From the experience of suffering as a returnee, Launched this service
Mizuta: I was brought up in New York from age five to 10, and I struggled a lot with becoming fully bilingual as well as balancing the polar opposite cultures of the two countries I felt connected to. Returnee children (Japanese children who repatriate to Japan after some years in a foreign country) are considered lucky and privileged, but we have our unique set of problems to cope with. First of all, very few children can be the perfect student in multiple languages simultaneously; In reality, learning and studying in two or more languages at the same time tends to slows things down. TCK Workshop started from a simple concept: if a mentor figure who can relate to these struggles encouraged and supported these children, the journey could be so much easier. The tutors at TCK are mostly now-matured Third Culture Kids (children who feel a deep connection with the countries they are brought up in, but do not feel like the fully belong in any of them), and are willing and eager to sit with the student as he or she tackles the academic, cultural and identity-related struggles involved in international relocation.
Many parents of internationally mobile children are concerned with the uncertainty of the future of their children, and we find great joy in providing scaffolding for them. By serving the children, the atmosphere of an entire household can become happier. What is important, I believe, is to share that while growing up among worlds can be difficult, it can gift you with irreplaceable experiences. A multi-lingual, multi-cultural childhood can nurture people who are champions of inclusivity and non-judgement. Cross-cultural skills and cultural awareness are so important in today’s world. Third Culture Kids will one day be the majority, and bridge the different countries, cultures, races and ethnicities we are blessed with. I think TCK Workshop is a business that can play a part in enabling this to happen.
We want to increase people with cross-cultural understanding ability in Japan and grow with the world
Mizuta: In Japan, about 10,000 returnees return “home” annually. As of May 2018, TCK Workshop teaches 150 students in approximately 25 countries around the world. As there are still an immense number of children who we can serve, I would like to continue building the business to provide better service to more people. I also look forward to creating a community where students and teachers can exchange thoughts and interact with one another. We love tutoring but will not limit ourselves to it. What we truly want to achieve is the development of a generation with cross-cultural understanding.
Japan has very specific cultural norms in relationships and in the office. If more people acquire cross-cultural skills in Japan, we can unleash great potential for the Japanese market to work and grow with the world beyond. TCK Workshop is a relatively new, small business within the Japan Parking Development Group, but I am not any less committed to continuity and growth than the bigger companies in the family. Eventually, our students will grow and play an active role in society. To that end, we must expand our business, provide better services, and make more children happy.