14 Sep, 2018
10 : 00
In our family profile this week we talk to the Shiozuka Family: Mum Rieko, Dad Hiroshi, and children Yuji and Risae.
Please introduce yourselves
Hiroshi: We are the Shiozukas, from Tokyo, Japan. Rieko and I met in 1991 at our first jobs at Canon – where I have been working ever since. In 1998, I was asked to relocate to Paris, and I wasn’t able to go with Rieko unless we married, so we did! After two years in Paris, we spent two years in Amsterdam. While we were there, we had two children – our daughter, Erina, who is still in Japan, and our son Yuji who has just started Year 12 here. Our little girl, Risae, has just started in Year 5. I moved to Beijing in March and, in July, Rieko came out here with Yuji and Risae.
What are you most enjoying about Beijing so far?
Hiroshi: We have been fascinated by the culture here, especially learning more about the Chinese influences on Japanese culture. There are similarities in our written language and food too. We have enjoyed exploring the food scene here a lot. After this interview I’m going to have my first hot pot!
Rieko: It is our first time ever in Beijing, so everything is very new and we’re still finding our feet, but we’ve enjoyed seeing some of the famous sites, and I have taken up Chinese language lessons. I’ve also been in touch with some Japanese parents from YCIS Beijing who have been very friendly and supportive.
What do you miss the most from home?
Hiroshi: We miss our eldest daughter very much, and we both miss our mothers who are growing old now.
Rieko: Over Chinese New Year, I’m going back to Tokyo to support Erina with her university entrance exams. I can’t wait to see her… and find out if she has been working hard enough!
What do you hope to bring home with you from this experience?
Hiroshi: Language skill is the most important thing for our children. Yuji is taking part of his IB Diploma in English, which will certainly be a challenge but I am confident he’ll get the support he needs. Risae will be learning English and Chinese. If she can develop these languages, it will be a skill for life!
I also hope that this international education will help them become more global in their outlook, and to communicate with people from around the world. This is why we chose YCIS Beijing rather than the Japanese school.
Rieko: I’d like to learn to cook some Chinese dishes! When we were in Paris, I learned to cook French food which we have loved ever since.
Why did you choose YCIS Beijing?
Hiroshi: We had to think carefully about the options for our children. It made sense for Risae to come with us as she’s still young, but Yuji is obviously at a critical stage in his education and will need to prepare for university applications. Still, we gave him the choice to board at a school in Japan or move with us – and he chose to move!
I did a lot of research online, and spoke to friends at the Japanese Embassy who confirmed that YCIS Beijing was a very strong school. We liked the size of the school (not too big) and the central location is very convenient. We also needed Yuji to sit the IB Diploma so that he could apply to universities worldwide.
The deciding factor was our experience with the Admissions Department who were incredibly responsive, helpful and kind. This was so welcome.
Is there anything that has surprised you about living here? Anything you didn’t expect?
Hiroshi: The traffic! It’s even worse than Tokyo! But we have had some pleasant surprises too. All the Chinese locals have been very kind and gentle. We especially love how caring they are towards Risae.
Rieko: We have also been amazed by the variety and freshness of the fruit and vegetables here. Going to the market has become one of our favourite pastimes!
[To Yuji] What subjects are you enjoying the most so far?
Definitely maths. When I was younger I had Kumon tuition after school (which focuses on maths and calculation), and it’s always been my strongest subjects. I’d love to study maths at university.
[To Yuji] What has been the most difficult thing about moving?
The language. This has been especially hard in maths where I don’t know a lot of the subject-specific vocabulary.
[To Risae] What has been the best thing about YCIS Beijing so far?
P.E. I really love dodgeball. I have also made some new friends already!
[To Risae] What would you like to be when you grow up?
I’d like to be a beautician. My best friend back at home also wants to be a beautician, and we plan to set up a business together!
We warmly welcome the Shiozuka family to Beijing, and wish theirchildren the best of luck for the journey ahead.