
user 12484424
Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Post #: 12
Hi there!

My name is Akiko and am a stay home mom. I am from Tokyo but I have lived in Seattle last 10 years and moved to FL last summer. I am still adjusting to a new area...and having a hard time finding Japanese friends or people who are interested in Japanese culture around here. I have a 14 months old son and looking for playmates for my son. It would be great if you or your kids can speak Japanese or willing to learn, so my son (and me!) can keep up with his Japanese! Or anybody knows somewhere we can meet other children who are familiar with Japanese language or culture? If we can set up play-dates once a while, that would be awesome! Please let me know if anyone has any advices or looking for playmates for you kids!

Thanks.

- Akiko
A former member
Post #: 22
Hi Akiko,

Welcome to the area. I can understand the culture shock you must be going through coming from Tokyo/Seattle. Unfortunately, in this area, there aren't that many Japanese people. :-( This group does have people interested in the Japanese language or culture, but mostly no children or children older than your son. There are a couple of Japanese women in this group so maybe they can guide you.

I was born in Tokyo and also lived there while I was in junior high school, but I went to an international school. Some of my fondest memories are my time in Tokyo. My mother is 100% Japanese and my father is American. I had major culture shock when I moved to the US when I was 14.

I have one elementary school-aged daughter. Although I am interested in Japanese language and culture, and would love to meet you sometime, our children's ages don't match for a playdate.

I believe there's a Saturday Japanese school in Orlando for Japanese residents. Maybe you get in touch with them to see if they can offer advice for you and your son.

-Christine
A former member
Post #: 13
Akiko-san,

Have you ever heard of "Tampa Japanese Parents Group"? I heard about this group from my friends and I joined myself although I haven't attended any activities yet. I'm sure you'll find some Japanese mamas and kids around your neighborhood.

http://groups.yahoo.c...­

How about "World gokinjo-san"? You might already know about this site. Actually, I found some of my friends through this home page. What I like about this site is we can put keywords such as child raising, sports and cooking. Also, short comments like I have a daughter who was born in 2007, so it's easy to find friends you're looking for!

http://world.gokinjo....­


I would be glad if this information helps you.


Good luck,

Riko (^-^)­
Esther (.
Just_Esther
Group Organizer
Tampa, FL
Post #: 78
Akiko-san,

There's a lady in West Tampa who has a yahoo group for Japanese parents. You can see some more information in this message board thread.

Or you can go directly to her yahoo group (Tampabayjapaneseparents) here­.

~Esther
Cathy
user 10262012
Saint Petersburg, FL
Post #: 3
Akiko, I concur with Christine, it is very difficult to find Japanese families in our area. I live in Treasure Island, not too far from you. I can not speak Japanese (I am half) and my mother lives in Treasure Island. If you want to meet one day (weekends are best), I can make arrangements. I will keep looking in our area for you, I know of a lady in Treasure Island, but her daughter I believe is about 10 years old and she is also from Tokyo.
Akiko B.
user 12484424
Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Post #: 13
Thank you Thank you Thank you all for the great information!!! I am very pleased!

Christine-san; I am definitely going through the culture shock! That sounds fun if we can hang out someday soon! Thanks for the info about Saturday school in Orlando. We got families over there and often come visit them. so I will definitely check it!

Riko-san; Thank you for the great information!!! I really appreciate it!

Esther-san; Thank you for the great information!!! I will try to make it to the next Tsudoi meeting! Hope to see you soon.

Cathy-san; Thank you for your help! That would be awesome if we can meet you guys sometimes!

Esther (.
Just_Esther
Group Organizer
Tampa, FL
Post #: 79
Regarding the Japanese School in Orlando, it's called the Orlando Hoshuko. The November Japan Fest in Kissimmee/Orlando usually donates some of their proceeds to that school. The lady with the Yahoo group, Kiyo Jannereth, told me that there's a local group of parents who carpool over there once a month to take their children. I used to be able to locate the Hoshuko webpage, but can't find it any more. Here's what I have been able to pick up on the Internet...

