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!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Crafty Weekend. (No Pictures Yet)

This weekend's activity was sewing and card making. I have to admit, I'm starting to enjoy going to a craft store now, not just for my project, but for my kids projects!

L-chan finished sewing her first Teddy Bear. It was from a kit, but I still thought it was too difficult for L-chan to do as her first sewing project. I was impressed; it took her maybe 2 and a half days, but she finished it. A-chan tried to do some sewing just like her older sister, but she enjoyed putting on stickers for detailing after a penguin and a reindeer were sewn together by T-kun.

K-kun asked me if I could show him how to make some of the characters from STARWARS origami book that he got on his birthday. (My husband said I got something I wanted for myself!) I quickly realized that this book was the most unfriendly origami book I'd ever seen!! The good thing was I could read in between the diagrams shown on the book pretty well. I would feel bad for anyone buying this book for kids and not being able to help. YouTube is much better origami instruction resources for me, but this book came with papers with printed images. I thought it was a good starting book for Kevin to try by himself. (WRONG!)

I have to say, even though the instruction on the book was not very helpful, but we learned some holds together, and one good thing was for each character or star ship etc., 2 papers come with the instruction. So it was perfect to do it together.

I think that's pretty much what I have done this weekend. I meant to make other things, but I ran out of time. Oh, I'm also in the process of making a video using a green screen. It's a project I thought of doing with the boys. (Again, I'm more excited than the boys.) My kids sang really well in Japanese at church today, by the way. I should video tape them singing so I can send it to my parents.

I hope to update again something this week. Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Birthday Party Fun

Birthday party game. 

We had a lot of fun celebrating K-kun's birthday this weekend. K-kun and five of his guests who were able to come played laser tag outside without wearing jackets. I don't remember having this nice weather on his birthday parties in the past, so I knew it was going to be great. 

Here are my observations about K-kun: 

1. He has such a good circle of friends. All of them are such talented and fun kids. 
2. He truly loves books. ---He got books as gifts from his friends. That tells something about him. 
3. He is only 11, but has been a big brother to 4 younger siblings. That's kind of amazing to me. 
4. He is loved by his siblings.---his little sisters worked really hard to make his party successful. 

Usually, when my kids' birthday comes around, I think of the time when they were born. Today I thought about it too, but preparing for this party made me look at him as a big brother to my other kids, and a friend to many. 

The scooby-doo game "Hold on Scooby-doo)" was a hit. It seemed to have done the work as I intended... as K-kun was busy having fun with his friends, the younger kids could be occupied playing this game. Another fun memory was created for all, and I' feeling satisfied :) 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Do or do not. There is no try!


(A week ago)
Look at my new origami creation! Isn't this a perfect show and tell material?

I made this a week or so ago, and wrote about it, but decided to let it sit over night before I published it. Today, I looked at it again, and I found it boring to read, so I decided to re-write.

20 minutes past, and I just erased what I wrote again. I can't seem to write anything under this subject.

A day later, in a book I was referencing, which used to be my husband's grammar book from high school years, I found this:

Overcoming Writer's Block.

I don't think I can call this a writer's block, but there is a good practical tip in it that applied to me.

-Make artificial deadlines that require some minimal effort: a certain number of words each day, or an outline you can show fellow students or a counsellor at an early date. The only requirement is that something be put down on the page---with no judgments on quality. 

I guess, I will follow this and other tips and put something down everyday and see what happens. I wish I didn't erased what I wrote already. It might have been boring to some, but I think someone else might have benefited from what I wrote. That's the biggest thing about blogging publicly, the thought of being judged by what I write here stops me from pressing that "Publish" button.

At this rate, I would only be able to write a few more posts until the end of the year. When I created this blog, my intention was to be bold and get myself out there. My thoughts were meant to be published, rather than sit in draft then erased, no matter how silly, boring, uninteresting they may be. It's only a practice.

Don't worry, not every posts are going to be boring. I'm planning to add more pictures to tell about this origami creation soon!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Obsessed with Language Learning

What would you do when your child can write better than you can?

