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Friday, October 19, 2012

The End of Our Study on Japan

It’s been a very fun (and busy) 4 weeks in our homeschool, while we learned about this island country on the other side of the world.

Here’s a look at some of the great free extras we used this week that’ll add a little excitement to your study of Japanese culture.

Climate of Japan

The climate varies a good bit from region to region since Japan is spread out over a wide range of latitudes and is very mountainous.

Articles on Japan’s climate:

If you’d like to compare your weather to that of Tokyo, plug your location into Weather Underground.  Then scroll down to “10-day forecast” and you’ll see a link for “view calendar.”  This will give you the month’s actual weather for those days that have passed, as well as the historical averages.  I take a screen shot of the chart and then print it.  Repeat for Tokyo, Japan.

If you like, choose a week and have the kiddos do a comparison using this worksheet I created (click the pic to go there):

tracking the weather thumbnail

The open format allows your kids to use drawings or words to complete the chart.  Have them write the dates next to the days of the week.

Theater in Japan

We also learned about the traditions of Noh and Kabuki theater.   Noh has been around since the 14th century, and Kabuki since the 17th.

Articles, resources, and videos:

Noh Theater Articles

Noh masks

Short documentary on Noh (9 minutes)


Noh Robe

Kabuki Articles

Kabuki stills

Short Documentary on Kabuki (about 4 minutes)


Free notebooking page for comparing Noh and Kabuki can be downloaded here: primary lines as shown below or narrower lines for older students.

noh kabuki thumbnail

History of Kimonos

005Articles for background material on this traditional form of Japanese dress and its artistic qualities:

Instructions for making a “Kimono Doll” (as you see above).

You’ll need fancy Kimono (Chiyogami ) paper for your kimono.  We found FREE printable Chiyogami paper here.  These print a full 8-1/2” x 11” sheet with white border.  You can get 2 dolls out of one sheet.  Design your own Obi paper strip, or use a contrasting paper.

Alternative Kimono Doll instructions (this one you just print, cut and assemble, including the fancy kimono).

Instructions to make an origami kimono are here.

More Free Paper Crafts

Canon Creative Park has several FREE Japanese paper models to print and assemble, including Mount Fuji, Osaka Castle, and Star Festival Decorations.  Warning, some of Canon’s models are quite, quite, um, complicated.

If you’d like more free resources to accompany your study of Japan, check out my post from last Friday.

Linking to:

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  1. Nice post! Thanks for linking up to Homeschool FreeBEE Friday. Pinning this to the Homeschool FreeBEE CoOp! :)

  2. This was so neat to read. I lived in Japan - more specifically Okinawa - for almost 3 years. Some of the things you posted are things I never got to experience. I am guessing it is more of a mainland thing? But it is always fun to see things about the country I once called home :)

  3. Heather,
    I think that it's pretty easy to live in an area for a period of time and not experience everything about the traditions and culture there. If we spent a year on Japan, there would still be things we would miss out on.

    We just picked some things, some based on the time period involved in the read aloud we were doing from our Sonlight core (The Master Puppeteer). Others were based on interests that the children expressed. These were all things that we added to our Sonlight study (I didn't share the things included in the study), so some of them are perhaps a little off the beaten track. In other words, this is not intended to be complete in any way, just suggestions for extras. ;0)

  4. Thanks for the great links, I am saving them for when we do our cultures study next school year!

  5. What a fanastic post with tons of resource links and suggestions for everyone! Thank you for linking up this week to my Enchanted Thursdays Blog Hop!


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