Before I share my big news for this year, let me point you toward an important article I posted last January. This article is still just as relevant today, and in fact, will always be relevant for the aim of raising bilingual children. So if you missed it last year, be sure to take a look now…
My big news
To kick off the year, I have three things to tell you…
My daughter will enter junior high school in the spring. (The school year in Japan runs from April to March.) It’s like her years in elementary school just blinked by and Lulu is no longer the little girl I’ve featured at this blog for the past five years—she’s becoming a young woman.
In terms of our bilingual journey, this change will mark a challenging new stage. The fact is, the junior high school in our area is twice as far from our home as the elementary school. So, on top of a long school day, club activities after school, and heavier loads of homework, she’ll have to leave the house even earlier in the morning. All of this means that the daily routines I’ve been able to maintain over the past six years of elementary school, in order to advance her (and her younger brother’s) progress in the minority language, will have to be reshaped in creative ways to fit this new reality. Things like reading aloud, which I’ve always done at breakfast, and daily homework after school in the minority language—two central routines of our journey to date—will be tested, and yet I’m determined to do what I realistically can through the busier teen years, too.
And, as always, I’ll report on our experiences at this blog—both the successes and the struggles—with an eye toward offering ideas and inspiration for your own journey.
Although I’ve made a handful of videos (if you haven’t seen them yet, do browse the video category), most of the content at this blog has been written articles. (Including this one, there are now a total of 326 posts since this blog began on September 1, 2012.) While I’ll continue writing, too—and I’m happy to consider guest posts—I now plan to put more emphasis on video.
The truth is, I also have a background in film—I’ve loved making small films ever since I was a child—and I’d like to do more work in this area. Not only will this be a fresh and fun challenge for me, I think I can create some helpful and entertaining content for you.
I can’t yet say how frequently I’ll be posting new content at this blog in 2017. For the past few years I’ve been quite diligent about making new posts at least once a week. I don’t know if that pace will continue to be realistic, though, so I hope you’ll understand if my posting schedule becomes a bit more flexible to accommodate the additional focus on creating videos.
At the same time, there’s another factor that will affect my output at this blog in 2017, and that involves my last big piece of news…
I haven’t talked about this much, but my other goal as a writer—along with material about raising bilingual children—is creative work, particularly novels. This has actually been a big part of my life for many years, but I was puttering away on this quietly, on the side, while writing about peace issues for the Hiroshima-area newspaper and about raising bilingual children online and in my book.
I’m now happy to report, though, that my first novel—after almost a decade in the making—will be released later this year! It’s a humorous story, suitable for older children and adults, in the playful spirit of the British author Roald Dahl. So if you enjoy my writing, my voice, I think you’ll enjoy this book. While it doesn’t have a “bilingual angle” (my next novel probably will!), it’s a lively adventure and I hope you’ll want to read it. (It’s a medium-sized novel of around 72,000 English words.)
In fact, before the book is released, I’d be glad to share review copies (as a PDF file) with up to 50 kind souls interested in reading it and reviewing it online (whether at a blog or at a bookseller). If you’d like to be one of the very first readers of my new novel, just add your first name and email address to this special “early readers” list. I’ll then contact you when the book is ready. I’m really grateful for your interest and your support!
Contest coming soon
One more thing today: I’ll launch a special contest soon, something I haven’t tried before at this blog. It will be an engaging challenge—with good prizes, too—so keep your eyes open for my next post!