Search results for 'christmas'

An Origami Christmas

21 Dec

Are you on a budget? Do you love DIY projects? Do your kids need something to keep them busy? Try folding paper to make beautiful decorations, ornaments, and gifts. Have you seen the amazing origami paper crane Christmas tree at Rockstar Diaries? One of my friends didn’t have a tree topper so they made one out of origami paper. It looked awesome! Just type in “origami wreaths” or “origami Christmas” on Pinterest and you will find beautiful projects like these (Next year, I want to make a wreath out of newsprint!):

wreaths

For Valentine’s Day a few years ago, I made an origami heart garland (see it HERE).

Lot’s of origami tutorials and inspiration here:

1. Origami Club

2. Daily Origami

3. Origami Fun

Do you like to DIY for the holidays? Or would you rather buy everything from a store?

Japanese Christmas Music Videos

20 Dec

I guess I was really just kidding when I said I wouldn’t be posting anymore in December! Haha.

A very cute Japanese Christmas song that we don’t have in the U.S. is あわてんぼうのサンタクロース/Awatenbo no Santa Claus. Lyrics can be found HERE.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in Japanese is also pretty popular (another cute version HERE):

And a Christmas song from the always fun Shimajiro:

Try singing these songs with your kids today!

Christmas Origami

1 Dec

Happy December 1st! We’re starting to get into the holiday spirit. Wouldn’t it be fun to make some holiday decorations out of origami? I’m imagining tree decorations, garlands, gift tags… these can be used for so many things! Click over to Origami Club for step-by-step instructions!

 

Mell-chan dress for a real-life girl

2 Oct

メルちゃんが大好きな1歳の娘のために、メルちゃんとお揃いのドレスを作ってあげました。

img_3415

My 1-year old daughter loves her Mell-chan (メルちゃん) doll from Japan. We ordered it for her (via Amazon) last Christmas, and she has not stopped carrying her around (by the hair, lol!), changing her clothes, and feeding her food.

img_3360

So I thought my daughter would be thrilled if I sewed her a dress just like her doll (and, it can double as a Halloween costume). I just eyeballed the pattern and used fleece, felt, and velcro. It took me about 3 hours (I’m not a seamstress!) and was a labor of love.

img_3623

img_3628

I was crushed when I showed the finished dress to my daughter and she REFUSED to wear it! She went limp like a noodle and had tears running down her face. She did NOT want to wear the dress!!

I think she didn’t want to wear it because she hates to be treated like a baby. She thinks she is a big girl/a mama. So a few days later, I tried again, saying “It’s a mommy dress!”. And–whew! She put it on!

img_3382

Taking pictures of a 1-year old is near impossible to say the least. She was either 1. Running or 2. Not smiling while I tried to take some pictures. Haha! But I managed to get a few.

img_3395

 

img_3443

img_3474

img_3587

 

What are your children going to be for Halloween? Anything inspired by Japan? My older two want to be Pokemon. Maybe I will post about their costumes later. Other Japan-inspired ideas I threw around in my head were:

  1. Characters from Totoro (Totoro’s, Mei-chan, Cat-bus, etc.)
  2. Characters from Anpanman (Anpanman, Melon pan-na chan, Baikinman, etc)
  3. Characters from Shimajiro (Shimajiro, Mimirin, etc)

I’ve also seen super cute baby-sushi costumes, and of course the ever-so-popular ninjas.

Halloween is becoming an increasingly popular holiday in Japan. Is it celebrated where you live?

IMG_3455.jpg

Japan-Inspired Gift Ideas!

12 Dec

Recently, I frequently find myself gifting Japan-related things! For example, my daughter took a bag full of Japanese candy for a birthday party. For Christmas, my older kids are getting a Yokai Watch DVD set and my toddler is getting a Mel-chan doll. It is a good way to be unique! Here are some gift ideas for the Japan-lovers in your life:

Melissa and Doug Sushi Slicing Set (a fun alternative to “traditional” food!)

41KrgmltLRL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kendama Toy (great for all ages!)

414UKnIs0rL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vive Le Color! Japan Coloring Book for Adults

61n8F8bUoqL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yakusen Bath Roman Bath Salts (Japanese bath salts are sooo relaxing)

51JVf6nQP6L

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Tape Gift Box (the mt brand from Japan is simply the best. I use it for everything!)

