Wednesday, September 2, 2009


See this person? The brunette, I mean.

A complete and total love.

Thanks to Vanessa, I connected with Tobi, a Japanese native and member of our church family, using the much-abhorred method of a Cold Call. (I am not a phone person, unless I know you really really well.) Next thing I know, here's Tobi, arriving at our door bearing bags of books, food and craft materials.

My kids wanted to know whether she'd ever been pushed in on a subway in Tokyo. Answer: yes.

She very sweetly taught them to make origami sumo wrestlers. First things first, you know. Then we had to make them fight each other, many times over. To say that the competition grew fierce might be underselling it a bit.

We also made sushi. A LOT of sushi. What's a geography lesson without food?

And then she and I got to fellowship while the kids went off and played a little Wii. Which was invented by Japanese people, I'm pretty sure.

Today marked the official end of our Japan unit study, since we'll be traveling for the holiday weekend. So to sum up, and provide a free service to anyone who might ever possibly want to explore Japan with the wee ones, as per my hearty recommendation, here's a list of things we've done:

1. Colored and labeled maps of Japan and surrounding area
3. Discussed bullet train and subway system; dramatized pushers-in using closets as subway cars.
4. Viewed photo slideshow from in-laws' 1980's trip to Japan.
6. Made kimonos.
7. Arranged food and ate bento-style
8. Learned about, acted out, samurai and ninja warriors
9. Held Japanese tea ceremony
10. Learned about Commodore Perry
11. Painted a four-paneled screen
12. Made wonton soup and stir-fry
13. Visited Japanese garden
14. Attempted to visit origami exhibit (rain check!)
15. Learned to count to ten in Japanese (plus various vocabulary words from this book)
16. Discussed Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima and Hiroshima/Nagasaki, with pictures
17. Made model of uranium atom with beans, nuts and cinnamon candies. Split nucleus to demonstrate nuclear bomb
18. Watched sumo wrestlers on YouTube
19. Watched rice harvesting and high-tech Japanese toilets on YouTube
20. Watched The Karate Kid (Ian)
21. Attempted basic Japanese characters
22. Illustrated social hierarchy during shogunate period
23. Ate with chopsticks
24. Arranged flowers ikebana style
25. Compared styles of martial arts on YouTube
26. Read wonderful books, especially by Allen Say (see new Goodreads widget)

Many of our activities were inspired by And for once, we could all be on the same page, with no sense of juggling three different ages. It's been a whole lot of fun!


Era said...

Sounds great! I wish I could join your home school. And that was awesome of Tobi to come and share.

Jenny said...

Wax on. Wax off. ;)

Great unit!

Raji P. said...

If you ever have a unit on India, give me a call. Then I may actually get to meet you! :)

Vanessa said...

Wow, too bad I couldn't be your kid! Give yourself a pat on the back Hannah.. .you totally deserve it. Fantastic unit on Japan.

Eclectic Mama said...

Man, I wished we lived closer. I would have loved to have pawned my kids off on you for a little learning. Seems all we ever do around here is think about getting around to starting to learn something.