The Japanese city of Kanazawa is known for it’s production of gold leaf and use of it in many traditional and modern handicrafts. Artisans and craftsmen throughout Kanazawa have practiced gold leafing for hundreds of years. We saw many artifacts throughout museums and adorning ancient temples and buildings in this magical city. Gold leaf is also extremely popular in crafting and housewares today, throughout the world. You can even see a hint of gold on the logo of our holiday catalog front cover. When we traveled to Japan to shoot our holiday catalog, we took our new friends Tenley and Saju, to try their hand at gold leafing. Learn how you can do it too, right at home!
The crane is one of the most iconic origami shapes there is. Easily recognizable and found throughout Japan in and around the many shrines, the origami crane, or orizuru, is a representation of the Japanese red-crowned crane, a bird that has special significance in Japan. Cranes are thought to bring good luck and longevity as it is said they can live for 1,000 years. An ancient Japanese legend says that anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted one wish by the gods. In Japan, we saw many strings of origami cranes, all folded with such precision and always near a shrine. The many colors and precise shapes left us in awe. While we would never consider ourselves to be “pros” at any craft, we’ve definitely managed to be quite quick at making these origami cranes. From launch parties and pop-up shop photo backdrops, to in-store installations, we’ve made hundreds of cranes over the past few months. If you’ve ordered from TeaCollection.com during our fall season, you’ve probably received your very own set of 8 origami papers with instructions on how to make an adorable origami uni (dog). Learn how to make an origami crane on your own! It might take a few tries to get it down, but once you’ve figured out the folds, you’ll quickly become a pro yourself.
You might remember learning about onomatopoeia in grade school. You probably enjoyed saying these words out loud and marveling at the fact that they sound the way they are spelled. In English, it’s words like “pop” “meow” and “whoosh”. The Japanese language is filled with symbolic ideophones, or words that evoke a feeling, memory or vivid image. Hira hira is Japanese onomatopoeia that means “to flutter”. Kira kira means to sparkle. When a Japanese person hears the word kirakira, it is like they can actually se things that are sparkly. To English-speaking people, these words might now sound like what they mean, but that’s the beauty of different languages. Here are some more Japanese words that are really fun to say. Practice saying them with your little citizen to make the foreign a little more familiar in your home. Can they name things that take on these attributes?
We love outdoor adventures. Whether you’re exploring a new city or going on a hike in your hometown, there is so much to explore and discover! Our newest arrivals are inspired by yama (mountain) style. We took a group of little citizens on an adventure to Mount Takao to shoot our catalog. Our new friends and Tea models enjoyed playing in the leaves, finding unique bugs, rocks and sticks. You’ll find some of their found treasures throughout our catalog.
More than 2,000 kanji characters make up the Japanese language, and each character has a meaning as well as a sound. Kanji are used for writing nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs. Their beautiful designs are seen throughout Japan, on buildings, signs, in newspapers… everywhere you look! We were mesmerized by not only the beauty of the written kanji, but how each kanji character, when written out, can look like the thing it describes. We’ve put together 6 kanji characters for you to try at home with your little citizens. Download our acitivty sheet and make sure to share you kanji with us!
Our graphics from our Citizen Blue collection are inspired by our travels in Africa. These safari-ready styles feature lots of savanna-dwelling animal graphics. See a round up of our favorites and print out four interactive animal coloring sheets for your little citizens.