Welcome to Japan!
Flying all the way to Japan from Peru took more than a day. That is certainly a long flight over a huge ocean. Even if we wanted to stop, there is nowhere to land.
Sadly, this is our last stop on the 2020 Staycation Around the World. We sure hope you have enjoyed traveling with us on this super fun adventure. Since this is our last leg of the trip, we have decided to stay a little longer and participate in nearly twice as many activities as we have in the previous destinations.
We have enjoyed going on this journey with you, and we hope we get to travel together again soon!
Walking tour on Shōto Bunkamura St, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Suburban Tokyo Saitama Shrines tour Hanachozu + Cats + Furins
Another Tour of Tokyo National Museum
Online Japanese Museum (interactive)
Yayoi Kusama Gallery (you will create a project inspired by their art)
Stairs to the Top of Tokyo Tower
Live Camera from the Top of Tokyo Tower
Live Feed of Shibuya Scramble Crossing
Six Best Animal Café’s in Tokyo
Nighttime Views of the Cherry Blossom Festival
A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression. Haiku began in thirteenth-century Japan as the opening phrase of renga, an oral poem, generally a hundred stanzas long, which was also composed syllabically. The much shorter haiku broke away from renga in the sixteenth century and was mastered a century later by Matsuo Basho, who wrote this classic haiku:
An old pond!
A frog jumps in—
the sound of water.
As the form has evolved, many of its regular traits—including its famous syllabic pattern—have been routinely broken. However, the philosophy of haiku has been preserved: the focus on a brief moment in time; a use of provocative, colorful images; an ability to be read in one breath; and a sense of sudden enlightenment.
Try writing some Haiku of your own.
In Japanese, “manga” refers to all kinds of cartooning, comics, and animation. Among English speakers, “manga” has the stricter meaning of “Japanese comics”, in parallel to the usage of “anime” in and outside Japan. The term “ani-manga” is used to describe comics produced from animation cells.
Manga stories are typically printed in black-and-white—due to time constraints, artistic reasons (as coloring could lessen the impact of the artwork) and to keep printing costs low although some full-color manga exist. In Japan, manga are usually serialized in large manga magazines, often containing many stories, each presented in a single episode to be continued in the next issue.
Included are some drawing panels for you to create your own Manga or comics.
Admiring and celebrating cherry blossoms are a national pastime in Japan, with forecasts for their blooming in Tokyo and other cities on the main island of Honshu coming out as early as January. There will be fervent discussions about where to see the blossoms, from popular spots to secret sites. Friends, classmates and colleagues alike will organizing viewing parties to appreciate the blossoms and have a relaxing time to welcome in spring.
Cherry blossom season in Japan is generally said to be late March to April, but given the geographical scope of the country, the blooming period covers around 4 months!
Make a Cherry Blossom Tree
- Brown lunch bag
- Pink tissue paper
- With your scissors, cut about 10 strips in your lunch bag. Go to about an inch before the crease.
- Open the lunch bag and twist the bottom where you didn’t cut into the tree trunk.
- Take each individual strip and twist them into the tree branches.
- Make “cherry blossoms” with the pink tissue paper and glue them onto the branches.
You may want to put your cherry blossom tree into your Zen Garden… just a suggestion.
Zen gardens are one of the most breathtaking sights you’ll ever see.
These special areas were originally created in Japan to assist Zen Buddhist monks with daily meditation and introspection. Monks raked the sand every day to maintain its distinct pattern and discourage vegetation growth. They would also spend time in a specific spot in the garden to observe, reflect and meditate.
Although we may not have the time and space to create and maintain a traditional Zen garden, we can still engage in this practice and reap the benefits with our own mini Zen gardens.
Sand Zen gardens are called “karesansui” gardens or “dry landscape” gardens. This is because traditional Zen gardens don’t include plants or water features in order to achieve abstraction and promote feelings of tranquility and calm. As such, the placement of the stones and sand in Zen gardens has lots of meaning and intention. Stones represent things such as islands, mountains and trees while sand patterns represent flowing water.
Make a Zen Garden
- Tin pan
- Put sand in your container. We sent you an aluminum pan, but you can use something else if you prefer.
- Place your stones and trinkets in your garden. You may add anything you would like, however we sent you some stones and shells to get started.
- Add a little plant if you would like, like a succulent.
