This is NOT a capsule toy here – Testing out Japan’s fully functioning mini iron【Photos】

Because what really matters isn’t how big your iron is, but what you do with it. At first glance, this probably looks like our latest vending machine capsule toy find. After all, they already have gachapon replicas for rice cookers and air conditioners, so an iron isn’t that much of a stretch for collectors of […]

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5 Japanese English Bilingual Books For Young Children

5 Japanese-English Bilingual Books For Babies And Toddlers

The Importance of Reading with Babies and Toddlers

One of the most important ways that caregivers can foster children’s intellectual development is through reading. Although sometimes, it may seem like your tiny humans are more interested in examining books with their teeth rather than their eyes, even newborns can benefit from looking at colorful pictures and hearing the soothing tones of a caregiver reading aloud. Books at any age can spark a lifelong love of learning.

Benefits of bilingual books

Many Japanese children’s books have been translated to English and other languages, and likewise, literature from all across the world is available in Japanese. However, books that display words in two languages, known as dual language or bilingual books, are rarer than single language editions. Bilingual Japanese and English language books for children can:

  • Support children’s multilingual language development
  • Encourage awareness of the differences between the two languages, including different writing systems
  • Build vocabulary
  • Promote the equal value or worth of the two languages
  • Allow multiple caregivers who speak different languages to read the same book to a child
  • Save shelf space and money when only one copy of a favorite book is needed!

Although not necessarily abundant, there are many dual language books available for purchase or library borrowing in Japan. Some are works originally published in other languages that have been translated into Japanese, while others are Japanese in origin that includes English words for the purpose of language learning. There is no single way to find dual language books, but the following phrases can be useful when searching library catalogs or booksellers’ websites:

  • 英語でもよめる絵本 (eigo demo yomeru ehon; “picture book to read in English, too”)
  • バイリンガル絵本 (bairingaru ehon; “bilingual picture book”)

5 Recommended Bilingual Japanese and English Books for Young Children

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Japanese Recipe Adventures: Gyoza

Source: Gaijin Pot
Japanese Recipe Adventures: Gyoza

Gyoza, or potstickers as they’re called in the west, are a Japanese staple dish found everywhere from cheap izakaya to popular gourmet restaurants. They’re the perfect crowd-pleaser that can accompany a cold beer, a bowl of ramen, or be an entree all on their own.

Making them is also a fun activity for families and friends and it’s a lot easier than it looks! Skip buying prepacked or frozen gyoza at the supermarket because it’s just three steps: make the filling, wrap each gyoza with love, and pay-fry it until they’re ready to eat.

Before you start, you’ll need a non-stick frying pan or a hot plate. Gyoza requires steaming, so you’ll need a pan with a lid for the final step. Here’s my original recipe, including a vegetarian option!

Ingredients

It’s about to get messy.
  • 1 package of gyoza wrappers (ワンタンの皮 or 雲吞皮)
  • Sesame oil for frying
  • ¼ cup of water for steaming, plus more for folding gyoza wrappers

For the filling

  • 600 grams of ground pork
  • 2 stalks of green onions
  • 1–2 cm nugget of ginger

Optional

  • 1–2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cabbage leaf
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms (or mushrooms of your choice)

Filling alternatives

Depending on your favorite flavors, add any of your other favorite dumpling ingredients to your gyoza filling. Although ground pork is the traditional filling of choice, you can use any kind of ground meat. As a vegetarian, I use vegan, soy-based crumbles as the “meat” base.

Filling seasoning

Ingredients for dipping sauce, and sesame oil for frying.
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the dipping sauce

  • Equal parts osu (rice vinegar) and soy sauce
  • A few drops of la-yu/chili oil (optional)

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