We are still celebrating the 100th Day of School over here :) My daughter dressed up like a 100-year old grandma at school yesterday… it was so cute!
I found it ironic and perfectly fitting that my daughter came home from Japanese School last Saturday with this book:
image from kaiseisha.co.jp
The book is titled “100かいだてのいえ(The 100-Story House)” by いわいとしお (Toshio Iwai). This is actually the 3rd time my daughter has borrowed this book from the library. My kids just love it. The illustrations are charming and the story is quite magical. Another book in this series is “ちか１００かいだてのいえ(Basement 100-Story House)”. Click the links to preview a few pages! I would recommend it for preschool through elementary school children.
image from kaikeisha.co.jp
Also at Japanese School last Saturday, there was a special meeting for parents where a Japanese expert on Read-Alouds came to demonstrate how to read children’s books out loud to children. This meeting was very inspirational for me, and I made it a goal to do a better job reading to my kids. I want to use a more animated voice, not be afraid to read more slowly and pause between sentences, and take the time to go back and forth between the pages and discuss the book with my children.
image from amazon.co.jp
Anyway, one of the books she read out loud to us was “１００万回生きたねこ(The Cat Who Lived a Million Times)”by佐野洋子. This book was a longer picture book but it was beautiful. The recommended age for this book is elementary-school through adults. I think the older you are, the better you’ll be able to appreciate the depth of this story. (I don’t think my kids could sit through this book. But I really enjoyed it!). It looks like this book is also being made into a documentary, due out the end of this year.
Here is a video of buffalo.voice reading this book out loud:
Want to work on counting to 100 with your kids? Here is a printable worksheet from Happy Lilac.
Many kindergarten classes in the United States celebrate the 100th Day of School. My daughter’s class was no exception. For homework, we were asked to make a project out of 100 things. We tossed around a few ideas and of course, my daughter wanted to try the most time-consuming idea, haha. We decided to fold 100 origami cranes!! It took a lot of patience over several days, but we are happy with the finished product. Needless to say, my daughter is now an expert at folding cranes.
Did your children do anything for their 100th day of school? If you have to complete a similar project in the future, I encourage you to infuse some Japanese culture into your project! You could make 100 shuriken’s (ninja stars), write the numbers 1-100 in Japanese, etc. Stand out from the crowd and be unique!
A video about how to count to 100 in Japanese by JapanSocietyNYC!
image from mrmen.com
I remember reading Mr. Men & Little Miss books when I was a child. Something about their bright colors, simple shapes, and distinct personalities was appealing to me! It seems they are making a come back these days. Check out their adorable website here.
The reason I share this on my blog is because I stumbled upon Mr. Men & Little Miss videos, that are in JAPANESE! They are made by Sanrio Japan. The videos are about 3 minutes long and perfect for little (and big) kids. These videos would be a great opportunity to teach children Japanese “feelings words(きもちの言葉).” For example, before or after showing the following video (Mr. Happy), you can teach children the following vocabulary:
しあわせ(shiawase) = happy
ふしあわせ(fushiawase) = unhappy
かなしい(kanashii) = sad
えがお(egao) = a happy face
わらう(warau) = to laugh
Here the formula I would use for getting the most out of these videos!
1) Watch the video by yourself and write down any words that you think your children don’t know.
2) Teach the children those words.
3) Watch the video together and discuss.
4) Review and practice using the new words throughout the week.
Here are a few more videos. You can find all of Sanrio’s videos here and here, and all the Mr. Men & Little Miss videos here.
Want to watch these videos in English? Click HERE.
Is your town as frozen as mine right now due to this “polar vortex”? It is the coldest it has ever been in my entire life. This morning it was -6Fahrenheit, with wind chills at -40 degrees!! School and work has been cancelled, there’s ice covering the inside of our windows, and our dog who normally begs to go outside wants to stay in. Brrr!! On top of that, we are taking turns battling the flu– awesome! Hope you all are warm, healthy, and safe.
We had a wonderful holiday break and watched a lot of movies. Our family favorite was “Frozen” by Disney! I am itching to go see it again, I am so in love with the music. Out of curiosity, I checked to see if I could find Japanese lyrics to any of the songs (the movie isn’t due to be released in Japan until spring). It looks like they are keeping the songs in English, even in the Japanese version of the movie (correct me if I’m wrong), with the Japanese translation at the bottom of the screen.
The Japanese version of “Frozen” is going to be called “アナと雪の女王 (Ana and the Snow Queen)”. I would love to see it. It is always fun for me to re-watch English movies in Japanese and notice how all the words were translated. Click HERE to go to the Japanese “Frozen” website. Warning: the trailer includes a ton of scenes from the movie.
2/5 EDIT: Here are the Japanese versions of the songs!! :)
Click here to see more!
