At the Museum: Karaoke, Kawaii, Kami, and Culture

Through Sept. 11, experience Tokyo’s vibrant culture in a new interactive traveling exhibit at Normal's Children's Discovery Museum.

In "Hello from Japan!," families are transported to two distinct areas of Tokyo that exist side by side: One serene and exquisite, the in the words of the museum, "too cute for words."

The beautiful, natural Shinto shrine park invites children to build a bridge, crawl through a forest, encounter Kami spirit, and make a wish at a wishing tree.

Kawaii Central is a streetscape inspired by Tokyo’s bustling Harajuku district, bursting with color, trendy shops, and Kawaii styles. Kids sing karaoke, smile for the photo booth camera, serve up a seasonal Japanese meal, and design adorable mascots for their families.

Kawaii is defined as the quality of cuteness in the context of Japanese culture. It has become a prominent aspect of Japanese popular culture, entertainment, clothing, food, toys, personal appearance, behavior, and mannerisms.

The word kawaii originally derives from the phrase kao hayushi, which literally means "(one's) face (is) aglow," commonly used to refer to flushing or blushing of the face.

Together, the exhibit highlights how old and new traditions coexist in Japan, giving visitors a family-friendly window into Japanese culture.

This exhibit was created by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and is part of the Asian Culture Exhibit Series, funded by the Freeman Foundation and administered by ACM.

Meanwhile, the Children's Discovery Museum will coordinate and host the 2016 Bloomington-Normal Worldwide Day of Play (WWDOP) and Uptown Block Party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 on Beaufort Street in Uptown Normal.  

For information, visit http://www.childrensdiscoverymuseum.net/.