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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。

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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More Shimajiro Videos

2 Feb

Shimajiro (Benesse) has some of the best Japanese videos for kids on the internet!

 

 

Here is a video that’s  perfect for Setsubun (which is tomorrow!)

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!)

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Kendama Toy (great for all ages!)

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Vive Le Color! Japan Coloring Book for Adults

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

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

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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)

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

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Yokai Watch Karuta (for your Yokai Watch fanatic)

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

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Pack of Japanese Snacks

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Uncle Goose Hiragana Wood Blocks

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

100th Day of School, Japanese-Style

18 Feb

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Many kindergarten classes in the United States celebrate the 100th Day of School. My daughter’s class was no exception. For homework, we were asked to make a project out of 100 things. We tossed around a few ideas and of course, my daughter wanted to try the most time-consuming idea, haha. We decided to fold 100 origami cranes!! It took a lot of patience over several days, but we are happy with the finished product. Needless to say, my daughter is now an expert at folding cranes.

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Did your children do anything for their 100th day of school? If you have to complete a similar project in the future, I encourage you to infuse some Japanese culture into your project! You could make 100 shuriken’s (ninja stars), write the numbers 1-100 in Japanese, etc. Stand out from the crowd and be unique!

A video about how to count to 100 in Japanese by JapanSocietyNYC!

Olympics ♥

16 Feb

I love love love love love the Olympics. I am not much of a TV-watcher, but for two weeks during the Olympics, I lose a lot of sleep due to staying up late trying to watch as much as I can! When I was a college student back in the day, I had the opportunity to volunteer as an assistant to the Japanese Team during the Salt Lake Olympics. My job included driving members of the team to various events and other places, translation, and general assistance. I often worked inside the Olympic Village and had to try hard to control the urge to not take pictures or ask for autographs when I saw Michelle Kwan, Apolo Anton Ohno, etc. If the Olympics ever come to you, I highly recommend volunteering!

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One of my blog readers requested that I post some links about the Olympics and here’s what I’ve gathered so far :).

1) Official Website for the Japanese Olympic Committee: http://www.joc.or.jp/english/

Go here to see the names of all the different events in Japanese: http://www.joc.or.jp/games/olympic/sochi/sports/

2) A great summary of the Sochi Olympics for children (in Japanese), by Yahoo Kids: http://topic.kids.yahoo.co.jp/article/sochi_olympic/

3) “What is the Olympics?” for children, in Japanese (with furigana): http://www.lib.adachi.tokyo.jp/kids/toshokann/siraberu/siraberu_back/sirabveru0807.html

4) Q&A with future Japanese Olympians, also by Yahoo Kids: http://topic.kids.yahoo.co.jp/mag/olympic2020/

Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, the Japanese athlete that has probably received the most screen time (I think he is amazing!):

As most of you already know, Japan is hosting the 2020 Olympics. If you are able, GO! Japan always does an incredible job hosting big events, public transportation is awesome, and uh… what’s not to love about visiting Japan? If you can’t get tickets to the regular games, I recommend the Paralympic Games too. I’ve been to a Paralympics Ice Hockey game, and it was incredible.

Look at this adorable bento box that Shirley of Little Miss Bento made! My kids would love it if I made them bento that looked this cute (and yummy).

Tokyo Olympic 2020 Bento

What events and athletes have you been following?

Japanese School Fun Fair

18 Dec

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Every year, the Japanese School we attend hosts a “Fun Fair” for its students and surrounding community. At this event, children travel around to different stations to play games, make crafts, wear kimonos, and participate in many other activities to help them better understand the Japanese culture.

Like all the other activities at Japanese School, this event is run by parent volunteers. Something I love about Japanese culture is how efficiently everyone works together. As I helped put up decorations for this event, I looked around and marveled at how hard and cooperatively everyone was working to pull this off for our kids. I didn’t see anyone sitting around or trying to get away with doing as little as possible.

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Some of the stations were:

1) Japanese calligraphy (しゅうじ)

2) Origami (おりがみ)

3) Paper-airplane making (かみひこうき)

4) Beanbag-toss

5) Yo-yo-scooping (ヨーヨーつり)

6) Super-ball scooping (スーパーボールすくい)

7) Tea Ceremony

8) Wear traditional kimonos/yukatas

9) Kendama (けんだま)

10) Hane-tsuki (はねつき)

11) Kendo (けんどう)

12) Karuta (カルタ)

13) Fukuwarai (ふくわらい)

14) Spinning tops (こままわし)

15) Used (Japanese) books sale

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Does the Japanese School near you host events like this?

Olympics! オリンピック

1 Aug

image from ameblo.jp/tomatodaisuki111

I love, love, LOVE the Olympics. I volunteered as an assistant to the Japanese Team during the 2002 Olympics, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It is exciting to watch the world’s strongest and fastest go for the gold. Who are you rooting for?

This is a good opportunity for you to learn/teach new Japanese words related to the Olympics. Click HERE to see what all the sports are called in Japanese on the Japan Olympic Committee’s website. You can read more about how Team Japan is doing on NHK’s website, HERE.

National Cherry Blossom Festival 2012

13 Mar

Are you bummed because you aren’t going to Japan this year? WELL, if you live in the United States, don’t forget about the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.! THIS YEAR is an especially GREAT year to go because they are celebrating 100 years from the time that cherry blossoms (sakura) were donated to Washington D.C. If we had not been able to go to Japan this year, we were DEFINITELY going to attend this event!

Here’s some more info from the official website:

“In 1912, an incredible gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees was bestowed on Washington, DC by Tokyo, Japan. Rooted strongly and surviving outside elements, the trees have withstood the test of time – and nearly a century later, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is preparing for an unprecedented and once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

The epic 5-week spectacular, from March 20 – April 27, 2012, will unify and electrify the city, the nation, and the world. Washington, DC and the region will be abuzz with excitement. Creativity and innovation will permeate signature Festival events elevating them to new heights, and ground-breaking Centennial exhibitions and programming will amaze and delight. Timeless traditions. Rich culture. Renowned artists. World-class performers. The community at its best!”

A lot of my friends with children attend this event. It is a great event for the entire family. There are parades, performances, food, music, kites, fireworks, and a ton more. Are any of you going this year, or have gone in the past? I hear the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom next week!

You can also GO HERE to see how you can help with Japan Relief Efforts.

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