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Japanese for children?

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Japanese for children?

Postby daisie » Mon 03.13.2006 5:49 pm

Hi, hi! I'm a mom of four, ages 15, 13, 10, and 3.

Everyone in our house wants to learn Japanese, including us grownups!

I'm sort of at a loss for where to start. I've made hiragana flashcards and stuck them on the kitchen cabinets, about six at a time, so that every time anyone reaches for a cup or plate, they see this week's syllables (no romanji, just the kana of the week).

Everyone but the baby practices writing.

We have a really cool quick dry board, where you write with water and it disappears, which everyone loves for hiragana practice.

We watch familiar Miyazaki movies in Japanese, and the little guy doesn't seem to even notice that they're not in English!

The older girls love learning the end themes to their favorite anime, and surprise, the little guy can now sing in Japanese (not in English yet, he's not heard many kid songs in English).

Seeing how fast he's picked up singing in Japanese, are there any resources out there for learning basics through music, like how we teach American children their alphabet with the ABC song?

Almost all of the resources that I see on the internet are geared for grownup learners, not elementary age or preschool little people.

Where can I find things that Japanese children might learn with, that would be helpful for teaching my own children?

Thanks!
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby Sachi » Mon 03.13.2006 6:04 pm

Hmm.... I'm not sure about the little one, but it's cool how you all want to learn! I'm 13 myself, but I'm the only one in my family (actually, the only one Iknow ^^; ) who is learning.

To really learn, you'll probably need a textbook of some sort, ne? The Genki series is good, but it's advertised as an adult book, I think. I know it's used in colleges and some highschools. I'm sure you, your husband, and the 15 and 13 year old could use it, and most likely the 10 year old, too.

As for the little guy, probably just teach him without textbooks and such. I'm sure there are resources good for teaching him easy stuff, but the way we learned English was through example and just hearing it mostly, and then later on when we were older in school, right? So, probably try just talking to him in Japanese. Mybe he'll pick up some that way.

Don't take my opinion for too much. I'm still a beginner myself, and just a kid XD
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby CrazzyWarrior » Mon 03.13.2006 6:10 pm

Sachi wrote:
Don't take my opinion for too much. I'm still a beginner myself, and just a kid XD


dont cut yourself short, everyones a beginer at some stage, and kid or grandparent its all the same, everyone can offer up advice for things that work for them or might work, if it works for them great, if not then there will prolly be others that can offer up ideas.

And i think this is a great topic, i would love to hear what people have to say, hope you find something useful, and if so let us know aswell.
私の名前はセスです。
Watashi no namae ha seth desu.
[英訳] The ko (accumulated wisdom) of an old man is more precious than the ko (shell) of a tortoise.
「甲」と「劫」が同音であるところからできたことわざ。「劫」は極めて長い時間のことをいう。年長者の経験は尊ぶべきである。
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby daisie » Mon 03.13.2006 6:13 pm

I've liked everything I've read about Genki, it's what we're going to do once us bigger people have learned our basic kana.

(we're all huge manga readers, we can't wait to be able to read our favorites in Japanese... whee!)

I really want to find nifty preschool materials. Here in the US, we have so many cute books, flashcards, workbooks, etc... stuff to teach English that you can find in just about any bookstore. There must be that sort of thing out there for Japanese children? Eeeep... ^_^
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby kanadajin » Mon 03.13.2006 6:25 pm

I agree with sachi the genki series are really good. I am also 13. and there are probably no books that i DONT understand.. I'm sure your 10 year old would be able to understand almost any books..
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby crowfeather » Mon 03.13.2006 7:21 pm

There is a book and cassette set titled ,"Japanese for children"
ISBN: 0-8442-8517-x
It says it is written for children whose first language is English.

