31 August 2012

Summer Holiday Homework ★ 'Research Project' for Japanese Primary School

The six weeks summer school holiday is over in most of Japanese primary schools on August 31.
Children will go back to school after the weekend.

Well, how did we go with our summer holiday homework?!
(Please see July 20th of this blog about summer school homework!)

Here is our big production for the 'research project' for this summer.
The theme is 'London Olympics 2012 and our memories'.
First, my 8 years old, Year 3, daughter made a shining 'doro dango' (sand ball). In old days, children used to make those sand balls in the park but there is hardly any good sand pit to make those in Tokyo. So, we spoilt ourselves and bought a little kit for a sand ball.

My daughter painted the British flag with water paint on the sand ball. She studies the Union Jack carefully and it turned out beautifully.

Next, she made the Double Decker, the symbol of London's daily life, with thick paper, a little motor, and coloured with water paint.
It wasn't easy and the daughter faced many troubles.
But hurray! It turned out more than we expected.
With a little banner 'London 2012 Olympic', it got life and started to move just like...
Much love to London!

29 August 2012

Family day out at Hello Kitty ★ Sanrio Puroland

★Sanrio Puroland official HP in English: http://www.puroland.co.jp/english/welcome.html
More information in Japanese: http://www.puroland.jp/
★Characters creator and maker, Sanrio Co.: http://www.sanrio.co.jp/english/index.html
★Facebook Sanrio Entertainment: http://www.facebook.com/SANRIOENT
The home of Hello Kitty and Sanrio ultra cute characters is an indoor theme park, called 'Sanrio Puroland', located on the western outskirts of Tokyo in Tama City.
It is not overstated the Japan-made character, Hello Kitty, is an internationally recognised icon just like Mr. Fuji. The world of Sanrio offers an unique phenomenon with the unspoken characters with extensive goods designed for children to adults.  
Sanrio Puroland park map from official site
The theatre performances, musicals, and parades are colourful with lights effects and the modest size of the park enable the audience to be a part of the sparkling performances right in front of you.
The park is usually full with families with preschool children, but Hello Kitty lovers fully dressed with character gadgets often occupy the front line at performances.
★Little Twin Stars★
★Monkey Monkichi★
★Kerokero Keroppi★
★Suger Bunnies★
All the Sanrio characters welcome the people on boat ride just like the attraction, 'It's A Small World' at Disney Land.
The musical 'Hello Kitty and the Wizard of Oz' at Marchen Theatre
Hello Kitty is a quiet character unlike TV or cartoon characters but she talks, dances, and she even performs as an upbeat DJ...She is given life at Sanrio Puroland.

Jewelpet musical at Discovery Theatre

The Sanrio characters were primarily meant to be for small children. The 'cute' culture among grown-ups, however, has rapidly widespread not only in Japan but throughout the world.
They are cute, adorable, and they make people at ease.
It is not only cute and fluffy, but it offers the spectacular performances.
Sanrio Puroland is a dreamland for both children and grown-ups.

13 August 2012

The Authentic Japanese Crab Cuisine in Osaka ★ Eating crabs in many different ways

(Above picture from 'Kani Doraku', Osaka Dotonbori main restaurant: http://douraku.co.jp.e.at.hp.transer.com/ in English)

Popping eyes, moving legs and claws ... the giant crab is welcoming you to the restaurant.

The sensational giant 'moving crab' sign appeared on the busy Dotonbori street of Osaka, Japan in 1962. It has since become an icon of the city, and the restaurant, 'Kani Doraku', has become one of the most popular crab speciality restaurants in Japan.
For most Japanese crab lovers, crabs are considered a winter food, and are cooked in a hot pot style dish such as 'shabu shabu'. But the summer crab cuisine is also something you shouldn't miss.
The crab course menu is a bit pricey, ranging from 3,500 yen to 10,000 yen at the restaurant. Here is the 4,300 yen course meal - you can't go wrong with this! 

It starts with an entree - boiled crab meats with some appetisers. The little Japanese plates are pieces of art.
The crab 'sashimi' (raw crab meat) is unusual, but so delicious as it melts in your mouth.  'Chawanmushi', on the right in the above picture, is a unique egg custard dish with crab (mind you it is not sweet). The crab shells on the left shine beautifully.
 The baked crabs smell like seashore BBQ. Sweet and delicious.
 The crab tempura ... crispy, crunchy, and again, sweet.
The crab 'kamameshi', a Japanese traditional way of cooking rice in an iron pot, follows near the end of the course. The contrast of the colours between the black iron pot and red crab shell is beautiful. Subtle but awesome.
The clear soup with crabmeat stock is served at the end of the main course. It smoothes out your tummy.
The Japanese traditional course meal often ends with fresh fruits. It was a plate with pineapples and dark cherries. The calculated combination is perfect as an after-crab desert.

The restaurant also offers a special crab bento box (boxed lunch) for children.
It is not a simple 'kids lunch box' but it is a full of the world of crabs.

Before leaving, the cashier at the restaurant gave us a crab 'origami'.
How can people make the complicated origami art with one piece of paper?
Why don't you try the 'crab' cuisine as well as crab 'origami'?!


10 August 2012

Kids crafts lessons at a Japanese department store★

It is hot, really hot, boiling hot every day!
The humidity is incredibly high in the concrete jungle, Tokyo.
Children cannot play in a playground because all the metal equipment turned like a sauce pan. It is always a headache for parents how to survive the summer season with their children in Japan.

This is a little tip how grown-ups can entertain the kids without travelling far or spending too much money in Tokyo... Go to the department stores.

One of the biggest department stores, Mitsukoshi Department Store, Nihonbashi main store (Official HP: http://www.mitsukoshi.co.jp/store/fcs/english/1010/index.html) was offering 'Kids Crafts Summer Events' in late July.

It only took about 30 minutes and cost around 500 to 1,000 yen for each lessons.

'Let's make a wind chime' course was simply drawing pictures with markers on a clear wind chime. It is utterly easy but it turned out a beautiful Japanese summer craft.
Another course was '3D greeting card making'. It offered all the materials and instructions. 

An easy craft was the sponge mobile making, the kinetic art. It was simple but children's imagination was infinitive with a few materials.

An easy jelly fish knitting turned out a colourful and unique piece of art.
The shopping is not the only way to enjoy in the Japanese department stores.
Everything is there for kids and parents!