kids

Studious Nintendo-loving kid asks for a dictionary for his birthday, gets a very special surprise

Imagine you’ve got a nine-year-old kid with a birthday coming up, and you ask him what he wants as a present. At first he says he wants a video game, but then, after giving it some more careful thought, he comes to the conclusion that he’s old enough to be getting serious about his studies, so he asks for a dictionary instead.

How should you react? Proud of his sense of responsibility, do you buy him the dictionary, and hurry him one step closer to the end of his carefree childhood? Or do you get him the game, despite the fact that he specifically asked for something else?

It’s a tricky problem, but one dad in Japan came up with a clever, heartwarming, and above all awesome idea.

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Video of kids reacting to strangers dropping their wallets might restore your faith in humanity

For the most part, Japanese society stresses being considerate and courteous. 99 times out of 100, that makes Japan a great place to live, but in certain situations those virtues can be taken to such extremes they actually end up contrary to their original sentiments. For example, part of being courteous is not bothering others, but as I’ve talked about before, in rare instances that bit of well-meaning deference can get warped into not getting involved in other people’s affairs even when they’re clearly in a quandary.

But while adults sometime stumble while walking the tightrope between forcing unasked for assistance on someone and helping those in need, what about children? That’s the question posed in this video showing a group of kids reacting to a stranger dropping his or her wallet at the bus stop, and the outcome just might restore a bit of your faith in humanity.

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Smoking while walking near kids or wheelchairs? Why not just swing a knife around?

Many cultural guidebooks contend that eating while walking is considered rude in Japan. That’s not entirely accurate. Sure, walking down the street while munching on a hamburger will make you look gluttonous, maybe laughably so, but no one’s going to get offended by your mobile meal.

What will upset some people, though, is smoking while walking, and not just because of the horrible stink and health effects of secondhand smoke. Puffing away while moving down the sidewalk can be downright dangerous to nearby kids and the wheelchair-bound, as this manga artist’s illustration reminds smokers.

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Japanese Fitness expert recommends toddlers play catch, climb on jungle gym, sumo wrestle

Remember when you were a little kid, and your parents would take you to the park to play? Not only were you having fun, you were developing important motor skills as you ran around, did somersaults, and swung on the monkey bars. Maybe when you got a little older and more coordinated, you’d even play catch with your mom and dad.

But did your parents love you enough to have a couple of sumo bouts against you?

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Mama Cards! All the social trickiness of Japanese business cards with none of the economic gains

Japan has a lengthy protocol for the proper way to exchange business cards. There are rules of etiquette that govern how to hand to over your own card, how to respectfully read your counterpart’s, and even how long to wait before putting it away.

Outside of the business world, you might think you’re safe from this troublesome trapping of corporate culture. Recently, though, some mothers in Japan have started making personal name and contact cards to give to other moms they meet through their kids’ school and extracurricular activities, and are discovering that being outside the office doesn’t make things any simpler.

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Is this the coolest kindergarten in the world? Probably 【Pics & Video】

Does the architecture of a building have an effect on the lives of the people inside of it? One famous Japanese architect thinks so and we’re pretty convinced now too.

Takaharu Tezuka, a Tokyo-based architect, designed a revolutionary kindergarten building that not only lets the kids run free, but also teaches them about life.

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Pint-sized string quartet Joyous String does an awesome Smooth Criminal

Tiny, adorable, and blessed with bags of musical talent – meet Joyous String, a four-kid string quartet with musical aptitude way beyond their years. They’ve been playing together since they were just four years old, and have progressed to the point where they can produce a flawless rendition of the Michael Jackson classic “Smooth Criminal” without even breaking a sweat. These are some seriously talented kids!

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Kindergarten class plays Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 better than most adults ever could

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.

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Japan’s craziest ad ever? English school commercial as likely to make kids terrified as bilingual

The very first job that brought me to Japan as a gainfully employed adult was teaching at a private English school. While most of our customers were in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, we also offered kids’ classes, even for preschool-aged children.

With young learners, the first hurdle to get past was for them to not freak out about talking with someone from a different country. While that might sound horribly racist, there just aren’t that many opportunities to meet people from other cultures in Japan, especially in a child’s daily life, and the first meeting was usually a little intimidating for them (the company policy that didn’t allow foreign staff to speak Japanese in front of the customers probably didn’t help in this regard).

Thankfully, it usually only took a couple of minutes for the kids to see that non-Japanese instructors aren’t terrifying monsters. Unfortunately, this startling commercial for a chain of children’s English schools in Japan only takes 15 seconds to visually imply that, yes, actually, they are.

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Japanese educators call for twice monthly No Video Game Days, recommend kids go fishing

Compared to some other countries, video games enjoy a fairly high standing in Japanese society. Nintendo’s Mario is seen by many as not only a symbol of wholesome fun, but an example of how innovation and craftsmanship can lead to sustained economic prosperity. The world of Final Fantasy isn’t just a great setting for an epic quest, but for lunch or dinner, and some particularly stylish game characters even go on to leave their mark on real-world fashion.

Still, not everyone in Japan is a fan of video gaming. The Hokkaido Board of Education would rather see kids with schoolbooks or fishing poles in their hands than game controllers, and to that end is calling for parents to institute twice monthly No Game Days, and not just for the kids in the family.

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Chinese third-grader’s “fairy tale” is so disturbing it even has adults writhing

The debate over whether or not violence on TV and in video games breeds violence in children is quite a heated issue these days. However, the discussion shouldn’t be confined just to those mediums. Kids are quite impressionable, so they can be just as influenced by the nightly news as by their cartoons.

