This is going to make me unpopular with my fellow nerds, but I hate Pokemon. It came out when I was in college, and I tried to watch it, but I found the plots insipid and the voice acting atrocious. It was still popular when I went to Japan and I hated it there, too. My husband, who grew up with it, feels the same.
So, of course, our daughter absolutely adores it. She loves the show, the trading cards, the video games, and the toys. Friends from Japan sent us Pokemon videos so the girls could practice Japanese, and she loves it. Her Japanese cousin mailed her a variety of Pikachu-themed art.
When Pokemon Go arrived, M went wild and insisted we try it. I inwardly rolled my eyes, but it was free so I installed it. It’s got cute interface, and I love that it can be played without a chat function, so I don’t have to worry about M encountering someone unsavory.
There are a couple of amazing side effects, too. I love to walk and hike, but M would always complain about how she was hot, tired, bored, sick, etc. Now, when we go for a walk, she hunts for pokemon for about 30 minutes. It keeps her cheerfully moving, and now she wants to go explore new areas. We have a few rules; M can only play it when walking outside–never in the house or car, or in a store when she could run into things. Phone has to be down at her side when crossing roads or on congested sidewalks. She’s learning phone etiquette and safety, long before she has her own.
When we find pokestops, which are always art installations or points of interest. We stop and investigate what we find, and talk about how the art was made or what the building means to the community. One of the stops was a solar generator, so we talked about how electricity is made and why solar is good for the environment. Frequently, M comes home and looks up what she saw on the internet to learn more about it.
Moreover, she uses a lot of math to calculate how many candies she needs, or how to divide them. She’s learning about evolution and strategy. Even when she’s not playing, she points out points of interest around the community and looks for art more than ever before.
And, frankly, it’s just really fun.
I hereby apologize for ever criticizing someone else’s fandom. Go have fun, and do what you love!
If you’re a person who likes to post memes about how if you feel stupid, remember there are people out looking for Pokemon–well, feel free to give yourself a cookie for being the most mature person ever. Me, I’m going poke-walking with my girl.