Hilton’s Odawara Resort & Spa, tucked away in Kanagawa Prefecture’s southwestern Odawara City, is offering something that you and your children simply can’t refuse: the opportunity for them to participate in special ninja training during your brief stay at the hotel!
Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 5 in D minor at a time of great tension in Soviet Russia. The looming threat of World War II was nothing compared to the Great Purge being conducted by Joseph Stalin in which 1,000 people were executed each day. Shostakovich too felt he was in the crosshairs for his previous “subversive” works.
And so it was something of a musical miracle that his Symphony No. 5 was unanimously well received by both the government and survivors of their brutality alike. Still today conductors and their orchestras struggle to properly capture all of the emotions such as irony, sympathy, and pride that Shostakovich may or may not have intentionally layered in this rich piece.
Taking a crack at it here are the kids of Isesaki Asuka Primary School’s kindergarten class. To see whether they succeed is up to you, but I think we can all agree that they’re not just good for a kindergarten class – they’re just good.
When we think of superheroes or other magical beings with fast-healing abilities, we rarely think of children. But if you’ve seen a toddler fall, smack itself in the face, cry for a few seconds, and then run off giggling, you might realize that we’re looking for our superpowered guardians in the wrong age groups.
Of course, that’s not to say that children aren’t vulnerable to all sorts of injury, and we most definitely need to be careful with them! It’s just that they seem to have a strange resiliency that’s somewhat rare in adult humans. Take, for example, this three-year-old who fell out of a window last week, hit a parked car, and then just walked the whole thing off!
In many cultures, it’s common for parents to name children after a relative, or sometimes even themselves. My dad, oldest brother, and nephew, for example, all have the exact same name, which is pretty convenient when my mom wants to call them all for dinner at the same time.
Japan, though, doesn’t have this sort of custom, which means parents’ options are wide-open when picking out a name for their kids. Given this sort of freedom, a recently conducted survey asked Japanese respondents the following question: If you were going to name your baby after a manga character, who would it be?
Not so long ago, the norm in Japanese society was for the husband to work and the mother to stay at home to take care of the children. After retirement, should the couple become too old to care for themselves, they would generally move in with their youngest son, whose wife would take on the responsibility of looking after them along with her own children.
These days, though, families are getting smaller, and more mothers are working outside the home. As such, the numbers of both senior centers and daycare providers are on the rise. But rather than keep their two groups of charges separate, some facilities are giving them opportunities to mingle in something called yoro shisetsu, institutions where the very young and elderly interact and share experiences that let them both see that the beauty of life has neither a minimum age nor an expiration date.
What does one need in order to be a hero? Could it be a strong buff body, supernatural abilities, fancy gadgets or extraordinary intellect? Perhaps none of the above.
While adults in the world are busy fighting and hurting each other, a little girl in China’s Sichuan Province saved a friend from drowning with her bare hands and a strong passionate heart. Read her heroic tale after the jump!
With Japan trying to figure out how to handle its issue of a declining population (predicted to decrease by one-third over the next half century if the current trend in birth rates continues), the country has been working to raise awareness of the problem and implement more resources for children and parents.
However, with a recent increase of new day cares, preschools, and kindergartens, there has also been an increase of complaints about noise, particularly from elderly residents.
Some of these cases have even gone to court, and have resulted in some schools having to restrict outdoor playtime for the children and keep their curtains closed.
As we speak, scientists in Japan are hard at work on inventing a myriad of robots whose sole raison d’être is to improve quality of life for humans. Whether it’s shoveling snow, helping people to walk, or generally spreading cheer through unbelievable cuteness and dexterity (we’re talking about you, Asimo!) it’s clear to see that robots are going to feature big in our lives during the years to come. But when a drawing contest was held in Japan for elementary school students to submit their impressions of a robot-filled future, one particular entry started to gain a lot of attention on twitter for being extremely creepy in an oddly knowing way…
I’ve lost count of the number of Japanese people I’ve met who were disappointed to find out I don’t have what they consider quintessential American eating habits. The last time I had a steak was a year ago. I’m perfectly happy eating rice, and I love fish, since, you know, I grew up in California, which is a coastal state (same ocean as Japan has, too).
But there’s one stereotype I do conform with, and that’s how much I love milk, despite being a full-grown adult. Many Japanese people, on the other hand, associate the drink with their childhood, since it’s been served in elementary schools for decades.
