One day while I was watching my son play at the local community center, two oba-san approached me and casually started taking to me about how I'm raising my son in a country not my own. Little did I know that this small talk would turn into something that happened monthly and in a very formal manner. These two sweet ladies were both grandmothers and part of a group of women learning about how to raise children. Having already raised their own, they get together inviting any mothers they meet to join in and share stories and questions that most all women who have had to care for other humans have encountered. So far it has been a great experience as a foreigner to be part of this group. Not only does it provide me with Japanese practice, but it involves me in something I've never dealt with before from my own cultural perspective, formality. The meetings are very structured with an opening, introduction speech, topic reading, and then group discussion. While all of the mother's are gathered around discussing their trials and tribulations the grandmothers are in another room caring for children, giving the mothers an hours break from parenting. It's structured, but relaxing, allowing a small respite once a month from watching and guarding the small child. But my favorite part about the group is how non judgemental everyone is. This includes the older women who truly seem to just want to learn how to better raise tiny humans. They give advice but also encourage different styles of teaching and raising children. I'm not sure if there are other groups exactly like this one around Japan, but if you are a parent looking for camaraderie in the works of fostering the next generation of the human race, I highly recommend asking around at local community centers for mother groups like this one.