Archive | April, 2011

Kodomo no hi/ Children’s Day in Japan

30 Apr

It’s less than a week until こどものひ, or Children’s Day! Kodomo no hi is on Thursday May 5th (same day as Cinco de mayo). It used to be that only boys celebrated this holiday, but nowadays, both boys and girls can celebrate.

You can read about Children’s Day in Japan at these websites:

1) Kids Web Japan

2) Wikipedia

3) All About

The last website, All About, is especially informative (but it is all in Japanese). It has many craft ideas and recipes. Kikkoman is another website that has a lot of recipes for Children’s Day.

Make sure you check out my post about koinobori, as that is a big part of the day’s celebrations.

You can also make kabuto hats out of origami or newspaper to wear or use as a decoration. Here is a how-to-video:

KodomoNoHi coloring pages can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

What are you doing to celebrate?

Learning Japanese with the iPad

27 Apr

If I had an iPad, I would definitely get these apps for my kids:

1) かなもじ

2) うたえほん

You can read about how to download Japanese apps here and here.  Basically, if you don’t have a Japanese credit card, you can still download songs and apps if you buy an iTunes Japan gift card.

Songs for Japan

25 Apr

Have you already heard? You can download “Songs For Japan“, which includes 38 songs for $9.99 from iTunes and all proceeds go to the Japanese Red Cross! Click the picture to buy!

iTunes "Songs for Japan"

Artists featured include Lady Gaga, Norah Jones, U2, Justin Bieber, Shakira, ADELE, Michael Buble, Queen, Kings of Leon, Madonna, and many more. What a deal, and for a great cause!

めばえ Magazine for Toddlers

25 Apr

I think this magazine cover is going to give me a seizure!

My daughter recently received a copy of “Mebae/めばえ” magazine for her birthday. It is a Japanese magazine for children ages 2-4. It is filled with lots of short stories, stickers to paste on specific pages, games, crafts, furoku, and advertisements.It has given us hours of things to read and do together.

“Furoku” basically means a bonus gift. In the March issue that we received, the main furoku was a Build-Your-Own-Power-Shovel. There is absolutely no way that a toddler can put this together on their own. It took my engineer-husband nearly half an hour to put ours together (he doesn’t know Japanese but he figured it out). The finished toy is pretty cool:

めばえcosts 550 yen in Japan. My parents bought it for $11.00 at the local Japanese bookstore. I’ve been looking online to see if you can get it through Amazon or eBay, but it doesn’t look like you can.  We’ve collected old children’s magazines at garage sales where the furoku is missing, but we have still enjoyed reading the stories together.

I’ve blogged about this before, but click here to go to’s website called “おやこであそぼ”. It has a lot of fun activities for kids divided by age.


20 Apr

Here are some activities to do with your kiddos with the kana き!

1. Fold an origami きりん(giraffe) here at Origami Club.

2. Print and practice writing き here from Nifty Kids.

3. Coloring pages of words that begin with き here, at Nurieyasan.

4. Learn and sing the きんたろう/Kintaro song here.

イースター /Easter

19 Apr

Easter doesn’t seem like a very well-understood holiday in Japan, which of course, make sense, as Easter is originally a very Christian holiday. I feel like Easter (at least the secular aspects like the Easter Bunny and dyeing eggs) will eventually become popular in Japan, because they seem to like adopting American holidays.

Anyway, if you are looking for a cute Easter craft, has an instructional video on how to make little origami bunnies, perfect for holding an egg or some jelly beans.

Tokyo Disneyland also does an Easter parade:

Have a Happy Easter!

Cherry Blossom Tea

18 Apr

I don’t know what it is, but our family is sooo busy lately!! We’re busy in a good way, but I would love to have nothing to do for an hour or two, put my feet up, and sip some sakura tea.

Changes to NHK Kid’s Shows

15 Apr

I don’t know if you watch いないいないば〜、おかあさんといっしょ、and other NHK shows or not, but the end of March brought some new faces/characters!

