JAPAN:  Minority Christmas

JAPAN: Minority Christmas

Christians are a minority in Japan, comprising only 1% of the population. Well, actually I’d say anyone who is “serious” about their religion is a minority here.

The Japanese, in general, have a very laid back approach to it, adding and subtracting as they see fit, often participating in a mish-mash of rites from various beliefs that can be quite surprising to the outsider.

It is often said that Japanese are born Shinto, marry as Christians, and die as Buddhists. This is referring to the popularity of the “100 Day Ceremony” held at the Shinto shrine when a baby has attained that landmark, the Christian-esque chapel weddings that are popular with young couples, and the Buddhist funerals most families choose to have.

I guess you could say they like to cover their bases in Japan.

As a result, Japan often seems to have trouble understanding why the rest of the world gets so worked up about Christmas. I wouldn’t consider myself devout, by any means, but I have found myself in an uncomfortable position many times when it is expected that I should just be okay with praying at a Shinto shrine or throwing money into the collection box at a temple. Usually, I just stand respectfully by and draw as little attention to my non-praying heathen outsiderness as possible.

The kids, though, are often forced to participate. (more…)

Melanie Oda (Japan)

If you ask Melanie Oda where she is from, she will answer "Georgia." (Unless you ask her in Japanese. Then she will say "America.") It sounds nice, and it's a one-word answer, which is what most people expect. The truth is more complex. She moved around several small towns in the south growing up. Such is life when your father is a Southern Baptist preacher of the hellfire and brimstone variety. She came to Japan in 2000 as an assistant language teacher, and has never managed to leave. She currently resides in Yokohama, on the outskirts of Tokyo (but please don't tell anyone she described it that way! Citizens of Yokohama have a lot of pride). No one is more surprised to find her here, married to a Japanese man and with two bilingual children (aged four and seven), than herself. And possibly her mother. You can read more about her misadventures in Asia on her blog, HamakkoMommy.

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Saturday Sidebar: If the world were to end tomorrow…

This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Purnima.  She asked our writers,

“What would you do today if the world ended tomorrow?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Polish Mom Photographer skype'ing with her family in Poland.

Polish Mom Photographer skype’ing with her family in Poland.

Polish Mom Photographer of California, USA writes:
“I would bake a cheesecake for myself and an apple pie for my husband. Then I would call on skype my closest family in Poland. We would turn our cameras on and we would sit, and talk until the world would end.”

Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA writes:
“My husband, my kids and I would probably be working to the very last moment to prepare a time capsule to let those who come after us know what happened and what life was like on earth when the humans were here. And we’d probably all eat a lot of ice cream along the way!”

Kirsten Doyle of Ontario, Canada writes:
“I would Skype with my mom and some other loved ones. Then I would go for a good long run. After that I would soak in a hot bubble bath drinking wine and finishing whatever book I happened to be reading. The kids would be allowed to stay up late and we would all hang out on my bed playing.”

(more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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Mothers Unite in the Face of Today’s Tragedies

“How?’ “Why?” “When will this stop?”  Today there was another school shooting, this time in Newtown, Connecticut in the USA.  Twenty children, aged 5-10, were among the 27 dead.  Also today, across the world in Chenpeng, China, there was a knife attack in China that wounded 22 children.

The hearts of our mothers around the world reach out to the parents suffering tonight over the sudden and tragic losses of their children in the USA.  Our hands reach around to China to wipe the tears from the children and parents affected by the attack there. We hope they will heal soon.

We can’t take this day away. Although, we wish we could.

World Moms Blog comes together in unity for the safety of the world’s children and to wish to ease the pain of those closest to them tonight. Please join us in prayer, positive energy, wishful thoughts, whatever it is you do. We band together tonight, for we know what it’s like to be a mother, no matter where we are, and we know the loss of a child is too great to suffer alone.

 

 

 

 

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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CANADA:  The Road to Global Awareness

CANADA: The Road to Global Awareness

Teddy Bear Picnic Fundraiser

Global awareness has been identified, by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, as key to the success of today’s young people. I have always prided myself on my commitment to raising my three young daughters to understand the challenges that people all over the world face on a daily basis. Despite my best efforts, I felt like I was failing. Of no fault of their own, given their young ages, I felt that they were slowly being swallowed up by a world driven, at times, by materialism and egocentrism. As their mom, I knew it was my responsibility to raise them as globally aware citizens. But how?

The major stumbling block at the time was their young age. How would I ever manage to teach my daughters to be empathetic when they were all under the age of 6! After much thought, I realized that the only way to accomplish this was to truly involve them in the process right from the start. So, no fancy and sophisticated fundraisers, no black tie events, no galas…but a teddy bear picnic: absolutely! (more…)

Alison Fraser

Alison Fraser is the mother of three young girls ranging in age from 5 to 9 years old. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Alison works as an Environmental Toxicologist with a human environment consulting company and is an active member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). She is also the founder and director of the Canadian Not for Profit Organization, Mom2Mom Africa, which serves to fund the school fees of children and young women in rural Tanzania. Recently recognized and awarded a "Women of Waterloo Region" award, Alison is very involved in charitable events within her community including Christmas Toy and School Backpack Drives for the local foodbank.

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GUEST POST: Returning to the Work Force As a SAHM

GUEST POST: Returning to the Work Force As a SAHM

I’m a stay-at-home-Mama (SAHM) who recently found herself a job.

Two projects, actually.  They aren’t fulltime and they don’t take me out of my son’s playroom-home office very often.  But for the first time since our son Will was born, I’m once again accountable to people who do not routinely throw spaghetti on the floor.

I love being home with our son.  I love trips to the playground and post-nap snuggles.  I love not having to schedule our daily explorations of Delhi around a 40-hour workweek.  Having done two overseas moves now, I see the value in having one parent 100% available at home–at least for the first few months–to deal with all of the challenging transitions involved.

When my husband and I decided nearly 18 months ago that I would stay home to raise our son, I thought that decision hinged simply on whether I wanted to and whether we could afford it.  I didn’t realize then that it was possible to be blissfully happy as a stay-at-home-Mama and yet so darn conflicted about it at the same time.

Parenthood is hard work whether you are staying home, going to an office or any combination thereof.  And I’ve increasingly begun to wonder, just because I’m able to opt out of the workforce and stay home fulltime, does that really mean I should? (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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