Blog

Our Tokyo Mothers Group Blog - a joint effort between Stephanie Kawai (TMG Director), Carmela Fleury (Life Coach and Yin Yoga Instructor), Jocelyn Saito (TMG Coordinator), and Bex Kelly (Yoga Instructor).  Together, we hope to provide our members with more vaule and inspiration!

view:  full / summary

TMG Mums Spotlight - Kate Sikora

Posted by tokyomothersgroup on July 2, 2019 at 2:50 AM Comments comments (2)

For July, we present Kate Sikora!  Kate has been in Tokyo, for the most part, since 2005 with a few years back and forth to her home state, New Jersey. Coming to Japan on a whim, she has continued to follow her passions for writing and playing music and teaching, and she became a mum in 2014. Kate plays with her band pretty regularly and also teaches kindergarten full time. She occasionally gets to do voice work and also creates music for commercials. 



1. In one sentence, how would your closest friends describe you?


They tell me that I’m a positive, silly, and idealistic person who loves to be social but also enjoys quiet introspection. I think it’s pretty spot on!



2. What is your family weekend ritual?

Most weekends, we clean our apartment and then head to a pool or park, and sometimes, the library. Almost every Sunday night, we go to our favorite izakaiya followed by gelato at another favorite local spot. My husband and I have been going to the same izakaiya since we first started dating 14 years ago.



3. Whats your no.1 top trick for getting through a hard Mum day?

I love listening to podcasts and music on the way to and from work. It’s the only time that I have to myself most days. I go to a yoga class on Sunday mornings followed by a coffee and journal writing or chatting with other yogis from class. It makes me feel like a human being after working with kids all week at work and momming the rest of the time.



4. What gets you up each day?

Coffee, family and music.



5. What keeps you up at night?

Thinking about my family overseas. I go back at least once a year for about a month but I miss all of the special occasions and every day ordinary stuff too. My parents are healthy, but I worry about them constantly.



6. How has TMG helped you?

It’s just so wonderful to be a part of this community. Any time I’ve had a question about raising children in Japan, there are other Tokyo moms there to help me out.



7. What challenges or benefits do you face being a parent in Tokyo?

I asked my husband to help me with this one and he said, “You have a shy but good looking husband.” I’m not sure if that’s a challenge or a benefit! Honestly though, I didn’t think I would carve out a life in Japan when I first came here 14 years ago. I’ve learned so much, but I still struggle to communicate every single day whether I’m talking to the hoikuen teacher, trying to make a doctor’s appointment, or chatting with the neighbors. It’s exhausting. I have a beautiful life here, I create music, I teach, I have great friends, a shy and good looking husband, and a daughter who amazes me every day. Life is good.



8. Anything else you'd like to share...

It’s hard to keep going with passions (that can use up my income and time) but I think it’s so important for my daughter to see me creating music. I put out a new album, “The Days We Hold Onto,” in November 2018 and I play gigs with my band around Tokyo at least once a month. You can check it out here: www.bandcamp.com/katesikora

Facebook: www.facebook.com/katesikoramusic

Instagram: k8sikora

TMG Mums Spotlight - Corin Kanazawa

Posted by tokyomothersgroup on June 5, 2019 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (1)

We are already into June (how fast is this year going?!) and it's time for our next TMG Mums Spotlight - Corin Kanazawa!  Corin is a South-African born, Australian from Melbourne. She's a personal stylist and mum of 3 (2 girls 11 and 9, and a 5 yr old boy.) 


1. In one sentence, how would your closest friends describe you?

Fun, honest, good for a laugh, loyal.



2. What is your family weekend ritual?

Saturdays are busy with the kids extra extra curricular activities and Sundays are family days usually spent at a local park where we picnic and play. In summer we drive out to the beach, usually the Hayama area where we used to live.



3. Whats your no.1 top trick for getting through a hard Mum day?

Other than wine? 

Chatting with empathetic friends, leaving the house in a mess and taking the kids out for dinner and making “me time” after the kids go to bed to decompress.



4. What gets you up each day?

My alarm clock, AKA my 5 year old.



5. What keeps you up at night?

Housework! Also a social media addiction...



6. How has TMG helped you?

When we moved back to Tokyo from Akita with our 3 kids, TMG was a great resource for kids’ activities, events and general help for living in Tokyo with kids.



