Saturday, May 16, 2009

Build-a-Bear

At the end of the Girl Scout year (May), the girls get to plan how they will spend the profits they made from selling cookies. This year, Meg's troop decided they wanted to go to a Build-a-Bear Workshop. Build-a-Bear has been hugely popular in the States for several years, and I knew they had stores in a few foreign countries, but I didn't realize they had them here.

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We went to the workshop in Sunshine City mall, in Ikebukuro. According to their brochure, there are about 10 workshops located throughout Japan. If you've never been, I highly recommend a trip. Especially if you have little girls (although bigger girls love it too).


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At BABW, you "choose, stuff, stitch, fluff and dress" the stuffed animal of your choice. There are about 30 different animals to choose from, everything from the typical teddy, including blue and pink teddies, a heart teddy, rainbow teddy, to bunnies, dogs, cats, they have a frog, zebra, elephant, even a sparkle unicorn. To make your Build-a-Bear:
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1) There are bins full of "empty", unstuffed animals, this is where you start by choosing the animal you want to create.
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This is 1 of 3 walls of animal choices, the unstuffed animals are in the red bins under the displays


2) Next, take your bear (or dog, zebra, unicorn) to the huge fluff machine, a BABW employee holds the bear and insterts the fluff pipe, while the child controls the "fluff flow" with a foot pedal; you choose the amount of fluff based on whether you want your animal soft, medium or hard.


Meg getting her bear stuffed

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3) After you've fluffed, you get a little, puffy, satin heart from the bin and do a "heart ceremony", a cute little ditty led by the BABW employee where you rub the heart on your head to give your bear wisdom, kiss the heart to give your bear love, rub it on your tummy so the bear won't be hungry, etc. At the end, you do a little jump and spin and make a wish on the heart. When you're done, you stuff the heart into your bear and the employee stitches it closed.


Some GSs doing the heart ceremony

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4) Next you shop. For clothes and accessories. For your stuffed animal. This part is a little over the top, IMHO, but it's still really cute and a lot of fun for the kids. They have everything from panties and shoes, to pajamas, sunglasses and roller skates. For your teddy bear. This store even had a kimono! Too cute!


5) Once you're all finished, and your bear is stuffed, fluffed and dressed, you sit down at a little computer terminal and create a birth certificate for you new "friend".


In the background of this pic, you can see a very small section of the "fashion" area.

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Birth certificate for Ethan's bear.

Notice he named his bear だいくみ くん (Daikumi-kun), I can only guess that this must be the name of one of his school friends.


BABW is pretty pricey, animals start at Y1700, up to about Y3000, then clothes and accessories starting at Y400 for some undies, up to around Y4000 for a specialized full outfit like the kimono, but it's a lot of fun, and I think it's well worth the price, at least once. It makes a really nice special occassion trip, like for a b-day.

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Outside the train station. Meg is in the back row, and there's E in the orange shirt.

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Meg's troop. Each girl had Y5000 to spend, their share of the cookie profits. Check out the Harley Davidson bear right above Meg. He has a HD bandana, sunglasses and a tiny leather HD jacket!
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Exhausted!
This is Meg last weekend before heading to her dad's in FL for the summer, so she's trying to cram in as much time with her friends as possible. She had a sleepover the night before BABW and stayed up 'til 3am! We headed for BABW at 8am, so she didn't get a lot of sleep!
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Lots of tired Girl Scouts + no seats on the train = just flop down wherever you can and spread your crap everywhere
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Ethan and Meg's bears. Aren't they cute? Meg named hers Kenji
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6 comments:

gigihawaii said...

too cute! Never heard of that here in Hawaii. Sounds expensive but also fun for the kids.

Gina said...

I really like the bears your kids made. We made one with Branden when he was about 1 year old in Hawaii. He has on an aloha print overall/shortall type onesie thing and we named him, Seita! Ha ha ha. Branden still has him. They are pricey but they are worth it for keepsakes for the kids. : )

Girl Japan said...

Yes, they are, they are adorable, this has to be the most fab idea ever, my BIL loves to collect bears, and you have giving me a fabulous idea.

Alisa said...

How far is that station, BABW to where u are?
I SO want to go there!!!
I heard there was one in Yokohama too... but we have this Little Vacation coming up (june 1~10th) and that would be SUPER fun to go w/ the kids! :)
We are big BABW fans. :)

BTw, do you have to bring Cash (yen) or do they take CCs??

Rebecca Sosa said...

BABW is the best!!! We're all hooked - all 3 daughters and Mom, too. I maxed out at 3 bears and Bekah donated hers to me, but I buy clothes and accessories and dress them up by the season or the whim! If you sign up to be in the Paws Club, you get points for every dollar you spend and coupons when you hit a certain limit. You also get catalogs mailed to your home and email updates with coupons and other special offers. They can really stretch your BABW budget.

Slime said...

Alisa - sorry it's taken me so long to respond! The BABW in Ikebukuro is right around an hour from here. You can catch an express that only requires one train change, so it's an easy trip! You can use cc or yen.

RS - Yeah, some people are just weird like that.