41W2WxviLiL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mitsubishi 100 Colors Colored Pencil Box (my kids have this set and it is awesome. Every color you could ever want, durable, and the color glides onto paper so smoothly)

51V5BstLgwL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nintendo Hanafuda Card Game (great for older kids, teens and adults)

412KFRBZTVL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yokai Watch Karuta (for your Yokai Watch fanatic)

61hUqtwyjyL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kracie Pop N Cookin Candies (oh so-unhealthy but so fun to make and eat)

61XdKbNQ9dL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pack of Japanese Snacks

51z5MGlZWKL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncle Goose Hiragana Wood Blocks

51np45XNG-L

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go to my online Amazon store to see more ideas!!

Japanese Kids Websites: Kids Club and Online Books

19 Dec

image from 2kids-club.com

The makers of the popular website Origami-Club have a newish sister site called “Kids Club” that’s worth checking out. It has printable mazes, coloring pages, and instructions for kirigami, ayatori, etc. You can view the site in Japanese or English.

d9

They also have a wonderful site called E-Douwa (Douwa means “children’s stories”) where you can read many children’s books, in Japanese, online! This is a great resource if you are having a hard time finding Japanese books to read. There are Japanese folktales, Aesop’s Tales, stories from the brothers Grimm, etc.

image from e-douwa.com

image from e-douwa.com

 

PS I hope you and your loved ones have a very happy holidays!! Search my blog for  “Christmas“, “New Years“, etc for Japan-related activities ! 🙂

DIY Paper Yoyo’s for the Holidays!

12 Dec

I volunteered to be in charge of a Christmas craft for a playdate this week. I looked on Pinterest for craft ideas and didn’t see anything that I liked ( I needed something easy enough for 3~5 year olds, inexpensive, quick, and not messy). I looked at the materials I already have and thought and thought. Then I came up with this idea (inspired by something I saw on a Japanese children’s show… I think it was “Shimajiro’s Wow”?). Paper Yo-yo’s!

yoyo1.jpg

I don’t know about you, but I have TONS of wrapping paper. I bought a roll at Costco last year, and I think there’s enough paper to last me my entire lifetime. This craft will make use of some of that paper. I hope you will try this craft with your kids– it is very easy, fun, and only takes 3 materials!

yoyo2.jpg

Materials Needed:

1) Wrapping paper (or any other kind of long paper)

2) Tape (I think double-sided would work great)

3) Disposable chopsticks (or any other sturdy stick)

yoyo3.jpg

Instructions:

1) First, cut your wrapping paper into a long, skinny strip. Mine was about 3 inches by 3 feet (but it does not have to be exact). In the photo, you can see that I cut many strips– one for each child.

yoyo4.jpg

2) Break the disposable chopstick in two (where you’re supposed to break it). Place the chopstick on one edge of the wrapping paper with the top of the stick lining up with the top of the paper.

yoyo5.jpg

3) Tape the chopstick down with tape.

yoyo6.jpg

4) Carefully and tightly begin rolling the paper onto the stick, being sure to keep it lined up straight as you go.

yoyo7.jpg

5) When you have wrapped the entire length of the paper onto the stick, unwrap and re-roll (to ensure that the yo-yo works well).

yoyo8.jpg

yoyo9.jpg

6) When you let go, it will look like this:

yoyo10.jpg

7) And you are done! To use, gently flick your wrist as you hold the bottom of the stick, or hang upside-down to “bounce” the yo-yo in the air. If you spin out the yo-yo too powerfully, the paper can unravel and you will need to roll it again. Isn’t it fun?

yoyo11.jpg

Please let me know if you make these paper yoyo’s. I think they would make great birthday party favors and classmate gifts as well.

I also want to rave about the awesomeness of masking tape. It has come in so handy for the holidays! You can use masking tape to secure your yo-yo when not in use, keep your roll of wrapping paper from unraveling, wrapping gifts, taping holiday cards to the wall, etc. The great thing about masking tape is that it will not damage paper or the wall when you peel it off, and can be re-used. Omiyage.ca has the cutest masking tapes ever! (I am not sponsored by them, I am just in love with their store/blog– so pretty!)

yoyo12.jpg

Thanks for reading, please share/pin this post if you enjoyed it!

yoyo15.jpg

Summary in Japanese:

クリスマスの紙ヨーヨーです。子供たちも自分で作れる,簡単なクラフトです。家にある物で作れますので,ぜひちょうせんしてください。

Happy Holidays! Plus Favorite Posts and Sites.

