5 Facts About Japan For Children
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5 Facts About Japan For Children

What should my child know about Japan? How can I teach my children about Japan in a kid-friendly manner?

On March 11, 2011 Japan suffered a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.  But, it wasn't the earthquake that left parts of the country, including a nuclear plant in Fukushima devastated.  It was the tsunamis that followed.  Information like this that make headlines about countries can bring learning about a foreign land more real to a child.  Of course, not every horrific image portrayed on the nightly news or the internet will be appropriate for young eyes and ears.  But, having information about another country constantly broadcast in front of us is a good time to educate children about interesting facts about cultures and geography.  By doing so, you can make history and cultural studies come alive for your child.  Obviously, what occurred in Japan was a tragedy, and certainly nothing fun came from it.  But, by presenting small bits of fun and interesting information about Japan to your child, you may spur your child on to learn more.  Perhaps knowing the facts about this country, rich in history, might even encourage your child to form a creative fundraising effort to help the people of Japan rebuild.  Following are five facts about the country of Japan to get you started on your educational journey with your child:

Geography of Japan:  The capitol of Japan is Tokyo.  Japan is an island nation located in the Pacific Ocean in East Asia. You can find it to the east of Russia, China and North and South Korea. It is made up of 6,852 islands. Over 70% of the country is made up of forests and mountains making it less attractive for farming, industry or living. This leaves the parts of Japan that are suitable for living and working very populated. In fact, Japan has approximately 126,804,433 million residents. Japan is located in a region that is prone to volcanoes and earthquakes.  With the knowledge that an earthquake or volcano is likely, the Japanese people build their buildings to withstand the ground's shaking.  This includes safety measures within their 54 nuclear power plants which supply approximately 30% of the nation's electricity.  The recent earthquake proved the quality of many structures.  It was the tsunami that caused the majority of the problems from the March 11 disasters.  In some portions of Japan, there were 40 foot walls built as protection against the ocean's fury.  But, this latest tsunami waves swept over those walls like they were merely a pebble.  It's difficult for anyone to prepare for the force of the raging water during a tsunami.

Language of Japan:  In English you would say the people of Japan speak Japanese. But, the Japanese people refer to themselves as Nihonjin, or the people (jin) of Japan (Nihon), derived from the word, Nippon or Nihon.  Their  language is said to be Nihongo.  Regardless of what the language is called, the way to say hello in Japan is Konnichiwa, pronounced (ko nee chee wah).  And, you would say goodbye as Sayonara (sigh oh nara).

Flag of Japan:  The flag of Japan is a red circle against a white rectangular background. The big red circle represents the sun. The word Nippon is made up of Japanese characters that mean "sun-origin."  So, Japan is often referred to as the "Land of the Rising Sun."

Transportation And Money Of Japan:  The Bullet train is a popular form of transportation throughout parts of Japan. The bicycle is also a fond choice of travel within large cities like Tokyo.  When you travel about Tokyo, you will notice it's famous Rainbow Bridge which is named after the way it is lit for all to see.  The money of Japan is called the Yen.

A Japanese Tradition:  Among other things, Japan is known for its rice and Sumo wrestling.  Rice farms and other farms within Japan are on average 3 acres in size.  Compared to the US, this is quite small.  But, the country is still known for its rice production.  It is also known for Sumo Wrestling.  This is commonly thought to be a traditional Japanese sport. You've seen the large men in small cloths that barely cover their body's. The sport is played by two men attempting to push the other out of a center ring.

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