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Gifts for the Pokemon Go! Fanatic

21 Jul PokemonGifts


Never in a million years would I have guessed that my family would be addicted to a Pokemon app on the phone. My kids have never even seen the TV show (and neither have I) but we downloaded the game (Pokemon Go!) to see what all the fuss was about and… we love it. Most electronic games tend to isolate individuals but we have found that our family has bonded over hunting for Pokemon. We have visited many parks and attractions in our city and have walked more than usual! My 6-year old son will talk your ear off about Pokemon Go! if you will let him. I have never seen him so passionate about something, lol. I am thinking we might have to dress up as Pokemon for Halloween, haha!

Thinking ahead to back-to-school shopping, birthday gifts, and holidays, I already have some Pokemon-related gift ideas for my kids. I added some of these things to my Amazon Store. Take a peek if you also have a Pokemon fanatic in your life! Here are some of the items I’m considering purchasing:


Pokemon Colored Pencils, 24-Pack

We have some other colored pencils by Showa Note and they are very high-quality (much better than the generic kinds you find in the stores here!). They come in a durable tin container.


Pokemon Furikake (rice seasoning)

My kids LOVE furikake on their rice. I love these individual-sized packs. They’re perfect for including in bento lunches.



Pokemon Name Stickers

I use these every year for labeling all my kids’ back-to-school supplies. They’re great for pencil boxes, water bottles, notebooks, etc.



Pokemon Opposites Card Game

This game will teach children hantai-kotoba (opposites), in Japanese. Looks cute! I need all the help I can get in the teaching-vocabulary department.



Pokemon Chopsticks-Spoon-Fork Set

I love these things. They are the perfect size for little kids. No more using disposable utensils for lunch boxes! And at just $5, a great price.



Pokemon Deluxe Essential Handbook

I know my son would eat this book right up.



Pokemon Japanese-Style Pencil Box

I loved these pencil boxes when I was little. They have a magnetic closure and hold pencils, erasers, etc securely inside.


Pokemon Hat

Just cute for your Pokemon-lover!


Lots MORE Pokemon gift ideas at my store!


I am an Amazon Affiliate and will receive a small percentage of each purchase. ありがとう!

My Amazon Store also has Japanese School Supplies, Japanese Food, Books, etc!


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!)











Kendama Toy (great for all ages!)













Vive Le Color! Japan Coloring Book for Adults












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












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












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)











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











Yokai Watch Karuta (for your Yokai Watch fanatic)












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












Pack of Japanese Snacks












Uncle Goose Hiragana Wood Blocks










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

Kodomo Challenge Live!こどもちゃれんじライブ授業

19 Jul

Just discovered a new TV series by Kodomo Challenge called “こどもちゃれんじライブ授業“, where children can explore many different things like various occupations, yoga, English, animals, etc. The episodes are shown “live” (children in Japan who own the Kodomo Challenge Tablet can participate in the show as they watch).  In Japan, the show is on every Saturday morning. I’m not sure if it’s viewable on any TV stations elsewhere. Here are two YouTube videos I found. The first is an episode exploring a Japanese bakery, and the second is about the mysteries of animals. Enjoy!


BONUS Kodomo Challenge Videos, “ともだちできたよ”, “はじめましてこんにちは”, and “リトミック/ダンス”. Watch them quick🙂 Sometimes they get taken down after awhile.

Anpanman Cake Pops ♥

11 Jul

Over the 4th of July weekend, I went to a BBQ with my family. Several Japanese families joined us. My sister’s contribution to the potluck BBQ were these adorable Anpanman cake pops! They were a huge hit with the kids. You can visit’s website for basic instructions on how to make cake pops. To make these Anpanman pops, my sister used chocolate cake mix, meltable butterscotch chocolates, round red sprinkles, and a black edible pen.


Anpanman Pop.jpg

Imagine the possibilities with all of the Anpanman characters (Baikinman, Melonpanna-chan, etc). Cuteness overload.

Do you love Anpanman? Read my post about my son’s Anpanman-themed birthday party HERE, or about our trip to the Anpanman Children’s Museum, HERE!



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!


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:

Go here to see the names of all the different events in Japanese:

2) A great summary of the Sochi Olympics for children (in Japanese), by Yahoo Kids:

3) “What is the Olympics?” for children, in Japanese (with furigana):

4) Q&A with future Japanese Olympians, also by Yahoo Kids:

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?

Things To Do In Japan With Kids: Visit Kyoto

9 Jan


I’m itching to visit Japan again. Oh how I wish I could be one of those people who can go every year! I was looking through our Japan Trip 2012 pictures and realized I never shared pictures from our day in Kyoto.