One city in Niigata Prefecture, though, has decided it has no more tolerance for drinkable lactose, and starting this month, is removing milk from its school lunches.
Take a look at this picture – what’s your first impression? Personally (and perhaps due to my prior experiences as a kindergarten teacher in Japan) my first thought was: “How convenient that must be when it comes to potty-training!”
These Chinese “split pants” are considered completely normal for children to wear in China, so when a Chinese-American parent took their little boy out to play in Monterey Park in Los Angeles, they surely weren’t expecting a concerned citizen to call the police on them.
Considering how much Japan loves food and cute things, it’s no surprise that the country is in the middle of a chara-ben boom. Chara-ben, bento boxed lunches with their contents arranged like popular characters such as Hello Kitty and Doraemon, are a hit with adults and children alike, as parents seem to be having as much fun making them as their kids are eating them.
But not everyone loves this trend of culinary creativity, though, as some preschools and day care centers have started banning chara-ben.
As a nation of die-hard foodies, Japan is always on the lookout for a memorable meal. We’re just a couple of months away from New Year’s, when Japan dines on some of its most opulent dishes of all as part of the multi-dish osechi meals that are traditionally eaten at the beginning of the year.
Recently, more and more families have begun purchasing their osechi rather than making their own, and we imagine quite a few have been tempted by the Mickey Mouse and Frozen versions we talked about last month. If you’re willing to hold off on satisfying your inner child for the sake of the world’s less fortunate actual kids, though, you might be interested in an osechi set that helps raise funds for charity group Table for Two.
Martin Cruz hails from Iselin New Jersey, is a killer at playing church music on the drums, and is just three years old! Watch four videos of this little guy owning that kit after the jump.
Preschool. That tender age between three- and five-years-old where kids cry whenever they are separated from their parents but change moods instantly when something entertaining happens. They are only beginning to discover the crazy mad, mad world around them. It’s like they don’t have a care in the world! They can eat what they want, wear what they want, and do what they want! They should cherish these worry-free years before they start encountering the real world problems of an elementary school first grader…right?
Well…we hate to break it to you but…
Many kids love drawing and playing with colors. Some even drive their parents insane with constant doodles on the walls, tables, and practically any flat surface within proximity. But some are more talented than others, and there’s no doubt that there are child prodigies who can draw better than some adults.
Recently, a proud Japanese dad posted pictures of drawings his six-year-old daughter created of her favorite anime characters. The detailed drawings quickly caught the attention of internet users, with some commenting that the drawings were too good to be created by the hands of a six-year-old! Could this young girl be a budding artist? Check out her drawings after the break!
We have more Japanese “Let It Go” parody shenanigans for you, this time courtesy of a serious organization, the Alliance for Raising Children. Watch their governors throw themselves into recreating Elsa’s soul-searching ballad while prancing around in suits in various random locations, having way more fun than the bemused-looking kids singing in the background.
Before you read the title of this post, was your initial reaction to the photo above? If you’re anything like us, you probably assumed that it was some quirky new trend going on at schools in China (remember those metal “vision safeguarding” bars on the desks, anyone?); perhaps some experiment in synchronised face-washing or a way of keeping sleepy students alert in the afternoon.
The truth, though, is rather more unnerving: these kids are being taught a valuable lesson about water safety.
For anyone who’s still struggling to accept Japan’s elimination from the World Cup at the group stage, we’ve got a little video clip here to brighten your mood. While it was originally broadcast on New Year’s Eve half a year ago, it features two of Japan’s top football athletes finding themselves in an amusing situation with none of the stress from the World Cup.
How would you like to see international stars Shinji Kagawa and Hiroshi Kiyotake taking on 55 elementary school kids at once?
How did you first learn about the value of money as a child? Did you save up your allowance in a piggy bank until there was enough to buy a cool new toy? Or how about taking care of the neighbor’s cat for a small reward?
Or maybe you were never actually taught how to spend your cash wisely, and to this day keep a tall stack of credit card bills around in case you need to blow your nose.
Speaking of money going down the drain, that’s pretty much what one Japanese 7-year-old was found guilty of the other day. He was given a 1,000-yen note, worth roughly US$9.80, and told to “use it however you want.” While most other kids would have jumped for joy and rushed to the nearest toy store, this kid had a much more…creative idea.