7. What challenges or benefits do you face being a parent in Tokyo?

Lack of space and overcrowding is certainly challenging for a family of 5. There’s always something to do though, tons of events and activities.



8. Anything else you'd like to share...

It’s hard not to be inspired by fashion and design living in Tokyo and I really started missing working in fashion (I worked for Louis Vuitton and various boutiques in Melbourne). I started off writing a monthly fashion article for a parenting blog and suddenly got requests for personal styling work, so I decided to give it a go!


I’ve been overwhelmed by the response and feedback from the Tokyo community. I love helping women achieve their best, boosting confidence and joy through personal style. When you look good, you feel good! Tokyo can be a challenging place to navigate stores and find a look that works for you. My job is smoothing out that process for clients while offering honest and refreshing styling advice.


You can find me on Facebook

www.facebook.com/corinstylist/


And Instagram

www.instagram.com/corinstylist/?hl=en



TMG Mums Spotlight - Katie Sudo

Posted by tokyomothersgroup on May 1, 2019 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

It's May the 1st 2019 in Japan and that means it's the start of the Reiwa - a new Era with a new Emperor!  What a great time for our next TMG Mums Spotlight entry!

Today, we interview Katie Sudo, one of the driving forces behind the fantastic Roppongi Cooperatve - a great meeting spot/playgroup for parents in Tokyo.  

https://roppongiplaygroup.wordpress.com


1. In one sentence, how would your closest friends describe you?

“You seek the good in every situation, have contagious positivity, stand up for yourself, are passionate and kind and selfless”. I’m quoting here! A friend recently told me of my “superpowers” while doing an exercise for her business school program. It left me stunned, reflective, and very grateful to be around such uplifting people.


2. What is your family weekend ritual?

Saturday mornings before my kids wake up, I slip out the door to teach. After class, I usually treat myself to lunch then meet up with my family in one of our neighborhood pocket parks. Sundays my husband makes eggs or pancakes, and we either take the kids to Komabapark or wander around Shimokitazawa. No trains or buses on Sundays. We keep it local.


3. What’s your no.1 top trick for getting through a hard Mum day?

Meiji chocolate covered almonds.


4. What gets you up each day?

My alarm. My days go smoother if I can shower, have my first cup of tea and listen to a podcast before anybody else is awake. My husband has always worked long hours and I’ve always enjoyed having my own time- reading books in cafes, window shopping, doing osampo after work- so it’s hard to have people (especially the kiddos) around me all the time. One hour by myself in the morning makes a huge difference.


5. What keeps you up at night?

Emails. Project planning. On the days I don’t fall asleep on the futon with my kids, that is. All day I brainstorm, get inspiration, and try to find a moment to scribble it down or type it up before I forget and it floats away.


6. How has TMG helped you?

TMG gives me on the ground, live, immediate, local information. Seriously- it’s a news source for me. How’re the crowds at the museum today? Did you hear this train is delayed? If you go to this exhibition, there’s a changing table on the third floor bathroom. Many things seem trivial unless you have a child in tow. And TMG members get that and are always willing to provide tips and info.


7. What challenges or benefits do you face being a parent in Tokyo?

So many places to go, people to see, things to do- all without a car! As much as I hate a Shibuya transfer with a stroller, nothing beats the cityscape from a JR line. I haven’t been behind the wheel in over a decade. I’m raising my kids to be train otaku!


8. Anything else you'd like to share...

Tokyo is an amazing city which attracts so many interesting, energetic, and diverse people and those of us in the international community have such varied and serendipitous circumstances for being here. Everything and nothing seems “normal” about raising a child, so raising my kids in the international community feels very freeing because each family’s standard is so different. We are piecing together our family and our story and surrounding ourselves by people who make us feel good and valued. Thanks to TMG for helping us all connect!


TMG Mums Spotlight

Posted by tokyomothersgroup on February 26, 2019 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (1)

For this post, we have chosen to interview our own Jocelyn Saito!  Jocelyn has been living in Japan for 3 years. She is originally from Seattle, USA but lived in San Francisco for most of her adult life. She runs an active blog, www.mymotherhoodtokyo.com, where she posts on a range of topics surrounding motherhood in Japan. She's also on YouTube and Instagram as My Motherhood Tokyo!


