The Blackburn family on Yokohama life: “Welcoming school community, safe environment, and culturally diverse”

By on April 7, 2014

The Blackburn family
Time in Japan                    3 years
Where from                        Australia

The Blackburns are from Melbourne and came to Japan on work assignment. The couple who first met in Australia, are raising their 8-year old daughter and a 6-year old son in Yokohama.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the quality of life in Yokohama?

Cost of living                                8
Education                                    10
Childcare / safety                     10
Healthcare                                    7
Taxes                              (not sure)
Community support                10
Transportation                         10
Social life                                    10
Housing                                      10

Why Yokohama?  We chose to live in Yokohama because of the international schooling options and we hoped that it wouldn’t be as busy as in Tokyo. How does living here compare to Australia? Living in Japan constantly offers our family new exciting adventures. We are able to explore a new culture, eat different foods than Australia and offer us a safe environment.
Due to the advanced public transport Japan offers, we are able to easily access areas of Japan. Whereas In Australia, many places are long distances and only accessible by car, which makes weekend travel hard at times.
What was the biggest change since being in Yokohama? Living in a metropolis. The large cities have allowed us to have many options (shopping, sightseeing, eating venues, leisure time). Any adjustments to make when you first arrived here? Being able to source and locate different food options which we were used to from Australia. We have been able to source most things we enjoy, if not we have found substitutes.What do you enjoy doing in Yokohama? Being part of a community in a big city….the school, work.  Any favourite hangout in the area? Yamashita park/Negishi Park – taking strolls on weekend; letting the children ride their bikes around the neighbourhood
How has the school helped in adjusting to family life here?  The school, Saint Maur has been an amazing support to us settling comfortably in Yokohama. The teachers/friendship support have enabled my children to settle quickly and comfortably. As a working parent, knowing that the children feel safe and happy in their school environment has made a great impact on us.
When we first arrived, I also attended many of the schools’ “Adult Enrichment Classes’ which they host during school hours which is extremely valuable in making friends and becoming part of the school’s community.
What  three things about Yokohama life do you appreciate the most and why?
1.School community – friendship, support groups, being part of a multi-culture environment. A welcoming environment
2. Safety – Yokohama has offered our family a safe environment for all the family.
3. Diversity – people/food/culture
If you can change one thing here that will make family life better, what would it be?
Speak the language – which would result in easier access to medical needs, shopping and other family needs.
If you could bring back a piece of Japan to your home country, what would it be?
The level of respect the Japanese have of people and belongings.

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