K-kun has been writing a fantasy novel right now. He is really into it. His goal is write 80 pages by Christmas. He showed it to me the other day. It was only 3-4 pages (mind you, it's bigger font) but it was pretty good!!

I thought my English writing has been getting better, but this was another realization that I have a long way to go. Similar thing happened when I brought home library books I thought K-kun might enjoy. He looked at the title and said; "Yup, I read it already. You should read it." Whaat?? Who is the parent here??

Miniature origami books I made (originally) for K-kun.
I took the challenge, and the next time when I was sitting in the hospital waiting room with my other son, I started reading. Indeed, it was a wonderful read. The vocabulary was rich; so I thought. So after an hour and half of reading it, I gave it to T-kun, "here you should read it too." (Well, we were at the hospital for long hours that day.) Then I watched him read. I have to say I was pretty disappointed then, that he almost caught up to me only after 30 minutes! I asked him a couple of questions to test his comprehension. His answers were right. 

(Not to sound so defensive, but I used to think I was good at speed reading, lately though, I really take time to enjoy the language when I read.) 

Why I'm writing these experiences here? It's because I want to be better at those things that comes naturally to native speakers of English when growing up using the language. I maybe little obsessed with language learning lately, but it's really fascinating subject to me. I might get disappointed here and there about my progress, but learning about English language is just fascinating. (Oh I said it twice!) The other day, I volunteered to do some invitation-only translating project on the side. It was 4 or 5 years ago when I volunteered for the organization for a translating project that I first really interested in becoming a translator. So it was great to see my progress...mainly it was my confidence level I noticed that has gone up.

So where do I go from here rather than wishing my writing skill miraculously improve? I'm thinking about studying more about proofreading and editing. Just like I was so interested in translating, now reading about proofreading and editing really interests me. 

What subject interests you? 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Origami with Kids (October theme)

October 5th was World Teacher's day. 

I made these bird paper clip holder and book marks for my kids teachers at school. I picked something that kids could make by themselves. I hope these will brighten the teachers' day just even for a day :) I always make something at the end of the school year for teachers, and I don't remember if I ever made something for their teachers besides sending thank-you notes. I hope I can remember next year so I can prepare something with kids. 

Just this past month, I have been seeing great things happening among my children. They have been good influences on each other, and they have been able to do many things without being asked to do. I would have a hard time picking one child for the star of the month this month. I think they all deserve a star. That's how great it has been this month. I hope it continues!

(That gave me an idea... maybe just like they do it at school, they spotlight on kids according to the characteristics that they had been working on that month---I might start looking for the progress that the kids are making in different categories.) 

My kids definitely have wonderful teachers, and I'm so thankful for them. 

Missing one bird on this picture. I have 4 children who go to school this year.

Below is what L-chan and A-chan made with me on the weekend. Pumpkin with witch hat. 
L-chan decided she really wanted to use googly eyes for these, and made it smiley. So it became cute, friendly Jack-O-lantern with baby Jack-O-lantern. You can put small candies inside, too. 

How are you getting ready for Thanksgiving (if you are celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in October) and Halloween? 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Moon Watching

It was so beautiful, I had to share.

It was such a perfect night last night here to watch the nature put on a show for us. The moon was shinning so brightly, and clouds are flowing and changing their shapes...amazing!

It was only for 30 minutes I was outside with my husband watching the moon, but I was glad that I thought to look out the window at 11:00p.m. because I wasn't expecting to see the harvest moon this year because of the clouds.

We could see the thick mounds of clouds coming toward the moon, so we knew the show wasn't going to last much longer. We said good night to the moon as it got covered by the sea of clouds, like a nice blanket. It was still eliminating bright light from behind.

I hope you are enjoying the season---autumn leaves are just another sign that caught my eye today. I say this too many times, but "I can't believe it's.....!!" I hope I take time to enjoy the fall season before I scream "I can't believe it's Christmas!"

Time really flies when you are doing the things you love, I think.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The End of Summer Update!

