From the traditional Japanese tea ceremony to modern Japanese anime, Japan has plenty of ways to capture the interest and imagination of any teenager. Whether your teen has fallen in love with Japanese culture or cartoons, or just loves the idea of exploring something new, use her interests as a guide to throwing the perfect Japanese-themed birthday celebration.
Find a beautiful picture of a Geisha and print it onto blank greeting cards, or acquire a new talent by learning the art of Japanese paper folding to make origami invitations and attach a card with the party details to the paper creation. You can purchase or make colorful, accordion-style folding fans and attach a card with the details or print off pictures of your teen's favorite anime characters onto card stock and write the party details on the back. Other Japanese-themed party invitation ideas include handmade airplane tickets or postcards of landmarks in Japan.
Adorn the party room with Japanese-themed decorations, such as large origami creations and miniature origami shapes strung together to make a garland. You can hang different sized, colorful paper fans on the wall and pick up a few decorative parasols to hang in the room's corners. Purchase tablecloths with Japanese-style motifs or dress up ordinary tablecloths by drawing, stamping or stenciling the decals with fabric paint instead. Amaze the guests with floating paper lantern centerpieces that look like they are suspended above the tables. Purchase the lanterns or make them yourself and then suspend them from the ceiling with invisible thread. If your teen has a particular favorite Japanese anime character, decorate the party room in pictures of the character instead.
Introduce your party crowd to a few different types of sushi to explore traditional Japanese food, but have at least a few other options available, too. You can still incorporate the Japanese theme by serving foods, such as Japanese teriyaki chicken meatballs called tsukune, sweet dumplings on skewers called kushi dango or cabbage-based pancakes on fried noodles called modanyaki. For dessert, you can present the group with a variety of different Japanese sweet treats, such as a rice cake made with red bean paste called sakuramochi, pure sugar candies called konpeito, or mochi, a rice flour, sugar and red food coloring dessert. If you'd rather serve cupcakes and cookies at your party, incorporate the Japanese theme by baking rectangular treats and covering them with white icing and a red icing or fondant circle in the center to represent the flag of Japan.
Introduce a little Japanese crafting and culture at your teen's birthday party. You can teach all the guests how to make origami with a few simple paper crafts, or make Japanese paper lanterns instead. If you're a talented seamstress, make a plain, white kimono for each of your guests and have the teens decorate them with fabric paint, stencils and fabric markers. You can hire a professional to teach your guests how to prepare a Japanese recipe or to provide an introductory Japanese language lesson. Do a little research before the party to learn about a traditional Japanese tea ceremony or hire a professional to guide the guests through the choreographic ceremony.
Send your teen's guests home with a token to remember the party long after it's over. You can pick up ornate paper fans for party favors or arrange silk cherry blossom branches in small vases for the guests to take home. You can fill tea ceremony bowls with konpeito or Japanese green tea, present each guest with a miniature paper lantern or pick up small, ordinary planter pots and plant cherry blossom tree seedlings in each one. Other party favor ideas for a Japanese-themed party include miniature Japanese flags or cupcake boxes filled with candy sushi.