Monday, December 15, 2014

Introducing my new blog: K-san Origami!

Dear readers, 

Exciting news! 

I'm combining my 2  blogs, "Kozue's Show and Tell" and "Kozue in the Sault” and I created "K-san Origami" blog. 

Since the summer, I've been really busy! So I used Facebook page "Origamiさんの英語”to update, especially around the time of World Origami days. I also updated my Japanese blog more than I did here. 

I have changed my FB page name to "K-san Origami" today. The reason is although it's been really fun to share in my native tongue, I wanted to make the descriptions available for English speaking readers as well. 

There are so much to say about this change, and I'm really happy to take this first step toward my long-term goal. It will feel awkward for a while, but I hope I can share the contents that are educational, inspiring, and fun. 

Please visit my blog here and let me know what you think! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Japan Trip 2014 (Tokyo and Ishigaki Island)

I finally have a break today to write about my trip to Japan! I wrote chronologically how my trip went in my Japanese blog. (If you would like to see some of the pictures, please click here!) The main purpose of this trip was to see my new baby nephew, and spend a lot of time with my family, but I would like to write little bit differently here for a different audience.


You have to remember about me, when you read this, that I've always been interested in literature and languages. In my high school days, I studied English so that I could go to university in the States and study linguistics. Since I was 18, I have lived in the States and Canada (except the time I was serving as a missionary in Japan for 18 months. Even then I lived and worked with non-Japanese missionaries), and I now live in the area where it seems everything is so different from what I was used to when I lived in Osaka. 

So the places I was most interested in visiting were those that I could learn about Japanese literature and those who were considered great writers in Japanese literature. I have had this idea since I started paying more attention to English literature and history when learning English. I realized I did't have a strong background in the knowledge of Japanese culture and literature as I wished. (Although, at one point in high school, I wanted to be a high school Japanese teacher or Japanese teacher who teaches Japanese as a foreign language.)

When I think of Japanese literature we studied in high school, the first thing that pops in my mind would be "Maihime (dancing girl)" by Mori Ogai. "Botcchan" "Kokoro" by Souseki Natsume, "Rashomon" by Ryunosuke Akutagawa etc. When researching which area to visit in Tokyo, I found out about the Mori Ogai museum as well as the place where Mori Ogai used to live and wrote "Maihime". 


I just felt an amazing desire to be there. I mean, it felt like I time slipped back to the time of the Meiji restoration. Not only did I learn about Mori Ogai, at the museum, I learned about his family and the connections he had with other important writers of the period---letters written to him, for example---seeing what he might have seen, and standing where he stood, and walking on the path he might have walked were pretty cool experiences. 

Mori Ogai Memorial Museum

 He studied medicine and was a translator, as well as a writer. He also was a father who taught his children foreign languages. At the museum, there was a library of his books, and books written about him. I was there for about 30 mins but reading what his son said about him was most interesting to me. I listened to the recording of his daughter who talked about him as well.

Since I got home I've been reading some of the books I purchased in Japan. I just read about Fukuzawa Yukichi, another important author, and reformer of Meiji era.The common thing that I found in those two which really resonated with me are that they studied foreign languages, translated texts, and they were advocates of better education at home and in public.

Where I stayed in Tokyo was close to University of Tokyo, in Bunkyo ward, which is said to be the educational center, "Beginning in the Meiji period, literati like Natsume Sōseki, as well as scholars and politicians have lived there." (from Wiki) So it was definitely a great time to be able to learn about Japanese history. I understand a little bit more about that area of  Japanese culture that I wasn't really familiar with. (I wish I could go back to high school! I had an amazingly knowledgeable Japanese history teacher. I would have spent more time asking her questions!) 



Other than planning to visit Bunkyo ward, I didn't know much about the Ueno park and Ueno station area where I stayed. I was surprised to find the size of the park and the number of national museums around the park. I wish I had more time to visit each one, but I had other plans so I'll look forward to the day when I can go back again. 


Stature of Takamori Saigo in Ueno Park


I'm skipping many details of other things that I did in Tokyo, because I want to talk about Okinawa too. I will come back to talk about other experiences later. 

Here are pictures from the island!
















So now that I shared my cultural experience in Tokyo, I would like to share about my root culture. After spending three days in Tokyo, I flew to Ishigaki island. It's a part of Okinawa prefecture, and I wrote about it on a previous blog post. I will let you Google image search on Ishigaki island. You will be jealous of how beautiful the color of the ocean is, I think :) 












When I visited there it was a Bon Festival season. (They celebrate Kyu-bon in Okinawa, which is Old bon) So my mom said the store was crowded more than usual (which I didn't think it was that crowded) and I got to visit relatives who live on the island. I vaguely remember the last time I visited them on Ishigaki island when I was a girl. I always feel something special about Okinawa whenever I visit, even though I'm not from there since I was raised in Osaka. It's beautiful, it's different, and it's spiritual. It really connects you with families who have gone before. Even if you don't have roots in Okinawa, I think you would feel it by seeing how the people worship their ancestors and really care for each other in their family. 