Hi everyone!

I couldn't wait any longer. It's been TOO LONG.
I had to say hi to my readers and let everyone know that I'm still alive!!

I've had a wonderful summer.  Since I'm learning so many new things, I don't think I will ever run out of things to share. It makes my day when someone I've never met " like" or "+1" on my posts especially when I in return visit their site and find interesting things or something in common!!

Some of you might have seen this already, but this is what I chose to make for this month.

Instruction below:

I fist made one tricone. It was easy enough. Then I made second, then third. L-chan joined, and wanted me to make three more so when put points together to make a hexagon. A-chan came in to the room and wanted me to make bigger one with different color.

I could have taken the picture of the hexagon, but then an idea hit me. These tricones could look like trees. Then I asked L-can what I should add, she said Sun. Then we made clouds, and added seagulls and a school bus.

(You know what I just realized? The first link above, have a comment section that people post their pictures of what they made. I think I might share our picture there as well.)

Tips on folding:
1. Sorry no tips this time. Sometimes the assembly went smoothly and sometimes didn't. I almost gave up on the 6th one. I just took a deep breath.

2. The one I made for A-chan with pink shaded papers turn out  really cute as well. It could be used as little toy dolls chair, maybe. Lots of possibilities.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Family Reunion 2013

I can't believe it's the end of July.

This month has flown by... We had looked forward to this event since beginning of the year (or even longer), and today is the last day together of the two week long vacation.

Well, this is a public blog, so I'm not quite comfortable yet to share the pictures and stories on here; (until I ask others if it's okay to post their pictures, right?)  So I will tell you my part of the story.

For example, we are at outdoor pageant in Palmyra NY. We were wearing matching shirts (31 of us) that was specially made for this occasion.

The field the pageant was held.

At the end of the pageant, when we were getting ready to leave, my husband asked "where is L-chan?" I was sitting at the end of the row, and didn't realize other family members had already gone to avoid the traffic. I thought Lisa followed my sister-in-law's family who parked their vehicle in the same area as ours. So, I took A-chan with me, and started walking to the parking spot as fast as we could to catch up to the rest of the family.

Once I got there, I couldn't remember where our van was, and I didn't see my sister-in-law anywhere. I got this aweful feeling... there were SO MANY people, and I felt like I was lost too, separated from others. Then K-kun came screaming, "did you find her yet?" I was so scared of the thoughts that came next. My mother-in-law stayed with the rest of my children, and my husband and I started going back to the pageant ground.

I grabbed one of the security to ask where I could go to find my child if she was already found. He didn't know, but he used his walkie talkie to find out. Then the other security guard approached me and looked at my shirt, and said "follow me, I know what you are looking for". He walked slowly as he guided me to a place (that's what I thought) I wanted to run, but he kept telling us to slow down. He didn't say that they found her. I was still in panic, but little relieved that others were notified to look for her in a blue shirt.

After seeing Lisa guarded by two security guard on her sides approaching us from the crowd, I then, realized that they were moving toward us too. That's why the security guard kept telling us to slow down because they were moving too.

I hugged her so tight, tight, tight, tight!!! I asked if she was scared when she found that she was lost, she said she was. She said it was about 20 seconds until the guard asked her if she was lost. (I don't know exactly how long it was, but sounded like she wasn't completely lost, but with security guards for the whole time. So I was relieved.

We came back to the van, and K-kun and T-kun was relieved as well, as they were worried sick. What a night it was. We thanked Father in Heaven for the protection and we head back to the hotel. It was the second day of this two-week-long family gathering, and as I said in the beginning, today is the last day, and everyone who was visiting us goes home tomorrow.

Oh, one more thing... I turned on the children's music in Nursery's room at church, when I was with M-chan the other day. I had listened the whole CD almost every Sunday, (there hadn't been anybody who watches kids in Nursery, so I stayed with M-chan in Nursery.) so I skipped the songs until I thought it was closer to the end and pressed "Play" button. Guess what song came on! "I Have a Family Tree!"