- Take the plastic fork and use it to rake patterns in the sand.
Teru Teru Bozu (てるてる坊主)
Teru Teru Bozu is supposed to have magical powers to bring good weather and to stop or prevent a rainy day. Teru is a Japanese verb which describes sunshine, and a Bōzu is a Buddhist Monk or in modern slang, “bald-headed”.
They are ghosts that people hang up if they want good weather. They hang them up to ward off rain. However, if one wants it to rain, they can hang it upside down
- Cotton balls
- Pipe cleaner
- Open the napkin.
- Put the cotton balls in middle of napkin.
- Close the napkin around them.
- Pull the napkin tight around cotton balls and wrap a pipe cleaner around the area that would become the neck of the ghost.
- Draw a face on your ghost.
- Hang it up to prevent rain or hang it upside down to bring the rain.
Japan is an island, so it is surrounded by the ocean.
1. Put the Orbeez in water and watch them expand to make an ocean of blue.
2. You can add sea creatures and play with them at a sensory table or in pretty much anything that will hold water.
May 5th is Children’s Day, when families celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of children. It became a national holiday in 1948, but it has been a day of celebration in Japan since ancient times.
The fifth day of the fifth month was traditionally called Tango no Sekku and was a festival for boys. Girls have their own festival, called Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival), held on the third day of the third month.
On Children’s Day, families with boys fly huge carp-shaped streamers (koinobori) outside the house and display dolls of famous warriors and other heroes inside. The carp was chosen because it symbolizes strength and success; according to a Chinese legend, a carp swam upstream to become a dragon.
This is a flying carp kite. They are usually made to celebrate Children’s Day in Japan.
- Tissue paper
- Cardboard rolls
- Cut out scales using 2-3 colors. Some of this has been done for you. Included in your bag will be extra tissue paper and a circle template. Cut the circles in half to make the scales.
- Glue the scales on to each of the tubes, overlapping them so all the cardboard is covered.
- Cut out six smaller circles for eyes from regular white paper and draw a black dot in the center for the pupils.
- Using the same colors, cut out strips of tissue paper for the tails. Glue the strips all the way around on inside cardboard tube.
- If needed, trim the ends of the strips after drying, so they are the same length.
- Make a total of three fish.
- Tie three pieces of twine/yarn/string/ to the dowel link in the picture.
- Tape one side onto inside of fish, lined up with eye, tape the other end behind the other eye like in the picture.
Bonsai is a Japanese art form which utilizes cultivation techniques to produce, in containers, small trees that mimic the shape and scale of full-size trees. The Japanese tradition dates back over a thousand years.
Make Your Own Bonsai
- Brown pipe cleaners
- Green tissue paper
- Paper bowl
- Clear glue
1.Apply glue to bottom and sides of the paper bowl then press foam into place. Let dry.
2. To create tree, start by layering 10 chenille stems (pipe cleaners) together. Start twisting stems together about 3” or so from end, twisting for about 4”, creating trunk of tree. To create branches, pull two stems and twist together then pull out three and twist together. Repeat with remainder of stems.
3. To create single branches, divide each section and twist or bend as shown. Branches can be bent back on themselves if they are too long. Bend and twist branches to finish tree.
4. Use scissors to cut remaining chenille stem into 2” sections then bend each in half. Attach to the tree branches.
5. Pour about ½ cup of sand into cup. Pour clear glue into cup then mix with a plastic knife or spoon, adding more glue as needed till mixture is a smooth consistency. Use knife to “frost” top of foam in container working mixture to edges. (as if you were frosting a cake)
6. To insert tree, bend ½” on each root then press each through sand into foam. Small folded pieces can be pushed over roots to hold in place if needed.
7. Glue small pebbles where shown. Add glue to rock then press in place.
8. Tear tissue into 1” or pieces. Crumple a tissue piece, add a dot of glue then press onto a branch. Repeat step with all colors created sections of leaves on each branch as shown. Let dry. Be gentle when adding the tissue paper as you don’t want to knock the blossoms off before they dry.
Chopsticks are the main utensils for eating in Japan. The Japanese word for chopsticks is hashi.
- Glue the ends of the chopsticks to the sides of a clothespin.
- Practice squeezing the chopsticks together and grasping food with the chopsticks.
Make a Kimono
A Kimono is traditional Japanese clothing.