1. In one sentence, how would your closest friends describe you?

While completing my Master's in Education in San Francisco, I had a university professor tell me I am like a willow tree. A place where all my students could come to find shelter and protection from life's difficulties. I think my closest friends would agree with that statement. But, I think they would also say that willow tree has a lot of strong opinions so be make sure you are prepared for some honest advice when taking shelter under it's branches!


2. What is your family weekend ritual?

One word...pancakes. The weekend isn't complete without pancakes.


3. Whats your no.1 top trick for getting through a hard Mum day?

Complaining to anyone who will listen! I know this sounds like dwelling on the negative to some, but as soon as I have a nice long chat/rant to someone (usually my mom!) I feel released from all that was bothering me. If my mom or one of my mom friends isn't available, then journaling does the trick nicely too.


4. What gets you up each day?

My 15 month old son of course! But, also the opportunity each new day has. As a stay at home mom of just one young child, I have the freedom right to go adventuring around Tokyo with little one in tow. I know the time constrictions of school pick up, club activities etc. are coming so I'm trying to enjoy this stage!


5. What keeps you up at night?

My son's uncanny knack for waking up JUST as I am about to close my eyes. Anyone else??


6. How has TMG helped you?

Where do I begin? TMG (and TPG!) are truly my most used resources as a mother in Tokyo. This is where I met most of my mom friends and also where I find recommendations for all sorts of things, from crib sheets to pediatricians. As a coordinator for both of these groups, it's also helped given me a sense of purpose that can sometimes be difficult to find as a stay at home mom.


7. What challenges or benefits do you face being a parent in Tokyo?

I'm not sure I ever thought I would be a stay at home mom, and yet here I am living in Japan and doing just that. The longer I do it, the more I realize how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to be there for my son every day. Living in Japan (versus the US, where I am from) has allowed me to be more comfortable in this role than I might be elsewhere. Scroll through my YouTube uploads and you will find a couple of videos on the challenges and benefits of living in Tokyo as well!


8. Anything else you'd like to share...

Thank you Stephanie for all that you do! None of this would be possible without your hard work and dedication to this community!



TMG Mums Spotlight

Posted by tokyomothersgroup on February 12, 2019 at 5:35 AM Comments comments (0)

For our next TMG Mums Spotlight post, we bring to you Carmela Fleury! Carmela is a Certified Martha Beck Lifecoach, a Certified Holistic Health Coach, a Yin Yoga teacher (studying towards the Insight Yoga Certification with Sarah Powers), and the Village Crazy Mama. She is passionate about raising happy and healthy humans and currently leads “Raising Happy & Healthy Mamas” retreats worldwide. This, along with avoiding doing laundry, has been her specialty since 2011.


1. In one sentence, how would your closest friends describe you?

I really should just ask my closest friends but instead I’ll just give the feedback I recently got from a public speaking coach, “Carmela, I have to admit: this was the most chaotic, disruptive, unorganized and unrehearsed speech I’ve seen AND it was also one of the most authentic I’ve seen.”

I guess that’s me in one sentence.


2. What is your family weekend ritual?

It’s chaotic, disruptive, unorganized and unrehearsed. =) So it really varies. But we try to involves some sort of activity in nature, i.e. beach.


3. What’s your no.1 top trick for getting through a hard Mum day?

Ridiculous amounts of ipad time. And/or blowing a fuse, apologizing, giving hugs, and starting again. Letting my kids see that mama is a human being with emotions too.

Also, self-care does the trick and helps avoid blowing a fuse. After 8 hours straight alone with my kids, I’m no longer a great mom, so asking for help helps.

Otherwise wine and chocolate have anti-oxidants. You’re welcome.


4. What gets you up each day?

Having to change my son’s peed sheets. Or my daughter’s cuddles. She gives the best hugs.


5. What keeps you up at night?

My husband. No, not in that way. We are currently living between Tokyo and Bali so we stay up to discuss calendars. Who is doing what when. You know, sexy stuff like that.


6. How has TMG helped you?

It has helped me meet some of the coolest mamas I know.


7. What challenges or benefits do you face being a parent in Tokyo?

The benefits of being a parent in Tokyo is that it is a clean, safe, efficient, and kid-friendly city.

Challenges, my kids are… uhm how do I put this nicely? They are a hurricane of energy, especially compared to well behaved Japanese kids.

So, I find it challenging taking them to public places like stores, subway, supermarket, restaurants, without wanting to give them horse tranquilizers.


8. Anything else you'd like to share...

Thanks Stephanie for doing all of what you do. Our lives in Tokyo would look very different without you.


