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Anpanman Cake Pops ♥

11 Jul

Over the 4th of July weekend, I went to a BBQ with my family. Several Japanese families joined us. My sister’s contribution to the potluck BBQ were these adorable Anpanman cake pops! They were a huge hit with the kids. You can visit Bakerella.com’s website for basic instructions on how to make cake pops. To make these Anpanman pops, my sister used chocolate cake mix, meltable butterscotch chocolates, round red sprinkles, and a black edible pen.

 

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Imagine the possibilities with all of the Anpanman characters (Baikinman, Melonpanna-chan, etc). Cuteness overload.

Do you love Anpanman? Read my post about my son’s Anpanman-themed birthday party HERE, or about our trip to the Anpanman Children’s Museum, HERE!

 

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Japanese School Fun Fair

18 Dec

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Every year, the Japanese School we attend hosts a “Fun Fair” for its students and surrounding community. At this event, children travel around to different stations to play games, make crafts, wear kimonos, and participate in many other activities to help them better understand the Japanese culture.

Like all the other activities at Japanese School, this event is run by parent volunteers. Something I love about Japanese culture is how efficiently everyone works together. As I helped put up decorations for this event, I looked around and marveled at how hard and cooperatively everyone was working to pull this off for our kids. I didn’t see anyone sitting around or trying to get away with doing as little as possible.

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Some of the stations were:

1) Japanese calligraphy (しゅうじ)

2) Origami (おりがみ)

3) Paper-airplane making (かみひこうき)

4) Beanbag-toss

5) Yo-yo-scooping (ヨーヨーつり)

6) Super-ball scooping (スーパーボールすくい)

7) Tea Ceremony

8) Wear traditional kimonos/yukatas

9) Kendama (けんだま)

10) Hane-tsuki (はねつき)

11) Kendo (けんどう)

12) Karuta (カルタ)

13) Fukuwarai (ふくわらい)

14) Spinning tops (こままわし)

15) Used (Japanese) books sale

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Does the Japanese School near you host events like this?

DIY Paper Yoyo’s for the Holidays!

12 Dec

I volunteered to be in charge of a Christmas craft for a playdate this week. I looked on Pinterest for craft ideas and didn’t see anything that I liked ( I needed something easy enough for 3~5 year olds, inexpensive, quick, and not messy). I looked at the materials I already have and thought and thought. Then I came up with this idea (inspired by something I saw on a Japanese children’s show… I think it was “Shimajiro’s Wow”?). Paper Yo-yo’s!

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I don’t know about you, but I have TONS of wrapping paper. I bought a roll at Costco last year, and I think there’s enough paper to last me my entire lifetime. This craft will make use of some of that paper. I hope you will try this craft with your kids– it is very easy, fun, and only takes 3 materials!

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Materials Needed:

1) Wrapping paper (or any other kind of long paper)

2) Tape (I think double-sided would work great)

3) Disposable chopsticks (or any other sturdy stick)

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Instructions:

1) First, cut your wrapping paper into a long, skinny strip. Mine was about 3 inches by 3 feet (but it does not have to be exact). In the photo, you can see that I cut many strips– one for each child.

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2) Break the disposable chopstick in two (where you’re supposed to break it). Place the chopstick on one edge of the wrapping paper with the top of the stick lining up with the top of the paper.

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3) Tape the chopstick down with tape.

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4) Carefully and tightly begin rolling the paper onto the stick, being sure to keep it lined up straight as you go.

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5) When you have wrapped the entire length of the paper onto the stick, unwrap and re-roll (to ensure that the yo-yo works well).

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6) When you let go, it will look like this:

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7) And you are done! To use, gently flick your wrist as you hold the bottom of the stick, or hang upside-down to “bounce” the yo-yo in the air. If you spin out the yo-yo too powerfully, the paper can unravel and you will need to roll it again. Isn’t it fun?

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Please let me know if you make these paper yoyo’s. I think they would make great birthday party favors and classmate gifts as well.

I also want to rave about the awesomeness of masking tape. It has come in so handy for the holidays! You can use masking tape to secure your yo-yo when not in use, keep your roll of wrapping paper from unraveling, wrapping gifts, taping holiday cards to the wall, etc. The great thing about masking tape is that it will not damage paper or the wall when you peel it off, and can be re-used. Omiyage.ca has the cutest masking tapes ever! (I am not sponsored by them, I am just in love with their store/blog– so pretty!)

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Thanks for reading, please share/pin this post if you enjoyed it!

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Summary in Japanese:

クリスマスの紙ヨーヨーです。子供たちも自分で作れる,簡単なクラフトです。家にある物で作れますので,ぜひちょうせんしてください。

20 Kid’s Halloween Costumes Inspired by Japan

19 Oct

Cutest Totoro EVER, by “you and mie”

What are you/your kids going to be for Halloween this year? My kids are dressing up as the Little Mermaid and Spiderman. They are super cute! I was also thinking that, to be unique, it would be fun to dress up as something inspired by Japan for another Halloween. Here are some things/characters that I thought of that would make great costumes!

1. Chibi Maruko chan

2. Hello Kitty (my daughter was Hello Kitty 2 years ago)

3. Domo kun

4. Totoro

5. Kiki

6. Anpanman

7. Doraemon

8. Rilakumma

9. Peko chan

10. Kamen Rider

11. Sazae-san

12. Mario/Princess Peach

13. Shinkansen driver

14. Sakura (Cherry Blossom) tree

15. Pretty Cure

16. Cooking Mai

17. U-tan

18. Ninja

19. Sumo wrestler

20. Sushi (I’ve seen a lot of great sushi costumes online this year!)

 

Do you have any more ideas? Click HERE, HERE, or HERE for my previous posts about Halloween in Japan.