Our library also has sets of a cassette and booklet titled ," Sing N' Learn Japanese" volumes 1 & 2. The songs are recorded on the cassettes and the booklet has the Japanese words in kana and romanji. I don't know the ISBN's of these, but your librarian should be able to find them for you. I borrowed these and listened to the songs. They are short and cute.
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby TrilinguisT » Mon 03.13.2006 7:29 pm

hmmm..... are your kids fluent in english yet? if not, i would suggest that they learn and have a good grasp of the language first. i speak from experience, when i was like 7 years old, i had to learn to read and write in my native language -- it wasnt easy nor was it any fun because i barely knew how to read in english. (can you blame me, our learning standards back then was a joke) ..

in my freshman year of highschool, i finally became fluent in english and learning japanese was way easier then when i tried to learn in back when i was a 7th grader.
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby AJBryant » Mon 03.13.2006 8:13 pm

I'd also recommend looking for some "Mukashi banashi." Those are the Japanese equivalent of kid's bedtime stories -- they're usually fairly useful because (1) they're geared to children and so have a user-friendly vocab and writing style, and (2) introduce a LOT of info about Japanese history and culture that every kid in Japan knows.

Just as every American knows "Rip Van Winkle," every Japanese person knows the local analogue, "Urashima Taro." We in the US have Paul Bunyan, Micky Finn, Johnny Appleseed, and the Japanese have Kintaro, Issun Boshi, Momotaro, and so on.

Tony
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby TokyoRoze » Mon 03.13.2006 8:14 pm

Please
adopt
me
Hiragana: 0/46
Katakana 0/46
Kanji: Kyuu4:0/80
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby daisie » Mon 03.13.2006 8:35 pm

English is our first language, our little guy just doesn't speak it very well (he's working on it). Maybe because we watch television in other languages... eeep.

Easy bedtime stories would be super nifty! A nice place to start.

I guess what I'm also looking for are those workbooks that moms buy for their kidlets, where letters are huge, they're full of colorful pictures, like "apple" for the letter A... don't those sorts of materials exist for Japanese children, that can be purchased anywhere in the states? Eeep...

And Tokyorose... hehe... we get a lot of kidlet friends asking to be adopted, mainly because of our staggering manga collection (but it's in English... *sniffle*). Or maybe it's because of the yummy junk food... our house is sort of chaos, though... but it's happy chaos, and we have a lot of fun.

What annoys me is that we live in a fairly large city, with several universities, and Japanese isn't offered in any of them, even the community colleges (which is what has driven us to making up our own system for family language learning).

I think I may end up making my own stuff for the kidlets, if I can find colorful English workbooks, bright pictures, etc. that I can cut out stuff from. What I'm trying to do is make vocabulary cards that JUST have hiragana on them, with a picture of what the word is. My trouble is that I'm a lousy artist, and I KNOW that somewhere out there, there must be some cute basic vocabulary stuff for small people?

*more whimpers*

^_^
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby richvh » Mon 03.13.2006 9:19 pm

Mukashi banashi: http://www.digital-lib.nttdocomo.co.jp/ ... index.html
Aesop's fables: http://www.portals.co.jp/isopp/
Translations of Beatrix Potter's books, including Peter Rabbit, are on the net somewhere, lets see if I can find the link... ah, here we go: http://wiredforbooks.org/kids.htm

Yomiuri Shinbun Online, Children's Edition: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/kyoiku/children/
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby Mukade » Mon 03.13.2006 9:33 pm

To answer your question:

Yes, the Japanese have tons of things geared towards teaching their young children everything from English to math to Japanese. Flashcards, kana charts, workbooks, sticker books, kana building blocks, kanji workbooks, interactive digital kana toys, etc, etc. It's definitely, there, your difficulty would just be in finding it.

The best option would be to find a Japanese bookstore near you. There's no substitute for browsing first-hand for good things to use at home. You could start with Kinokuniya, one of the major bookstore chains here in Japan. They have outlets in the US, so you should check to see if there's one near you. You can shop on-line, but you'll have to do so entirely in Japanese if you are looking for Japanese books.
http://www.kinokuniya.com/

Of course, you can always type "Japanese bookstore [name of your city]" into Google and try to find a Japanese bookstore that serves your community. If you're in a smaller town, you should try the nearest big city. Japanese bookstores that serve the expat community often have books oriented towards children.

