Learning to bow: Japan reluctantly opens door to foreign housemaids

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In a Japanese-style apartment, Maria Del Bago learns how to properly bow, clean traditional tatami floor-matting and decipher instructions for a high-tech toilet.

But she’s not in Tokyo. She’s 3,000 km away in Manila.

Del Bago, a 37-year-old computer science graduate who previously worked as a housekeeper for an Arab family, is one of 26 experienced cleaners selected by staffing company Pasona Group Inc. to undergo more than 400 hours of language and skills training in the Philippine capital. They are set to begin work in Japan in the spring.

“I’d like to think I’m a faster learner,” Del Bago said. “I also trust that the training that I get will let me adjust easier and avoid being culture shocked.”

Find out more about Del Bago’s story at The Japan Times.

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