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7 Jan


Is your town as frozen as mine right now due to this “polar vortex”? It is the coldest it has ever been in my entire life. This morning it was -6Fahrenheit, with wind chills at -40 degrees!! School and work has been cancelled, there’s ice covering the inside of our windows, and our dog who normally begs to go outside wants to stay in. Brrr!! On top of that, we are taking turns battling the flu– awesome! Hope you all are warm, healthy, and safe.

We had a wonderful holiday break  and watched a lot of movies. Our family favorite was “Frozen” by Disney! I am itching to go see it again, I am so in love with the music. Out of curiosity, I checked to see if I could find Japanese lyrics to any of the songs (the movie isn’t due to be released in Japan until spring). It looks like they are keeping the  songs in English, even in the Japanese version of the movie (correct me if I’m wrong), with the Japanese translation at the bottom of the screen. 

The Japanese version of “Frozen” is going to be called “アナと雪の女王 (Ana and the Snow Queen)”. I would love to see it. It is always fun for me to re-watch English movies in Japanese and notice how all the words were translated. Click HERE to go to the Japanese “Frozen” website. Warning: the trailer includes a ton of scenes from the movie.

2/5 EDIT: Here are the Japanese versions of the songs!! 🙂


Click here to see more!

Keropon’s! ケロポンズ/エビカニクス

14 Aug

keropons-pToday I want to share with you an adorable Japanese music duo that creates music to get kids and parents moving! They are called Keropon’s (ケロポンズ), and here’s their group’s description from their website:


(My rough translation: “Creating music, play, dance, and everything else that children and parents can enjoy together– it’s so fun it’s out-of-this-world!”).

Here’s one of their music videos, called  エブカニクス(Shrimp-Crab-Exercise):

Click HERE to browse more of their fun music videos.

See how a Japanese Preschool in Los Angeles (Suika Preschool) used this song in their classroom:

I’m going to try some of these songs with my kids today!

Hiragana YouTube Videos

24 May

Short, fun videos to help children learn hiragana 🙂 Search “hiragana videos” using the search tool to the right to see even more videos!

Japanese Hand Washing Videos てあらい

7 May

Those of you with kids… you know that hand-washing (てあらい) is a huge part of daily life! Not only are you needing to wash your hands after helping a child use the bathroom, making food multiple times a day, every time you wipe a snotty nose… but constantly reminding your children to wash. We don’t want germs and sickness ruining our fun! I probably wash my hands a few dozen times a day! After all this washing, I know we sometimes get lazy about it and not spend enough time scrubbing. These fun Japanese videos about handwashing will surely inspire us to spend a little more time washing our hands! 🙂

Video by ACUVUE(R):

Video by UNICEF Japan:

Video by Biore:

Video by LION:

Click on the links to learn more about handwashing (in Japanese).

Ashida Mana-chan

23 Apr

Ashida Mana-ちゃん is the sweetest, cutest 8-year old girl. She has starred in TV shows, movies, and music videos in Japan. Little girls love her, including my daughter. Learning the lyrics to her songs might be one way to build Japanese fluency :).

Here’s some of our favorite songs:

And of course, the most famous “Maru Maru Mori Mori” song (click to view). Do your kids listen to any Japanese singers? Who do you recommend?

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

12 Feb


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.

Fun Kids Show: シャキーン!

29 Jan


This morning we spent our TV time watching a Japanese show called “シャキーン!(Shakiin)” via YouTube. It is a 7am show designed for elementary-aged children to help wake their brains up in the morning. It has been entertaining and educational for me as well. Here’s the description of the show by NHK:

子どもたちを “シャキーン!”と目覚めさせて、楽しい一日のスタートを切ってもらう知的エンターテインメント番組。「いつもとは違うモノの見方」や「柔軟な発想力」が 楽しみながら身につきます。舞台は、雲の上まで突き出した木の上にある謎の秘密基地。愉快な仲間、ジュモクさん、あゆちゃん、ナオト、ネコッパチが、学校で友だちと話題にしたくなるようなトピックを次々と紹介します。クイズにアニメにエクササイズ、即興ゲームや思わず考えさせられてしまう歌など、子どもたちの五感や記憶力・観察力・表現力を育むコンテンツが盛りだくさん。朝から「ハッ!」としたり、「へえ」とうなるバラエティに富んだコーナーで、「体の目覚め」と「心の目覚め」を促します。

(Can’t read Japanese? Try using Google Translate)

You can watch a few Shakiin episodes below:

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!

Shimajiro Wow! Videos

3 Dec

I know I said I wouldn’t post anymore this year, but I wanted to share these videos real quick. My kids have been sick a lot this past month so we’ve been spending a lot of time at home and they’ve been driving me crazy! These videos are giving me  a little break to regain my sanity 🙂 Maybe they will do the same for you.

しまじろうのわお” is a newer children’s program in Japan with an emphasis on science. Click here for more sample videos, activities, and information about the show. The Shimajiro YouTube Channel also has great previews and full-length song videos.

Here are some samples from the show:

もったいないばあさん “Mottainai Grandma”

6 Oct


I recently attended a meeting for Japanese Women that’s held bi-annually where I live, and somebody was getting rid of some Japanese picture books. I was thrilled to snag two “Mottainai Grandma/もったいないばあさん (by Mariko Shinji)” books! I first heard about the series last year when my daughter danced the Mottainai Baachan dance at her Undoukai (Field Day). Here’s what the dance looks like (you should learn it with your kids!):

The word “mottainai/もったいない” means “wasteful” in English. The “Mottainai Grandma” appears whenever someone is about to do something wasteful, and instructs them on how to be more resourceful and responsible for the world. (You can read more about the books in English HERE… the translation is really awful though… somebody needs to use a spell-check!).

Mottainai Baachan reminds me of my mother 🙂 We were encouraged to eat EVERYTHING on our plates. We were scolded if there was any meat left on our fish bones or grains of rice left in our bowls. We drew on the fronts and backs of paper until all the white space was filled. My mother could whip up a meal out of thin air or entertain us with activities and crafts out of materials we already had at home. These are skills that I feel not many people in the world (at least in America) have anymore! We are so spoiled with abundant food, toys, and entertainment. We waste a lot of material, food, and time.

Mottainai Grandma by Mariko Shinji

I’ve learned a lot of fun ideas from reading もったいないばあさん. For example, did you know…

– You can use every single part of a dandelion. The flower can become dandelion jello, the stem can become a whistle, the leaves can be used in a salad, and the root can be used to make coffee (I know, most of this makes me think “yuck!” but still neat to  know!)

– If you are sick with a runny nose, you can stick a scallion on your nose to feel better. If you have a fever, you can wrap a slice of tofu in some cloth to cool down your forehead.

– Instead of throwing away unwanted sweaters, so can unravel it… and if you wash the yarn with hot water and lay it out to dry, the yarn will become straight and re-usable.

In addition to teaching us how to not waste “things”, Mottainai Grandma teaches us how to not waste the seasons (make art with leaves in the fall, make snow angels in the winter), how to be polite, how to make the most of your imagination, etc. The  books are very entertaining to read! Does this remind you of anyone else’s mother/aunt/grandma?

If you are interested, the books are available for purchase HERE from White Rabbit Express and HERE from the Japanese American National Museum. It would be fun to own this Mottainai Baasan Karuta set, too! (Hiragana Mama is not sponsored by any of these companies).

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