More than 2,000 kanji characters make up the Japanese language, and each character has a meaning as well as a sound. Kanji are used for writing nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs. Their beautiful designs are seen throughout Japan, on buildings, signs, in newspapers… everywhere you look! We were mesmerized by not only the beauty of the written kanji, but how each kanji character, when written out, can look like the thing it describes. We’ve put together 6 kanji characters for you to try at home with your little citizens. Download our acitivty sheet and make sure to share you kanji with us!
Think you’re skilled with chopsticks? Meet Jiyu, our friend in Tokyo who at the young age of 3, has mastered the art. In Japan… ramen, udon and soba are three popular kinds of noodles kids eat throughout the week. Learn more about these yummy noodles and get our recipe for a kid-friendly for ramen, just like the dish we enjoyed in Tokyo.
If you’ve ever been in a Japanese restaurant or strolled through Japantown or Chinatown in a nearby city, chances are you’ve noticed a little cat statue on a shelf or in a shop window. You may have even noticed that little cat waving it’s paw at you! This little cat figurine, called maneki neko, is a lucky charm that is very popular in Japanese cultures. Maneki neko (or lucky cat) is a talisman that is believed to attract good luck or fortune to those who own one. Here’s what we’ve learned about this good luck charm…
As an American stepping into a Japanese public school, you’re bound to notice some differences. Especially at lunch time. Learn how the Japanese public school lunch program, called kyushoku, helps shape students from the very beginning of their schooling.
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 background. We met some pretty adorable and imaginative kids, and today we’d like to introduce them to you!
In Japan, it’s tradition for parents or grandparents to present a child with a randoseru, or firm-sided backpack, when they begin their first year of school. Children use their backpacks until they graduate from grade six. Sometimes the school requires a certain color of backpack—in the past it was always red for girls, black for boys. But in recent years as attitudes toward gender stereotypes have begun to shift, more colorful versions of randoseru have become more popular.