Archive | June, 2012

し:しりとり Shiritori Game

27 Jun

We are having an awesome summer! Swimming, picking strawberries, playing with friends, soccer, trying new veggies from the CSA… each day seems to FLY by. I am sorry I have not been posting as frequently this month. I also apologize for being slow in replying to comments and emails. Our life is busy, busy, busy!

A game that my daughter and I enjoy playing is Shiritori. It is a very popular Japanese word game. What I love about this game is that almost anyone of any age and skill level can play this game, and it doesn’t require anything but your brain! It is a great way to learn/review vocabulary. We like to play this game while driving in the car.

This is the simple way to play the game:

1) One person begins by saying a Japanese word (usually a noun).

2) The next person has to say a word that begins with the last kana of the previous word.

3) Next person does the same as #2. You keep taking turns thinking of a word that begins with the last kana of the previus word.

4) Words cannot be used more than once.

5) If you say a word that ends with “ん”, you lose!

Here is an example:

たいや–>  やま–>  まくら–>  らいおん(oops, you lose!)

There are other variations to the game to make it harder. You can read more about Shiritori Rules HERE (wikipedia).

And HERE are some printable shiritori games (

You can watch a video of us playing Shiritori at the top of this post. My 4-year old is better at this game than I am! I challenge you to play this game with someone today :).

Things To Do in Japan with Kids: Visit Hiroshima

14 Jun

One of my best friends lives in Hiroshima, and I had never been there before, so we used our JR pass to spend 2 days in Hiroshima! It was about a 4~5 hour ride on the shinkansen from Tokyo (felt like NOTHING after our 17-hour flight).

Hiroshima was a beautiful, clean, and modern city. There were quite a few tourists but it was nowhere near as congested as Tokyo. I highly recommend going during cherry blossom season if possible. They made the city even more gorgeous!

We of course went to see the Atomic Dome, which is just a short drive from the Hiroshima Station. I felt all kinds of emotions as I gazed at this structure. A haunting reminder of what war can do, in the middle of a beautiful city. It is difficult to imagine that this city was horrifically bombed at the end of WWII just over 50 years ago.

The Atomic Bomb area was a great place to stroll with our children (but if you have a toddler, I highly recommend bringing a stroller). The area has spacious sidewalks and feels like a giant park. My little girl enjoyed collecting sakura (cherry blossom) petals and throwing them into the air.

The above statue is of Sadako and her paper cranes. If you have not heard of this story, you must look it up! You can buy the book on Amazon, or any other major bookstore. This monument honors Sadako and thousands of other children who were victims of the bombing in Hiroshima.

Within an easy walk from the atomic dome and peace memorial is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The museum contains artifacts, stories, videos, etc and aims to help visitors understand the dangers of nuclear weapons. It is hard to walk through the museum without getting emotional.

We strolled through the museum pretty quickly because a lot of it is not appropriate/boring for little kids. There are a few “rest areas” in the museum though, so if there are 2 adults, you can take turns looking at everything.

Not necessarily a “fun” place for kids, but I would still say it is a must-visit place, especially if your children are older than mine (mine are 2 and 4). Excellent for teenagers.


Some of the other things we did in Hiroshima during our short stay was: take the ferry to Miyajima, shop at UNIQLO (love love love!), eat Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, and go shopping at a department store. The top floor of the department store had a huge play area for little kids. I’m guessing it’s designed so that one parent can get their shopping done while the other lets the kids run around. The play area looked really fun so we decided to try it out. My daughter had a blast (unfortunately for my son, he was asleep in the stroller and missed out on the fun). There were ball pits, giant slides, dress-up, a sandbox, video games, etc.

Fun, BUT, very expensive!!!! We must have missed the fine print because we were expecting to pay about 1000 yen for a little under 2 hours but it ended up costing over 4000 yen! Crazy. I would NEVER pay that much again. SO, if you see a cool department store playland, make sure you have the workers tell you exactly how much you will be charged BEFORE you decide to do it. If money grows on trees for you, do it, it looked really fun (I can’t remember the name of the place, sorry)!

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!

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