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Many years ago when our kids where young we invited a Japanese foreign exchange student to live with us. It was only for a few weeks, but was one of the best things we could have done to introduce our children to a different culture.
Her name was Etsuko. We loved her right from the beginning. We shared our American traditions with her and she shared her Japanese culture with us. One of our favorites was her recipe for sukiyaki and rice (recipe below). We all liked it, and I mean all. Even the kids. I think it was because it was from her. If I had fixed it on my own it probably wouldn’t have been such a hit.
Making it fun
However, you can make it a hit with your children if you first give them a taste of the culture. Show some pictures of Japanese cities and countryside. Show a picture of Japanese workers in their rice paddy fields, wearing their coolie hats. Talk about some interesting things about the country and the people. Show a picture of them in the traditional costume. Help them know what an advanced culture they have become, leaders in technology, etc. You can even decorate with a Japanese lantern from a party store, or whatever strikes your fancy. Setting the stage in this way will make it more fun for the family.
Then say, “Tonight we’re going to pretend we are in Japan eating a traditional Japanese homemade meal. We can all pitch in.” Have everything organized and ready for them to do their part. Even have some chopsticks on hand—also available at the party store. You can show this youtube video to learn how to use chopsticks properly.
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