First, Koto-chan is no longer the face of Inai-Inai-Ba. The new girl is Yuuna-chan(ゆうなちゃん). She looks super cute! Along with the new girl, there is a new opening (I like it!) and new dance.

Okaasan-to-issho/おかあさんといっしょ/With Mother also has new characters. Monolan-Monolan(モノランモノラン) was replaced by Poco-Potato(ポコポッテイト).

image from

Apparently, the character on the left that looks like a cow is a SHEEP. That’s confusing. But other than that, I think they are adorable, and I like them better than the previous characters. (Coloring page of the new characters here).

I was browsing the NHK Kids Website and wanted to point out some of their other shows in case you are interested.

There’s a show called Nihongo de Asobo/Let’s Play with Japanese/にほんごであそぼ. At first glance, it looks like it would be a great show for the beginning Japanese learner. But the little I’ve seen of the show so far (via YouTube), I think it is geared more towards older elementary children, or people who are already pretty proficient at Japanese. Some of their segments are hard to understand. This video is cute though… about big numbers.

The website also has a fun interactive karuta game. Just scroll down to the middle of the page where there is a purple button that says 絵あわせかるた and click the button.

Lastly, I am sooo curious about this new show called Design-Ah/デザインあ. It looks like a show about graphic design for kids. It makes me want to sign up for NHK TV. Check out this page. You’ll be intrigued too.

What are your favorite Japanese educational kid’s shows? Do you subscribe to NHK where you live, and is it worth the $?

be back next week

12 Apr

pinning a carnation on my daughter for the 入園式

I am sorry for the lack of posts this week. We have all been super busy and sick. I’m hoping to be back to regular posting next week. In the meanwhile, enjoy this silly sushi video:

3 More Days Until Japanese Preschool!

6 Apr

We are REALLY lucky in that we live just 10 minutes away from our local Japanese Language School. My daughter will begin attending this Saturday! She just barely turned 3 so she will be the youngest student in her class. This is how the preschool is divided up:

年少さん/Nenshousan= 3 years old by April (the Japanese school year begins in April)

年中さん/Nenchusan= 4 years old

年長さん/Nenchousan= 5 years old

After that, they go to first grade. I am a little bit sad about having to give up our Saturday mornings (usually when we go do fun things together as a family) for school, but I am almost certain it will be worth it. I want to give my children as many opportunities as possible to experience the Japanese language and culture.

I am more nervous than my daughter for the school year to begin. My mind is filled with worries such as, “Will she be able to tell the teacher she needs to use the bathroom?”, “Will she be able to make friends?” and “Since she’s by far the youngest, will she be able to deal emotionally with problems that may arise?”.

There’s also other worries relating to the fact that even though I speak enough Japanese to get by, I am not a native speaker/listener/writer/reader. At all. Ever since we attended Orientation, my email inbox has been filled with emails chock-full of difficult kanji and vocabulary. I’ve been able to mostly figure out what is going on thanks to Furigana Injector and my mom ( I forward her the emails and she explains them to me). We’ve also been assigned to volunteer in the library. Hopefully that won’t be too hard for me or my very-non-Japanese-speaking husband. I think this will be a good growing experience for our entire family!

I’m also worried about silly things. Like, “What should I wear to the first day of school?”. From reading online, it seems most parents wear suits. I wonder if there are certain colors I should avoid. I’m planning to take my camera, but are there other things I should take? Do I need to take something for the teacher? I’m also worried about being able to learn all the other parents’ names. And if I can be polite enough… hopefully people will realize that I just don’t don’t know some things and be forgiving. I am just so glad I don’t have to worry about preparing a kawaii (cute) bento lunch every week!

ANYWAY. I am sure there is no need to worry. Everyone I’ve met so far has been really nice (especialy the principal/kochosensei) and I saw other non-Japanese parents at the school as well.  I know my daughter is SUPER EXCITED to begin attending school. I am sure she will love it.

I think I will read this online picture book about the first day of preschool this week with my daughter, from Shimajiro,

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