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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
Sep 12, 2015
TenQ can stop kids getting lost in space
There's something special about the sky at night. The stars may be clearer during the colder months, but right now it's easier for you and the kids to sprawl out on a patch of grass (or sand for you beach lovers) and gaze at the galaxy — at least when the weather is more accommodating. I love the conversations that arise during these times: questions about the planets, the constellations and the unfathomable depths of the universe. Many questions of which, I must say, I'm not knowledgeable enough to answer.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jun 13, 2015
Take on the samurai in Edo Period Toei
When my parents were young, action movies were about gunslingers, sheriffs and saloons. For my in-laws in Osaka, however, cinema was more about swords and samurai.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Apr 11, 2015
Take a slow, deep dive into marine life
Island nations have a unique relationship with the sea, and for Japan these connections often manifest themselves through its culture and cuisine. This can make an aquarium visit doubly interesting: Come for the fish, stay to watch the visitors as they admire each tank's inhabitants with a unique mixture of awe and appetite.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Mar 13, 2015
Art is for everyone, including kids
Last fall, British artist Jake Chapman found a spectacular way to irritate arts-minded parents like me — all the while "coincidentally" generating controversy and interest in his latest show where there was previously none. Chapman is a shock merchant, so I should have realized that his words might have been crafted to go viral, as they did last August.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Feb 13, 2015
Don't let rainy days stop you going out to play
As wintry weather hovers over Japan, parents are constantly on the lookout for indoor places for their kids to play. I'm not a fan of cold weather, so I prefer outings in January and February to be in the comfy confines of climate-controlled museums and movie theaters. That's good enough for me, but my kids need fresh air and activity, so an ideal winter play space involves a warm interior with the potential for some outdoor fun nearby.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Dec 12, 2014
Brightening your holiday mood
It's the most wonderful time of the year — well, that's what the song says, anyway. For many, December is a flurry of tinsel, wrapping paper and anxiety, while for others it as a time to reflect on the year ahead.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Oct 10, 2014
Don't be afraid to take the kids out
Autumn in Japan. The days grow shorter, the air grows cooler and two of my favorite events occur: The changing of the leaves and Halloween celebrations —the best American cultural export ever, as far as I'm concerned.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Aug 8, 2014
Kids can learn a lot from being on the factory floor
Children can be full of questions: "Why is the sky blue?" "What happened to the dinosaurs?" "How are babies made?"
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jun 20, 2014
Creative approach brings science to life in Osaka
Last month I wrote about Kansai's Big Bang museum, but that's not the only place in the region that uses science to entertain. Smack in the middle of downtown Osaka you'll find two other great places for educational fun: the Osaka Science Museum and Kids Plaza Osaka.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
May 16, 2014
Osaka museum offers Big Bang for your buck
Tokyo is teeming with opportunities for families to learn and play, but the nation's capital doesn't have a monopoly on educational fun.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Mar 20, 2014
Our guide to family hanami hot spots
The transition from winter to summer is just beginning, and that means something magical is about to arrive: cherry-blossom season. As winter loosens its grip, delicate pastel petals push their way out of gnarled sakura-tree branches — an early indicator of the warmth that will slowly envelop the archipelago.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jan 16, 2014
Exploring Omotesando's cool cultural playground
Over the course of my adult life, I've made — and forsaken — countless New Year's resolutions. So many that by my mid-30s I had stopped making them altogether. Then a few years ago, I began using Jan. 1 to commit myself to small parental self-improvements that were feasible enough that even I could pull them off.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Dec 17, 2013
A museum where kids can play out fire-fighter fantasies
Last month I recommended the Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park — a place where both children and adults can learn about earthquake safety in an enjoyable way. Maintaining that theme, this month we move to the other side of town to the Fire Museum in Shinjuku.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Nov 19, 2013
Preparing your kids for the Big One
Earthquakes and aftershocks are a fact of life in Japan, and since the tragedies of March 11, 2011 remain fresh in many of our memories it's easy to understand how each significant temblor can weigh on the mind of a Tokyo parent. Nearly everyone in this city has had some sort of preparedness training — from preschools to retirement homes — but a little extra practice has never hurt anyone. That's why I recommend heading to the Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, where they teach life-saving skills and strategies without being dull, dry or overly dark.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Oct 15, 2013
Take the kids to the future at Miraikan
The National Museum for Emerging Science and Innovation stands prominently near the shore of Tokyo Bay, but it looks more like a space station on the edge of a far-off galaxy.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Sep 17, 2013
Get lost in Inokashira Park and find yourself in Ghibli
Ah, Kichijoji: my favorite Tokyo neighborhood. Less than 30 minutes from the heart of the city, this hip suburb has everything a downtown dweller would want: good restaurants, good shopping, a thriving music scene and one of the coolest parks in the Kanto region. Indeed, most of my friends who live there tend to stick around, rarely venturing into the metropolis. When you have everything you need within biking distance, why hop on a train?
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Aug 20, 2013
A big day out at the sumo
They're sweaty, they're chubby and they love pushing each other around. But enough about the folks at my family reunion, let's talk about sumo. This quintessentially Japanese sport is a lot of fun to witness with kids, and the Ryogoku neighborhood surrounding Tokyo's Kokugikan sumo stadium has several other places worth visiting, too.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jul 16, 2013
Aquariums offer summer escape
This past Monday was Marine Day in Japan. Aside from creating a much-appreciated three-day weekend, the role of the holiday is to encourage people to reflect on the integral role the ocean plays in Japan's history. So, what better time to visit an aquarium? Japan has plenty of places to ogle fish, and not just on ice or on a grill. Here are a few of my favorites in the Tokyo area.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jun 19, 2013
Dragons, mist and bouncy clouds await in west Tokyo
About 45 minutes from Tokyo's skyscrapers, resting in the hinterlands of Tachikawa there is a land of mist and dragons. It's a place where rolling hills tumble toward an Aztec pyramid, and children bounce on clouds. The place is called Showa Kinen Koen, and an afternoon there is time well spent.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
May 15, 2013
Kids love park life in the summer
At long last, warm weather has arrived, which means more playtime in Tokyo's parks — from your scrappy, local patch of dirt to the manicured opulence of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. My family's favorite is Yoyogi Park. While not the most pristine public space Japan has to offer, it's certainly the liveliest, with performers, partiers and all other manner of extroverts under the sun. In a land where uniformity and deference wield strong influence, there is something overtly democratic about Yoyogi. It truly is a park for everyone — a place where bankers, punks and pensioners might picnic under the same tree.

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