Kyoto would be a wonderful place to visit as a couple, by yourself, or with friends… but it is also very kid-friendly. There are many things to see and do and it is very walkable. Not to mention just GORGEOUS! You can’t fly all the way to Japan and NOT see Kyoto. We only had one day to spend in Kyoto, so we went to see Kiyomizudera and the surrounding area.


(not super stroller-friendly)



If you visit Kyoto, be prepared to eat a lot of delicious food and buy beautiful souvenirs.



Would you pay a thousand dollars for this Totoro stuffed animal?


Kyoto is one of my favorite places in Japan to visit. Next time, I would love to spend several days there… perhaps in the fall to see the 紅葉 (leaves changing colors).

I’m going to start saving my pennies so we can go to Japan again! Does anyone in Japan want to offer my non-Japanese speaking husband a job? LOL.

DIY Training Chopsticks (トレーニングはし)

10 Oct


Recently, we took the kids to a Japanese restaurant, where they ordered a bowl of ramen. I was delighted when the waitress brought them some training chopsticks. As I studied the chopsticks, I realized it is super easy to make yourself! It took me a few tries to get the tension just right, but it WAS really easy. So the next time you go out to eat at an Asian restaurant, just take along a rubberband (or hair tie) and you are ready to make your own training chopsticks in just a few minutes!

I made you a short video so you can see exactly how it’s done:

After I published my video, I saw that a few others have made similar videos. You can watch them all to see which technique works best for you😉

Please share with your friends who have children, or adults who have yet to master the art of using chopsticks!


P.S. Eating Japanese food with a fork is silly. Learn to use chopsticks! (past post about training chopsticks here)

Click HERE and scroll down to see how to use real chopsticks.

2013 Kodomo No Hi /こどもの日!

5 May

Happy Children’s Day! I know I am late getting this post up… sorry! I hope everyone had a wonderful day. I am so grateful for my own children who bring so much fun and love into my life, and for all the other children I know!

Today we invited some friends over for a special Okosama Lunch (lunch for children).


This year’s Okosama lunch(お子様ランチ) featured shrimp fried rice, potato and beef croquettes/korokke, and purin for dessert.


At Japanese School, they made kabuto hats out of newspaper:


And lastly, I want to show off my awesome mom. She teaches at a Japanese preschool (wish she lived closer!) and always comes up with the best ideas for crafts. For Kodomo No Hi this year, she and the children made these paper bag koinobori. She said she just used brown paper bags from the grocery store. I want to try making these next year!


For  more Japanese Children’s Day ideas, just search “Kodomo No Hi” in the search toolbar to the right!🙂 Lots more ideas on my Pinterest board as well. Thank you for reading!

2013 Koinobori Crafts

30 Apr


This Sunday, May 5 is Boys Day/Childrens Day (Kodomo no Hi) in Japan.

Our family celebrates by:

– Displaying Koinobori (previous posts with more info HERE and HERE)

– Making a samurai hat out of newspaper (planning to post about that soon)

– Eating Okosama Lunch (previous lunch HERE. this year I plan on making fried rice, ebi-fry, korokke, and purin)


Craft #1

Since we don’t have giant koinobori (こいのぼり) windsocks to display outdoors, I decided to make a small koinobori bunting (ガーランド) to display inside our house. I made one koi for each member of our family. This little banner reminds me how much I love my little family!


To make your own, you will just need:

– felt

– googly eyes

– glue gun

– embroidery thread and needle

– glitter glue

– ribbon


I don’t have a pattern… I just free-handed it. Cut out your koi shapes, glue on the eyes with a glue gun, add scales using glitter glue, and embroider if you desire and attach a ribbon for hanging. Easy! Took me less than 2 hours, not including drying time for the glue. I think mine would look better if I had rainbow colored string or ribbon to string my koinobori.


There are so many cute koinobi garland ideas online! Here are a few that I thought were especially cute:

– Origami Koi Garland from DekiruNavi (would work double-time for Cinco de Mayo too!)

– Another koinobori felt garland idea, found on Rakuten. I love the pom-poms!

– A super simple and colorful koinobori garland by maki maeda’s blog


Craft #2

In my craft stash, I found pieces of chipboard I had purchased at a craft store (Michaels) for less than a dollar per pack awhile ago. They turned out to be the perfect shape for making koinobori! My daughter decorated hers using oil pastels.



What crafts, food, or activities do you have up your sleeve for Kodomo No Hi (こどものひ)?  Please share (and send me photos)! Check back soon for more posts about Boys Day!

Kodomo Challenge Video

9 Jul

Here’s another great Kodomo Challenge video starring Shimajiro🙂 This episode has Japanese greetings, food, colors, vehicles, songs, and more. Enjoy!

Click on the “YouTube Videos” category under “Topics” to see more Japanese children’s videos.

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