Let’s Move! Living it up this summer in Haruna!

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Outdoor Japan Adventure for Kids!

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Outdoor Fun Guranteed!

Can’t believe after months of wrangling we were able to hold an Open House in Gunma! So we were dancing the day away, sliding down mountain hills, smacking on s’mores, and escaping the Tokyo humidity!

It was great to meet all of the new Roadsters who didn’t even know that there was a such thing as an English summer camp dedicated to the Performing Arts.  We went deep into the woods and learned a few simple dance routines. The shade from the trees kept us cool! We sang some old favorites just to warm up, Row, Row, Row Your Boat and She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain! Then the dance teacher taught us a few hip-hop moves from Beyonce’s new single, Let’s Move!

After a while,  we took a break and headed on a small hike! It was great! The older boys could climb pretty quickly. Even little Felix was hanging on!

Then came the slipping and sliding! Can you say MUDDY? Always bring a spare change of pants…you never know when you will need them! After working up a sweat we needed to take another break.  We took turns relaxing in the hammock! It was so nice to feel the gentle sway and breeze as we dangled between the trees!

Sitting in the hammock! Ahh...this is the life!

Swinging Away!

No day would be complete without a marshmallow treat! You know it, we love it, S’MORES!!!

Don't worry...that's a hot dog! The s'mores are coming!

Gooey Goodness!

First time

First time eating a s'more!

Yummy, yummy,yummy/
yummy to my tummy!

We hope to see you this summer at Japan’s ONLY Performing Arts Summer Camp! Register today! If you would like more information about our program then join our mailing list. You will receive five emails detailing more about our program. Click here to join our mailing list!  Summer Camp Registration has been extended to July 20, 2011!

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Doctor Orders Bored Children to Go Outside

Young, nimble, lightening bug like creatures with eyes as big as owls, tongues as long as lizards, mouths as big as the ocean, and a need for 10 minutes of sleep a night, are the summer creatures of Japan, and now they have set their sights on taking over your house, front lawn, grandparents homes, and the entire block.  They particularly like chocolate chip cookies, ice cream and trips to the pool.

Dr. Go Outside (yes, please Google to find this doctors office hours) of the Tokyo Waseda Lampoon University of Japan, recently made a startling discovery of Bored Children littered around Japan.  You can identify them by copious amounts of sweat, bicycles, and mobile phones that have huge objects dangling on the ends. Oh, and they usually travel in packs!

Thanks to screen shots captured from the now defunct Hubble telescope these children can be tracked by Navi and other GPS devices. You can find them in dusty parks or in family restaurants with only drinks and one plate of french fries.

The Bored Children can only communicate via text message. It’s quite possible to stand in front of them and say hello and they will seem to ignore you only to respond via text message with, “Hello.”

The shocking fact discovered by Dr. Go Outside is that the Bored Children are itching for a Capsule for Lightening Bugschance to go to Mount Haruna in Gunma. They want to travel to a place where they can enjoy sleeping in a cabin designed to look like a triangle.  They want to go river trekking and stay cool underneath the rushing sounds of the waterfall.  They really want the opportunity to meet new friends and learn the latest dance moves and songs.  In fact, over 82.454% of them are tired of hanging around the living room, playing the same video games over and over and being yelled at by their caretakers!

They want to be free! They want a chance to leave their caretakers behind and dance, create, and play underneath a canopy of trees. They want the opportunity of a lifetime.  This is no easy feat! As Dr. Go Outside knows, “children who stay inside playing video games often have a limited view of nature and don’t learn to enjoy the green earth.”  Another trend that Dr. Go Outside has noticed, “Children who eat at family restaurants really haven’t tasted real food. They don’t know where it comes from or how to prepare it.”

With this in mind, the Greatest Summer Camp in Japan, has announced that if caretakers are to survive this overheated summer full of sweat, TEPCO emergencies and humidity, they should send their little lightening bugs away to be a real star and not a flitting, pulsating piece of temporary light!

In order to protect yourself from the onslaught of Bored Children, enter to win 4 FREE 31 Flavors Gift Certificates!*You must have children to enter and live in Japan. Or call (050) 5806-7374! Dr. Go Outside will be happy to take your call!

