Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
In Japan, a fifth of the population tune in to watch Old Enough every episode, but the series has only just made it over to UK screens.
Yep, 30 years late to the game we have finally caught on to the hype as the series has landed on Netflix – and it’s becoming everyone’s favourite binge-watch here, too.
The series, which is named Hajimete no Otsukai (My First Errand) in Japan, is comprised of bite-sized ten minute episodes, and sees young Japanese children sent out alone to complete tasks, which are often food-related.
— Christine Boyle (@christineeboyle) April 14, 2022
In one episode, a child is sent to pick up a few items on a shopping list for his mum, whilst another sees a kid tasked with bringing home some cabbages from the vegetable patch.
Sounds relatively simple, right? But the kids are aged between two to five, and their approaches to such food missions are captivating and hilarious in equal measure.
Trust us, you don’t know entertainment until you’ve witnessed a toddler attempting a food shop.
A trip to the supermarket suddenly feels like the mission of a lifetime, and before you know it, you’re on the edge of your seat, eager to see if they’ll make it back with the curry their mum requested.
In one adorable episode, a little boy is sent home from his grandfather’s mandarin-orange field to make juice for his family, but ends up getting distracted by a dog for an hour on the way, and continuously ignores his mother’s calls to hurry up.
Meanwhile, another episode sees a little boy sent out to buy fish from the fishmonger and some apples for his sister, but then he accidentally drops the fruit down a hill on the way home. He runs down the hill to get them and then plods back up again.
(Repeat this incident not once but twice and you get some idea of the drama that unfurled. The poor kid must have been at his wits’ end).
Of course, the children aren’t completely alone, they’re being tailed by camera crews, who help them if any danger presents itself.
But overall, the kids complete the tasks independently, and the sense of achievement they feel at the end is utterly palpable. You may even shed a tear.
The first season of the Japanese show landed on Netflix at the very end of last month, and has since amassed a huge following, with viewers claiming to be completely hooked.
“OBSESSED that there is a Netflix show specifically for watching Japanese children be sent on errands all on their own. I need 100 seasons right now #OldEnough,” said one person on Twitter.
— The Holy Church of Netflix (@netflixchurch) April 12, 2022
— Dr. *F Around & Find Out* Fader (@fadergator) April 19, 2022
Whilst UK parents would likely be a lot more nervous about sending toddlers out to complete tasks, in Japan, such independence is encouraged, and is an integral part of the culture.
Children in Japan may not typically be running errands at two or three, but they do often walk to school and make trips on weekends by themselves.
There’s no denying Old Enough is a fascinating watch – and trust us, it’ll make you crave Japanese food, too.