Have you heard of the “Park Debut” (koen debyuu) phenomenon?

The recent issue of Hiragana Times takes a look at the Park Debut phenomenon… with the question posed by a reader…

Q: Why are Mothers Unfriendly in the Park?

Non-Japanese Mother’s View
I took my young son to a nearby park for the first time recently and was shocked that all the other mothers were so unwelcoming. They just ignored me. In Australia, it would be normal to exchange friendly small talk with other parents and let the kids play together. Is it because I’m foreign?

Japanese Mother’s View
“Park Debut” (koen debyuu) in Japan is so stressful and it happens to all mothers. The regular mothers act like a clique and don’t easily accept new people. Overseas, we Japanese have a reputation for being very kind, but sometimes we are very unfriendly when we first meet people.

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