Call for ‘Stories’: Raising Bilingual/Bicultural Children

Building on the success of last year’s family-inclusive My Share Maikawa Mountain Retreat, we are planning another East Shikoku JALT autumn retreat in the same location on the weekend of October 24th.

At this year’s event, we will gather to share stories about raising bilingual/bicultural children. What language choices and parenting strategies do parents of so-called ‘hafu’ children make? What are the issues, concerns, and challenges of parents of such children? What language and cultural issues do our ‘hafu’ children face? What educational opportunities are available to bilingual kids in rural areas like ours with no access to international schools? What can we learn from each other as language teachers and parents? How do Japanese parents nurture or maintain bilingualism in their families? What are the language/cultural hurdles when both parents are non-Japanese? And there are broader questions to consider as well, such as what it really means to be bilingual or bicultural, and what to make of labels like ‘hafu’.

There is exceptional variation and richness of experience in the way parents deal with these and other questions about raising bilingual/bicultural children. Coming together in a relaxed, natural environment like Maikawa to share our successes (and failures) will offer us the chance to learn from each other.

Anyone who would like to share their story, or come and hear the stories of others, is most welcome to attend.

If you want to share your story, we ask that you contact us by Friday, October 9th. No title or details are necessary, just an expression of interest to contribute by sharing your story. We are planning a relaxed round table format, depending on the number of people who wish to share stories. In keeping with our informal aims for this event, we will not use a presentation-driven format.

Additional information:

Our shared stories event will be followed by dinner and refreshments. Saturday dinner and drinks will be provided (cost will be about 500 yen per person). We will have a BBQ as well. There are no other costs for this event.

For those who want to stay the night, East Shikoku JALT will book and cover the cost of the large cabins at Maikawa on Saturday night, and there is also a large area for tents that we can use for free. Bring a sleeping bag and breakfast for Sunday if you plan to stay the night. Stoves, cookware, and camp utensils will be available.

To extend our stories and conversations into the evening, we are planning an evening screening of the film, Hafu – The Mixed-Race Experience.

Family members are most welcome!
Here are some photos from the web of the Maikawa cabins and schoolhouse:
Photos from last year’s ESJALT My Share poster session at Maikawa can be found here:
To express interest in participating (sharing your story), and to let us know if you will be able to stay for dinner and/or spend the night, please contact:

Darren Lingley:
Paul Daniels:


Our Shared Stories: Raising Bilingual/Bicultural Children
Date: October 24th, 2015
Time: 3:00 – 5:00
Location: Maikawa, Konan, Kochi, in the old schoolhouse. Maikawa pin here:


  • Darren Lingley, Kochi University
  • Paul Daniels, Kochi University of Technology
  • Gordon Bateson, Kochi University of Technology
  • Michael Sharpe, Kochi University
  • Daniel Ribble, Kochi University
  • Maiko Ogasawara, Naruto University of Education
  • Gerard Marchesseau, Naruto University of Education


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