Japanese/English Bilingual Education– The tools of the trade

ste kimono

As I’ve said previously, we are raising our sidekick to speak Japanese and English. Since we live in Japan and both my hubs and I speak English fluently, we’ve been golden. But, throwing in that proverbial cog, we are moving to India in a matter of weeks, so I’ve been assembling a tool box for Japanese language maintenance while we’re abroad (I assume English language materials will be available there…). I imagine these same tools are available in various languages, or maybe you’re even trying to introduce Japanese as a second language, in which case ganbatte ne!

1. Stick-on bath mats I talked about here. We have them in hiragana and katakana to start with.

2. BOOKS. Talked about that here. Our current favorites are anything by tupera tupera, this awesome ABC book, and this one for teaching hiragana.

3. Karuta cards. Karuta is a Japanese card game that is hundreds of years old, but is still played by everyone who grows up here–think on a scale of Go Fish! We have a set of proverb cards and a set of Disney cards for teaching hiragana. I used to make these when I taught English as a second language and you can essentially use any flashcards or even the cards from a memory game to recreate it. Here is an example.

4. Puzzles. In Japan you can get awesome high quality cardboard puzzles for teaching hiragana, katakana, or even the alphabet. We got this one at Akachanhonpo today for 500 yen (about $5 US). Bargain city.

5. Workbooks. Yes, play time is the #1 most important tool for learning. So make it play time! It’s all about how you use a workbook and our sidekick looks forward to “studying” thanks to high quality activity books and my ability to spice them up. Tracing the shell of a snail to strengthen hands becomes even more relevant when you then become the snails yourself. (If you’re looking for quality activity books in Japanese, go for Kumon or Gakken!)

And so the fight for bilingualism continues…


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