Little Passports: Japan

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Travis’s envelope this month from Little Passports took him to… Japan! There was lots to learn and great hands-on activities in this particular kit. First up was the booklet, full of inventive activities like how to write a Haiku (spoiler: Travis’s was about eating a cookie), and a pictorial three-in-a-row search that was a fantastic alternative to a word search for non-readers.

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Of course there was also a country coin for his coin chart, a stamp for his passport, and a push pin for his world map. Bonus features online included gorgeous photos of Japan, audio recordings of common Japanese words, and a Q&A with a Japanese “pen pal”.


The adorable sushi erasers that came with the package were a big hit, particularly the fact that they could be disassembled and reassembled. Travis became a mini sushi chef!

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The most involved project with this kit was to make a koinobari, a kite in the shape of a carp fish traditionally hung on homes during Japan’s Children’s Day holiday (which falls in May).

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Rather than use the suggested fabric pants, which I worried would be messy, I had Travis use fabric markers.

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We first drew two fish outlines on an old pillow case and colored with the markers, after which I cut them out and hot-glued together on three sides, leaving the top open (alternatively, use fabric glue).

Cut a piece of cardboard from an old cereal box and glue into a loop; attach this at the mouth of the fish with more glue. Punch two holes through the pillow and cardboard, and loop a string through.

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Finally, we glued on ribbons as tail streamers.

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It looked beautiful on our front door.

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Next up was to write in ema wishes on the provided template.

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These wooden tablets, traditionally hung at a Japanese shrine, came just in time for our new era COVID-19. We strung them up along our kitchen window for good luck!

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Of course we had to make origami, too. The package included fun instructions for penguins and jumping frogs.

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The frog could really jump!

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Travis wanted to make a whole army of penguins.

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Finally, he did a cute food match-up game which highlighted all four islands of Japan, and he colored in the flag for the garland begun with his Brazil package.

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The journey is never complete without a recipe, of course. Travis got to make dorayaki, a sweet Japanese pancake.


  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Canola oil
  • Red bean paste
  • Jam
  1. To start, whisk together the Ener-G eggs, sugar, and agave in a bowl.LP Japan (18)
  2. Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl, stirring until smooth. Continue to stir while adding the water slowly.LP Japan (19)
  3. Heat a large skillet coated with a little canola oil over medium-high heat. Spoon 1/8 cup batter into the skillet per pancake and cook for about 2 minutes, until bubbles cover the tops. Flip and cook for an additional minute. Transfer cooked pancakes to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.
  4. To serve, spread bean paste between two pancakes and eat sandwich-style! If the bean paste isn’t to your kids’ liking, try jam instead.

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Travis loved eating the dorayaki with a ramen noodle bowl, for a full Japanese meal.

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