So, in the 2 weeks while I was in Japan, I visited my hometown of Osaka, Tokyo, and Ishigaki island. Before the trip, I expected it to be fun and adventurous: Reunion with old friends, family time and eating good food. It was great! In the end, I think it was more spiritual and more bonding.


I couldn't have experienced this meaningful and rewarding trip without so many people's help. One of the ways I can give back is to share my experience and continue to pass my cultural heritage down to my children. I also would like to cultivate the appreciation for different cultures and life styles. Life is beautiful. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Origami Baby (so cute!)



I'm so excited about this post! I have a new baby nephew! 

When I googled "Origami baby" I wasn't expecting to find this cute origami baby! I had to make it! It might be hard to see, but this baby is wearing a diaper! 

Then I added shoes (adorable!) letters, and blocks. I think they turned out well. 

Instructions that I found and followed :



Baby-- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtOAY9akZkE
cube (block)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vXVblyJnqY
shoes---https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdPsD3eVy8Q
alphabet---http://en.origami-club.com/abc/index.html

This origami baby is designed by Robert Lang, I shared his TED talk before on my FB page and G+. If you haven't watched it yet, here is his talk!





Added on July 22---My daughter suggested we dress the baby. So we tried putting the shoes on, and they fit the baby perfectly. I glued on the clothes, but I made a hat. 




Friday, June 13, 2014

Origami Soccer Ball!



Today was PD day, (no school) so kids were home. Time for a fun project!

I follow Origami Maniacs Facebook page, and today I saw this!

"This is a nice modular that boys will like", it said.


Yes! Peeerfect!




So, I gathered K-kun, T-kun, and L-chan and explained what we would be making. We made white parts with printer paper, and it was pretty simple to make. Then we moved on to black pieces. It had more steps, and boys started to lose focus, but thanks to L-chan encouraging them saying if she could do it, they could too, they finished folding all the pieces.

Putting all the pieces together was easy at first, and got harder. I managed to finished it, but it looked little bumpy. So I took the time to glue them with Elmer's school glue instead of a glue stick. It helped.



Then, I added the net and a goalie. (I was being creative, and used elf instruction to make the goalie :)

So, here are the links I used to make the net and a goalie.


So what do you think? 

I used pixlr.com for my photo editing as usual. 

Whew, it took longer than I thought, but we had fun doing it. 
I think Japan plays tomorrow! I'm looking forward to cheering for them! 


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Closest Settlers of Catan!

It's June!

We just had the closest Settlers of Catan game ever!

I was so close to winning; I was in the lead the whole time. T-kun kept threatening to steal my longest road, though, he wasn't letting me win easily. While T-kun and I were battling for the longest road, the other two snuck up on us. At the last turn we were all in the race of winning.  (What a thrill!)

K-kun, who was way behind us at the start (actually, he only had 1 victory point when I already had 8), beat us in the end. No one suspected that, so we had this great analysis session and discussed where it could have gone wrong for me and others.  In the end, it was really fun to play this game as a family. The winner got three pieces of Lindor chocolate! (which K-kun shared with me.)

May was really busy for us, but it was worth the work we put in. I'm already looking forward to this month---4 more weeks of school, and then it's summer time!!


P.S. I made several origami crafts since the last post. I posted the pictures and the links to the instruction videos in my Japanese blog. I apologies for not writing in English for a while, but I'm in the process of creating the central website where you can find out what I do. I will keep you updated!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Origami Dragons. Trying Something New.

Among many origami instructions, there are some origami models that I don't usually pick to make. Dragons and dinosaurs are some of them. Folding animal shapes are hard for me, and the finished creations are sometimes disappointing . 

But if there is an opportunity, like a friend's birthday, I would be motivated to make it. It's a plus if it's cool looking, and the instruction says that it's "simple".  



The first one wasn't too hard. I made it with a gray paper. I could probably teach this to young kids. 



So, I got one cool looking one made, I wanted to try make different kind for this dragon to fight against.


The  second one was more complicated, even though it says simple! (so be warned!)  Once I started, though, I couldn't give up. I was determined to finish. Next time (if I ever make this again) I would use a bigger paper than I would normally use.



I made it with a red paper like this. It was pretty cool looking, although I might add that I would use a thicker paper than origami paper (but not too thick, because that would make the other folds hard), to have the cool wings look like in this instruction. 



What origami creation did you make lately? 



Saturday, March 22, 2014

It's Spring! (but only on the calendar)

It's only on the calendar, but it's Spring!

