May 25, 2006

Block Week Continues: Vintage Hello Kitty Blocks

hello_kitty_blocks.JPG

Thanks to a regular diet of television administered since birth, the kid already knows her alphabet [and not only has she NOT turned into a hypnotized slug, she's always asking if she can ride a skateboard over to her imaginary clown friend Ronald's house for lunch. I tells ya, folks, TV's a wall-mounted, educational miracle.]*

So with the English alphabet under her belt, we've started on Japanese. I snagged this set of Hello Kitty blocks from 1989 on ebay for not much more than the cost of shipping. It includes a set of proportionally shaped counting blocks, and another set with the phonetic hiragana alphabet on them.

Except for several valuable lessons on the meaning of "vintage," ["these blocks are so old, daddy!"] the kid has made only limited progress. Sure, she shocked us by stacking seven of the number blocks on edge to make a wall, but she hasn't been able to focus long enough to make it through all 41 main characters in one sitting. [41? but doesn't hiragana have 55 sounds? And why are there only 40 blocks? Oh well, for 4 bucks, she'll still know 40 more Japanese characters than I did at that age.]

Conclusion: either the Japanese alphabet is too big, or the kid's been watching too much TV.

* I was informed that my sarcastic reference to the parent who outsourced her kid's alphabet training to Sesame Street was not clearly labeled as humor, and might be construed as fact. The actual comment was along the lines of "Fix that. My daughter barely watches two hours of TV a week, and that's only once she got older! And you're always getting in trouble with your people who don't get your sarcasm." Duly noted. That, of course, means that the Japanese alphabet is, in fact, too long.

2 Comments

ra, ray, ree, roh, ru
kah, kay, kee, koh, ku
ta, tay..........
Now's the time to learn that stuff, that's about all I remember about my Japanese lessons in college.

Where is the "2" and "8" and why two "5"s?

[they're stacked two deep, so they're actually more like tiles, or 1" thick wooden flash cards. So the rest are underneath, and since they're packed to fill the crate, they needed two fives. There are also four blocks with no characters on them, just big pix of HK. Just like photo blocks. -ed.]

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