One of the fun things about raising children in two cultures is that your kids can enjoy things from two different worlds. 🙂
Since our daughter was a little girl, we often went to the local Kinokuniya bookstore here in Seattle and bought children’s magazines like Mebae (めばえ) and BabyBook (ベビーブック). These magazines are very thick because they often include toys as well as fun activities. When we bought magazines for my daughter, they sometimes had things like foam donuts for making a donut shop, bento boxes, etc. Also, they have cardboard characters you can fold out into playsets.
Even when we lived in Ireland, we were still able to buy them in Japan or get them sent to us.1
Now that Little Guy is almost 18 months old, we can buy him such magazines too. In the latest issue, there was a cardboard playset featuring Anpanman as a postal-carrier:
The mailbox (yūbin posuto 郵便ポスト) actually works. You can put letters in there, and take them out in the back. Little Guy loves this mailbox:
The magazines, even though they are imports, aren’t very expensive, but my kids have lots of fun with them. Putting the cardboard toys together isn’t easy. Lots of folding and tabs, etc. But the result is worth it. 🙂
When I was a kid, I used to enjoy activity books from Sesame Street. My grandmother had a subscription, and everything month when we visited her (she lived in south Seattle, now SeaTac) there would be a new issue waiting for me. I was probably about 5 years old, but I really liked those books.
It’s a nice feeling to be able to give my kids toys which stimulate the imagination like that, but also give them more exposure to their Japanese heritage. Thanks Mebae and BabyBook!
1 I still have a home video where my daughter opens a box from Seattle with a Mebae magazine in there. She’s about 2 years old, screaming happy and then asks me to open it, but she couldn’t say “please” clearly so it sounded like “pease”. 🙂