Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Watch, Read, Listen--Kids Edition

Life is a lot easier for me when my kids are finding joy in things around them, so here are some things they (and I) have been enjoying lately!


WeetWoo is a very cool app that has a library of kid-appropriate YouTube videos. We have YouTube blocked on our iPad, due to too many disturbing things on there, so this is a better option. Plus, it's sorted into different categories--animals, educational, kids' shows, etc. Cash loves old school Chip 'N Dale and Coco likes the strange Charlie and Lola.

Cookie Doodle isn't a video, but the kids sit still, so I count it as "watching". It is probably the most used app on our iPad--the kids can choose a cookie recipe (the actual recipe is listed, but I haven't tried any yet) and then virtually stir the dough, crack the egg, etc. Then roll, cut, bake,decorate, and eat the cookie. It is a really, really fun app, and everyone who tries it absolutely loves it. Very cute!


One of my greatest joys is collecting books I read as a child--I'm a little obsessed...and missing Paperback Swap, where I've gotten a ton of them. I think all of my siblings and I have a similar list of books we loved as children--we were read to and read a lot. The Funny Little Woman is one of my all-time favorite children's books, and I'm happy to say that my kids are obsessed with it as well. I got it about a year ago, and it has been the steady favorite. Cash has it memorized!
It's about a woman in Japan whose rice dumpling rolls under the earth. She goes searching for it and gets captured by the wicked oni! The book has taken on a whole new meaning now that we live in Japan and eat rice dumplings and see oni statues.


This is another childhood favorite that my children now love! I listened to Brite Music a lot as a child and remember a lot of the songs. The "Happiness" book is my favorite, and I found myself singing the "Whiny Child" song to my kids whenever they whine, which would make them laugh. So, I paid the money and got the whole CD/audiobook downloaded. My kids love it! They love all the songs and love to listen to the story. I wish you can buy the book to follow a long, but oh well. If you've never heard Brite Music, try and sample it. Shiny Brite is another one of my favorites that I sing to the kids a lot (especially the "Junk Food Junkie" song--they get a kick out of that!)
And randomly, Coco is obsessed with Taylor Swift's "Mean". She likes any songs that mention weapons and knives, which is in the first line. Oy. :)

What have your kids been loving lately?
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Randomness I Love--Japan

I've lived in Japan for 9 months so far, this time around. And as always, I continue to get a kick out of this place. Here are some random things that make me smile:


All of my students here have been very interested in what my favorite "character" is--everyone, young and old, loves a particular character, it seems. Hello Kitty is the most popular internationally. Anpanman is the favorite of little kids (check out this crazy link comparing Anpanman to Jesus!). A cartoon capybara is really popular this year. My favorite since childhood is the old school Little Twin Stars:

You can always tell someone's favorite character, because they will have a random charm or stuffed animal attached to their bag, if their bag is not printed all over with the character. I love how Japan is so into cuteness!

Health Care:

Everyone in Japan is covered under the government socialized health insurance. It does have its downside (the large annual tax!) but for the most part, it is awesome. Last week, Fox walked into a chiropractor's office for some shoulder pain he was having. He was seen immediately, treated, and then given a half hour massage--and walked out, paying about $8.

Maternity care is awesome, too, especially from my natural-minded standpoint. The idea here is that there really is no reason for epidurals or not breastfeeding. My favorite handout in my maternity care packet is one that says, "After 24 weeks of pregnancy, please sit topless in the sun every day for 15 minutes to prepare your breasts for breastfeeding." Um, sure!

Fortune Tellers

Okay, I don't know about contemporary fortune tellers in Japan, but it used to be really common here to go to one who would help you name your children. My favorite story of this is: My friend and her husband went to a fortune teller when they were having their first child, about forty years ago. The fortune teller spent a long time thinking and finally came up with the perfect name for their first child: Koichi (translation--Ko means child, Ichi means one/first). Awesome.

And finally:
The word "toes" in Japanese is "ashi-no-yubi", which literally translates into "foot fingers". So awesome.

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