- Coffee filter
- Markers (not permanent)
- Paint brush
- Glue or tape
1.Draw a person onto the white paper.
2. Color two coffee filters with washable (not permanent) markers.
3. Using a wet paint brush, paint over the coffee filter with water to give it a tie-dyed or water-colored look. Let them dry.
4. Fold one of the coffee filters into 3 equal parts around your person.
5. Take a strip of paper and fold it around the middle like a belt, glue or tape it on.
6. Take another coffee filter and fold three ways, tape or glue it on to the back of the kimono in a perpendicular fashion to be the arms.
7. Draw or cut out hair for your person’s head.
A Daruma is a good luck charm in Japan. Usually they are hollow and weighted down on the bottom so they can always stand up straight. They are sold with blank eyes and the buyer will paint on one eye as they set a goal and they will paint the other eye once they have achieved the goal.
- Red paint, black paint & white paint
- Mold clay into egg like shape, with a flat bottom for it to sit on.
- Near the head press your thumb to make an indentation that will be the face.
- Let clay dry.
- Paint the clay red, not including the indentation.
- Paint indented area white for the face.
- Let it dry and then paint eyebrows and a mouth, leaving room for eyes but not adding them yet.
- Think of a goal you have, once you decided the goal, paint on one eye.
- Paint the other eye once you have achieved your goal.
Mount Fuji is located on the island of Honshū, is the highest mountain in Japan, standing 12,389.2 ft. It is the second-highest volcano located on an island in Asia. It is southwest of Tokyo and can be seen from there on clear days. Mount Fuji’s exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped for about 5 months of the year, is commonly used as a cultural icon of Japan and it is frequently depicted in many arts and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and mountain climbers.
Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains” along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku. It is a Special Place of Scenic Beauty and one of Japan’s Historic Sites. It was added to the World Heritage List as a Cultural Site on June 22, 2013. According to UNESCO, Mount Fuji has “inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries”. UNESCO recognizes 25 sites of cultural interest within the Mount Fuji locality. These 25 locations include the mountain and the Shinto shrine.
Mount Fuji Watercolor Painting
- Big paper
- Starting at one of the short ends of the page about a quarter way from the edge, draw a line going up
- As you reach the top of the page curve your line into a mountain top and start going down, ending your mountain around a quarter of the page away from the other side.
- Go to the top of your mountain, go down a little from the top and draw a zigzag line across the mountain.
- At the bottom corners of the page draw some branches.
- Go to one of the top corners and add a circle.
- Now to start painting, a line of green along the bottom for grass.
- Paint from the bottom of the mountain up to the zigzag line grey.
- Paint the branches brown.
- Paint the circle red for the sun.
- Paint the background blue.
In ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, blossoms, branches, leaves, and stems find new life as materials for artmaking. In contrast to the western habits of casually placing flowers in a vase, ikebana aims to bring out the inner qualities of flowers and other live materials and express emotion. Most ikebana arrangements fall into one of three basic design categories. Moribana uses a flat container, Kenzan, and usually multiple blooms. Nageire features three plant groupings that loosely form a triangle. Shoku has an upright or vertical arrangement, often in a tall vase. Ikebana arrangements that don’t follow any explicit rules may be termed freestyle.
Make Your Own Ikebana
- Tissue paper
- Green pipe cleaners
- Construction paper
- Look through the different ways to make paper flowers.
- For the stems, we used green pipe cleaners, or you can take green paper and cut lengthwise, rolling it into cylinders and taping together.
- Choose some you like and make them.
- Arrange them in a container.
Another Way to Make Flowers
- Cut a piece of paper into approx. ½ inch strips.
- Glue the ends of the strips together to make petals.
- Tape or glue the petals onto round circle of paper, and then tape on the stem.
Tissue Paper Flowers
- Layer pieces of tissue paper together
- Fold in an accordion
- Take a pipe cleaner and wrap around middle
- Pull out the different sheets of paper and shape as you’d like
Experiment on making your own flowers- cut out different petal shapes with construction or tissue paper.
Make a Ninja
- Popsicle stick
- Black marker
- Red felt
- Googly eyes
- Draw a line near the top of the Popsicle stick and color above the line with your black sharpie, this will be the head.
- Under the line glue on two googly eyes.
