Archive | October, 2011

ハッピーハロウィン!

27 Oct

Sorry I have not been updating with new posts as  frequently as usual recently! Between the two kids, we have 8 Halloween parties this week! Not to mention I am in charge of our church’s Trunk-or-Treat/Chili Cook-Off this weekend and lots of other things are going on. You know how it is though, right? Life with kids is crazy… but usually crazy fun! Don’t forget to scroll down to see my post about Halloween in Japan!

Also, the Hiragana Mama blog is one years old! I wish I had a big giveaway or something but I don’t 😦 (Let me know if you are interested in sponsoring a giveaway!) I have enjoyed seeing the numbers of visitors to this blog grow every week though… about 300 visitors per day from ALL over the world! Thanks for reading my little blog! ありがとうございます!

に:にんじゃ

20 Oct

に is for にんじん (carrot)、にじ (rainbow)、and にんじゃ(ninja)!

onigiri ninja's by Jo of A Bit of This and a Bit of That

What do you know about ninja’s? Me? Not much. I think they wear black outfits that only show their eyes, throw shuriken’s, and sneak around at night. I read about ninja’s on Wikipedia, and it seems that the ninja’s that the world knows is mostly based on folklore.

Folklore or not, kids LOVE ninja’s! Okaasan to issho /おかあさんといっしょ (a popular children’s program) has some really fun songs about ninja’s. Unfortunately, NHK us super-strict about their copyright laws so I can’t show you the original on my blog. You can watch some super-adorable kids dancing to ”しゅりけんにんじゃ” though:

HERE are the lyrics. The other ninja song on おかあさんといっしょ is ”しのびあし”. If you search for it on YouTube, you might get lucky and see how fun it is! My daughter and I love to sneak around the house with “Shinobiashi (Quiet Ninja Feet)”.

This summer, a movie about little ninja’s called Nintama Rantaro came out. Did any of you watch it? It is based off of this cartoon. Here’s the trailer:


I would love to watch it! I wonder if it will become available for viewing in the U.S?

Here are some ninja activities you can do at home:

1. Make an origami ninja.

2. Make a shuriken (that’s the pointy stars that ninja’s throw) out of origami. Watch a how-to video HERE.

3. Play a ninja game online.

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Is anyone’s kid going to be a ninja for Halloween?

Free Trips to Japan

10 Oct

I am reading in the news right now that the Japan Tourism Agency is planning to give away 10,000 flights to Japan beginning next year!

According to Fox News:

It’s not finalized yet, but Japan’s national tourism agency has announced it plans to give away 10,000 free airlines tickets to international tourist who visit the country.

The giveaway — set to start in April if it receives final government approval–is an effort help Japan boost its beleaguered tourism industry crippled after the tsunami and Fukushima  nuclear plant disasters. 

To apply for the flights, visitors will be required to submit online applications, including details of where they plan to visit, reported The Yomiuri Shimbun, citing preliminary plans.

 I will definitely be keeping my eyes and ears open to when this begins and how we can apply, and will of course let you know when I find out. How about you? If you won a free flight to Japan, would you go, despite the risks?

Halloween in Japan

10 Oct

What are you/your kids going to be for Halloween/ハロウィン this year? My daughter is going to be a candy corn witch and my son is going to be a doggie. We are going to celebrate with some Halloween parties, a Trunk-or-Treat, a Chili Cook-Off, and of course, lots of candy!

How is Halloween celebrated in Japan? According to All About, the Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Japan is:

1. Dress up in a costume

2. Host a party at home

3. Go get candy

4. Participate in a Halloween event

5. Decorate with Halloween goods

6. Eat foods made with pumpkin

7. Make a jack-o-lantern

8. Exchange gifts

9. Play at a park

10. Dress in Halloween-ish clothes

Check out my Halloween Post from last year for some other ways to celebrate Halloween Japanese-style (like Halloween origami).

Here are some new activities I found for 2011:

1. Learn all about ghosts and monsters in Japan at Bake Bake.

2. Halloween coloring pages at Nurieyasan.

3. Jack-o-Lantern maze at Nifty Kids.

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How do you celebrate Halloween where you live? Have you ever celebrated this holiday in Japan?

Autumn:あき

3 Oct

I was recently teaching one of my Japanese ESL students about Fall/Autumn/あき. We learned words such as “cornucopia”, “raking leaves”, and “jack-o-lantern.” I asked him what words come to mind when he thinks of Fall. He replied, “Mushrooms“.  Mushrooms?!? I was seriously confused.

image from kids.nifty.com

After some research, it turns out that mushrooms (きのこ)are in fact a big part of autumn in Japan, along with chestnuts (くり), satsumaimo (さつまいも), grapes (ぶどう), and persimmons (かき).

It is so interesting to me how different cultures view the seasons so differently. In America, Fall means Halloween, Thanksgiving, Pumpkin Pie, wearing layers, back-to-school, and soup (well, at least to me).

In Japan, Fall/Aki often means taking a special trip to observe the beautiful colored leaves(こうよう), undoukai (うんどうかい), honoring grandparents, fall food (mentioned above), red dragonflies (あかとんぼ), typhoons (たいふう), and moon-viewing (つきみ).

Am I missing anything else? What is your favorite thing about Fall where you live? What are your favorite Japanese Fall foods?

Click HERE for Fall activities and recipes from Kids.Nifty.

We celebrated the beginning of fall by picking apples:

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