japan love in new york

since we visited tokyo in 2010 our kids have picked japan as their favorite country. they love japanese food and all things kawaii (cute). how do we encourage their interest in japan?

 japanese food

  1. the kids love udon. we buy it frozen from m2m or sunrise mart. they bring it for lunch at school.
  2. they love ramen. ippudo is a rare treat. though busy we try and get there when they first open.
  3. we go to panya, a japanese bakery, for onigiri, inari, and sweet potato bread.
  4. jin is our local sushi place. they have a great happy hour with rolls at good prices. gr3 likes ikura sushi (salmon roe).
  5. my friend grace gave me Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking cookbook. we like the minced chicken meat donburi recipe.
  6. gr3 asks me to make dorayaki (pancake like sandwich with red bean paste in the center). my favorite recipe comes from my go-to japanese blog Hirgana Mama.
  7. i like shabu-tatsu in the east village for shabu-shabu.
  8. hi-chew candy. we can find it at ame ame in the east village, but also at chinese grocery stores and economy candy.
  9. gr3 digs takoyaki from otafuku in the east village

japanese lessons i found an instructor on craigslist. their teacher is great. they love her. gr1 has hit the ground running with her ability to read hiragana and writing it. her katakana isn’t bad either. they have a hiragana chart that hangs in the bathtub from their teacher. i also put up a katakana chart facing the toilet : )  i found some japanese books for kids on sale on ebay. it’s hit or miss, but we have some neat ones.

japanese videos i founds a lot of japanese children videos through Hiragana Mama. she’s really a great resource for learning about japan and japanese language for kids. gr3 still  enjoys his ultraman videos, but there’s also the Q00 commercials, Mameshiba, Sudo Genki’s World Order music videos, deko boko and so on. we can’t forget about the youtube videos on how to make your own kawaii creatures from clay like onigiri, dango, etc. and ipad apps to practice writing in hiragana.

manga and story books (thank you to grace and guy for passing on your children’s books) recently the kids were into Yotsuba, a manga (comic book) about a six-year old girl and her silly behavior. don’t forget about doraemon, the cat without ears. you can watch/read his manga online here. we also frequent kinokuniya near bryant park. they beg to go if there’s a day off of school. second pick would be toy tokyo in the east village. and if we are renting a car they want to go to Mitsuwa in nj.

hiyao miyazaki they fell in love with Totoro when they were toddlers which led us to his other films. they weren’t into Spirited Away, but they went through phases loving Kiki’s Delivery Service and Totoro. we went to his Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. they climbed the neko-basu stuffed animal and we saw how zoetropes worked. they thought the robot-like creatures in Castle in the Sky were so cool in Princess Mononoke and they loved the forest spirits (picture of one below outside Decibel Sake Bar in the east village. Howl’s Moving Castle is on rotation these days too. They enjoyed The Secret World of Arriety at the movie theater earlier this year.

japanese characters gr1 and gr2 have started collecting sheets of paper with cute japanese characters. gr2 is a huge fan of domo. she was domo for halloween. my husband made an awesome costume. she was also kiki one year. rilakuma is a family favorite. need i mention their obsession with pokemon?

we hope to go to japan again and see kyoto and check out osaka. but first we must save our money–lots of money.


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