-----

Amazon Japan also ships internationally. Once again, you have to shop in Japanese if you are looking for Japanese-language books, but unlike Kinokuniya, their site has English versions of all the help and ordering screens, which make the process of buying what you want easier. Try going here for a variety of books broken down by age. Especially check out 0歳 for picture books and songs aimed at teaching children basic vocabulary.

Also, here's a treasure-trove of toys and games oriented at learning. In particular, check out 勉強 and パズル for some great educational toys aimed at not just Japanese, but a variety of topics. Remember, as long as it's in Japanese, you can learn something from it!
http://www.amazon.co.jp/

-----

Another place to go would be Sasuga books on-line. Try: Learning Japanese/Songs or Books/Children's Books. Unfortunately, they seem to have pretty limited stock.
http://www.sasugabooks.com/

-----

Tony's suggestion of fairytales is a good one. Actually, any children's book is going to be written in hiragana-only, and so can be very good practice. There are some available on-line. This is a really cute flash site with several stories. And here you can find some that are narrated and played back through windows media player.

And remember, if you surf the internet through Rikai.com, you can mouse-over any Japanese word you don't know, and it will give you a pop-up of its reading (if it's in kanji) and its definition in English.

Hope some of this helps. Good luck!

-----

I fixed the links. Sorry 'bout the bad code. :(
Last edited by Mukade on Tue 03.14.2006 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby AJBryant » Mon 03.13.2006 9:44 pm

Oh!

I almost forgot. I usually don't flog my own market stuff, but since you're looking for learning material, check this one out:

Image

It's the late-period version of "Sugoroku." In the Edo period, sugoroku became a game played on large sheets of paper. They were like modern progression games like “Slides and Ladders” and so on. Themes included the 53 stages of the Tôkaidô, famous kabuki stars, etc. This sheet uses the famous “Iroha” poem (adding the one missing character n as the end spot). To play, a die is rolled and the player moves forward that number of spaces. The winner is the first to reach the end.

I designed it for students, as it will teach kana as the game is played. A suggested rule is for students to name a word beginning with the kana they land on, or lose their next turn. Since most students won't know any words beginning with we or wi, those are automatic “lose-a-turn” spaces.

http://www.cafepress.com/sengokudaimyo.17829743

Tony
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby Sachi » Mon 03.13.2006 10:29 pm

I really do wish my family was interested in anime/manga and learning Japanese. It's so cool how you all share such an interest!

Anyways, I've been doing a little research just now, and found a website (not sure how useful, gomen ^^; )

http://web-jpn.org/kidsweb/index.html

I also found a book on Amazon that got some mixed feedback...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0934633177/

I also found this book:

Book #2

Overall, the Japanese for children books are for Japanese children. Being an English speaker may make them hard to find, and you'd most likely need to order them from Japan. I guess I'm still going with the "just talk in Japanese" approach for now, and maybe you could find something better later.
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RE: Japanese for children?

Postby daisie » Mon 03.13.2006 10:49 pm

Thank you all so very much for the great links!

I'm going to work on browsing them after everyone gets settled in bed, and see what I can come up with, given that my own Japanese reading skills are VERY poor and limited to hiragana.... eeep.

Mukade, thank you SO much for the links and ideas! We shop at a local Asian grocer, but the owners are Chinese (though they carry lots of great Japanese candy, fun for reading package labels). I could ask the owners if they know of somewhere local who might carry the kinds of things I have in mind.

Anyway! I need to put the horde to bed, and I've been working on vocabulary flash cards for us bigger people, I just bought an inexpensive set of basic English concept cards, and I'm going to butcher them and make them Japanese! ^_^

Thank you again, everyone! (and Tony, I'll check out your game, it looks nifty for us older folksies!)
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