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Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.



Ken (pronounced like the boy’s name) is Japanese for prefecture which is roughly equivalent to the US word for states. When I lived in Japan, I lived in Niigata-ken, or Niigata Prefecture.

Japanese like to travel overseas. Well, actually they like to travel to Hawaii. In fact, in Japan, Hawaii is often referred to as Hawaii-ken, or Hawaii Prefecture – meaning they jokingly consider Hawaii an extension of their own country.

Business owners in Hawaii welcome the Japanese tourist in Japanese and show them Japanese menus, even accepting Japanese Yen.

I read a report today that Japan sends more than 5 times as many visitors to Hawaii as they do ALL other countries combined!

All total, about 16.5 million Japanese travel overseas each year and spend $26 billion on those trips. The average Japanese traveler will spend about almost $1600 on an overseas trip compared to the average US traveler who spends just over $1000 on an overseas trip.

The second most visited country by Japanese is…..China followed by South Korea and then Thailand.

I once brought a group of students from Japan to the states. When I was buying tickets and making hotel arrangements, there was one girl who particularly cried ‘poor mouth’.

So, I scrimped and scratched to my regret. One day I took her shopping at a mall (this is a 20/21-year-old college kid)…she opened up her wallet and had MORE THAN $4000 in it.

Japanese have money to spend. They like to spend it. And they like to travel.

Are you on their destination list?

Why or why not?

Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.

Bill Belew

Daddy and Christian.

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Growing Up Aimi Series