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Entertainment - Kids Parties

Japan With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Entertainment - Kids Parties

By Jerry Hanus on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 3:00 pm:

Hello everyone, I am the Head Teacher and Director of Jerry's Home English. We are having a Halloween party for our 3 to 8 year olds on October 23rd Wednesday at 6:30pm to 8:15pm. We would like to invite some native English speaking children to join our Halloween party and communicate with our students. It will be absolutely free to attend although seating will be limited. If you are interested in attending our Halloween party, please contact me (Mr. Jerry Hanus) at 03-5684-0247. Location: Tokyo, nearest station Myogadani.

By Indo mommy on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 6:15 pm:

I am planning a birthday party for my little one. I also wish to invite a few Nihon children.
I was looking for some advice on typical birthday parties in Japan. I dont want to throw the kids into a cultural shock, just make it a lot of fun for them.
How are the bday bashes done around here? any particular things to take care of?
Thanks ahead!

By Yuko Kubota on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 8:23 am:

Indo mommy, do throw a party in your own style. The "little ones" won't have enough experience to know what a B party should be anyway.

When I was about ten and was a Japanese living in L.A., I used to get invited to birthday parties from Japanese friends, Mexican friends and American friends and every cultural shock I experienced was great fun!

I loved it when they told me what a pinata is and laughed at me as I followed the proper way to break it to get the candies out, and I loved it when my friends told me that I should know my manners and open the card first before the present! We had such a good time learning about each other.

But of course, I suppose every Japanese child will expect a birthday cake, the Happy Birthday song (but not with the "and many more" part, which again is great to learn), and the blowing out of candles. Perhaps some might expect a small gift (like a tiny pack of a few candies) to bring home, because some J moms gives them at the end of a party.

On a related note, maybe minor moms like me with allergic kids might appreciate if you ask the mothers in advance to see if their child has any food allergy. My son cannot eat ordinary cake. But here, most boys don't throw B parties anyway. It's a kind of a girl's thing, and most boys just do it with their family.

By Kit on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 12:07 pm:

Hi there, Indo-mom. Yuko has given you tons of good advice!

When my husband and I threw our son's first formal birthday party, his best friends happened to be mostly Japanese with very little international exposure. Also, my husband had never had a birthday party growing up, Western-style or otherwise, and so it was a learning experience for him, too. As Yuko suggested, this led to several surprises for us and for our guests. Explaining Pin the Tail on the Dinosaur (Buzz Lightyear theme) was practically hopeless; a couple kids thought it was mean, even though we used double-stick tape. One family brought my son flowers and another fruit as birthday gifts. Despite invitations in Japanese to a sit-down luncheon, one child showed up an hour late, and another mother R.S.V.P.ed that her child would come "maybe." But, despite the chaos, as Yuko wrote, it was a great party, and we've maintained those friendships over the years.

Subsequent parties have helped me understand a few basics:
1. The goody bag is important. My husband has filled those with candy, small toys, stationery items, theme-related keychains or pens, etc over the years. It's a tradition at almost all functions in Japan to send guests away with tangible proof that you appreciated their attendence.
2. Don't think that kids are going to sit and admire the cake for more than two minutes--have your camera and candles and everything totally ready--TWO minutes. And a sit-down meal? Not the greatest idea...
3. Unless the kids are older, keep games dead simple and full of action (egg-in-cup race, follow-the-leader, obstacle course, etc.) so even if English isn't your native language, you can catch on immediately.
4. Let your child know that flowers are nice presents too (even for a boy), as well as fruit, or even just best wishes on a card. This is a good lifelong lesson, actually.
5. If guests don't respond, a phone call to see what's up is okay. I thought that was a little pushy at first, but then I realized that some people are shy or nervous about what might be their first international party. A call, where you trot out the scenario, can do wonders to make people feel at ease.
6. It's not a bad idea to have a gift idea or two (with a broad price range) handy in case you are asked what your child wants for a present.
7. Presents are generally NOT opened in front of everyone in Japan--I like this custom, and think it spares feelings sometimes. A thank you note later, acknowledging the gift, is a good way to get writing practice in for your kids, too.
8. The number of children with food allergies is definitely on the rise, so that's not a "minor" consideration anymore! Add that to your invitation and double-check it.

That's all I can think of; happy birthday to your little one!

By Indo mommy on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 2:01 pm:

Thanks Kit. Thats loads of info. This is exactly what i was unsure of. Yours and Yuko's posts make my idea of a party a lot more clearer now.
Thanks again all.

By Indo mommy on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:32 am:
Thanks Yuko san,
Great to have you around. I have read all your posts and was hoping you would answer my mail!
I hope the kids enjoy as much as my daughter!
Take care

By Shikokumom on Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 6:02 pm:

Just wondering if anyone has English information about this year's
Halloween Parade in Omotesando. I can't read the Japanese site.

We've never been to the parade and was thinking about maybe going this year.

Would appreciate your experiences and/or other children's Halloween activities you've been to in and around Tokyo.


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