Reconnecting local families through nature workshop: Yokohama City, Japan
Relocating to a new city or country can offer an exciting and fulfilling experience. It provides individuals with the chance to discover new places and embrace different lifestyles. However, one of the more challenging aspects of moving to a new city, especially in Japan, can be the process of making new friends. This challenge can be even more pronounced for those who are older or have families of their own. Many Japanese families tend to have busy schedules and may be less inclined to open up to new acquaintances due to social pressures and cultural norms.
To address this issue, some women's groups in Yokohama have implemented nature workshops as a means to facilitate connections between both Japanese and international families residing in the same area. These workshops invite children and their parents to engage in outdoor activities and explore the nearby natural surroundings. Typically, these workshops take place in local urban parks and are conducted in both English and Japanese. Loose materials are often used to encourage children's play and to foster parental involvement.
Following the sessions, participants are given the opportunity to have a picnic and share lunch with other families. Some attendees have found that they live in close proximity to one another and have exchanged contact information as a result. During the lunch break, participants are encouraged to provide feedback on the workshops. The feedback consistently highlights a strong demand for such programs and a desire for more opportunities to connect with local residents. It also underscores the importance of addressing feelings of loneliness that individuals may experience in a new city.
Written by Dr. Riela Diandra, Cluster Chair of CSWH