Japanese Culture Party

Japanese Party -8yr- Japanese Games




Paula in Fredericksburg, VA


August 2005


Special Mention

Japanese Themed Birthday Party 8yr. old  My daughter had been studying Japan and was really fascinated with the Japanese culture.  So it was no surprise when she asked for a Japanese themed birthday party for her 8th birthday.   It took a lot of research on my part, because there’s not much information on the web about planning a Japanese themed party for children.  However, what I came up with was fun, entertaining and kept the kids very busy till the very end.  

THE INVITATION: I created a single sided invitation using MS Publisher.  I used a colorful Asian lily style border and pasted a clip art graphic of a woman in a kimono at the top of the page.  The colors in the kimono and in the border matched.  The invitation was written in both Japanese and English.  To get the Japanese translation I went to Babel Fish, entered in my English sentence and received my Japanese translation for the invitation.  Here’s a sampling of what the invitation said (minus the personal info):  Konnichiwa!   You are invited to join Alex in celebrating her 8th birthday in Japanese style!   When:  Saturday June 11th, 2005   Time: 11 am to 1 pm   Please dress in Japanese style (ie: kimono, Asian style clothing, or something comfortable).   Please bring a small throw pillow with you to sit on.  Please RSVP by June 4, 2005  by email.  Thank you.  

THE DECORATIONS: JAPANESE PAPER LANTERNS - battery operated so we could have them lit up without stringing electric cords all over the room. Asian themed paper plates & napkins square shaped, with red fans printed on them.  

JAPANESE CERAMIC TEACUPS CHOP STICKS a pair for each child 2 RED TABLE CLOTHES BAMBOO DRINK COASTERS one for each child 1 TATAMI-LIKE PLACE MAT 3 TIERED CAKE PLATE TREE with square plates ARTIFICIAL CHERRY BLOSSOM BRANCH   THE ROOM SET UP: I rented a party room at our local community hall which turned out to be a great deal ($20 for 4 hours) and I didn’t have to spend time cleaning the house before and after the party.  I used 3 six foot tables.  Two tables were for activities and one was draped with a red table cloth and held the food, drinks, cake plate and other party supplies. 

I then took two low coffee tables, of the same shape and size, and put them together to form a low square table.  This table was also draped with a red table cloth.  In the center of the table was the Tatami place mat and sitting on it was a Japanese floral arrangement.  At each place setting there was a Japanese teacup sitting on a bamboo drink coaster.  A pair of chopsticks laid across the top of the cup and in front of the of the cup was a little card with phonetics on how to count from 1-10 in Japanese and common Japanese greeting phrases.  Above the table hung 5 battery powered Japanese paper lanterns.  


PAPER FANS  as the guest began to arrive, they gathered a one of the tables to make paper fans from plain white paper plates and decorated them with stickers and color pencils.

ORIGAMI  - Then we tried our hand at a little origami (Japanese paper folding) and made cats, dogs and a crane.  

OTEDAMA This is an old Japanese game, Japanese Jacks, it’s a cross between regular jacks and juggling. 

ZEN GARDENS - they made little Zen gardens in plastic containers with lids so we could take them home without spilling them.  All the supplies came from the dollar shop.

FUKUWARI another old Japanese game played at holidays and celebrations.  It’s played very similar to Pin The Tail On The Donkey, except that it’s a woman’s face and you put all her facial          features on her face while blindfolded.  You should have seen some of the hilarious faces we made!  I found the game online and created a large poster size version of it by using MS Publisher. 

IKEBANA - Japanese flower arranging, they we made little flower arrangements to take home.   

THE FOOD MISO SOUP EDAMAME - Pronounced "eh-dah-mah-meh" this is a popular soy bean appetizer in Japan.  Kind of similar to peas in a pod.

KAPPAMAKI - Cucumber Rolls INARI - Bean Curd Pockets Stuffed with Sweet Rice

TEA - Raspberry & Lemon Iced Tea  I ordered the Japanese food from our Ukrops grocery store, they make sushi items fresh daily.    

THE CAKE: My daughter decided that she didn’t want a traditional birthday cake.  So in keeping with the small portions theme of Japanese cuisine, she decided to go with small pastry cakes arranged on a tiered cake plate tree decorated with an artificial Cherry Tree branch.  There were about 5 different types of pastries, ranging from chocolate brownies to strawberry Neapolitans (BJ’s is a great place to find stuff like this!) so of course all the kids got to try each cake! 

TAKE HOME GOODIES: CHOP STICKS, BAMBOO DRINK COASTER, PAPER FAN, ORIGAMI ITEMS, IKEBANA FLORAL ARRANGEMENT,  ZEN GARDEN,  TAKE OUT BOX - Chinese Style food container with Japanese Gummi candies, Hello Kitty eraser and Japanese bubble gum.  Most of the items I used for the kids’ activities and goodies were found either at the dollar store or on sale or clearance at Wal-Mart, Target and Michaels Crafts. 

ADDED BONUS:  A few of my daughter’s guest were Junior Girl Scouts.  Many of the activities they did counted towards merit badge requirements.  They also received a hand out sheet indicating which requirements they had completed for certain badges.   HELPFUL HINTS: RENTAL SPACE - Using a rented space was fantastic and quite liberating!  

EXTRA HELP - I also hired my friends’ 13 yr. old daughter to help me set-up, decorate, prepare the activities for me, assist the children and me, help me break down and clean up.  She was a God - send!  Having here there really helped me to focus on leading the kid’s activities and not have to worry about setting up the next activity, because she was taking care of that for me.  We had a very busy and active 2 hours and the kids had a great time experiencing Japanese culture.  They especially enjoyed whereing there kimonos and eating at a low Japanese table!  We will remember this party for years to come.

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