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What Are The Pouches Worn By The Kids In Netflix's Old Enough?

"Old Enough" is a Japanese, hidden camera-style TV series that's approximately 15 times older than most of its star talent. Originally premiering in 1991 airing on Nippon TV in Japan, each episode of the variety show follows a different child or sibling pair — all between the ages of two and four — going on an everyday errand. Viewers enjoy a task that everyone does, like going to the grocery store for a few necessities or dropping off a package for a friend, except it's completed below knee height. "Old Enough" is, in a single word, adorable.

Netflix thought so too, picking up the rights to air it internationally. Culturally speaking, the concept behind "Old Enough" is confusing for international audiences, as most places are broadly considered to be neither pedestrian-friendly nor trusting of their youth. For those who can accept the differences, however, there are other reasons for curiosity. The children who star in "Old Enough" are equipped with a lot of gear to ensure safety and ease of mission. One such item they carry is a pouch slung over one shoulder that looks like the world's tiniest messenger bag. To the best of our understanding, here's the story behind those pouches.

The pouches are likely functional good luck charms for microphones

It's confirmed in "Old Enough" that the pouches are used to safely carry the children's microphone packs. In Episode 10 of the series, right before Koiki goes off on her errand, the narration says that "Mom has written a special word on her amulet equipped with a microphone," confirming the purpose of these pouches. 

For those who are unfamiliar, microphone packs are typically the size of a cellphone, if not a little thicker, and are both highly expensive and frustratingly fragile (via Transform). By placing them in the pouches instead of trying to clip them to the children's clothing, the team amplifies their chances of protecting the microphone and procuring quality sound. There's also a second, speculative purpose for these pouches. While it's not outright confirmed, the narrator's statement in Episode 10 and the pouches' design are major clues.

According to one viewer, u/FamousSecretary3895, who posted in the subreddit r/television, the microphone pouches double as oversized omamori, a.k.a. Japanese amulets. Omamori are tiny pouches, shaped like gift tags, that are customarily left closed so as to keep the protective power enclosed, a handy feature for something holding precious technology. Depending on the need, an omamori may be specified to provide more narrow fortunes, like the blessing of Gakugyō-jōju, which serves as luck for students during an examination (via Tokyo Weekender). 

While omamori are just as easily viewed as tourist trinkets (because they're absolutely sold as such), even by local Japanese communities, it's easy to understand why a good luck charm would be fastened to adventure-bound toddlers.