Around The World in 52 Weeks – Japan


Yes, I realize it has been more than 52 weeks since we started this project, but we (being Deirdre, Jonah, and myself) have magnanimously granted ourselves an extension.

Our latest virtual trip has been to the nation of Japan, home of everyone’s favorite anime character – Hello Kitty.  We began our adventure by reading a great book from our library which described in  detail the various types of clothing, customs and housing in Japan over the past several hundred years.  The kids were particularly fascinated with how typical dress varied depending upon one’s occupation or station in life.  Really, who wouldn’t be fascinated by a gorgeous silk kimono and obi?

Vegetable Sushi – Yum!!!

For the culinary part of the adventure, we made homemade sushi, teriyaki salmon & veggies, miso soup and rice.  I found a really neat little sushi kit by Annie Chun which made it so easy to roll the sushi.   Honestly, I thought the kids would be a little bit more excited about making sushi rolls, but apparently, I was wrong.   However, they did down their bowls of miso in a matter of minutes.

Maneki Neko Cat – Spread The Luck

One of the highlights of this lesson was learning about the Maneki Neko welcoming cat.  This kitty has his paw raised to let people know that they are welcome into your home or shop.  You can read the legend of Maneki Neko at ActionCat. The good people at Action Cat suggested adding a link to an animal rescue group to continue the gift of the welcoming cat.  I suggest you check out Best Friends Animal Society.  You can also color your own Maneki  the Coloring Castle.

Finally, for our craft, we were inspired by Japanese woodblock prints and decorative fans.  We decided to use stamps and water color paints to decorate plain paper with vines, flowers, and even a few dinosaur pictures!  We intended to fold the paper into fans and tie the bottom with a ribbon.  But, since they didn’t come out as we expected, we ended up cutting our decorated paper into strips and making these cool book marks!

Next trip, we will venture to Kenya!

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