Archive | February, 2013

“LinguPinguin Japanese” WINNERS!

27 Feb

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The winners of the promo codes for the Lingu Pinguin Japanese app are lgmarch and Mayu!! Please tell me what your email address is so I can send you your promo codes (my email is hiraganamama at gmail dot com ). Congrats! Everyone else, you can download this great app for just $1.99 (my kids have been playing with it every day since we got it). They even have a free demo version you can download.

Winners were chosen randomly. We did it old-school style but putting everyone’s name in a bucket. Each of my kids drew one name 🙂 Winners must email me by Friday. Otherwise, alternative winners will be chosen. Thanks for participating! I’ll try to host more giveaways like this in the future, so be sure to not miss out by adding my blog to your Google Reader or subscribing to the email list. 

Chibi Maruko-chan

26 Feb

Did anyone else grow up watching/reaching Chibi Maruko Chan(ちびまる子ちゃん)? Not only is this popular cartoon series fun to read, but great for learning Japanese words and learning about Japanese culture. (Click HERE to see the original cartoon series by Sakura Momoko on Amazon)

I  recently discovered a new series of educational cartoon books called “満点ゲットシリーズ (Get a Perfect Score Series) featuring Chibi Maruko-chan, and I am in love with them!!! They are meant for elementary-aged and older students, and PERFECT for an adult like me who wants a good review/brush up on their Japanese. If you happen upon these books, I highly recommend them! Click HERE to see all the books in this series.

There are books for learning kanji, keigo (polite Japanese), Japanese idioms, haiku, etc. There’s even books for learning math and social studies too. I want to read them all!

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There are several copies available on Amazon.com and Ebay, and one book in the series at JBox.com. Let me know if you find them anywhere else! My daughter’s Japanese School has most of these books so I’ve been borrowing one every few weeks to read.

App GIVEAWAY: LinguPinguin Japanese!

25 Feb

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This giveaway is now closed. Winners were announced in THIS POST

I have a wonderful Japanese-learning app to share with you today. We recently downloaded the “LinguPinguin English/Japanese” app  by Elevision Film on our iTouch and my kids have been loving it! It is easy enough for my 2-year old and interesting enough for my almost 5-year old to play with too. It is like an interactive English-Japanese dictionary for children. You choose a topic, such as “Animals”, then when you click on a picture of an elephant, it will say “Elephant” if you are in English mode, or “ぞう” if you are in Japanese mode. The animations are really cute! After children have learned the words, there is a quiz they can take. Here are some screenshots:

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Click HERE to watch a video of the app in action. There are many different versions of the app available (Japanese, French, Chinese, etc) : Click HERE to visit the Lingu Pinguin website and see all the different languages available and read more about this app.

At just $1.99, I think it is a GREAT deal for a quality app. You will definitely get your money’s worth.

We all love FREE though, right? So Lingu Pinguin has generously offered to give away two promo codes for the Lingu Pinguin app! Yay! To enter the giveaway, simply comment on this blog post sharing why you or your children want to learn Japanese. Then come back Wednesday morning, February 27, to see if you won! Promo codes will be emailed to the winners. (App is for iPhones, iPads, and iTouch).

Have a great week, everyone! またね!

Hinamatsuri Activities Roundup!

20 Feb
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Hinamatsuri poster. Hina dolls illustration from fumira.jp.

Hinamatsuri (ひなまつり), or Girls Day, is just around the corner (it is always on March 3rd!). We can’t afford a nice Hina Ningyou/Dolls set (nor do we have room for one), so I designed and printed up an 8×10″ poster to display in our living room to remind us of this Japanese holiday. I just googled “free Hinamatsuri image”, then added text to  my favorite image using Picmonkey.com to create my poster. You could also do the same thing using Photoshop.

I’ve blogged about Hinamatsuri activities to do with your children many times in the past. Click HERE for all my past posts about Hinamatsuri/Girls Day.

I’ve also been pinning cute Hinamatsuri ideas on Pinterest. Click HERE to view my Hinamatsuri Pinterest page!

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I hope those links will help get you prepared to celebrate this popular holiday. What will you be doing to celebrate?

ゆめがあるなら: Animated Picture Books and Songs

12 Feb

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Our current favorite Japanese YouTube Channel is “動く絵本・童話童謡のゆめあるチャンネル“. (Translation: Animated Picture Books/Children’s Songs Full of Dreams Channel). There are dozens of wonderful and classic Japanese songs and stories made into quality animated videos. Check it out! Those of you with young toddlers or preschool-age children will especially love it! 🙂 You may also want to check out their website, and free iPad/iPhone app.

 

Here are some videos by Yumegaarunara (some videos are in English):

PS Valentine’s Day is in 2 days! You can read my past posts about Japan-inspired Valentine’s Day activities HERE.

PuniPuniJapan Website

8 Feb

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I just happened upon this website, Puni Puni Japan, awhile ago. It is not super-useful to me (because I’m pretty fluent) but I thought some of you beginners might enjoy it! There are short videos that teach Japanese phrases, vocabulary, and grammar. There is also a free printable kana workbook you can download.  Here is an example video:

How We Celebrated Setsubun!

5 Feb

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Oh my goodness, last week was so busy I barely had time to breathe! I meant to put up this post last week but…. obviously I never got around to it.

Anyway, the week leading up to Setsubun was a lot of fun. We began by drawing and coloring oni faces using oil pastels. Oil pastel crayons are the coloring material of choice at preschools in Japan. I love them too because the colors are bright and the color slides effortlessly onto the paper (only downside is that it’s not very washable… parental supervision is important for young kids).

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To draw your own oni, begin by drawing the outline of the face. Then add horns, or “tsuno”. In Japanese cartoons, ogres usually have yellow, striped horns. Then add some curly hair and other facial features. I love how creative my daughter was with her oni.

We invited some friends over for a Setsubun Playdate. The children colored oni masks that I printed onto cardstock from KF Studio.

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We then made boxes to hold our beans out of origami paper.

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I didn’t want to be cleaning up beans in my house to I had the children toss their beans out the door, saying “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!”.

We finished the playdate by making maki-sushi and eating them facing the lucky direction of the year.

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My daughter also learned about Setsubun at her Japanese preschool. They made these cute oni boxes using a milk carton and construction paper. Can you tell my daughter turned her oni into a princess?

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Did you do anything to celebrate Setsubun this year? What’s the next Japanese holiday you are looking forward to?

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