19 Nov

image from fumira.jp

Can you believe the holiday season is upon us? I just put up a homemade wreath on our front door and am looking forward to turkey dinner with close family and friends this week. I love this time of the year, and I especially love that my husband gets some time off from work and we get to spend a lot of time together as a family! Because of that, I will probably not post anything new for the rest of 2012 (um, just kidding). I am going to leave you with some holiday links, my favorite posts, and my current favorite websites. Click on the “***” to go to the sites. See you in 2013!

CHRISTMAS

1. Decorate for the holidays using origami! ***

NEW YEARS

1. Send a New Year’s card, Japanese-style: ***

2. A past blog post about ways to celebrate the new year like the Japanese: ***

3. Printable, Japanese-themed calendars for 2013 (they are adorable!): ***

SETSUBUN

1. Setsubun isn’t until the first week of February, but for those who like to plan ahead, here is a past blog post about it: ***

FAVORITE POSTS 

1. How to survive a long plane ride with a toddler! *** (reader favorite!)

2. Ideas for souvenirs to take to Japan: ***

3. The yummiest homemade purin recipe! ***

4. Is the cold weather making you think of sunnier days? Or maybe you live somewhere that’s currently summer? Check out my How to Have a Natsu Matsuri post: ***

5. Since Obama just got re-elected, this video is worth watching again: ***

6. How to Begin Teaching Your Child Japanese: ***

FAVORITE JAPANESE LEARNING WEBSITES

1. Brother.co.jp ***

2. Honda Kids ***

3. Links to LOTS of great printable hiragana practice sheets ***

4. Ready Steady NihonGo! ***

5. Erin’s Challenge: ***

KEEP YOUR KIDS BUSY AND LEARNING DURING THE HOLIDAYS:

1. Blog post with a lot of great links to websites that teach you  how to play traditional Japanese children’s games: ***

2. Ekaki-uta’s (Drawing Songs) are fun for all ages! ***

3. Japanese Fingerplays… a great way to pass the time on the drive to grandma and grandpa’s house! ***

4. Play karuta! ***

5. DOZENS for Japanese videos for kids via YouTube: ***

How will you spend the rest of 2012? I’d love to hear from you. Readers comments give me the motivation to keep up this blog! 

Omiyage (Souvenirs) to Take to Japan

22 Feb

Japan is a country where the giving of souvenirs/gifts are very important, as well as the presentation of those gifts. Japan is also a country that seems to already have everything … they have all the brand-names and their technology and design seem to be far superior to the rest of the world (and, everything is cuter!). So. What to take to Japan as gifts? I know a lot of people are going to take good care of us in Japan so I want my gifts to be nice and thoughtful.  After asking my friends and “researching” on the internet, here are my omiyage ideas:

image from ameapa.com

FOR WOMEN:

* Eco Bags (Reusable Bags) from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. They are cute, functional, and seem to be popular in Japan. (click HERE to see how much they are selling for in Japan!). I read that large eco bags are hard to find in Japan. BONUS: they can double as gift wrap!

* Nice hand lotions from somewhere like L’Occitane or Crabtree and Evelyn. I bought these cute gift sets. Who wouldn’t love these whether you live in Japan or anywhere else in the world?

* Little hand sanitizers, called “PocketBacs”, from Bath and Body Works. Inexpensive, cute, and useful. I have heard that since hand sanitizers are not widely used in Japan, you’ll have to explain to your gift recipient how to use this. I think it would look really nice to package 2 or 3 of these in a clear cellophane bag with a pretty ribbon.

* Kitchen tools and accessories from Williams-Sonoma or Crate and Barrel. I think beautiful kitchen towels, pretty cupcake liners, or unique kitchen tools would be nice (note: measuring cups, unless they are measuring spoons, are probably not a good idea because they are different sizes in Japan and in the U.S.)

* Foods like fancy balsamic vinegar, local honey, maple syrup, jam, or spices.

* Pretty earrings, perhaps made locally where you live.

* I hear that cute aprons are popular these days. Anthropologie has some that any girl would love! For someone who likes to host home parties.

