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News NYT on Japan’s working mothers

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Another interesting insight into Japanese society: according to the NYT not much has changed in the past few decades in terms of gender roles. I want to believe that things aren’t as bleak as described here, especially among the young generation of parents.

Very impressive imagery!
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23 Dec 2010
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Well, not the usual biz life, but my wife and I as uni teachers generally had flexible schedules and certainly no evening overtime (thru the 90s and 2000s). Occasional weekend work and some other similar things.

For us, for the daycare we used, the notebooks passed back and forth were only partially data driven (times things happened, etc.), The more important part were the stories/reports/descriptions of what happened or what they did at home or at daycare. This record was especially insightful and eye-opening to one daughter (who is now a mother has read thru her whole daycare life)--to see what we and she were experiencing then. The good and the bad, her development there over the years, and so on.

For all the angst about how tough it is, this daughter got a year off from work at about half pay (in biz, not teaching), and got the same job back afterwards. She's due again, and is planning to do the same thing, again. That's unheard of in the states.

Daycare/保育園 in japan is a huge bargain, even more so when you have two going simultaneously (hint: it's not double, but costs about the same). I've heard that a week of daycare in the US can easily cost more than a month's worth in Japan--and two kids cost twice as much.


Freelance proofreader
26 Sep 2015
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I don't have any figures to back this up but I think things have got better with young families. I see a lot of men dropping off kids at the local nursery, I'm no longer the only father who helps out on getting the children organised to walk to school together in the mornings, and about 5 years ago I remember going to a party held by a Japanese couple in their 30s where the husband was changing their toddler's nappy while the wife was socialising and nobody batted an eyelid. I'd be interested to hear other long termers' impressions.

Regarding recording everything at nursery/school, my experience is similar to JohnnyG's, where we were only asked to record relevant stuff when my sons were at nursery, and at their elementary school, the only thing necessary to sign each day is their reading record. There are stupid archaic habits such as having to sit in a room every two months to collect the fees for the boys' football club paid in cash in an envelope when a standing order would free up
an enormous amount of time, but the article seemed to make out that things are a lot worse than they really are.

And as JohnnyG says, childcare is affordable here. We were lucky enough to get our boys into a ward-run nursery, which was excellent and only about 3 man a month despite both me and my wife working full time so having a reasonable family income, which is a fraction of what it would have cost in Britain.
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