I have a family tree with branches by the dozens.
I have grandpas, I have grandmas, I have uncles, aunts, and cousins.
(When) it's reunion time, no matter what the weather, it is such a happy day
When the fam'ly gets together.

What are the chances, I picked the right song for the day! It was truly a fun experience for my children to see their cousins who live far away.

I thank my parents-in-law for providing such a wonderful time for us to enjoy the time with each other and learn from each other.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Origami Fireworks!

Are these Origami Fireworks awesome looking of what?

If you think this is cool, you have to watch this below!

As usual, L-chan had been asking me to make Origami creations together, so after seeing this, I had to make one!
As soon as I started folding, (I referred the diagram here. I realized it wasn't hard; it's actually the same instruction to fold hearts. It's just you need to fold 12 of them, and put them together.

That's it.

But, the last step of assembly may be tricky. I had no trouble the first time, but with the second one I just couldn't get it to stay together.

So. I will give you some tips.

1. At the assembly of the last piece, put the outside together first. (It might have explained it on YouTube, but I only saw the diagrams, and it was on mute.)

2. Just calm down, if it gets difficult. Your patience is getting tested. You can do this!

3.  I like making things with smaller pieces of Origami, but if you have a regular 11cm x11cm origami papers, then you might want to make one the bigger size than I did. You might find other instruction YouTube more helpful, but the link above is the one I watched.

(4. This tip is for a experienced Origami folders) Is it just me, but I found many English origami instructions have extra steps at the beginning to make creases. I think you can skip some steps and go right into making the first basic pattern.

I made the third one on the way to the beach today. I think I can make one in about 20-25 minutes. I will experiment with colors the next time. You know what I think it'd be cool is that use black background, and origami paper that are double sided. What you think?

If you make one, or had made one (I've seen this before yesterday too), what was yours like? My kids, especially L-chan, loved it! I hope you are enjoying the summer and some fireworks!

P.S. I was just told about a site called Light Up Nippon. (Light Up Japan) I didn't know about it till now, but it's a cause to raise money to deliver fireworks to the earthquake affected areas in Japan. The date is on August 11th. Nice! Thank you for sharing this, my dear friend. I'll be thinking of you and people in Tohoku.

P.P.S. One of my instructor I met while attending Utah State University was a fireworks engineer. I just remembered that.

Pyrotechnic Engineer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Pyrotechnic engineers design, create and regulate the many man-made explosions used in fireworks, displays at concerts or sporting events and special effects. They must have an in-depth knowledge of both chemistry and physics to accurately determine how a reaction will take place. The requirements of pyrotechnic engineers vary depending on the position they have and the state where they work.(


Monday, June 24, 2013

Epic Fail at Piano Recital

"Epic fail!" 

I wasn't expecting to fail at the piano recital this weekend, but I failed miserably. I'm still so sad about it. I blame my lack of experience playing on the Grand piano. 

To prove (to whom, I don't know) that the songs were coming along nicely when I was practicing at home, I decided to post this. Four songs! The blues (the 2nd song on this video) I stumbled a lot in this video. Maple Leaf Rag (the last song) was my favorite one to play.

It hurts to think about it, talk about it, write about the failure; I still don' know what went wrong. I might have been trying too hard. I wasn't nervous there, though; I was probably more nervous when a friend watched us rehearse the night before. I thought I got rid of all the jitter bugs. For the little girl who sat next to me, this was her first time performing She couldn't hide her nervousness the whole time, but she must have been relieved to go after me! NO one else made as many mistakes as I did.

Anyway, enough whining about what I can't change. It's what I do from now that matters, right? I haven't decided if I should continue taking lessons in the fall.  Is my time better spent on some other activities?

On the brighter note, my 2 sons did very well. T-kun did better than he did at practice. (Yay! T-kun!) K-kun got a lot of compliments after the recital, and you'll see why. Here is the video of him playing his difficult piece (a couple levels above his current level) that the teacher arranged for him. He commented that 2/3 of the song was challenging, and the rest of the song he wrote with some senior student in mind.

