Shibawanko's Spirit of Tradition (TV) Tired of anime that are filled with mechs, aliens, and evil spirits? Why not try some anime shorts with a positive message. Shibawanko's Spirit of Tradition is currently airing on NHK's educational network in Japan. The show is based on the illustrated children's book by Yoshie Kawaura, which teaches a traditional Japanese way of life called Wa. A Chinese concept, Wa originally meant peace, harmony and balance. It later became an essential part of Japanese philosophy. The main character is an adorable Shiba puppy called Shibawanko. He lives in a traditional Japanese-style house with his kitten friend Mikenyanko. Shibawanko is a hard-working dog who looks after the house, and does the cleaning, laundry and other household chores. Mikenyanko, however, is true to the nature of his species, and is often seen stretching, lounging about and watching Shibawanko do the housework. Each chapter deals with a different topic of Wa, from how to clean the house properly, preparing to greet and entertain guests, making tea, New Year festivities and wearing kimonos. The animation is not typical anime style. Instead, the artwork is based on the watercolour illustrations from the book, resulting in something akin to the classic English animated film The Snowman. The effect is a refreshing break from the standard cel-shaded technique commonly used in anime series. The style helps preserve the flavour of the book, and sets the series apart from conventional anime. The show is a fun way for foreigners young and old to learn about Japanese traditions. Even though western youngsters may not relate to a number of the topics, the show is still a good way to teach children responsibility and the value of tradition.