Japanese Language & Culture
There are lots of great websites out there that can teach you the Japanese language as well as about Japanese culture. Here are a few good ones we’ve found that your child might enjoy. All of these sites were “approved” by our interns!
CosCom Japanese Language School – “Learn Japanese online with various learning contents. CosCom has been developing unique materials based on long years experience teaching Japanese. You can learn practical Japanese conversation, daily phrases, Kanji and today’s Japan.” http://www.coscom.co.jp/
Digital Dialects – Japanese language games, some with audio. Uses all three forms of Japanese characters and includes an audio e-book for intermediate/advanced learners. http://www.digitaldialects.com/Japanese.htm
Kids Web Japan – “Kids Web Japan is a website that introduces Japan to schoolchildren who live in other countries. We would be delighted if this site was used as a supplementary source of information for school lessons on Japan or by families to learn about Japan together.” http://web-japan.org/kidsweb/
National Geographic for Kids – Facts and photos for a quick overview of Japan. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/places/find/japan/
Waku Waku Japanese – Short Japanese language webcasts sponsored by Japan Society, a leading organization bringing deeper understanding between the US and Japan. These videos are great for kids and adults. Each one focuses on a topic and builds vocabulary used in everyday conversation. https://www.japansociety.org/multimedia/webcast/language-lessons
Cultural Places to Visit
Most of these places to visit cost little or no money, you just need to get yourself there!
Daiso (Seattle) – If you’re not familiar with the Japanese version of the Dollar Tree, you’re in for a treat. Daiso has 3 locations in the Seattle area (Westlake Center/Downtown, International District/across from Uwajimaya, and Southcenter/Tukwila). This store carries just about everything you need to make your home more Japanese – all for $1.50 per item! This includes items like packs of origami paper, food/snacks, household goods and dishes, bento supplies, and on and on.
Hood River County – Explore the valley and visit the Hood River History Museum to learn about the first people to settle the area to the Japanese farmers who lost their farms and were interned during WWII. Be sure to stop by Kiyokawa Family Orchards, a Japanese-American family-owned farm since 1911, located along the Fruit Loop. They sell over 100 varieties of U-pick apples and pears and have a great kid’s play area. Check their website for special events like the Honeycrisp Festival and Farm to Fork fund raiser. http://www.mthoodfruit.com/
Japanese American History Museum – Take the family to this museum to learn about “Japanese American history and culture in Portland’s Old Town neighborhood where Japantown once thrived.” Special exhibits, such as the Congressional Gold Medal Tour, art shows, and more are hosted here. They also organize other fun events, like a “Matsutake Hunt” for all you mushroom lovers, so check their website often. http://www.oregonnikkei.org/
Kinokuniya Bookstore – Located inside the Beaverton Uwajimaya store, Kinokuniya offers Japanese books and magazines for kids and adults, select Japanese toys, music, and stationery-related items (erasers, pens, paper, etc.) Located at 10500 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy, Beaverton, OR 97005, (503) 641-6240. Be sure to check out their huge store in the Seattle Uwajimaya (600 5th Avenue South, 206.624.6248)!
Portland Japanese Garden – “Proclaimed the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan, the Portland
Japanese Garden is a 5.5-acre haven of tranquil beauty nestled in the scenic west hills of Portland, Oregon.” Check their website often for current events happening at the Garden. http://japanesegarden.com/ *Remember to use your Chinook Book coupon for $2 off for up to two admissions.
Uwajimaya (Beaverton) – A fun place to look, shop, and eat. Uwajimaya carries Japanese and Asian foods, books in Japanese (Kinokuniya Bookstore), cooking supplies, toys, and more. Check website for listing of current events happening at their store several times per year. Other store locations: Seattle, Bellevue, and Renton. http://www.uwajimaya.com/index.html *Use one of the three Uwajimaya Chinook Book coupons!
Waterfront Park – Did you know along Portland’s waterfront there is a Japanese American Historical Plaza dedicated to the memory of those who were deported to internment camps during World War II? Have you seen the amazing sight of 100 ornamental cherry trees in bloom (mid-March thru early April)? The next time you’re down at the Waterfront Park, take a look! http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/finder/index.cfm?PropertyID=156&action=ViewPark