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 Jason Jenkins

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Jason Jenkins
Jason spent 13 years in Tokyo writing about cameras, parenting and the arts. In 2013 he left to travel, homeschooling his kids in Spain, Mexico and Southeast Asia before moving back to Japan in 2019.
For Jason Jenkins's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Mar 17, 2019
Fly into action and take the kids on an airline tour
For anyone who loves planes, a 'factory tour' of of one of Japan's biggest airlines can offer an exciting journey into aviation education.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jan 20, 2019
Onsen: A great way to get the kids to take a bath
To many Japan newbies, the thought of bathing with strangers at a hot spring public bath seems off-putting — especially with kids. Yet for millions of residents, it's an ideal way to warm up and spend time together on a winter afternoon. Here are a few Child's Play recommendations.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Nov 18, 2018
From Christmas markets to skating, 'tis the season to be jolly
For many in Japan, Christmas is about romantic dinners, frosted pastries and fried chicken, but in Tokyo, there are plenty of other ways to get into the Christmas spirit.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Sep 16, 2018
Free the kids from the concrete jungle
Tokyo may be one of the most populous cities in the world, but it is also just a few hours by train from family friendly hiking trails
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jul 15, 2018
Summer with the kids can be a walk in the park
Japan has more playgrounds than you could ever visit. Admittedly, some are more like patches of dirt with a few swings, but others are spectacular constructions that can inspire the childish imagination. Here are a few worth seeking out.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
May 20, 2018
Cultural education can be fun for kids
Japan's traditional matsuri (festivals) are great, but it's also important to expose the kids to cultures further afield. Here are a few Tokyo international festival recommendations. They're all fun, free and full of opportunity.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Mar 18, 2018
Go west to enjoy a family hanami party
At last, winter's grip is loosening and spring in Japan is on its way. Soon cherry blossoms will explode across the archipelago, and parks around the country will be full of smiles and picnic tarps. That's right: it's hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) season again — my favorite time of the year.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jan 14, 2018
Tsukiji fish market: Old schooling for kids
A new year means new beginnings. For the Tsukiji fish market, that new beginning may finally arrive in 2018. News of the market's closure in Tsukiji and rebirth in the nearby Toyosu neighborhood has been a regular feature in the news. This year, however, the closing will very likely become a reality.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Nov 19, 2017
Slip back in time and into a kimono
One of our family's favorite ways to learn is through hands-on experiences. Sometimes it's cooking classes. Other times it may take the form of historical reenactments or clever interactive museum exhibits. Whatever the experience, we enjoy being immersed in it rather than just reading about it.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Sep 17, 2017
Cooking classes can dish out plenty of culture bites
What's the best thing about exploring Japan with kids? For us, it may be the eating. With two kids born in Tokyo, I can say without doubt that one of our favorite things to do together is cook, eat and talk about Japanese food. One of our children's favorite Japanese meals is also one of the simplest: udon. If you've ever dug into a bowl of these thick and hearty wheat noodles, then you'll know why it has its fans.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jul 16, 2017
Traveling through time with the kids in tow
Life in Japan has changed dramatically over the past 100 years. In the span of a few generations, millions of Japanese left the countryside and moved into urban and suburban sprawl. For city kids like mine, the connection to rural farm life is tenuous at best, but we feel that it's still important to keep that connection.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Mar 25, 2017
Allowing the arty side of kids to blossom
Spring is a season of art. As winter recedes, the air fills with creative energy. Tokyo's art fairs at this time of the year can be fun with kids, but the crowds and sheer volume of exhibitors can be overwhelming. The city does, however, offer plenty of other art opportunities if you know where to look, and most of them welcome young ones.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jan 14, 2017
Don't let winter stop you from going out
It's the coldest part of the year in Japan. Combine frigid weather with cramped apartments, rambunctious kids and a dose of cabin fever and you have a parent's recipe for frustration. However, in Tokyo there are countless options for indoor family fun, and with the season in mind, I've created a list of some great options for inside playing and learning. Moving west to east, I hope that these suggestions help you find entertaining spaces to learn and play away from the house and out of the cold. The list is far from complete, and was chosen with minimum outdoor walking times in mind.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Nov 12, 2016
Kamakura offers something for everyone
Japanese cities are fantastic places to explore with children, but if this column has proven anything, it's that I like to get away from urban centers whenever I can. Japan is full of natural and cultural wonders for curious families, but they are not confined to cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and Kyoto. In fact, one of my favorite day-trip suggestions for a family day out is Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Sep 10, 2016
Hiking with kids is not an uphill climb
Hiking in Japan is always fun with family, and with summer subsiding, some of the best months for a mountain walk are around the corner. Japan offers countless choices in its vast mountain ranges, but one of my favorite family hikes is only 90 minutes north of Kyoto. The mountain villages of Kibune and Kurama reside in neighboring valleys. Connected by trail and stairway trails, these two towns offer a great day-trip getaway from the clamor of the city, and a taste of Japan's spectacular cultural and natural beauty.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jul 9, 2016
Test the white waters this summer
As much as I love Japan's major cities, I quite enjoy leaving them as well. Places like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto have played crucial roles in my family's life, but it has been equally important for the four of us to get out of town and back in touch with the natural world. Now that summer is in full swing, it's a good time to explore Japan's spectacularly great outdoors.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
May 7, 2016
Countryside Chiba farms out the fun
If you're raising children in Japan, then there's a good chance that, like me, you are raising city kids — children who are more comfortable in an urban setting than a rural one, whether it's in downtown Tokyo or suburban Kobe.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Mar 12, 2016
Learning from a neighborhood stroll
As winter makes its exit from the archipelago and the pink petals of spring begin to emerge, I feel an intense pang of nostalgia for my old neighborhood on Tokyo's east side. Sure, the city's cherry blossoms are beautiful in places like Yoyogi Park and Shinjuku Gyoen, but one of the nicest things to do during the hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season is simply stroll along the streets and waterways near the Sumida River. If that's not incentive enough to head into shitamachi (downtown) with the kids, then let me recommend a few of my favorite activities in the area. The sakura (cherry blossom) tree-lined paths that follow this area's numerous canals are great places to wander, but I'm going to suggest a short walking tour through the neighborhood, with a few family-friendly stops along the way.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jan 9, 2016
Workshops to keep the children sweet
You and I can talk all day about differences between this country and that, and we can detail any number of parenting strategies and discuss how they differ from one culture to the next, but there are more similarities than differences, and one of the biggest common denominators is this: Kids want sweets.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Nov 7, 2015
Get kids' education down to a science
If you've read my earlier Child's Play columns, then you probably know that my family and I will visit just about any place that deals with science and technology. Lucky for me, Tokyo is full of these places, but it certainly isn't the only city in Japan with learning opportunities like this.

Longform

Later this month, author Shogo Imamura will open Honmaru, a bookstore that allows other businesses to rent its shelves. It's part of a wave of ideas Japanese booksellers are trying to compete with online spaces.
The story isn't over for Japan's bookstores