I have joined a group that I fondly refer to as the Play Cult, tongue in cheek, of course. I pay 1,000 yen for myself and 1,000 yen for my son each month (so about 20 dollars a month) and we can go see children’s plays. I am really glad I joined it. Each play has been better than the last.

Most recently we saw a play called “The Wish List”. It was in Japanese but based on a British book of the same name by Eoin Colfer. It was just amazing. The puppetry blew us away. https://twitter.com/satunisikodomo/status/237581680586682368

When my son was much younger, we went to a free performance that was staged in order to encourage people to join the group. The play was, for me, was long, boring, and in Japanese. I thought, why do I want to spend money to improve my son’s Japanese? That is taking away time from his English.

Well, I have have since changed my point of view.


1. It’s important for children to be exposed to wonderful things, whether they be artwork or music or plays. We can’t watch live plays in English, so for us, Japanese is our only choice. The plays have been visually wonderful, so even if you don’t understand a word (though of course we do they are a lot of fun. And there is a lot my son can learn from a live performance and its little idiosyncrancies than a Hollywood movie, which is the same thing over and over again.

2. Learning Japanese doesn’t take away from learning English. He gets plenty of both. I have to to kick myself again and again and remind myself of this fact.

3. When watching a play in Japanese, we can discuss it in English. Which we DEFINITELY do. We talk about the words used. We talk about the characters. We talk about the fact that it is a little chilly in the auditorium and can’t they turn up the dang heat. I digress. Anyway, the play spawned in depth conversations about Satan and Beelzebub and demons. Who are they? What are they? Why is Satan’s name pronounced differently in Japanese than in English? And so on.

4. The Play Cult is not only Japanese performances. There is also music and tap dancing. We watched a performance called Stringography and a Tap Do! performance. Both were great. During both, I didn’t have to think about Japanese, because no Japanese was spoken!

Anyway, I am very glad we joined the Play Cult. I wish we had joined it earlier!