Curious George Goes to Japan!

The following post was written by education intern MaiCherish Harris, ESL major at Elms College:

In the summer of 2019, I spent five weeks studying abroad in Japan.  After staying in a hotel in Kyoto for a week, I went to Kochi to live with a host family.  Having enjoyed PBS KIDS my whole life, it was surprising and comforting to see Curious George enjoyed by a different generation of kids on a completely different continent.

In my host family there was ]a six year old girl and a three year old boy. Every night after school I ate dinner while talking to my host mom, then played with the children.  One night , I heard multiple sounds of what seemed like a monkey coming from the playroom. It had been a long day and I paid it little mind until the grunts were accompanied by voices. Then it hit me:  My host siblings were watching Curious George! I left the table to look at the TV in the playroom and, sure enough, there was George’s friendly, smiling face. I tried explaining to my host mom that I watched Curious George back home (despite being way out of the show’s age range). She was just as surprised that I watched it in America as I was that the children were watching it in Japan. I didn’t even realize PBS shows were dubbed in Japanese!

Unfortunately, despite the kids watching Curious George, my host family had no idea what PBS or WGBY were since the kids had been watching their episodes on YouTube.  I went to YouTube and pulled up Between the Lions clips, ones that I thought would be beneficial to her English Language Learning. She loved the clips, found them funny and helpful. Now every time I watch Curious George I think of my host family back in Kochi. Japan. I even sent my host mother pictures of the Curious George activity station at WGBY Kids Fan Day last fall.

On PBS LearningMedia you can find educational resources for Curious George. These resources include short clips, interactive games, and lesson plans for teachers.  You’ll also find Between the Lion classroom resources there.

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