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.
- Krista Rogers
Jun 26, 2014
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.
- Krista Rogers
May 12, 2014
Remember all those toys you had as a kid that seemed so cutting-edge at the time? They probably don’t seem quite as exciting any more with all the advances in technology over the years. In fact, you’ll be willing to trade your Furby in a heartbeat once you see what these Japanese kids get to play with nowadays!
Take the “Sketch Aquarium” for example - a play area where children can foster their creative skills by designing a fish and then interact with it in a virtual tank. I wonder if adults are allowed in, too…
- Casey Baseel
Apr 25, 2014
The common logic is that children shouldn’t waste their time reading comic books, but it’s a little hard for parents to lay down that blanket rule when mom and dad used to be, or maybe still are, avid manga comic fans themselves. After all, how can you tell your kids they can’t read Bleach when you’ve got a trip to the bookstore penciled in on your schedule whenever a new volume of Attack on Titan gets released?
As more and more adults hang on to their love of comics, the question seems to have shifted from “Is it OK for your kids to read manga?” to “Which manga do you want your kids to read?” with a recent poll providing some interesting and informative answers.
- Casey Baseel
Apr 16, 2014
Although the association of carnations with Mother’s Day began in the United States and stretches back over 100 years, I grew up never really being conscious of it (likely due to some combination of being a terrible son and having little interest in historical events that didn’t involve swords).
In Japan, though, most people are aware that carnations are a symbol for Mother’s Day, and a bouquet of the flowers is by far the most common gift given on the holiday. But while mothers across the country appreciate the gesture, one survey says there’s something they want even more: electronics.
- Joan Coello
Apr 9, 2014
It was Children’s Day in Taiwan on April 4th, and while many children probably wished for new toys and games or a day of fun and play, a pair of underprivileged siblings living in Nantou County of Taiwan wished for nothing more than a really bright light so that they could study, and for it to rain less so that they could sleep on dry beddings.
This week, Japan became the 91st signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which provides protection for children under 16 from being taken from their country of residence by one parent against the wishes of the other. However, the convention does not work retroactively, so parents whose children have already been taken are urging the Japanese government to stand by provisions of the treaty in their cases as well.
A group of left-behind parents organized a march in Washington, D.C., on Monday to hand-deliver 28 applications for assistance reuniting with their children to the U.S. Department of State and to submit a petition for the return of abducted children to the Japanese embassy.
- Joan Coello
Mar 18, 2014
Help! Somebody shrunk the store managers at the FamilyMart convenience stores in Taiwan!
We kid you, but it’s true that these adorable children were store managers at Taiwan’s FamilyMart! The “Little Store Manager Experience Camp” run by the convenience store franchise chain allows children to experience a day as a store manager, and though they were pretty good at their one-day “job”, they were even better at what kids do best – being irresistibly cute! Check out what the experience camp had in store for them after the jump!
- Fran Wrigley
Mar 8, 2014
Japanese children enjoy many rite-of-passage celebration and age-specific holidays. This week it was Girls’ Day (hina matsuri) on March 3rd; next up in May will be Children’s Day (kodomo no hi). Another children’s holiday comes along in November: shichi-go-san, for children who have turned 3, 5 or 7 that year.
Once Japanese young adults turn 20, they have a special holiday to celebrate the beginning of adulthood, too. Coming of Age Day (seijin no hi) celebrates those who have reached the Japanese age of majority by turning 20 the previous year. And now growing in popularity is the “halfway to adulthood” festival, held when a child is 10 years old.
So what is this new(ish) celebration, where did it come from, and what does its burgeoning popularity tell us about Japan today?
- Casey Baseel
Feb 5, 2014
One day when I was a pre-kindergarten kid, some relatives were visiting our house. At one point the grownups’ conversation turned to something outside my realms of interest, which at the time consisted of giant robots and dragons, exclusively. I grabbed a video cassette and stuck it into the VCR (probably to watch cartoons about giant dragon-shaped robots).
