Passport to Fun - Japan

Travel the world from the comfort of your living room with this Passport to Fun series!  Whether you use these ideas as a date night, family fun night, or homeschool study, you'll be sure to have some fun and bring a bit of Japan's culture right into your own home!

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You'll remember that I came up with a pretty awesome idea for G's Christmas gift last year.

If you're new here and don't know what I'm talking about, then feel free to wander on over to this post to read all about it.

I'll wait.

Even though we spent all of 2016 traveling to new countries each month, we had so much fun I decided to extend this series indefinitely - so many cool places to learn about and we've even got a list of places we want to return to in the future!

This month, we headed to Japan -- because it's hot here and some cool sushi sounded like it would hit the spot!

June - Japan

Set the Stage

I added this stamp to G's passport, then left it out where he'd find it the next morning so he'd see where we were going:

What to Decorate With

The flag thing is our go-to wall art for each trip.  It's something fairly simple for Gv and I to do together, uses supplies we already have, and still lends an air of the locale.

What to Dress Like

I had thoughts of G becoming a sumo wrestler, ninja dude, or samurai warrior...but in the end, we just all went with robes kimonos:

G was going for a kabuki look, while Gv and I were trying for more of a geisha feel. This photo cracks me up, because Gv is giving my mask a concerned look, but I think G's is much more disturbing!

What to Listen to

I actually didn't have any fitting music on my ipod, except for this soundtrack, so I hunted up some music online to play in the background:

Kabuki music

Noh music

Relaxing Japanese music

Japanese Koto music

What to Eat

You know, the whole reason I chose Japan for this month is because I was itching to make sushi at home again.

I'd gotten this set several years ago and really enjoyed the roll-at-home experience, but hadn't done it since.

I still haven't done it since.

That's right, I had all these great plans to make miso soup, tempura veggies, some udon or soba noodles and then a bunch of sushi rolls, but then my parents came over and took us out to eat.

Oh, I still had miso soup...

Of course, I forgot to take a photo until I was half done. This is the lightest miso soup I've ever seen!

...and then I proceeded to eat an entire restaurant's worth of sushi...

This is plate one out of four that I ate. Yes, I know, I have a bit of a self-control problem when it comes to this stuff!

We all drank plenty of tea to go along with our meal.

If we'd eaten at home, my original plan was to splurge and pick up some mochi ice cream from our neighborhood Whole Foods. I've never had it before and thought it would be a great opportunity to try it.

However, the restaurant was buffet-style, so we all just gorged ourselves on green tea and cookies and cream ice cream, instead.

I predict Japan will show up at the top of the "revisit" list, once we run out of countries to try!

What to Do

I found so many fun ideas of things to do for this trip, but there was no way we could do them all. I saved a slew on this Pinterest board, but he's what we did manage:

We played a simplified version of Sudoku using pattern blocks.

This is even just a fun addition to our regular bin of pattern blocks!

Then we made sushi out of playdough:

I had all these visions of re-creating authentic sushi rolls, but Gv insisted on this particular filling.

Next, we made this geisha mask:

This was a great mask -- Gv had loads of fun playing with it and it now resides in her dress-up bin!

And finally, we folded our own paper cranes...(I found directions here)

...we-ell, I folded a paper crane.

The other two gave up.

This was definitely tricky, so I don't blame the Gs for giving up. I almost gave up, too, because my paper kept tearing. Here's the biggest thing I learned about origami: don't use construction paper!!!

What to Read

I immediately thought of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, but instead, Gv and I read Dogku, which is really cute.

Other great selections for kids would be:

The Way We Do It In Japan

For the grownups, I had a ton of fun reading Super Sushi Ramen Express. Memoirs of a Geisha would be another excellent choice.

What to Watch

Gv recently received a Hello Kitty book and has been asking if "there's a movie for it." I found this, which was our family viewing for this trip.

I couldn't help myself and had to go with a Bond film (You Only Live Twice), but other choices would be:

Memoirs of a Geisha

The Last Samurai

Lost in Translation

Godzilla (Am I the only one who has to say "God-ziller" in a Gomer Pyle voice?)

And that wrapped up our "trip." It was another huge success and we can't wait to jet off to someplace new next month!

Travel all over the world, without leaving your living room!  Come back each month to see where we head next.  Can you think of any other ideas to add for a trip to Japan?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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Want more?  Check out some of our other trips:

Italy - India - France - Africa - Ireland - Switzerland - Canada - Greece - England - Germany - Thailand Russia - China - Spain - Jamaica - Egypt - Mexico - Brazil Cuba Scotland - Australia - Scandinavia

Love this idea, but want the easy, made-for-you-and-all-you-do-is-print-it version?  Click here to get your own pack and see what inspired me to create this series!