A facebook "group" for the school, to aid communication on school events.
http://www.facebook.c...­

A company profile.
http://www.corporatio...­

An old (2006) Asia Trend Magazine article on the school.
http://www.asiatrendm...­

I'm going over to a J.Club meeting in Orlando this Saturday. I'll ask for more information on the school. Maybe we can get a phone number or something.

Also, you may be able to find some Japanese friends around Eckerd College. My ikebana sensei, Jeanne Houlton, lives near there (she's 100% Japanese but doesn't speak the language) and I think she's friends with some Japanese ladies who teach there. Would you be interested in taking ikebana lessons? If so, I can give you her email address.

My USF Japanese language sensei used to teach at Eckerd, so she probably lives near the Bay somewhere...her name is NOZU Mako. Nozu-sensei is friends with a Japanese lady, Hiroe Scull, who has a young boy (maybe about 4 or 5 years old?) so she might be a good contact for you. I work with her husband at USF. If you send me a message with your email address in it, I'll forward it to Jim Scull and maybe you two can connect!

My obondate tea sensei teaches at Eckerd too. I think she's Korean but she speaks a good bit of Japanese. You can check out her tea club at http://www.asiateasoc...­.

There's an elderly lady who teaches sumi-e at Treasure Island community center too. Her name is Hiroko Borish. She might have some connections for you. I would LOVE to take sumi-e from her, but it's usually in the daytime and waaaay over there by you. I have her email address if you want to contact her.

Then, you can subscribe to (or pick up if you can find it) the Keylime Newsletters. Noriko Hines is in charge of that publication. http://www.keylimenew...­ It's completely in Japanese and might help ease some homesickness and maybe help you find some more friends.
A former member
Post #: 14
Akiko-san,

I just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one with culture shock. Some of my friends moved from big cities and had the same experience. Actually, I also had a similar situation about 5 years ago, when I moved to Florida from California.

I used to live in the suburbs of San Francisco for 4 years. Since the area has many Japanese companies, it develops Japanese community very well. It was very comfortable for me to live there because I felt as if I lived in a Japanese town in the U.S.A..

Before we moved to Florida, my husband told me a few times "You can't expect similar life in Florida, it's totally different environment." However, I couldn't imagine exactly what he meant. Then, after we moved here, I felt the difference keenly. At that time, I really missed my Japanese friends. Luckily, I met some Japanese friends and they introduced me to one after another. I'm sure you'll have the same situation as me. So, please don't think this is the end of the world.

I knew that you joined the Tampabay Japanese Parents Group. I hope you'll make many friends. I look forward to seeing you at the Japanese meetup or at the Tampabay Japanese Parents Group sometime in the future!

P.S. By the way, where are you from in Tokyo? I'm just curious if your town is close to mine or not!?

Riko

Akiko B.
user 12484424
Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Post #: 14
Hello Riko-san,

Thank you so much for your reply!!! I knew it would be totally different from living in Seattle but still!!! Fist of all, it's too hot and humid at here! :) I went school and worked in Seattle so I had a quit bit of friends not only Japanese friends...I and my husband are planing to move to Japan when my son goes to school so I know we are not going to live here forever. It's for my husband side family so they can get to spend a time with my son before we move to Japan. But it's not that easy to adjust to new place!!! I just want to make the best from what I have at here!

I am on the mission finding friends for my son!!! He does not have any at this moment and I feel so bad for him. I just don't have any ideas where to look or start around here...

I look forward to seeing you as well!

I'm from Itabashi-ku(Toubunerima). How about you, Riko-san?

Akiko
A former member
Post #: 16
What a coincidence! I'm also from Itabashi-ku (Komone). Do you know where Komone is located? If you grew up in Itabashi-ku, you must have heard the name! I met many Japanese people who're from Tokyo when I lived in CA, but I couldn't find anyone from my area.

One of my friends who lives in Tampa is also from our area. When we visit in Japan at the same time, we always meet for lunch and "aka-chan cafe". Maybe, we can do something similar in the future, if you like.

Riko
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