- Make another line under the eyes and color below black.
- Tie on the felt for a ninja belt.
- Colored paper
1. Cut two strips about an inch wide from one of the colors of paper. This will be the middle of your lantern.
2. Fold the second piece in half lengthwise.
3. Draw pencil lines across the paper to guide your cutting, start at the folded end of the paper and leave about an inch left uncut at the other end.
4. Open up the paper and roll it into a cylinder. Tape the edges together.
5. Roll up the other paper and tape in place, inside the lantern.
6. Take the strips and tape them on to both the top and bottom.
The Pokémon games are made in japan. The name for Pokémon there is pocket monsters but was changed in America to Pokémon to make it sound more Japanese.
- Ping pong ball
- Red Sharpie
- Black Sharpie
- Painter’s tape
- Tape half of the ping pong ball.
- Color the part without the tape red.
- Draw a line with your black Sharpie around the edge of the part without the tape.
- Take off the tape when you are sure the marker has dried.
- On the line you drew add one little black circle colored in for the button.
- Use your catapult you made to propel your Poke balls.
A Yayoi Kasuma is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts.
- Sketch out a design of something.
- Then fill it in with varying sizes of dots.
- Draw over the circles with marker so they have crisp edges.
- Then paint inside the circles.
Origami – Make a Totoro Bookmark
1. Fold paper diagonally.
2. Bring up one corner to top corner and do it again for the other corner.
3. Open it up to the triangle again.
4. Take the top layer of paper from the top and fold it down, using the creases as guides, then fold it over into the inside. you can also leave on the outside but if your paper has two different colors the colors might show through.
5. Fold the side up again alongside the same crease, when it comes to the edge fold it down behind the paper.
6. Do same for other side.
7. If you are using paper with two different colored sides, you may want to cut out the size of the square and glue into the fold, so it is the same color.
8. Cut off the very top to shape the head.
9. Cut out ears and glue them on.
10. Slide a piece of paper into fold and cut out square, pull it out and cut one corner so that it is rounded, check to see if it’s a good size, if not, cut more off.
11. Glue on the eyes.
12. Take a Sharpie and add pupils to eyes, add a nose, mouth, and whiskers.
13. Draw little triangles on white paper.
- Origami paper
- If you do not have Origami paper, then cut a square out of a piece of paper
1.Place piece of paper colored side up, fold in half then open the paper.
2. Fold two bottom corners up.
3. Flip paper over and fold bottom sides to middle
4. Pull out the two bottom corners
5. Fold down the top edge so that it is just barely touching the square.
6. Flip over, fold top corners to middle line.
8. Take the bottom corner and fold it up as high as you can.
10. Take the upper sides and fold to the crease, fold the inside of the legs.
11. Fold the upper corner down to the bottom of the paper.
13. Fold up the triangle you folded down before (not along the same fold line but a little higher)
14. Fold down the point
15. Flip, fold the point up again (not same fold line), then fold the tip down
17. Draw face and garment on with marker.
1. Flip the origami paper so the designed side is facing down.
2. Fold in half, press down on the edges for strong creases.
3. Open it up and fold the other way.
4. Open it up again, and this time fold diagonally. Open again and do the opposite diagonal.
5. Take one corner, and fold it down to the next corner, where the corners meet there should be a fold along the crease. Take the next corner and do the same thing, you should now have a tiny square.
6. Have your square so the open side is pointed to you.
7. Take one of the bottom sides and fold the top layer of paper to the middle crease, do the same for the other side.
8. Flip the paper over and repeat step 9.
9. The paper should make a flat line where the toe sides meet, using this line, fold the top down, pushing the edge to create a good crease.
10. Unfold it, flip the paper over and fold again on the other side, and unfold, there now should be a noticeable crease.
11. This next step can be a little tricky so you may want some help, start by opening the sides you folded to the middle, then go to the bottom and pull the first layer of paper up, use the creases to fold the paper into a diamond.
12. Flip over and repeat step 13.
13. You should now have a diamond shape with a slit down the bottom part.
14. Fold the bottom sides to the middle, flip and repeat on the other side.
15. Fold the lower point up, flip and do the same for the other side.
16. These points will become the beak and the tail so choose which you want as the head side and fold the tip down.
17. Fold so the inner sides are now facing out.
18. Pull out the wings and you have your crane.