We decided to start this blog because we were looking for something like it before we came and didn't find it. So here goes: We came to Kyoto from the US with three kids: E-9 yrs old, J-5 years old and S-almost 3. This blog will be to document our adventures and misadventures as well as to try to offer some useful information for people who want to do something similarly crazy. Since this is the first post, I'll focus on getting set up. (It'll get a little long.)
We found a house in north Kyoto by the Kitano shrine, signed up for foreigner registration cards, and then for national health insurance. We thought about what to do about school and decided on Japanese public school for the oldest. This was in part a financial decision, the costs of international school were prohibitive, but we also considered home school. Finally we thought that socialization would be best through public school, plus we hoped that he would pick up the language. The other two will be going to a part-time daycare: "ichi-ji hoiku." This should let them go three times a week in the morning. The only problem is that it is dependent on availability.
We furnished the place with stuff mostly from recycle shops. We did get a few things from sayonara sales, but ended finding that decent deals could be found at the recycle shops and they delivered for a reasonable rate. One of our first priorities was to get bikes for everyone. Mom got a decent 3 seater from Eirin, a used bike chain. It is good but has no gears, thinking back it might have been worth it to just spring for a new one with gears, but that would run about 4-50,000 yen. Dad only has one kid seat on a regular used bike also from Eirin- had to get the seat new though. We had hoped to find used kids bikes, but no luck. We ended up getting the two oldest new bikes at Conan, a hardware type store. Bikes gave us the mobility we needed though, as public transportation isn't that convenient in Kyoto. We have used taxis and the subways, but bikes are best. Anyway, that is it for today.