Thanks to Locohama for including this medical prescription in Hot Fun in the Summertime Part 2

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Black Stripe Presents:Fat Pig

BLACK STRIPE THEATER is BACK!
From the same people who, over the last four years have brought you -Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter, Victoria Station, The Hothouse & The Homecoming; David Mamet’s Glengarry Glenross; Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spiderwoman; John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt & Caryl Churchill’s A Number – we’re now proud to announce our eighth production.
===== PERFORMANCE: BST “Fat Pig” 7/1-3 =====
Black Stripe Theater presents Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig directed by Rachel Walzer, and featuring Nerida Rand, Erick Ferman, David Mashiko and Makiko Mikami. The play opens with a situation that we are all familiar with: a man and woman meet in restaurant, they get chatting, and he asks her out. And why not, she’s delightful, bright, funny, sexy, unique… and Plus Size.
As our protagonist Tom dates Helen, we see his struggle between the love for this genuinely wonderful woman and his shame at dating someone who his friends can only see as a “fat pig”. Fat Pig is a dazzling, hilarious, painful, sexy, relevant, disturbing play which will make audiences laugh, squirm and gasp.

Show times:
July 1 at 7.30pm
July 2 at 2pm and 7.30pm
July 3 at 2pm and 7.30pm

A director’s talk will be held after the 2pm performances on July 2 and 3. Parents and teachers please note that this production is not suitable for those aged under 15 due to adult language and themes.

Tickets are 3,000yen at the door, however seating is limited at Our Space in Hatagaya, so advance reservations (2,500yen) are suggested. Contact BST by e-mail at blackstripetheater@yahoo.com, with the date/time of the show and the numbers of tickets you would like to reserve. Be sure to include your full name and contact information. Or call: 090-6009-4171.

 

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Charge your mobile phone while you camp! Only in Japan!

Kooky gadgets are pretty common in Japan. You can find tons of books that show strange and unusual products that Japanese inventors have created.  Like the one I found on Amazon, The Big Bento Box of Unuseless Japanese Inventions.

Mobile Phone Necktie Holder

Who needs to worry about strapping your phone to your belt loop when you can use a necktie!  I have a Japanese friend who reconfigured his necktie to hold his cell phone in the back. He used duck tape and a plastic bag and stuffed it in the back of the tie. I wish I had a picture, but I was a little surprised at all of the effort. He said it was quite a strain on his neck, but at least his pants pocket didn’t have an unsightly bulge.

At Design O’Blog, the author has added a collection of quirky images that Japanese inventors have created over the years. Here are a few of my personal faves:

Training Wheels for your High Heels

Cat Duster

Grass Toilet Seat

I personally hate the the toilet seat coverings in Japan. They are usually made of terry cloth and I just find it a bit disgusting to know that you can sit on a towel that someone else used.

But, alas, we are here to talk about the latest in camping gear!

Straight from Japan! Only $300!

You can charge your mobile phone and boil water! This time saving gadget works perfectly for any campfire. The creators at TES NewEnergy Co. have been working since 2000, “on an oxide compound we have since developed into a material capable of converting heat-waste into electrical energy at unprecedentedly high temperatures.” (TES NewEnergyCo.)  I don’t know about you, but the price and the functionality seem hard to resist!  This simple brochure explains it all! The Pan Charger is perfect for emergencies! All you need is a USB!

If you decide to purchase one of this handy dandy items, please let me know.

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5 Camp Myths Debunked

Myth: Camping is all about hiking, swimming, fishing and catching bugs.

Truth: There are a variety of camping programs.  Each one offers different types of focus and activities.  It’s best to assess your child’s needs and decide if a traditional outdoors camp, specialty camp (art, science, math) or day camp is right for your child.

Myth: My child is only 5, that is too young to go to camp.

Truth:Each child is different. Some children are comfortable leaving home at age 4.  Let’s be honest; we all may know someone who still lives at home and they are 40.  Some people are never ready to leave the nest.  Jon Estis, director of Camp Redwood in Walden, N.Y. stated, “One year we had a five-year-old camper from Japan. When he was escorted off the plane, he spoke no English. He adjusted beautifully. When he went home eight weeks later, he was speaking English.” (www.curiousparents.com)

Myth: My child is a picky eater.  She won’t eat at camp.

Truth: True, many children are very picky when it comes to eating different types of food.  However, if you find a camp where your child can help prepare meals, or there is a variety of familiar food with one or two exotic treats, then your child will find something eat.

Myth: My child is too shy to meet new people.

Truth: Going to camp is a great way for children to gain independence, confidence, and increase their self-esteem.  The shared living spaces, team sports, activities and programs will surround your child with new friends and a caring staff.  Camp counselors will be able to support shy campers and help them step outside of their boundaries.

