In Japan, a school year ends and a new one begins in the spring. For my children who attend Japanese School on Saturdays, they have graduation in March and begin their new grades in April. This means that back-to-school shopping happens in February for me! Here are some items that we purchase for Japanese School, that’s different from what we purchase for American School.
1. Randoseru. In Japan, when a child begins first grade, they buy a backpack (usually leather) that is meant to last them for all their elementary school years. These cost anywhere from $100 to $1000!! Since my kids will only be using them once per week, I opted for the less expensive option. I bought this one. I can’t wait to see my son wearing it on his first day of school!
2. Pencil Case (Fudebako). At my children’s American School, everyone shares supplies so there’s no need to have your own supplies box. But at Japanese School, everyone brings their own. Younger students love these fancy cases with their favorite characters on them (click on the photos to be taken to where you can buy them). My daughter who is almost 9 is past that phase so I got her one without any characters. I recommend looking for items that are Made in Japan.
3. Suito (Water bottles). Now, I know we take water bottles to American schools too. But I really love the ones made in Japan with the flip-top lids and straps so it’s easy for kids to carry to school and onto the playground. There are so many fun varieties! I personally got my son the Stars Wars one.
4. Bento Boxes and Supplies. I think part of the reason why my kids still tolerate going to Japanese School on Saturdays is because they love lunch time. Monday-Friday, we make them a traditional American lunch (sandwich) but on Saturdays, I spend extra time making them onigiri, tempura shrimp, tamago-yaki, etc. When I first started, I was totally clueless so this book (Just Bento Cookbook) by Makiko Itoh was a lifesaver.
There are a lot of other supplies– shitajiki, compass for math, triangular ruler, etc that I’ve had to purchase for Japanese School over the years. You can CLICK HERE to see all the supplies I’ve found on Amazon (I’ll be updating/adding things soon). I love that all these items are readily available for purchase online! Yes I am an Amazon Affiliate which means I receive a small portion of purchases (but you don’t pay more than normal), but I would never recommend anything that I don’t personally love! I’m hoping I’ve saved you some time by having all these products on one page.
Happy Back-to-School Shopping!