One of my sisters is visiting Japan next month. I am very jealous but I find it hilarious that she has Ichthyophobia– Fear of Fish. Fish is just such a huge part of the culture of Japan- eating it, displaying it (like koinobori)… I mean, the country is basically a huge island, surround by an ocean full of fish. I am not sure how she is going to survive.
In America, it seems we don’t eat a huge variety of fish on a daily basis. Our family typically eats salmon and tilapia at home, and we get sushi when we go out to eat. In Japan, they eat many different kinds of fish. Although I can’t stand the thought of filleting a whole fish by myself, I would love to learn how to cook more Japanese fish recipes someday. (Click here for a huge list of fishes and their English translations, from bbiq.jp)
I thought a good way for me to teach my kids the names of different types of fish would be to create a sakanatsuri/魚釣り(さかなつり) game for them. Sakana tsuri=Fishing. This is how I made the game:
1) First I printed out pictures of fish HERE at Nurieyasan. My daughter helped me color them in.
2) I cut out the sea creatures.
3) I typed up the names of the animals in both English and Japanese and glued them to the backs.
4) I laminated them. (optional, but after all the hard work, you’ll want this game to last)
5) I put a paper clip on each fish.
6) To make the fishing rod, I glue-gunned some twine onto a pair of disposable chopsticks. I glue gunned a magnet (it needs to be a strong magnet) to the other end of the twine (yarn would work too).
The game was a big hit! I highly recommend doing this with your kids. I even learned some new words too. “Seahorse” is “たつのおとしご”! That is a mouth-full!
Extra: Print out an easy fish maze here, also from Nurieyasan.