Myth: The kids aren’t really learning anything. They are just running around. 

Truth:Your child will learn tangible and intangible skills while at camp.  Tangible skills could be learning how to swim, ride a bike, make a fire, sing a new song.  Intangibles include confidence building, socializing skills, and exposure to nature.  One thing that is important to note, if you choose a camp that has a learning focus, make sure there is a balance of recreational activities.

Final Word

Choosing a camp may seem like a daunting task.  However, the benefits are immeasurable.  See you outside! What myths do you need debunked? Let me know! Feel free to leave a comment!

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What Kids Crave in Summer

Kids can’t wait for school to end so their fun can begin! But you and I both know, that after a while, the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored!” pops up over and over again.

How do you curb your child’s cravings for constant fun?

  • Grow a balcony garden

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  • Grab a sheet and two chairs and turn your backyard into a campsite.
  • Turn your front yard into a jungle.  Pick up a pencil, magnifying glass and get close to the ground. How many different types of plant life, insects, or rocks can you find?
  • Start a neighborhood beautification project
  • Try some environmental art project
  • Join a Family Nature Club
  • Buy some chalk and make some sidewalk murals
  • Make a map of your neighborhood. Imagine what it looked like 6,000 years ago
  • Create a new outdoor game (Create a new twist on Hide ‘n Seek)
  • Go to a park in a different neighborhood
  • Start a dog walking service (keeps your child outside and teaches entrepreneurship)
  • Read books about nature
  • Talk about nature, “If you were an ant, what would you do?” (www.outdoorafro.com)
  • Climb a tree! (Hibiya Koen has some great trees!)

Don’t let the “I’m bored!” demon ruin your summer!

Keep your child engaged in nature and the outdoors.

What do you do to keep the “I’m bored” demon away?

*Idea about the ant was taken from a podcast from the website Outdoor Afro.com.

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Seth Godin Talks Camp

The ones who are thriving and succeeding are the ones who are acting like they’re at camp. -Seth Godin

If you are an avid reader of Seth Godin then you know he uses a lot of camp references.  Maybe camping is where he learned how to break the old box and make a new one.  Godin shares his ideas on why camp is important with Jon Travis of CampHacker consulting.

Main Takeaway!

Camp gives people the skills to “Be someone we would miss if you were gone.”  Take a moment and really think about what that is saying. How can we leave our mark on society if we always follow the program?  How can you change direction if you ascribe to the formula that “was written” for you?

You know the drill, go to a good school, get a job, get married, have 1.5 children and a pet dog named Bruiser. The formula, now it may not be magical, but so many of us are still holding that false dream.

Break It Down

What am I thinking? Well, I am thinking about that part of our childhood that we gave up to be adults.  You know, sit in your seat properly, chew with your mouth closed, raise your hand when you have a question, and my mother’s personal favorite, “WALK, Michaela!”

Being someone you would miss doesn’t always mean closing the biggest deal. Is there an aspect of yourself that you miss? Well, there’s no need to quit your job and join the circus to find it!

How can you make each day memorable? How can you add the joy of camping it up into the little things? What can you do to make it “a day you will never forget”? I have some ideas…they may seem silly, but that’s the point right?

  • Make a crazy face! Bug out your eyes and stick out your tongue! When was the

    zoondoggles-gurn-a-t.html

    last time you had someone tell you, “Don’t do that or your face will freeze?”

  • Sing a silly song! As the famous Harold Hill from The Music Man said, “Singing is just sustained talking.” I love making up non-sense songs with one key phrase repeated. Imagine if you solved a problem like that. Instead of thinking about it seriously turn it into a musical.
  • Doodle! That’s right, get out the magic markers and start filling in the margins of your paper.   Make sure you get one of those ink pens with 15 different colors.

    greatentertainersarchives.blogspot.com

  • Learn some jokes! Find a comedian that you like and learn one of her jokes. Perfect your delivery so people will laugh at it. This will def help you impress your friends in ways that you could never imagine. To be honest, I think as an adult you might be able to tell better jokes than when you were a kid. Most kids just laugh at fart jokes. Oh, wait, that’s how Jim Carrey made a living. Yeah, learn those jokes!
  • Dance! I don’t know how many times I log into youtube and find some of my favorite songs and just dance around the room. It really pumps me up and makes me feel I can do anything. Even a handstand! And that’s the point right?
  • Try something new! Live a little! Remember what it was like to scream at the top of your lungs and enjoy it. Not because you were being chased down the street, but because life is just so good that you want to let the joy out!