A simple & straightforward way to teach hiragana to toddlers! Repetition really is a great teaching tool!
video by babylionmovie on YouTube
Recently, we took the kids to a Japanese restaurant, where they ordered a bowl of ramen. I was delighted when the waitress brought them some training chopsticks. As I studied the chopsticks, I realized it is super easy to make yourself! It took me a few tries to get the tension just right, but it WAS really easy. So the next time you go out to eat at an Asian restaurant, just take along a rubberband (or hair tie) and you are ready to make your own training chopsticks in just a few minutes!
I made you a short video so you can see exactly how it’s done:
After I published my video, I saw that a few others have made similar videos. You can watch them all to see which technique works best for you ;)
Please share with your friends who have children, or adults who have yet to master the art of using chopsticks!
P.S. Eating Japanese food with a fork is silly. Learn to use chopsticks! (past post about training chopsticks here)
Click HERE and scroll down to see how to use real chopsticks.
Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t posted in a month! Blogging has been taking a back seat to other priorities for now. I know I have received a lot of emails that I haven’t replied to… I am so sorry :(. The older I get, the more I am learning it’s ok to say “no” to some things in life so I can be a peaceful, happy mommy and be able to devote quality time to myself and my family. Some things our family has been up to: back-to-school (kindergarten and preschool!) for my kids, new after school activities, apple-picking, costume-making, jury duty, birthdays, Zumba, business trips, and of course, learning Japanese ;).
I am planning to blog about Undoukai (Sports Day at Japanese School), how to make your own training chopsticks, reading-aloud to your kids, good Japanese books we’ve read recently, traditional Japanese games, etc, so keep checking back. In the meanwhile, check out my past posts about Japan-inspired Halloween costume ideas and How Halloween is celebrated in Japan.
I’ll also leave you with these Shimajiro videos I watched with my son this morning. The theme of these videos is greetings/あいさつ… something my kids need to work on. These videos are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers!
When you were a child, did your parents ever ask you to run an errand (おつかい) for them on your own? I vividly remember going to the department store in Tokyo to buy some bread, all by myself… and I was only 4 years old! I felt like such a big girl! I even walked to my piano lessons by myself at that age. If you’ve ever visited Japan, you know that even today, young children take the train to school by themselves.
In this day in age in America, not only would this seem unimaginable, but downright dangerous to send a preschooler out by themselves. I don’t even let my kids play in our yard without me out there with them. (Oh how it would be nice to go back to the “good old days!”).
Anyway, “Hajimete no otsukai”, or “My first time running an errand by myself” is a pretty big milestone to some families in Japan. I recently found out that there is a TV show called “Hajimete No Otsukai/はじめてのおつかい“… the show has been around for over 20 years! TV Japan aired one of their specials recently and my kids were GLUED to the show! My kids must have been thinking, “What? A kid like me going shopping all by themselves? That is crazy!”. It was an adorable show! Here’s one of the older episodes found on YouTube:
You can watch an entire 3-hour long special HERE.
One of my favorite Japanese children’s books is also called “Hajimete No Otsukai“. I think the book might have inspired the TV show.
I’d love to know about your “first otsukai” experience, if the country you live in is safe enough for kids to run errands by themselves, or any other thoughts you may have! :)
It has been a few months since we signed up for TV Japan (cable TV channel). It has been worth the investment for us. I do wish there were more shows available for school-aged children (most of the kids’ shows are geared toward toddlers) but I feel that replacing most of our TV time with Japanese instead of English shows has helped my children speak more Japanese at home. My kids’ (ages 3 and 5) favorite shows are Pitagora Switch, Design Ah, and Kid’s Discovery.
image by NTV
Our newest obsession is a show called Shimura Zoo (天才！志村どうぶつ園）by Nippon Television Network. It is a great show for all ages! The show is about celebrities taking care of adorable baby animals. I like that there’s lots of subtitles so we can practice reading Japanese too :). A lot of the episodes are available on YouTube for those of you who are not subscribed to TV Japan.
The only downside of this show is that my children now beg me to buy a pet every day…
In just a year from now, my daughter will begin learning kanji at Japanese School. In the first grade (6 years old), students typically learn to read and write 80 kanji characters. I am going to begin working on creating a “Kanji Practice Sheets” page, similar to my “Hiragana Practice Sheets” and “Katana Resources” pages. Do you know any GREAT websites for learning kanji? If so, please let me know so I can include them on the list.
In the meanwhile, here are some YouTube videos about leaning kanji that are geared toward children:
“部首のうた” by Jun Egusa
漢字アニメ「森」by 吉野 登志也 (more videos here)
P.S. THANK YOU so much to everyone who has “liked” the Hiragana Mama facebook page! –>