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Japanese Halloween Videos!

29 Oct

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Halloween is fast-approaching! In past years, our family has done Japan-inspired family costumes like Totoro and Pokemon, but this year we let each kid pick whatever they wanted– so they chose Elastigirl (from The Incredibles), a stormtrooper (from Star Wars), and Cinderella.

The weather in our part of the world has been just awful for Halloween festivities– cold and rainy every day. Perhaps it is the same for you. So I have compiled some of my favorite kid-friendly Japanese Halloween videos, so you and your kids can snuggle up under a blanket, maybe munch on some Pocky? and learn Japanese 🙂 Enjoy, and ハッピーハロウィン!

Shimajiro is always my favorite:

(Learn the lyrics to グーチョキパンプキン here)

 

A 30-minute compilation of Halloween songs by ピンキッツ:

 

Super Simple Japanese always publishes great songs:

 

Learn how to fold a cute origami ghost:

 

Halloween make-up how-to for tweens, by ちゃおチャンネル:

 

Or perhaps order or borrow Studio Ghibli movies to watch! I think Kiki’s Delivery Service is especially perfect for this time of year.

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Kodomo No Hi Videos

5 May

May 5th is Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day) in Japan. Here are some videos to help your children learn about this holiday.

A great interactive video by Benesse, 「しまじろうとこどもの日を楽しもう!」<こどもちゃれんじ>4月ライブ授業:

“What is Kodomo no Hi?” (こどもの日ってなあに?)by CHK名古屋:

The classic children’s song associated with Kodomo No Hi by キッズボンボン, 【♪うた】こいのぼり〈振り付き〉【手あそび・こどものうた】Japanese Children’s Song, Nursery Rhymes & Finger Plays:

Read-Alouds about Kodomo No Hi:

A Just-For-Fun Koinobori Stop-Motion animation:

Japan-inspired Classroom Valentines

24 Jan

Eek! It has been a long time since I last blogged! So sorry. (I post more often on my –> Hiragana Mama facebook page if you’d like more updates!).

So the fall/winter holidays came and went in a whirlwind and now it’s almost Valentine’s Day! At my children’s school, they still exchange valentine cards so I’ve been trying to brainstorm ideas for cards. If you want to be unique, why not try a Japan-inspired Valentine’s card?

For example, use origami. Here are some ideas I found on Pinterest. There are hundreds of ideas on there! Here are my favorites.

First, a unicorn origami valentine bookmark, found at willowday.net.

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Next up, Origami Troll valentines, by PinkStripeySocks.com.

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Aren’t they sooo cute??

Here is an origami Kissing Lips valentine by homemade-gifts-made-easy.com

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You can visit Origami Club to learn how to make basic hearts out of origami: Origami Club.

If you and your kids are not the crafty types, you can always purchase pre-made cards from places like Etsy.

Check out this cute Totoro valentine by Etsy seller playerNo2

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You could also buy clip art from sellers like Cockatoo Design

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Minted.com also has these adorably clever cards that you can order.

Udon Card

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Wasaaaabae (this one is my favorite)

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Check out Minted for even more! (No, not sponsored. No part of this post is sponsored. I just like to find good stuff and share them with you.)

My children’s school doesn’t allow food to be passed out, but if your school allows it, I thought it would be fun to pass out candy like Hi-Chew, interesting-flavored Kit-Kats, or little packs of Konpeito (Amazon Associate links). I have seen some of these foods being sold at World Market, and of course at Asian grocery stores.

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Aren’t these little bags of konpeito so cute? $9.99 for 50 packs!

I am sure you all could come up with some Japan-inspired Valentine’s Box ideas as well. What have you done in the past, and what do you plan to do this year? I would love to hear.

 

 

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!!

2014 Year of the Horse Activities

6 Feb
final yearof the horse

illustration by Agata Plank

I realize it’s already February, but あけましておめでとうございます (Happy New Year)!Thank you so much for following my blog. 2014 is the year of the horse. (Read more about the Japanese zodiac animals on this post).

Many thanks to Polish illustrator Agata Plank for creating the beautiful illustration above for Hiragana Mama. See more of her work at: http://agataplank.blogspot.co.uk/

If you were born in the year of the horse, here are some of your character traits (according to Japanese.about.com):

Horse (uma)

Born 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, 1906. People born in the year of the Horse are skillful in paying compliments and talk too much. They are skillful with money and handle finances well. They are quick thinkers, wise and talented. Horse people anger easily and are very impatient.

Here are some activities you can do with your children to celebrate the year of the horse.

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image from papermodel.jp

1) Horse Paper Crafts here, here, here, and here.

2) Horse coloring page here.

3) Lean how to draw a horse here.

4) Horse (and other animals) matching game here.

5) A hundred other horse-related crafts on Pinterest, here.

Did you do anything with your children to celebrate the new year?

Happy Tanabata! 2013

7 Jul

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I’ll be honest, Tanabata usually takes a back seat to the 4th of July at our house. By the time we celebrate Independence Day by going to the beach, BBQ’s, and late-night fireworks, I don’t even want to think about celebrating another holiday 3 days later. How about you? How do you celebrate Tanabata?

So I was very grateful when my daughter made some Tanabata decorations at Japanese School yesterday.

 

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My daughter’s Tanabata wish: “にじがみたい” (I want to see a rainbow).

 

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Take a moment today to make a tanabata wish!

Search my site for “Tanabata” for more on this Japanese summer holiday!

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).

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

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

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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!

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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

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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)

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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!

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To make your own, you will just need:

– felt

– googly eyes

– glue gun

– embroidery thread and needle

– glitter glue

– ribbon

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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?

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