Life is good and sometimes we forget to enjoy it! Why? Because we forgot what camp was like. We forgot what real fun was like! Go Camping!

So thanks Mr. Godin. I hear you, “Be someone we would miss if you were gone.” Great advice, but it starts inside first. Miss yourself yet? If not, Go Camp!

Setting up my tent in Okinawa

Okinawa Camping on Mina Island

Yes, I camp in skirts!

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Outdoors Gunma, Japan

An avalanche of rain greeted me at Annakaharuna Station located in the deep recesses of Gunma.   I looked around the small Shinkansen (train)  stop and wondered where am I? I was soon greeted by Patric Spohn owner and proprietor of Abseiling Me. We agreed to meet a few weeks ago and unfortunately the rainy season started 12 days earlier than expected.  I’m sure neither of us expected overcast skies and swamp like puddles greeting me at the terminal exit.

We drove for a while until we arrived at the campsite.  Even through the rain I could see the outlines of a small village. Tiny triangle shaped bungalows nestled between trees offered hints of a new type of adventure.  Upon entering the main house, I noticed the burnished wood and the two tree trunks supporting the ceiling frame of the building. A rotating melody of oldies from the 60s and 70s greeted my ears and reminded me of what it was like to have a car.  (I mean where else would you have the time to listen to those tunes.)

After a few pleasantries with Partric and enjoying a late night steak smothered in his

Check out the inside of this bungalow!

special whipped butter and homemade bread; I was ready for bed.  Patric showed me to a bungalow located directly across from the shower area.  I walked into a cabin shaped like the top of a gingerbread house. I was amazed at how this structure that appears small on the outside could actually fit 10 people in it.  I quickly explored my little nest for the night and then snuggled right into sleep.  I knew it was raining outside but I couldn’t hear a thing. I guess the insistent patter didn’t intrude my slumber for one minute. Lucky me!

I’ve always been an early riser and Monday was no different. I awoke at 5:40 AM and

noticed that the rain had stopped. I put on my sweater and took a stroll around the campsite.  There are quite a few other bungalows that were a lot easier to see during the day.  There was a tall rectangular one with hardwood floors and a few other triangle homes.  Abseiling Me seemed to turn the tables on the traditional cabin. I didn’t see any logs holding the structures but marbled stone that seemed to meld into the very base of the units.

The one word that comes to mind when I think about how the campsite looked is lush.  The greenery that surrounded the campsite seemed to swallow me up.  The tall thin trees were pin straight.  They looked like a wall protecting the camp from the outside world.

I ventured out onto the main road and I could see the waterfall between the trees.  The rushing rapids seemed to be speaking about the harsh rain that we had experienced for the past two days. The water was fast and furious!  I stood on the embankment and just watched nature at work.  I continued along the path and then stepped into the forest. You often hear of the forest floor being described as a carpet. I would have to say this was more like a foam pillow. Each step left an impression that seemed to form and make me almost believe I was the only one who had ever traipsed upon this land.

I ended my journey and headed back to my three sided abode and took another nap.  The rain had started again and burrowing underneath a pile of blankets seemed a lot more appealing than getting drenched.  After a while I had to wake for breakfast. That’s when the real tour began.  Patric took me around the area and brought me up close and personal to the waterfall that I had only greeted with a courtesy nod earlier.  We went through the mountains and we saw an old grave site, a temple and a vast patch of land with trees that acted as a roof.  We hopped in his car and headed about 2km up towards Haruna Shrine.  It was like most shrines in Japan.  Before you arrive a bevy of small shops, corner stalls, stands and restaurants all vying for your tourist dollars. We walked up to the shrine and you could still see and hear the rushing rapids that

Abseiling Me offers a variety of excursions for the novice and professional outdoorsman. But my purpose was simple. I was on a scouting mission for the best place to bring a group of young campers.  I was looking for a place that is safe, secure and close to the local hospital.  Abseiling Me has a list of wonderful outdoor programs.

The proprietor, Patric, has been an outdoors aficionado since 1991.  I strongly suggest you check out a campsite that will make you wonder why you live in the city.

If you are looking for a great place to go camping in Japan, look no further! Find out more at Abseiling Me!*

*Abseiling- (from German: abseilen meaning “to rope down”), rappelling in American English, is the controlled descent down a rock face using a rope; (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abseiling)

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