My aunt saw this and expressed her surprise that I could do it all by myself, but to me, on the difficulty scale it ranked somewhere below that pesky toilet thing my parents kept recommending I learn how to use. My aunt saw me mastering a new, cutting-edge form of technology, but to me, I was just hitting some buttons to start the cartoon I wanted to see.
This sort of thing happens every day, and I’m not talking about me amazing someone with my mental capacity (that only happens about once every 12 months – can’t wait for April!). The wondrous gadgets that change the way adults work, play, and live are just ordinary tools in the eyes of their kids, no more awe-inspiring or intimidating than a refrigerator or pair of scissors. Recently, Twitter users in Japan shared the moments when they realized their children were digital natives, and couldn’t imagine life without the high-tech conveniences their parents will never take for granted.
Last week, I was riding the train home from one of the luxurious adventures that define my jet-setting expat lifestyle (swimming at the public pool, which had been half-filled with elderly women doing water aerobics). As I sat down on the bench seat, I noticed a girl sitting opposite me, wearing the uniform of either a middle or high school student.
After a few stops, a man in his 30s entered the car and without hesitation sat down next to the girl and began talking to her. The girl turned her face away and did her best to ignore the man, yet, undaunted and now leaning closer to her, he continued jabbering away, occasionally pausing and waiting in vain for some sort of response. At this point there were at least a half-dozen other people on the train watching this uncomfortable scene unfold, and yet no one had made a move to intervene.
This internal struggle between lending a helping hand and not getting involved in others’ business isn’t an entirely unusual problem in Japanese society, as illustrated by a recent Twitter debate that flared up over one man’s quandary about how far to go in helping a distraught little girl he saw wandering the streets alone at night.
I was on the subway one morning during one of my very first trips to Tokyo when I spotted two unaccompanied elementary school-age girls riding through downtown together. How could two kids who weren’t old enough to drink even a sip of coffee without freaking out be traversing the country’s densest urban center all by themselves?
In Japan, though, very young kids commuting to school without any kind of adult supervision isn’t anything unusual, and as such no one paid the two unaccompanied tykes any mind.
Likewise, sometimes things that seem like the most natural way of raising kids to parents overseas might seem totally bizarre to Japanese adults, as this collection of reactions to parenting around the world by Japanese experts and expats shows.
- Krista Rogers
Jan 18, 2014
Children in Sanda City, Hyogo Prefecture currently have good reason to celebrate, as a huge new sweets shop officially opened in their town on December 7. But the news gets even sweeter: only kids in sixth grade or younger are allowed inside! Sounds like any child’s wildest fantasy come true, right? Parents must wait outside (and no doubt prepare themselves for the inevitable sugar-high antics to come) while their children explore the hidden wonders within.
Join us after the jump for a rare glimpse inside the shop and read what inspired the owner to open it in the first place.
All over the world, Hide and Seek is a staple of childhood play teaching kids the valuable skills needed for a job in either the bounty hunting or escaped convict fields. Also, being one of the earliest games children can play, it begins to show them that not everyone possess the same inherent skill-set. Knowing this, it’s not so bad to say that some kids just plain suck at hiding.
The following twenty images show such concealmentally-challenged children in action. Don’t worry about feeling bad laughing at these kids either, as it’s possible to lead a rich life without the ability to hide in a house. In fact, we can statistically assume that at least 20 percent of world leaders were hopelessly stuck being “it” as children.
- Krista Rogers
Jan 10, 2014
Last year, Japan was thrust into the international spotlight after Tokyo won the 2020 Olympics and traditional Japanese cuisine was named an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO (only the second national cuisine after France’s own!). With all of this increased attention on the global stage, one Japanese corporation was curious to know what thoughts Japanese children harbored about their own country. Keep reading to find which things about their country Japanese kids liked and disliked the most.
If you or someone you know is expecting or has just given birth to a tiny person, and you’re looking for a gift that’s both cute and a little bit quirky, we may have the perfect item for you right here: Japanese online retailer Akasugu has just announced that it is now stocking baby and maternity items featuring collaborative designs between Japan’s Hello Kitty and classic kids’ picture book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
- Preston Phro
Oct 26, 2013
3-D printing is bringing us a whole new world of possibilities, from fetus replicas to Link’s adventuring weapons, and while the technology is still in development, it often seems like there’s nothing a MakerBot can’t make out of thin air.