Anpanman-Themed Birthday Party

5 Jun

My party may pale in comparison to Karen’s Sumo Party, but a few weeks ago, we celebrated my son’s birthday with an Anpanman party!! My son doesn’t say too many words yet, but he does know how to say “Anpanman”!

 

Party games are tricky with 2-year olds. They can’t follow directions really well and their attention spans are really short. So I decided to just do some things that my son naturally likes to do:

1) Throwing: We threw balls at Baikinman (I made him out of a cardboard box) and tried to knock him over. It was a hit!

2) Hide-and-Seek: I hid little Anpanman and Baikinman figurines under cups and had the kids guess where they were.

3) Hitting: I bought a generic pinata from Target, pasted some Anpaman pictures on it, and filled it with candy. They had a great time hitting it!

For food, I made some Anpanman-character cookies using sandwich molds I bought while we were in Japan. We also had “An-Punch” (fruit slush punch). I would have loved to make actual anpan too (anko-filled bread) but I was not that ambitious :). We also had some finger foods for the adults. We ordered a blank ice cream cake from Dairy Queen and I decorated it myself.

My kids wore the Anpanman shirts we bought at the Anpanman Children’s Museum in Yokohama.

Guests were sent home with these treat bags, filled with snacks, Anpanman candy, and little Japanese kaleidoscopes.

I bought these balloons in Japan and had the local party store put helium in them.

It was a quick, simple party but my son was THRILLED. Being the second child, he doesn’t get the spotlight very often so he really enjoyed his special day. Thanks to our friends and family, and Anpanman, for this fun birthday!

Sumo-themed Birthday Party!

30 May

I have an AMAZING birthday party to share with you today! One of my readers, Karen, shared some details and photos from her son’s SUMO-themed birthday party with me. Karen is a Nikkei Sansei with 3 kids, who are almost 6; 3 years old; and 10 months, respectively.

My kids would have loved to be guests at this party. Here’s the sumo party details in Karen’s own words:

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the birthday boy enjoying his pizza :)

Our son, Will, just turned 3 years old on May 9th. He is an avid sumo (and sports) fanatic. We asked him a few months ago about what kind of birthday party he would like, thinking he would pick a football or baseball or basketball party. He did go back and forth for a couple days, but then one day, he said in his determined fashion, “I want a SUMO party.” And that stuck.

are her kids cute or what?

Last summer, we started subscribing to Japanese TV through our cable service. We watch a lot of the kids’ shows (Okaasan to Issho, Pitagora Switch, etc.), but in July when the Nagoya Bassho started, Will fell in love with the sport. Maybe it is that the sport is pretty straightforward (for a then 2 year old) — the wrestler who doesn’t get  pushed out of the dojo or who doesn’t fall to the ground is the winner. Maybe it is the gyouji’s calling the action — “Haiya haiya haiya!”  my son yells in imitation as he stands transfixed by the match or as he leaps around his “pretend dojo” in our shower. Maybe it is the larger than life sumo rikishi, as Will quickly identified his favorites (Hakuho, Baruto, Harumafuji).

“Pin the Mawashi on the Sumo Rikishi”

After we decided on the sumo party theme, my husband found a lot of sumo-related gift bag items:  sumo rubber ducks, sumo trading cards from Japan and Sumo party games. These included cut-outs of a sumo wrestler and geisha for the kids to take pictures with and a wind up sumo game.   A friend in Tokyo went to Ryogoku Kaikan and picked up some tegata by his favorite wrestlers, Hakuho and Baruto. We came up with a variation of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”: “Pin the Mawashi on the Sumo Rikishi” and then sewed a felt sumo wrestler with Emperor’s Cup, mawashi, yokozuna belt, and ceremonial garb modeled on Baruto’s.  We made some posters of information on sumo and photos so parents could learn something about the history and traditions and fun facts about the sport. A sumo cake by a local bakeshop was a tasty treat.

sumo cake!

love this cake!

On May 12, after weeks of continuous rain, we finally got a gorgeous, sun-drenched, spring day for the party. The Natsu Bassho, fortuitously, was running in Tokyo.  We set up the felt sumo wrestler outside and the sushi and pizza and cake inside.

no Japanese party is complete without sushi :)

As the party came to a close, we watched matches from the Natsu Bassho downstairs with the remaining guests. Will jumped up and down on the couch and yelled, “That’s Harumafuji, Harumafuji, Harumafuji!” Or “That’s Baruto!” “He’s an ozeki!” “Hakuho is the yokozuna!”

Karen’s husband ordered these photo props, and they were a huge hit!

I first came to love watching sumo with my homestay grandma back in Nagoya 20 years ago, but I have to say it is pretty cool to enjoy it with your own kids and family. I hope Will continues to enjoy sumo in the years to come! In the meantime, I love finding him flipping nightly through the pages of his favorite wrestlers printed out from the banzuke of the Japan Sumo Association and asking all about them.

They did an art project with the sumo wrestler hand prints in which the children dipped their hand into poster paint and overlaid it onto the sumo wrestler’s handprint. Cute!

They made posters about sumo info and hung them around the house and on the outside of the house so guests could learn about the sport.

“Pin the Mawashi on the Sumo Wrestler”– I LOVE this so much! Karen is certainly very artistically talented.

Much more fun and interesting than “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”

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Karen, thank you so much for sharing these ideas and pictures with us! I love my talented readers! I am feeling really inspired to watch some sumo with my children now.

If any of you have questions about this party, you can email Karen at {kmaruyam@umich.edu}.

Have you ever thrown a Japanese-themed birthday party?

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