I'm so tired of looking at snow this year. We had guests the day before the Hinamatsuri, so I finally set up the hina dolls on March 2nd. It's a spring celebration in Japan, so I wanted to wait until it's little warmer. 



(Remember my hina doll set? If you want to see more pictures, I shared them on this post last year.)

The sunshine outside makes me believe spring is coming, but I'm so impatient! I've been like this since the beginning of this month. The only things that keep my mind off it is to read books and make something springy with Origami. 



Soo... Look what I was able to make today! This was not too hard to make, so I kept making them. The first one took probably 20 mins by following this instruction video, but the last 2 small ones, I made them under 10 mins. My daughters thought they looked really pretty. If you make it with fabric, you could probably make it into a hair clip or something. I might try that. 



The other one I made was this spring! (a different spring, I know, but I'll accept any springy thing that makes me feel a bit more cheerful!) The hardest part was probably pressing down the papers into the spring shape after making a whole bunch of creases... especially the third and fourth ones. It's still not perfect, and the movement is not as smooth as I thought it would be, but it looks okay. I always wanted to make this one, but now that I have, I don't think I would ever make this again. It's fun to watch the video, though. Do try, and see it for yourself! The instruction video is found here. ) 

March break is over, and I've already made an Easter-theme door wreath. C'mon, Spring! I'm ready!

P.S. If you live in a warmer area than us, I'm so jealous! You probably don't need origami flowers to cheer up your day! Enjoy the spring flowers for me today :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A New Post of the Year...


Time for an update!



If you are wondering if I lost interest in blogging, no worries, it's the opposite. In fact, I have many saved drafts that didn't get published. So I have been writing, untangling my thoughts one by one, which really helps me to prioritize my interests for the new year! 

Other than the fact that it was a busy month and I got a new responsibility at church that I have been enjoying, everything else went well. Things are getting organized the way they were. Everyone except me was sick over last two weeks. I'm so motivated this month, there is no time for me to be being sick :)

Kids are in swimming and piano. I'm still practicing piano and French Horn at home. I attended the annual neighborhood luncheon the other day. It's becoming a tradition... this is my 3rd one (4th, maybe?) to attend, but the hostess said she started the luncheon 35 years ago. Wow! 

I started reading some interesting blogs in French, and I was excited that I got a gist of what was written. (Well, there were many words that were similar to English, but I understood some sentence structures of French, which was very exciting to me. ) I'm also excited to watch Winter Olympics next month. Not only I'm excited for the Men's curling team from this city are going to be there, I'm excited for the chance to watch the athletes coming all over the world, and speaking different languages! 

Yoga with friends, origami, photo editing, video editing, cooking healthy meals, better organizing and sharing, teaching Japanese, and learning English with friends... are some of the things I get so excited to do... 

I also have new ideas for my blog... I hope I can share many more things with the readers this year. 
Thank you for reading! (One more minute, and it will be February!) 



Monday, December 23, 2013

Origami Christmas Wreath (and other origami craft of the month)

Merry Christmas!

This morning I made a Christmas wreath.

I had been searching what to make next for December, but I didn't come across anything that I really want to take time to make.

But, I searched one more time, (since my daughter had been asking for an origami craft time) and I found this site. (I think it's in Portuguese) The slideshow of variation of the wreath is so pretty. Please check it out! I like the one with ladybugs in the center for totally different look. The ones with the bigger pins in the center of the flowers look lovely too. I'm planing to make it someday.




I used the sewing pins with the tiny round heads and secured the flowers onto a cardboard box to take this picture.







These STARWARS characters are from the origami book that I got for my son. (I wrote about it in previous post Here)

Read more about this instruction book: STARWARS origami book review BY RUTH SUEHLE




While I was writing this my daughter made a candy cane. 




A gift from a friend. She thought of me when she saw this. Thank you!



Year 2013 has been a great year for us.  I hope you will have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


















Saturday, December 14, 2013

I've come so far...

"Wow, I've come so far!"

That's my thought lately. 

"What was I thinking?" 





I used to say no when people asked me if I missed my home. I was just so busy learning to live in a new place with a growing family. I love the life I have here, but I admit I get homesick around holidays and special celebrations of family and friends. I get homesick whenever I listen to the soundtrack of movies I loved as a child.

I look around me, and I am really impressed by my friends who are making conscious efforts to keep the family ties strong. This week, my sister's birthday card that she sent for my daughter reminded me how many cards she has sent for each of my kids every year. This birthday card she picked had a special meaning to me. She remembered my favorite stationary designer! 

I was especially touched by this hidden message because I haven't been a good sister to her lately, and the little gesture that she showed to me really humbled me. 

Maybe my answer to the question "do you miss home?" should have been yes, if that meant if I love my family. I love my family far away from here. It's my turn to show it. 


P.S. I love all of my friends and family near and far! Merry Christmas!