Netizens in China are blaming TV dramas for tainting the mind of a third-grade girl who wrote a genuinely disturbing story at school. They seem to believe that the smut on TV is exposing kids, like this girl, to topics only suitable for adults (or not even suitable for adults). What’s so bad in this story that it’s causing such an uproar? Find out after the jump.

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Japanese sixth-grader calls out smartphone-loving parents over anti-video game lectures

I understand that an important part of parenting is setting boundaries for children. Until they reach a certain age, kids just don’t have the kind of foresight necessary to fully understand the consequences of all their actions, and letting preteens eat as many cookies as they want or stay up as late as they like probably isn’t the best idea.

That said, another important part of parenting is setting a good example. Fail to do that, and your kids are likely to just tune out everything you’re saying. Actually, that might be the best case scenario, since if you’re flagrantly guilty of not practicing what you preach, your kids might call you out for it, like one Japanese elementary school girl who pointed out her parents’ logical inconsistency in lecturing about keeping her video game playing to a minimum, even as they were glued to their own electronic devices.

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Why making kids cry on camera never gets old

It was a viral hit in China back in 2010, but with 12 million views and counting, ‘Cute Little Chinese Girl Scared To Death On TV Show’ is a video that shows no sign of going away. The video of a little girl’s frightened reaction to a fake criminal, which recently resurfaced on the Japanese internet after being reposted to Liveleak, wasn’t the first funny crying kid video to stack up hits online, and it won’t be the last. From Charlie Bit My Finger Again, to the Reasons My Son Is Crying tumblr, to the recent video of a toddler left inconsolable after she realises a newborn can’t come to her birthday, it seems we just can’t get enough of weeping toddlers.

So why are videos of kids crying so popular?

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Animals, cars, and anime: Japanese salons give kids the VIP treatment

As an adult, I never really find myself attached to one particular hairstyle. Every time I get a cut, that’s a one or two-month commitment at best before I get to change it around all over again. But for kids, the barber can apparently be a pretty harrowing experience. After all, especially for younger kids, they’ve been rocking the same ‘do for almost their entire lives. Also, it probably takes some learning to overcome the instinctual aversion to sharp objects being brandished near your face.

Not that I have kids or anything, but I’ve heard taking them to the hair salon can be… let’s just say a bit of a handful.

That’s why many Japanese salons have decided to go the extra mile and give kids the VIP treatment:

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“Bye-bye!” Chinese flying doll works a little too well, becomes one-use toy 【Video】

Let’s play a little word association game. Ready? Chinese-made children’s toys.

I’m guessing “high quality” isn’t the first thing that popped into your head. You don’t have to go far to find stories of people buying knock-off dolls or action figures in China, then giving them to their kids or younger siblings, only to watch them heartbroken as they don’t work as implied by the packaging.

But that doesn’t mean all toys made in China are shoddy, because some do indeed work well. Sometimes even too well, as one Japanese father found out when he brought back a Chinese flying doll for his daughters.

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Totally metal newborn shows off hardcore cuteness for approving musician dad

From looking at his Twitter profile, you might conclude that Hazuki, singer for the Osaka-based Grollschwert, is a pretty metal dude. He describes the unit as a “melodic deathrash metal band,” and his own vocal style as guttural, growling, and screeching.

Still, even the most dedicated musicians can’t be hardcore all the time, and the vocalist has recently been sharing pictures of his adorable newborn baby daughter with his Twitter followers. It looks like metal is in the family genes, though, as the baby has already executed a perfect double devil horn salute.

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Seven “frogging” adorable kids belting out the F word!【Videos】

When was the first time you uttered a “bad word”? We all probably grew up with adults telling us not to say certain words, and that there were words that only adults could speak of. As a kid, blurting one of those “forbidden words” felt like something cool and thrilling, but now that I’m well beyond that age, such words have lost their significance as a big taboo.

Some kids, however, seem to be blurting out the F-word even before they’ve reached the age to be told that it’s an “adult word”. Of course, they’re not saying it on purpose, and that’s exactly what makes it so amusing and adorable! Frog it, we’re going straight to the videos after the break!

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Hacker Mom takes on Gamer Son in China, erases his accounts for the sake of education

For hardcore video gamers, life is a never-ending series of battles as they try to overcome the next boss, unlock achievements, or climb up the online leader boards. And for some of their parents, life is a never-ending series of battles as they try to get their kids to stop doing all that and study.

While more honorable gamers limit themselves to utilizing the best in-game equipment, some give in to the temptation to use hacks to gain an advantage over their adversaries. Recently, one education-minded mother in China adopted the same tactic by hacking her son’s online gaming accounts, then deleting them.

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Little girl gets a makeover but doesn’t like what she sees, Mum can’t contain her laughter【Video】

A Taiwanese mother recently gave her daughter a makeover, but it wasn’t the little girl who enjoyed it the most. If kids say the darnest things, then parents must be the ones who pull the funniest pranks on their offspring, and then have the last, biggest laugh of all.

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From the mouths of babes – Kids share their thoughts on love, war and everything in between

Last week, we shared a rather unusual ad from Ryugin, an Okinawa-based bank whose approach to selling loans involves robots, doe-eyed anime girls and more pink hearts than you can shake a stick at. As it turns out, this same banking corporation has quite the eye for attention-grabbing ads, as we’ve just discovered an older TV spot from the same company, titled Children and Philosophy, which poses a series of mostly abstract questions to a group of elementary school kids.

Responding to questions about everything from love and war to what it means to be free, the kids’ answers are at once refreshing, thought-provoking, and painfully sweet, to the point that we’re starting to wonder if they’re the ones who ought to be in charge of the world. Full video after the jump.

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