Posts Tagged ‘kids’

10 charming things believed by little kids in Japan

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

bug photo

Great great grandma?

Certainly everyone has some embarrassing things they thought were true as a kid. Me, I thought that chipmunks were baby squirrels. A recent 2ch forum thread (later rounded up and commented on at Itashin!) took up this at times awkward topic and we selected 10 particularly cute ones. Note that our highlights are mostly skewed toward things that seemed unique or particularly Japanese (e.g. not Santa, although he came up). Please remember that since it was just a forum conversation, these are not necessarily widespread beliefs.

When I was little I thought (paraphrased from Japanese) 

. . . that there was a city in the United States called Downtown.

. . . that when you got married kids would just show up from somewhere.

. . . that all TV was live and how amazing it was that the actors in the commercials could do exactly the same thing every time.

. . . that there was only one ambulance in the world (and how amazing that was).

. . . that during Obon our ancestors came back as bugs.

. . . that if I told a lie I would be forced to eat 1,000 needles.

. . . that the bamboo shoots in ramen were pull-apart chopsticks soaked in soy sauce.

. . . that you went from: kindergarten —> elementary school —> middle school —> high school —> college —> Tokyo University (I thought Tokyo University was where you went after college).

How about you? What sorts of things did you believe when you were a kid?

Take the kids back in time this summer

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Lunch at Ubusuna House, part of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale. (Rebecca Milner photo)

Last week, NHK ran a story on a “Showa Lifestyle” exhibition at a shopping center in Mito, a city two hours northeast of Tokyo. The exhibit wasn’t aimed at baby-boomers — Showa refers to the historical period from 1926-1989 — but rather their children and grandchildren.

The Mito City Museum, which put on the event, set up a mock living room circa the 1960s. Here kids could experience sitting at a low table on floor cushions, turning the dials on a black-and-white TV, many of them likely for the first time. They could also see what it was like to use an old rotary phone, a foot-pedal sewing machine and even a few pairs of take-uma, bamboo stilts, a popular amusement from an era of few luxuries.

For kids weaned on mobile phones, there may be no greater novelty than the past. They can also get an inkling of how different their world is from that of previous generations.

While the Mito event has already ended, there are plenty of other places where the family can get a taste of Showa life. At this summer’s Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, in rural Niigata prefecture, visitors can eat and sleep inside country homes and schoolhouses dating from the early to mid-20th century.

Many such structures outside of cities around Japan have lost their original usefulness on account of the country’s aging population and lack of attractive job opportunities there for young people. Countless such sites have been lost forever; however, there is a growing trend to label them heritage buildings and turn them into museums or hands-on learning centers.

Continue reading about the Showa nostalgia kick →

Pulsations (05.25.12)

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

  • What Do Japanese Children Want to Be When they Grow Up? (Survey) (from Skeptikai): You know, kids, working as an animated character is not all it’s cracked up to be — long hours, bad pay, plus the jump from being a human to the 2D world really takes its toll on your body. Better have something to fall back on, like professor or astronaut.
  • Whale-safe beer (from LLP): The anti-globalists were right all along: Commercial society has now reached a point where all products look alike. That is the only explanation we can think of for the fact that beer companies are competing on which beer contains the least amount of whale.
  • Nintendo characters as Ukiyo-e prints (from Geekologie): Someday, maybe archaeologists will find these prints and use them as proof that aliens visited Japan in the 17th century. This is how deranged historical theories are created, people!
  • The 2012 annular eclipse seen from Tokyo (from Hikosaemon): Yeah, this blog round-up wouldn’t be complete without the event that for once had the entire east coast of Japan on their feet at 7 in the morning. Hikosaemon gets the Japan Pulse Photo of the Week Award (disclaimer: not an actual thing) for the shot of a helicopter passing in front of his lens just at the moment of total eclipse.

A virtual page-turner on the iPhone

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Now this is a fantastic idea. The Japanese firm Mobile Art Lab has turned the iPhone into an interactive children’s book with what they’re calling the PhoneBook.

This is not the first iPhone-related program aimed at your toddler – you could spend hours looking through all the child-related applications available on iTunes – but this approach, with its book-like accessory framing the touchscreen, is an idea that is bound to catch on. Mobile Art Lab has stated that these kind of applications are not limited to children’s books, but could also be utilized in other types of media such as catalogs and brochures. Graphic novels and manga could easily integrate this technology as well, but the interactive potential makes this an ideal learning tool.

Next up, Dr. Seuss: Is there an app for that?

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