Smarty chose a Japanese landmark for our geography track today, and I was happy since I planned to “visit” Japan for a while now. The best part was that we could almost visit Japan “for real” since we have a unique landmark of our own very close to where we live. It’s Hakone Gardens – an authentic replica of Japanese Samurai or Shogun’s estate garden, designed by one of descendent of the imperial gardening family members. It’s a very beautiful large garden with several parts including a bamboo garden and a Zen garden. It also has several buildings in Japanese style. All of us really enjoyed this outing. As expected, Smarty's favorite parts were water features and watching beautiful koi fish and turtles, but she was also very enthusiastic about seeing all the things the garden had to offer and asked many questions. She kept saying, This garden is very relaxing. I am already very relaxed now. :) We had to have “a talk” about not picking up rocks, since she wanted to have “memories” from the place. We still have to train her that we capture memories in pictures, not necessarily in objects that we bring from our travels.
I was also lucky to pick a great book for our Japan “visit”. I live in Tokyo is written by a Japanese author and told by a 7-year-old girl Mimiko. I wish I could have this type of a book for every country, because it gives so much information and at the same time fun to read, so you don’t even notice that you learn something new. The book took us to different parts of Japan and different celebrations happening throughout a year. It includes a lot of Japanese words and shows how they are written in kanji. Smarty was very interested in the pages showing Mimiko’s different dishes and various desserts. My husband and I love Japanese food, and maybe it’s time to see how Smarty would take to some traditional Japanese dishes. In the meantime, I made a very yummy Teriyaki Chicken – even my picky daughter gobbled it up.
We also picked up The Little Travelers Japan in the library. It was the first time when my daughter watched a travel story that wasn’t animated, and we both really enjoyed this DVD. The movie does an incredible job allowing us to see Japan through the eyes of American girls visiting it for the first time. It’s not about landmarks, but about everyday surprises (like sparsely furnished rooms and leaving your shoes outside), local food, local parks, making new friends and trying out some of the local customs. Now Smarty is rearing to go to Japan and asks very many questions. She is also begging to learn Japanese for real. Umm… after German and Russian, sweetie :)
Come and share your adventures in time and space at History/Geography exchange at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn.