Sunday, December 12, 2010

Learning a Million Japanese Kids' Songs

A few of my favorite Japanese kids songs are posted here.

In my daughter's backpack each week is a summary of what the children did, learned, and enjoyed that week. There are always lyrics of two or three new songs they learned that week. Since school started, that's added up to about 35 songs so far! I thought I would learn all of them, too, by looking them up on youtube or whatever, but it's just overwhelming. All preschool teachers in Japan can play the piano, and every preschool has a piano or organ used frequently throughout each day. Songs are sung throughout the day, and the kids practice special songs for special events that parents attend, like the Autumn Festival, Halloween Party, and the upcoming Christmas Party (Tuesday). My daughter is constantly singing songs like the ones used in your Japanese course. Her favorite is "ookina kuri no ki no shita de," which she pronounces completely wrong after the first line. Very cute!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Tanjoukai - it's a birthday celebration! Once per month, the preschool celebrates that month's birthdays. And just like many American schools, it's the birthday boy or girl who brings in treats for their classmates. However, you won't find any cupcakes. Rather, the parents send along goodie bags with little toys and treats all wrapped up real cute-like. The contents of one of said goodie bags this month: a tiny Spongebob puzzle, a pack of princess playing cards, a Hershey miniature (hey, I want that), a cute pencil, three supertiny hard candies in wrappers (one was a lemon star, and two were panda shapes), and a miniature kendama (ball and cup game). Love it. As a teacher, I have received more than my fair share of giant cupcakes with two inches of frosting at the elementary schools I work at, and I'm always amazed that these tiny kids can scarf them down.. Sure, for a 16-year old 100+ pounder, it may be fine, but a first grader is like 40 pounds. That much sugar makes them crazy, Crazy, I tell you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Big Cleanup

JAPANESE PRESCHOOL: Ahh, December, time for the first snow, fun and parties, right? Yes, but in Japan it's also time for おそうじ, the year-end "Big Cleanup." My daughter's preschool asked parents to send their child with a rag for their big cleanup day this month. The children and teachers will wipe all the surfaces, toys, etc. to get the school extra clean. Japanese people also clean their houses from top to bottom, wash the car, replace the family toothbrushes with new ones, etc. Companies have these cleanups, too, and everyone participates. That way everyone can start the new year fresh and clean and with a good feeling. Let's all try this Japanese おそうじ tradition by cleaning at least one room in our house from top to bottom (including the junk drawer). Throw away expired coupons. Maybe you can turn your keyboard upside down to dump out all the Cheetos crumbs. Remove unused icons from your desktop. Delete old emails. Remove apps you don't use from your iPhone. I could go on and on.