Ice creams & emails: life as a Tokyo mother
The sound of children laughing. A peaceful morning coffee. Exchanging ideas with local creatives. An ice cream playdate in the local park.
It’s the little details of her daily life in Tokyo that Hidemi Hamano-Schlageter treasures most. The 31-year-old runs a creative agency – just a short walk from Caramel’s Daikanyama store – in between looking after her son Jun, four, and 10-month-old Lisa.
Here, Hidemi shares some insight into life as a working Tokyo mother plus her favourite insider tips in Daikanyama.
What do you like most about Daikanyama?
The area has always been very chilled and family-friendly, with a nice mix of young families and local elderly, as well as creative types. It has lovely restaurants, cafes and parks plus just the right amount of shops – but not too much, compared to other parts of Tokyo. The atmosphere is very local, even though it’s so central.
How would you describe a typical day?
During the week, I take Jun to school by 9am and then stop for coffee. I start work around 10am, with a babysitter looking after Lisa, before picking up Jun. The evenings are quite relaxed – dinner, at home or maybe in a local café, then playtime or a movie, a bath and bed.
How has becoming a mother in Tokyo changed you?
It’s changed me so much. I’ve become much more understanding, softer, more patient. Just happier in general. The hardest thing? Balancing work with being a mother. But watching these little human beings grow and develop their own character is a pure joy.
What’s it like being a mother in Tokyo?
It’s so relaxed compared to other countries. The main reason is because I feel so safe here – I can leave bicycles and strollers with bags on the street and not worry about things getting stolen. And I don’t worry so much when they run around.
What inspires you?
Other mums who are also working and making their dreams come true. They support me mentally and inspire me to do better and pursue my goals.
And what makes you smile?
It’s the simple things. My kids when they are having fun. And when they are sleeping.
Finally, where are your favourite places in Daikanyama?
For chilling over deli food, fresh bread and children’s snacks: Hillside Pantry (www.hillsideterrace.com/shop/shop_g_pantry.html)
For children’s books, DVD rentals and coffee breaks: T-Site (real.tsite.jp/daikanyama/english/index.html)
For al fresco coffee on the terrace: Saturday’s Surf NYC (www.saturdaysnyc.com/location/tokyo)
For dinner: Le Comptoir Occitan (www.pachon.co.jp/jpn/bistro_broche)
For an ice cream playdate: Saigoyama Park: (www.city.meguro.tokyo.jp/shisetsu/shisetsu/koen/saigo.html)
Lisa wears: Dandelion Baby Dress, Powder Pink
Words and images by Danielle Demetriou