But here’s something you probably had no idea a 3-D printer could do: Bring children’s imaginations to life.
- Casey Baseel
Oct 25, 2013
There are a few unique things about student athletics in Japan. Team activities continue throughout the year, which makes joining one a major commitment. And instead of playing a season of games with the best teams advancing to a playoff, most sports have a few tournaments throughout the year with relatively few competitions in between.
The result of all this is a huge amount of time spent practicing, as opposed to playing games. What’s more, it’s normal for athletes in middle and high school to have mandatory practices not just after class, but before their lessons start in the morning, too.
On the surface, this seems like it should be helpful not only in producing more talented players, but in helping students learn the value of dedication, effort, and proper time management. But this system may be taking things too far, according to legislators in Nagano who are proposing doing away with athletes practicing in the morning.
- Internet survey sheds light on how Japanese women deal with the hair ‘down there’1
- Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race2
- Beautiful 400-year-old garden in Okayama about to be replaced with condominium complex3
- Too hot during the blackout? Cool down with an electric fan, veteran newscaster suggests4
- Toyokazu Nagano’s “Magic Road” – the funniest, most adorable photos you’ll see today5
- Nara’s deer continue their summertime tradition of commandeering one of the city’s streets6
- Run For Your Lives! Zombie-infested obstacle course heading to Singapore this October【Video】7
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker8
- The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!9
- Raising awareness in the competitive gaming community – two female perspectives10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Middle-aged Chinese man’s “stomach pains” turn out to be his first period as a woman2
- Creative pet “haircuts”: Funky or funny? You decide.3
- This man’s face left Chinese internet users in amazement, agony and confusion 【Photos】4
- Man kidnaps, imprisons 11-year-old to raise her to be his “ideal girl”5
- Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race6
- Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!7
- More than one way to skin a cat? Japanese YouTuber shows how to “open” a cat with belly rubs8
- Internet survey sheds light on how Japanese women deal with the hair ‘down there’9
- Is Attack on Titan a documentary? Mikasa spotted in Russia!10
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!1
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker2
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!3
- Japanese politician screams and cries at press conference as he defends expenses claims【Video】4
- Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!5
- “Retweet if you thought I was a girl”: This beautiful young man, in his own words【Photos】6
- Japanese giant salamander caught taking a stroll on land7
- 16 photos that show why Singapore has the world’s best airline8
- German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic9
- These anime mascots are just what the World Cup has been missing!10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!2
- Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup3
- Doggy gets upset over his new haircut, walks around on hind legs like a boss for two days4
- Russian crocodile hospitalized after woman falls on it5
- Internet falls in love with Chinese cosplaying beauty, disappointed to hear she’s a guy 【Updated】6
- Not your average Bulbasaur: Mayan-style Pokemon7
- Chinese student asks for cooked sushi at Sukibayashi Jiro, gets flamed by Chinese netizens8
- What if Sailor Moon characters were lingerie models? They’d look stunning like this 【Photos】9
- The official Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist trailer just made our day【Video】10
- Nara’s deer continue their summertime tradition of commandeering one of the city’s streets
- Run For Your Lives! Zombie-infested obstacle course heading to Singapore this October【Video】
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker
- The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!
- Raising awareness in the competitive gaming community – two female perspectives
- Actress/sexpert Aya Sugimoto founds organization for animal welfare in Japan
- 【TBT】Tipping in Japan: Yes, it exists and it’s confusing
- Luigi’s ‘death stare’ makes it into Japanese Mario Kart 8 commercial
- Is Attack on Titan a documentary? Mikasa spotted in Russia!
- Looking for a unique job environment? This could be as unique (and isolated) as it gets in Japan!
- Our recipe for green tea rice-cooker pancakes: amazingly tasty, ridiculously easy
- Middle-aged Chinese man’s “stomach pains” turn out to be his first period as a woman
- 20 crazy facts about North Korea
- Japanese Twitter users report an increase in ninja cat sightings as summer settles in【Photos】