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Japan: Origami, Samurais, & Green Tea

Updated on December 18, 2015
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Do you want to know more about Japan? Are you a lover of travel, geography teacher, homeschooling or involved parent, student, or life-long learner? In an effort to make world geography more meaningful and memorable, I've compiled all you will need to locate Japan on a map, cook a Japanese meal, watch YouTube clips on Japan, color the flag, create a Japanese craft, read a great book about Japan, and more! This is part of a series of lessons I did with my family while studying various countries from around the world. You can see them all at Around the World in 26 Letters .

Map showing Japan
Map showing Japan | Source

Where is Japan?

Locate Japan on this map of Asia. Use this map of Japan to label the capitol, Tokyo. Mark other relevant features (rivers, mountains, famous locations, etc.) if desired. If you'd like to spend a bit more time researching the country, you can add the language, currency, type of government, religion, and/or famous landmarks. Write them on the back of the map. You can easily find all this information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan.

Geisha image credit: http://www.robotvsbadger.com/images/geisha-girls/
Geisha image credit: http://www.robotvsbadger.com/images/geisha-girls/

Fun Facts about Japan

More than 70% of Japan consists of mountains, including more than 200 volcanoes. Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan, is an active volcano.

Noodles, especially soba (buckwheat), are slurped loudly when eaten. It is often said slurping symbolizes the food is delicious, but the slurping also serves to cool down the hot noodles for eating.

There are around 1,500 earthquakes every year in Japan.

Geisha means "person of the arts" and the first geisha were actually men.

Raised floors help indicate when to take off shoes or slippers. At the entrance to a home in Japan, the floor will usually be raised about 6 inches indicating you should take off your shoes and put on slippers. If the house has a tatami mat room its floor may be raised 1-2 inches indicating you should to take off your slippers.

It was customary in ancient Japan for women to blacken their teeth with dye as white teeth were considered ugly. This practice persisted until the late 1800's.

Info Credit

Flag of Japan
Flag of Japan | Source

Japan's Flag

Print and color the flag of Japan and learn the history and meaning of it from Flag_of_Japan.

Folding an origami paper crane
Folding an origami paper crane

Origami

Fold an origami paper crane by following these directions from wikihow.com.

Find more great activity ideas at squidoo.com and dltk.kids.com.

Cook a Japanese Meal

Prepare and serve Japanese pork cutlets over shredded cabbage, white rice, Japanese cheesecake, and green tea. Don't forget the chopsticks!

Japanese pork cutlets over shredded cabbage
Japanese pork cutlets over shredded cabbage

Japanese pork cutlets over shredded cabbage

  • 4 1/2-inch thick boneless pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or crushed cornflakes
  • vegetable oil (for frying)
  • shredded cabbage
  • tonkatsu sauce (optional - Kikkoman is one brand that makes this)

Instructions

  1. Pound pork to 1/4-inch thickness. Coat the pork with flour, then dip into egg, and finally coat thoroughly with Panko. Deep fry in 1 inch of hot vegetable oil, 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Serve on a bed of shredded cabbage. Serve with Tonkatsu sauce if desired. (This recipe came from food.com.)
Cast your vote for Tonkatsu (Japanese Pork Cutlets)
Light Japanese Cheesecake
Light Japanese Cheesecake
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 55 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 8-12

Light Japanese Cheesecake

  • 7 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar (caster sugar)
  • 3 separated eggs
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons jam (apricot or strawberry) for glaze

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch cake tin with non-stick cooking spray. Beat cream cheese with milk to soften. Add half of the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and lemon juice, beating until smooth.
  2. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until foamy. Gradually add remaining sugar and cream of tartar, beating on high speed until soft peaks form, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Gradually fold beaten egg whites into the cream cheese mixture, stirring gently. Pour into cake pan and smooth the surface. Place the cake pan into a larger roasting pan and place in lower rack of oven. Pour enough water into the roasting pan to come half way up the side of the cake pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a pick inserted in the middle of the center comes out clean. If desired, drizzle a jam glaze over the top. To make the glaze, simply microwave the jam for 20-30 seconds. (This recipe came from food.com.)

Our Favorite Picture Books About Japan

The Way We Do It in Japan
The Way We Do It in Japan

This 32 page picture book does a great job of comparing Japanese and American ways of life while respecting both cultures. It is about an American boy whose family moves to Japan.

 
I Live in Tokyo
I Live in Tokyo

This 32 page picture book is delightful story telling about modern life in Tokyo. It includes aspects of their daily life and also holidays they celebrate. I liked that it does not focus on their religion as much as many other picture books on Japan.

 
Click thumbnail to view full-size
K is for Kabuki: A Japan Alphabet (Discover the World) by Gloria Whelan - All images are from amazon.com.Three Samurai Cats: A Story from Japan by Mordicai Gerstein
K is for Kabuki: A Japan Alphabet (Discover the World) by Gloria Whelan - All images are from amazon.com.
K is for Kabuki: A Japan Alphabet (Discover the World) by Gloria Whelan - All images are from amazon.com.
Three Samurai Cats: A Story from Japan by Mordicai Gerstein
Three Samurai Cats: A Story from Japan by Mordicai Gerstein

K is for Kabuki: A Japan Alphabet (Discover the World) by Gloria Whelan does an excellent job of describing the people, culture, history, and more of Japan. It has beautiful illustrations and includes a short rhyme for each letter (perfect for younger listeners) and additional text to explain each event, aspect, etc. to older children. Three Samurai Cats: A Story from Japan by Mordicai Gerstein was our folk tale pick for Japan. It takes place in medieval Japan and includes samurai and their wisdom. If you would like to see more of our favorite picture books on Japan, visit my lesson plan on Japan.

Pray for the people of Japan

To find out about the religious nature of Japan and specific ways you can pray for the country, go to operationworld.org.

Visiting Japan on YouTube

Journey to Japan

Adventures: Japanese Supermarket

Kyoto, Japan Geisha Tour

Sumo wrestling

Where is Tokyo, the capital of Japan?

I've been to Japan. Have you visited Japan yet?

See results

Other countries starting with the letter J

Would you prefer to study a different country? Try one of these.

Jamaica

Jersey

Jordan

Ready to visit other countries?

Source

Go to around-the-world-in-26-letters to find links to all the countries we "visited." Each webpage features a menu, craft, books, video clips, worksheets, and more!

What first comes to mind when you think of Japan? - Or just leave a note to let me know you dropped by! I LOVE getting feedback from you!

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    • iijuan12 profile image
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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @Spectresoft: Thank you!

    • profile image

      Spectresoft 5 years ago

      The light cheesecake looks great!

      My brother lives in Japan, I have yet to visit him.

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @orange3 lm: Thank you!

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 5 years ago

      Great information about Japan. The light cheesecake recipe looks delicious!

    • profile image

      marsha32 6 years ago

      We are studying Japan right now and I will be starting a lens soon on the books we are using. I'm saving this for even more info!

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