About Me

Welcome to my blog!

Hi! My name is Tenesha.

I am from Jamaica and currently reside in Osaka City, Japan, with my family. I came to Japan in 2009 for work and intended on staying for three years. However, that changed when I was introduced to my now-husband in late 2011. After a few years, we welcomed our first child.

My husband is a native Japanese speaker with a good enough command of English. I, on the other hand, am a native English speaker with a fair enough understanding of Japanese. We communicate in English. When our child arrived, we decided to use the minority language at home (ML@H) strategy. This meant both my husband and I spoke only English with our child. The goal was to support our child’s minority language with as much input in the first few years as possible and raise him as a competent bilingual. 

Why was that so important, especially to me?

Before motherhood, I would meet ex-pat and intercultural couples in Japan and was usually impressed when their children were competent in Japanese and the family’s minority language. On the other hand, I was deeply disappointed and puzzled when some children did not understand a word of the family’s minority. I wondered, Don’t they want their child to appreciate both sides of their heritage? Don’t they want their children to communicate with family members outside of Japan? Why wouldn’t they want to give their children the gift of bilingualism?  I imagined that if I, a native English speaker and a Jamaican, were to have a child in Japan, then I would absolutely ensure that my child learned how to speak English and knew about the other side of his culture.

When we became pregnant, one of the things that I did was read about and endlessly research bilingual parenting and raising biracial children (possibly more than I did about giving birth). I read countless blogs (one of my favourite was and still is Bilingual Monkeys by Adam Beck, a bilingual father in Hiroshima, Japan), websites, dissertations, and just about anything that I could get my hands on. I fell in love with the field of multilingualism and multiculturalism and was just excited about cultivating bilingual competence in my child. However, from those readings and interaction with parents, I also became aware of challenges they faced, including not knowing how and where to start, staying consistent, feeling self-conscious in using the minority language, and becoming demotivated when their children were not at the expected level.

With all that information, I decided to start this blog. I want to share my bilingual,bicultural,biracial parenting journey, challenges, successes, and milestones and offer ideas, tips, and inspiration to other parents already on their journeys or those thinking about starting. I am looking forward to comments and suggestions and creating a wonderful community to support parents pursuing multicultural parenting.

If you have question or suggestions or just want to share your family’s situation, please email me at tenesha@bilingualjourneys [dot] com. I really want to hear from you!

Tenesha Kanai