 






TMG Mums Spotlight

Posted by tokyomothersgroup on January 24, 2019 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (0)

For our second instalment of TMG Mums Spotlight, we bring to you Katie Sextone!  Katie is a full time working mother of two boys. She keeps herself active and fit with sports; namely skiing, yoga and cycling. She manages to juggle her family life and professional life as well as keeping her health and wellness in check. On top of all this, she’s warm, full of positive energy, and a very down to earth person.


1. In one sentence, how would your closest friends describe you?


Quietly determined and a lover of excel!


2. What is your family weekend ritual?


To exercise as a family; football, skiing or running depending on the season!


3. Whats your no.1 top trick for getting through a hard Mum day?


Take a step back. Everyone has a hard day. If that fails, a good rant to my mum!


4. What gets you up each day?


My alarm. I long for a lie in.


5. What keeps you up at night?


TBH very little, but if one of my boys are upset I don’t like not being able to ‘fix’ it.


6. How has TMG helped you?


When my kids were born, TMG was invaluable as a way to meet other parents and share new parent questions.


7. What challenges or benefits do you face being a parent in Tokyo?


Challenges: a) language. I feel there is a lot of support and options that I’m unable to avail myself of due to my lack of Japanese. b) family. Missing family when you have your own is very hard. 


Benefits. a) Tokyo is so kid friendly, lots of parks and play centres and affordable museums. b) Safety. My 8 year old can take himself too and from school on the bus! c) cultural awareness. Innate understanding of different cultures, countries and customs is something only possible when living in a foreign country


8. Anything else you'd like to share.


Being a working parent enables me to be the parent I want to be. I can exercise the ‘need to control’ element of my personality through work and give my children the freedom to be their own people.




TMG Mums Spotlight

Posted by tokyomothersgroup on January 6, 2019 at 5:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Welcome everyone to the start of our new Tokyo Mothers Group blog!  It's been many years since we last had a blog for our members to enjoy and get value from.

We will be starting with TMG Mums Spotlight, where we'll be interviewing different women in our TMG network - many of whom you may have already heard of through their work and support that we are all in this motherhood journey together in Tokyo!

For our first instalment, we present to you Bex Kelly - a popular Tokyo-based Yoga instructor and mother of 2!



1. In one sentence, how would your closest friends describe you?


I felt compelled to ask them instead of putting words in their mouth! They said: Warm, compassionate and highly optimistic.


2. What is your family weekend ritual?


We take it in turns to wake up with our 2.5yr daughter at 6.30am, and usually by 9am we all have cabin fever and ready to get out.

We love going for family breakfast at BluJam Daikanyama, Mercer Brunch Roppongi or No.4 Cafe in Ichigaya. We love a good breakfast since a trip Australia a few years ago... Aussies do it best!

For everyone’s sanity, my husband and I usually take it in turns to do something for ourselves. My husbands goes for a run and sometimes takes an hour to call friends back home, read or journal. I typically like to get to Deus Ex Machina coffee shop for yoga class on Sunday mornings.


3. Whats your no.1 top trick for getting through a hard Mum day?


Ask for support. There’s never a hard day that I don’t text a friend and get a chat in. For me, sharing and chatting out the hard stuff is the ultimate release of tension.


4. What gets you up each day?


Gratitude for the fortunate healthy life I’m living


5. What keeps you up at night?


I get really excited and inspired about how to motivate other mothers to feel their best. I sometimes have a brainwave idea for an event, a yoga flow, or a nice meditation and I need to scrawl it down in the middle of the night.


6. How has TMG helped you?


When I’m at a complete loss, I’ve often asked for advice on TMG. I also met some of my first friends in Japan within the group. I’m a believer in mothers needing their village, and TMG has provided exactly that for me in Tokyo.


7. What challenges or benefits do you face being a parent in Tokyo?


Having lived in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong before, I can safely say I’ve never lived anywhere so clean and safe and so perfectly equipped for going to the bathroom with a baby or toddler! My birth experience in a Japanese hospital was also very positive and nurturing. So far the challenges are very few and far between.


8. Anything else you'd like to share.


I learnt from an early age from my parents a really helpful piece of advice that I always use. No matter what challenge presents itself to you, instead of saying “why me?” say "thank you." There’s a lesson hidden in even the hardest moments.


 



Rss_feed