When you are a foreigner, sometimes it is difficult to start a conversation with unfamiliar people. Even for me, talking with new moms can be hesitating because there are taboo topics that need to be avoided.
What do Japanese moms commonly talk about? What are some nice standard ways to start a conversation?
Here are some of the most common topics Japanese moms talk about.
How old is your child?
Yah, pretty straight forward but in fact this is the most common question a Japanese mom asks another mom. It’s simple, anyone can answer it, and it can lead to further questions.
Here are some useful phrases to ask for a child’s age.
How many months old is s/he? Nan-kagetsu desuka? （何ヶ月ですか？）(Tip: Commonly used if the baby is before standing)
How old is s/he? Nan-sai desuka? （何歳ですか？）(Tip: Commonly used for toddlers)
My child is — years old. Uchi wa — sai desu.（うちは xx歳です）/ Uchi wa — kagetsu desu. （うちは xxヶ月です）
What month is her/his birthday? Nan-gatsu umare desuka? （何月生まれですか？） (Tip: Asked when you want to know if the child will be in the same grade as yours)
How do you usually spend your day?
This is another common question asked, especially for stay-at-home-moms or moms on a maternal leave. Staying with your child for 24 hours everyday can be tiring, and we really want to know if there are any new idea on how to spend time with your child.
Here are some useful phrases:
How do you usually spend your day? Fudan nani shite sugoshite masuka? （普段何して過ごしていますか？）
Do you know any nice play areas for kids? Kodomo ga asoberu osusume no basho shirimasenka? （子供が遊べるおすすめの場所知りませんか？）
Where do you usually go with your kids? Fudan kodomoto doko-e ikimasuka? （普段子供とどこへ行きますか？）
What toys/picture books does your child like?
Sharing ideas on toys and picture books are also common between moms. You might get ideas on handmade toys, places to buy them too.
What is your baby’s favorite toy? Ichiban sukina omocha wa nan-desuka? （一番好きなおもちゃはなんですか？）
Does you child have any preference for picture books? Okini-iri no ehon wa arimasuka? （お気に入りの絵本はありますか？）
What toy does you child play most commonly? Fudan don-na omochade yoku asobimasuka? （普段どんなおもちゃで遊びますか？）
What do you feed your child?
Moms like to share ideas on meals. Maybe you can get ideas on unfamiliar ingredients, or get a new recipe.
What kind of baby food do you usually feed your baby? Rinyu-shoku wa don-na monowo agete imasuka? （離乳食はどんなものをあげていますか？）(Tip: Rinyu-shoku commonly refers to liquid or paste baby food)
Are there any reccomendation on food ingredients? Osusume no shokuzai wa arimasuka? （おすすめの食材はありますか？）
Does your baby prefer okayu or bread better? Okayu ka pan, docchi wo yoku tabemasuka? （おかゆかパン、どっちをよく食べますか？） (Tip: Okayu, or rice porridge, is the most common source of carbs for babies, but many babies like bread better)
How many times do you feed baby food in a day? Nan-kai-shoku desuka? （何回食ですか？）
Where did you buy it?
Sometimes you may find another child wearing a very cute outfit, or shoes with characters that your own child loves., or a mommy bag that looks perfect for yourself. Let’s ask wear you can get them!
Where did you buy that? Sore wa dokode kattan desuka? （それはどこで買ったんですか？）
Where can I get those? Sore wa dokode kaemasuka? （それはどこで買えますか？）
It’s very cute. Totemo kawaii desune. （とてもかわいいですね）
It’s very nice. Totemo suteki desune. （とても素敵ですね）
What character is that? Sore wa nan-no kyarakutaa desuka? （それはなんのキャラクターですか？）