* If your recipient is into scrapbooking/card-making, pretty papers, stamps, stickers, cutters, etc might be nice (I like the Martha Stewart Line that can be found at Michaels or JoAnns).

* Nice stationery and notepads (Barnes and Noble, Hallmark, and Papyrus have nice selections).

FOR MEN:

* For my grandpa, I plan to get some beef jerky, nuts (nuts are expensive in Japan), and dried fruit.

* NFL or College team T-shirts or other apparel

* I hear teenage boys like shirts from Hollister, or vintage shirts.

* American candy. I have read that Skittles and Reeses’s are two candies that can’t be found or are rare in Japan.

YOUNG GIRLS AND BOYS:

* Hair accessories and clothes from Gymboree or Janie and Jack (or any store, really).

* Sticker Dolly books. I LOVE these!! Great quality and so adorable. I recommend this one.

* Disney princess stuff.

* T-shirts (perhaps from Old Navy?)

* “Where’s Waldo?” books.

* Goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, and other “American” snacks.

* Things that go along with American holidays, such as egg-dyeing kits for Easter, Halloween candy, etc.

* Your favorite children’s books or music CD’s.

FOR ANYONE:

* Girl Scout Cookies! Those definitely can’t be found in Japan, right? I think the Thin Mints would be a hit.

* Chocolate-covered pretzels.

* Gourmet flavoring for popcorn.

* Tea and coffee (I don’t drink either, so I don’t have any recommendations).

* If going before the winter holidays, I hear American Christmas ornaments are a hit. Hallmark has a million to choose from!

* CD of music played by your local orchestra.

* Think local! What is unique to your area?

PEOPLE WHO YOU’RE REALLY CLOSE TO:

* For my aunt who is going to be helping us a lot in Japan, I thought I would make her a photo book of our trip to Japan and send it to her after our trip so she can recall the fun we had! I have used Shutterfly, Snapfish, and Blurb, and they are all great.

* For my grandpa, I am going to give him a framed family photo.

* It might be fun to put together a CD of your favorite music for a special friend.

*****

WHEW! I hope this list helps someone out there, because I did A LOT of thinking to come up with things that might be well-received by  friends and family in Japan! I’m also going to take a stash of gift wrap, gift bags, and tissue paper so I can wrap these gifts nicely after we arrive in Japan. I know it’s not REQUIRED to give everyone a gift, but it sure feels good to reciprocate the kindness that everyone shows to us when we visit.

And yes, you may say that omiyage adds bulk to your luggage, but after you give them all away, you’ll have more space for all the fun things you buy in Japan :). OH, also, it’s a good idea to not take anything that takes up a lot of space. Most Japanese homes are very limited on space. So something that can be consumed or used up is best. Also, be careful with chocolates in the summer, as they may melt.

Do you have any great omiyage ideas? If you live in Japan, what are some things you love to receive from overseas? アメリカから欲しいお土産は,何ですか?Don’t forget to check out my post about what to buy in Japan, here.

の:ノンタン (Nontan)

27 Jan

One of my favorite Japanese children’s book characters is Nontan/ノンタン! He is a mischievous, curious, fun-loving kitty cat. The book series is written and illustrated by Sachiko Kiyono (キヨノサチコ) and have been around since I was a little girl. There are books for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. The illustrations are adorable and the stories are cute, short, and perfect for little ones. Here are some of the books:

image from kaiseisha.co.jp

My children really enjoy having these books read to them. There’s a book for every occasion: potty-training, taking a bath, making friends, birthdays, Christmas, and most frequently… playing! I bet these books would be really popular in the United States too, if they were translated into English. The characters are so universally relatable. I highly recommend this series for children.

Next time you visit Japan, or a Japanese bookstore, take a look in the children’s section of the bookstore. I am sure you will find some of these adorable books! There are also Nontan DVD’s/TV shows too. Columbia makes a newer show called “Genki Genki Nontan/げんきげんきノンタン” and you can find some older Nontan episodes on YouTube:


What are some of your favorite Japanese children’s book characters? I would love to hear!

***

Click on “Select Category” –> “Books & Stories” in the sidebar for more book recommendations.

Want to learn more? LOVE Nontan? They just launched an official Nontan Blog.(I am drooling over the cute stuffed animals and iPhone covers!)

Find worksheets to practice writing の HERE!

%d bloggers like this: