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Goal: To learn about Girl Scouts in Japan, Japanese customs and celebrations
Folding Hand Fan
Enjoy your unit’s usual Opening. Discuss Japan briefly and Girl Scouts in Japan.
Answers: Japan is a country of islands along the Pacific coast of East Asia. (Refer to map). Japan has an ancient history, much older than Canada’s, for example, and many time honoured traditions to go along with it. In Japan there is a holiday, festival or seasonal celebration for almost every month of the year. There are many people of Japanese heritage who now live in Canada.
Brownies have the same name in Japan, but wear a blue uniform. The Japanese Brownie motto is “be prepared.” Their law is: “I am cheerful and courageous at all times. I respect all living things. I am a friend to all, and a sister to every Girl Scout.”
Look up this link online to see what their uniforms and enrollment pin look like: http://www.girlscout.or.jp/contents/wp-content/themes/girlscout/english/documen/uniform.pdf
Fans are an important symbol in Japan. Historically, they were used by warriors as a type of weapon, actors and dancers use them for artistic performances, children use them as toys, and sometimes they are hung on the wall for decorative purposes. They also serve the basic function of creating a breeze on a hot day.
In Japan, April is the season for cherry blossoms. The colour and shape of the flowers symbolize purity and simplicity. There is even a cherry blossom viewing festival for people to enjoy outdoor walks and picnic lunches under the blooms, as has been tradition for thousands of years. Flowering cherry trees have inspired many Japanese poems and folk songs.
Japanese New Year is the biggest, most important holiday of the whole year. Whereas Canadians celebrate New Year’s from December 31 to January 1, festivities in Japan begin in the last week of December and continue all the way through to January 3. Fukuwari (meaning “lucky laugh” in English) is one of many traditional Japanese New Year’s games. It is very similar to the game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
Serve dry roasted edamamne beans and/ or mixed Japanese rice crackers, available anywhere mixed nuts are sold. They have an addicting taste and crunch.
Visit your local library to find a book of traditional Japanese children’s stories to read from, such as Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories by Florence Sakade or All About Japan: Stories, Songs, Crafts and More byWillamarie Moore and Kazumi Wilds. Alternatively, visit this website: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/japan.html
Congratulate the group on learning about culture, holiday festivals and Girl Scouts in Japan. Enjoy your regular Closing.
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Updated Feb 11, 2015
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