Monday, August 15, 2011

Virtual Destinations and Beyond! Japan to Australia

This post is the one that has been the most difficult to write. We've had such an amazing Summer, that I am a little blue to see it go. We spent this past week in Japan and are now headed to Australia as our final destination. I cannot believe school starts on Monday. We have learned so much and explored many new lands. This has been a fabulous Summer of exploration and learning, that I am so glad this idea came to my mind. We've made new friends and really feel like we lived another life. I know with 1 more week left that this post is premature, but I have my children starting school next Monday, so I will be doing so much and getting back into my regular schedule that I just won't have the time to post at a decent hour and maybe not until Tuesday.  This week has been hectic as we traveled a Country that we truly love (we are all fans of Japan and I even studied the language in College) and had to prepare for school as well. We didn't do as much as I would have liked for Japan, but we did enough!

The Land of the Rising Sun, was the perfect sentence to introduce Japan to the children. They asked why was it called that and it helped us jump right in! I normally do a coloring page of the flag with clues for having the children make their own flag and see if it's done right, but this one was a bit too easy. Instead we read about what this flag means! The circle in the middle of the flag represents the sun. The white represents honesty and purity and the red disc is a sun symbol meaning brightness, sincerity and warmth.
We are a huge fan of sushi (yes, even my 3 year old!), so when they heard Japan, they imidiately thought SUSHI!! We had a busy week, but managed to pop into the Sushi house of our favorite Japanese steakhouse      
and pick out an assortment of Sushi packages. I think this was the highlight of their day! hahaha!! We were tempted to eat there, but friends were waiting to meet us at the fair!
A quick stop at our favorite Japanese grocer (MITSUWA) was the perfect addition to this trip! We made sure to look at all the different foods that you can pick up here and not at our normal grocery store. 
They love picking out new candies from the market, it's one of their favorite things to do and they get so excited when we pull into the lot! This time we stocked up, so that they could have 1 new sweet every once in awhile in their lunchboxes! 
We get their ad delivered to our house, so that we can check it out ahead of time and see all the things that we can try out or purchase on our next trip there, but for this week they were great for looking at the characters and also all the different foods they have.

We printed out this CRICKET coloring page and read about how the cricket is considered very lucky in Japanese culture and that many people keep them in small cages in their homes. After coloring the cricket, the kids used construction paper to make a cage for him. Now they hang right in their rooms, to bring them good luck! We quickly ran out of time in Japan, as we had to squeeze in our back to school stuff and finish up our Summer reading too. There was a lot to do in this past week, that I just wish we had more time.
Last night, we hopped a plan for one of our longest journey's! It has been 10 hours and 4825 miles to reach Sydney, Australia, once we left Tokyo Japan. What an amazing journey and now it's time to explore a new land!  Today we will study the map and fill it in as we explore new areas! 

The Australian flag has a dark royal blue base with a depiction of the British Union Jack in the upper left quarter. The Australian flag has a large white seven pointed star (the star of federation) under the middle of the Union Jack. The right half of the Australian flag consists of a constellation (the Southern Cross constellation) with one small white five pointed star and four larger white seven pointed stars that are equal in size. After lunch, we will discuss the Australian Flag and discover it's meaning.

We will even take a look at just a little bit of their slang, that often times uses some interesting words! This one is sure to be fun!

We will go on our final safari, to discover the Australian Wildlife and explore the animals that are located only in their climate.

We will take in a tour of the Opera House and maybe even an Opera! What a fun new experience for the boys! My daughter has seen Carmen and several other stage shows before, so she is used to the theatre, the boys have only taken in Children's theatre. I would love to see their reaction to this!

It's time for a snorkeling lesson! Did you know that the Great Barrier Reef is the only living thing that can be seen from SPACE?! how cool is that! We will be exploring this awesome site and even make our own craft in relation to this.  This is a land of many wonders, I only hope we have enough time to take them all in!!

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