Japanese series Old Enough! tasks toddlers with running adult errands

Headshot of Pierra Willix
Pierra WillixThe West Australian
Old Enough!.
Camera IconOld Enough!. Credit: Netflix

How do you feel about being upstaged by a toddler?

While many millennials are still scared of chatting to a stranger or navigating a supermarket, a bunch of kids are being sent out into the world to tackle these tasks. Alone.

Watching them do so might not seem like the most gripping premises of a television series, but the Japanese show, Old Enough!, has just been released around the world, and people are totally lapping it up.

Some “obsessed” people have been remarking on social media how “adorable”, “wholesome” and “captivating” the social experiment is.

The premise is pretty simple. Each episode, running between five to 20 minutes, a kid gets sent out to undertake tasks like grocery shopping, picking up dry-cleaning or deliver a fresh catch to the fishmonger, with a camera crew on had to capture every moment.

In the first episode, two-year-old Hiroki has to trek a kilometre to the local supermarket to pick up three items — fish cakes, a sweet curry and some flowers — requested by his mum.

His efforts to remember what’s on his check list are totally adorable, and his determination to succeed are pretty darn motivating.

You might know there are adults close by, but it doesn’t change any of the magic of seeing each toddler’s bravery and how they tackle the challenges that pop up.

The production is not hugely polished — many times, cameramen stumble into the frame and the canned laugher and clapping common to Japanese shows is thrown in haphazardly — but it only adds to the fun.

In Japan, the show has been running for 30 years (it’s called Hajimete no Otsukai, translated to My First Errand there) and is a total phenomenon. It’s a total ratings bonanza — when it airs, more than a fifth of the entire population tune in.

But the premise has unsurprisingly also sparked conversations around safety and whether these tasks are too risky to replicate in real life. On the other hand, it avoids wrapping kids up in cotton wool.

I might not be slinging $20 to a toddler and asking them to trek a kilometre to pick up some shopping for me anytime soon, but audiences (of all ages) can definitely learn a thing or two from these determined tykes.

Old Enough! is streaming on Netflix.

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