You might remember learning about onomatopoeia in grade school. You probably enjoyed saying these words out loud and marveling at the fact that they sound the way they are spelled. In English, it’s words like “pop” “meow” and “whoosh”. The Japanese language is filled with symbolic ideophones, or words that evoke a feeling, memory or vivid image. Hira hira is Japanese onomatopoeia that means “to flutter”. Kira kira means to sparkle. When a Japanese person hears the word kirakira, it is like they can actually se things that are sparkly. To English-speaking people, these words might now sound like what they mean, but that’s the beauty of different languages. Here are some more Japanese words that are really fun to say. Practice saying them with your little citizen to make the foreign a little more familiar in your home. Can they name things that take on these attributes?
We go there. We travel to discover. To dream. To connect. We want to open up the world for all little citizens – whether it’s exploring a new place or having a new experience in a new neighborhood. This fall, when it came to casting models for our catalogs, we skipped our usual agencies and instead, went to Japan! We wanted to connect and meet local families and we were thrilled to find such a mix of culture backgrounds. We met some pretty adorable and imaginative kids (and their parents too!). We had the chance to bring these families along with us to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and talk to them about their lives in Japan. Today we’d like to introduce them to you!
Tea is a drink shared in nearly every culture around the world. Over a cup of tea, people can find a moment of connection and understanding. Tea is something we all have in common. (That’s why we made it our namesake.) Learn about the different teas enjoyed around the world, illustrated by Wednesday, one of our fabulous in-house artists!
We love reading about the ways our customers bring Tea into their lives, not just by wearing the clothing, but giving their families the opportunities to try and learn new things. Lisa Wong Jackson, of the blog Good on Paper, (and one of our Tea Ambassadors!) recently took her little citizen, Lucas, on a trip to San Francisco’s Japantown. Here, Lisa shares their day with you!
Mitarashi dango is a delicious treat found in street vendors throughout Japan. Dango are balls of rice flour that take on a dumpling-like consistency when cooked. First they’re boiled and then placed on a skewer to be grilled. Once grilled, they’re covered with the sweet mitarashi sauce, which is made up of soy sauce and sugar. So simple, yet so delicious!
We love outdoor adventures. Whether you’re exploring a new city or going on a hike in your hometown, there is so much to explore and discover! Our newest arrivals are inspired by yama (mountain) style. We took a group of little citizens on an adventure to Mount Takao to shoot our catalog. Our new friends and Tea models enjoyed playing in the leaves, finding unique bugs, rocks and sticks. You’ll find some of their found treasures throughout our catalog.
I was so happy to meet Hatsuki Miyahara when we visited Kyoto. She was kind enough to train over from Osaka just to meet up with us. She was such a sweetheart and even with the language barrier we connected immediately. Her paintings are beautiful and elegant with cheerful layered colors. Her paintings are uniquely her own, immediately recognizable because no one else paints like she does. Yet, they still feel quintessentially Japanese.