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Make Friends From Japan Without A Passport At Boston Childrens Museum

October 6, 2010
Five Friends from Japan: Children in Japan Today
(BOSTON, MA) October 6, 2010, Thanks to a new exhibit at Boston Children's Museum, kids and their families can make friends from Japan without a passport. Visitors will get a peek into contemporary Japanese life through the eyes of real children. The exhibit was designed by staff from Boston Children's Museum and the National Children's Museum in Washington, D.C., along with educators and Japanese experts.

Funded by the Freeman Foundation and administered by the Association of Children's Museums, the exhibit advances understanding and appreciation of Japanese culture with true stories and real objects straight from Japan. Intended to entertain and educate the young and old, Five Friends highlights similarities and differences between Japan and the U.S. and replaces misguided stereotypes about Japanese lifestyles with authentic vignettes.

The excitement begins at the center of the 1,800-square foot exhibition space in a typical Japanese elementary school classroom. Museum-goers discover video messages from the five friends. After getting acquainted and participating in customary activities in the Japanese school, kids and their families follow the friends home.

Rooms modeled after real Japanese homes feature more in-depth video narratives and hands-on activities lead by the five friends:

In Sakiko's bedroom, visitors can dress in traditional Japanese attire as well as take a look at her favorite jeans & hoodies, check out real manga (comics), and try creating their own. An only child and owner of many pets, Sakiko highlights popular culture and points out that some Japanese girls' bedrooms may look a lot like American ones.

In Ken's tatami room, youngsters will experiment with Japanese calligraphy, try out futon bedding, and learn about traditional home architecture. As the oldest of four siblings with a Japanese father and American mother, Ken shares details about his family and his love of baseball and Harry Potter.

In Aisa's kitchen and tofu shop, role-playing with Japanese cuisine is on the menu. With Aisa's help, visitors fill up on information about the variety of foods and eating habits in Japan, and learn about traditional festivals that take place in the town where she lives.

In Yusuke's yard, kids of all ages can practice aikido moves with the help of an instructor. In the garden, visitors will learn that not all Japanese gardens are pristinely manicured and designed for meditation. The yard is filled with Yusuke's bug collection and sports equipment.

In Shoko's living room, kids will listen to and create different types of Japanese music. Shoko, from an elite and culturally conservative family, shares her shell and stone collections. While hanging out, Museum-goers will notice that Shoko's living room looks a lot like their own here in the U.S.

"We're hoping that by presenting information about these five children, visitors will get a glimpse into their daily lives and come away with an appreciation of another culture by getting to know some real Japanese kids," said Akemi Chayama, Japan Program Educator at Boston Children's Museum.

Five Friends from Japan exhibit will be open through January 16, 2011.

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About Boston Children's Museum
Boston Children's Museum exists to help children understand and enjoy the world in which they live. It is a private, non-profit, educational institution that is recognized internationally as a research and development center and pacesetter for children's exhibitions, educational programs and curriculum. Boston Children's Museum incorporates two strategies - engaging families and building communities - to impact five outcome areas for children: Creative Kids, Curious Kids, Global Kids, Green Kids and Healthy Kids. More information about Boston Children's Museum can be found at www.BostonChildrensMuseum.org.

Hours and Admission
The Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. and Fridays until 9:00 p.m. Adults, $12; children (1-15) and senior citizens, $9; children under one and Museum members are always free. Fridays 5:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m., all visitors $1.