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Nostalgia: 4 more wordless Picture Books

Nostalgia is a powerful motivator for creating discussions in adult classes.  Here are two pairs of wordless books sure to get your older adult students talking about their life experiences.


Ennichi (Let’s Visit Fete) (1973) and Omise (Shops and Stores in Japan) (1980) are 2 wordless Japanese picture books by Toyoko Igarashi.



Ennichi starts by illustrating a park surrounding a large pond some early weekend morning. Over several scenes following, a man is shown setting up a booth, in which he will sell bags of treats. After that, booth after booth are opened, forming a loop around the park, for a large local festival, where customers approach stalls to buy food and drink, toys, trinkets and even fish and birds. Evidence of these traditions may have faded or disappeared, while others remain, as I often see at New Year’s hatsumode.



Omise (Shops and Stores in Japan)” (1980) similarly displays shops of an older era; produce, hardware, a bakery, straw mats, hairdresser, clothing and stonework. The small wooden street-side cluttered buildings are a wonder, as customers move along, going in and out of the carefully detailed store fronts. Incidentally, all the shops actually exist and are identified as to name and place at the back of the book.


Yakouresha (Night Train) (1983) and Ofuroya-san (Public Bath) (1983) are another pair of Japanese nostalgic wordless books. These by Shigeo Nishimura.



Yakouresha  observes the journey of families, friends and individuals, loading onto the night train, presumably over a long holiday, like the upcoming Golden Week, to visit other friends and family. They do many of the normal things people do on such long train rides; they play cards, they eat, they goof around, they sleep. Not so exciting but a very pleasant journey.



Ofuroya-san   Father, mother, daughter and son walk down to the public bath house. On the men’s side, a drama unfolds as kids playing disturbs a senior gentleman, as he gets angry and tells them off.


Gorgeous and nostalgic details fill all four of these books. I have used them to sweet and humorous success to create lively conversations. Normally, I hand a book over to a pair to review and reminisce together, and then to share observations and memories with the group at large. If there is more time they may try a second book.


Thanks for reading. Any comments welcome below.


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