Language Transitions: My Favorite Time of Day

by contributor · 2 comments

By Trisha Yonekura
Originally appeared in Multilingual Living Magazine

Bundled up in a puffy down coat and a knit cap, he almost pulls my arm off with his excitement.

“Today I played with Hiroto-kun and ate an orange and blew bubbles.  Mommy, I am so good at blowing bubbles,” the words flow out in Japanese.

“Maybe we should buy some bubbles and go to the park this weekend,” I reply in English.

“Let’s go to the park,”  he cheers, arms raised up high into the air.  This time Japanese peppered with English.

“We can go to the park this weekend,”  I assure him and point to a Christmas tree with twinkling lights just ahead.

“Mommy, look.  It is Christmas!” he says, his face shining almost as brightly as the tree.  Two complete sentences in English.

“It’s so pretty.  What do you want for Christmas?”  I ask.

“Cake.  I want cake,” he says, his words in English — slow and deliberate.

“What kind of cake?”  I prompt him, not wanting to break the flow.

“Strawberry cake is yummy,”  he smiles twirling around, the child-like wonder of Christmas evident on his face.

And so it continues, one language replacing the other and that little boy barely misses a beat.

Those walks are my favorite time of day.  A chance to catch up.  A chance to see what’s new in the neighborhood.  A chance to shift from the Japanese of his daycare life to the English of his home life.

Baily’s mother, Trisha Yonekura, is an American married to a Japanese. She and her family live in Japan. You can learn more about her and her family at:

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Reb December 5, 2011 at 12:58 am

lovely piece. I also cherish those moments with my kids. I love the insight it gives into their worlds.


2 Corey January 3, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Thank you for taking the time to leave your comment, Reb! Isn’t this a lovely piece. A snippet of one lovely moment in time that brings to live so many wonderful memories. As you say, there are so many insights that our children have to offer us – thank you for this reminder!


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