At the end of the day, more than 24 hours have past since the recital, I'm very disappointed about my performance, but I was happy to see and hear other students played their best. Very impressive.

If I continue studying music and practicing piano in the future, I'll practice on the Grand Piano a lot before the recital. Sounds like a plan.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Peaceful, birds-singing, Google-wishing, dance-watching kind of birthday.

So, I had a birthday, and it was a special one! I will just share some highlights :)

The messages from family and friends in Japan started to come in on the day before. My parents sent me a picture of the nearby ocean where they live. 

"Beyond this ocean, far away land, lives our daughter and her husband with their 5 children. " she wrote. 

On my birthday, early in the morning I went to a park where I go often with kids. I didn't go to the playground area. I went to the other side of the park. Only 3 people with their dogs passed by. It was so peaceful.

Then I noticed singing of birds. It was as if the birds were putting on a show for me! How cool is that! 

When I got home, I saw Google doodle was celebrating something, but it was until later that day when K-kun pointed out to me itt was customized  doodle for me! When I moved the mouse over to the doodle, it said "Happy Birthday, Kozue!" Cool!

After lunch, T-kun had a last class at Gymnastics for this session. We didn't know when we went, but it happened to be the day that RCMP musical ride was here at the city community centre.

I brought the girls down later, so they could see the horses!

The girls had fun reading all the names of the horses. 32 of them!

We went to the green house later that day. We looked at these interesting and beautiful flowers and more!

A tiny Pineapple. There was a banana tree too!

A couple who were traveling through the city offered to take a picture of us.

After dinner, L-chan and I went to see a dance recital. Four nieces were in it, and it was their dance studio's 10th anniversary gala. It was fantastic! Talk about dedication, passion and a hard work! What else could be better to inspire than actually seeing what these young dancers archived over the years!  

So, I'm ready to start a brand new year! Thank you for my friends and family who made me feel special on my birthday and thank you for reading!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Perfect Birthday Card for Myself

"There is nothing people can say and do offend me; that's how happy I feel today! "

That's what I wrote yesterday before I went to bed. I wanted to finish writing my thoughts before things get busy again.

My birthday always falls on the same week as  Father's day. Last year, when I was buying a father's day card, I found a birthday card that seemed to say to me, "BUY ME!" First, I hesitated thinking "what kind of a person buys her own birthday card?" I put it back in a rack several times before I bought it.

It says on the front:

We didn't come here to fit in.
We came here to be who we are.

We didn't come here to work.

We came here to live our dreams.

We didn't come here for the stuff. 

We came here to love each other.

We didn't come here by accident. 

We each came here with a purpose 
that is uniquely our own. 




Happy Birthday

I read this card once in a while throughout the year. I think I'm okay with being unique. Some part of me really wanted to fit in, but I realized I couldn't. I have been able to accomplish many things this year, and got to know a lot of inspiring people along the way, and of course, I'm thankful for my friends and family who continue to love me for who I am.

There are many inspirational quotes says the same thing. Be unique" "Be yourself" I probably won't be looking for a new Birthday card for myself, but I want to find something (in English and Japanese) by which I can measure my progress and be inspired to be a better contributor this coming year.

(BTW, The quote I had on my desktop was this.)




Trying Something New and Staying Positive.

K-kun has a lot of news to share lately.  K-kun also placed 5th in triple jump in the city last week. 
He has been playing in school softball team (Junior division) and today was a tournament. 

This is 4th ribbon in triple jump in a Zone. Top 4 got to go to the city.

Yesterday was the last session at Gymnastics. His coach wrote in a card she gave him:

"...You have little fear of learning new skills and you strive to master them.” She also wrote that he has a positive attitude."

That's what I have noticed about K-kun today's game too. First thing people may notice is that he is small compared to other players. That doesn't hold him back to enjoy playing and do his best. He was the first batter at every game, and he did a great job. One time while I was watching the game, the foul ball landed by me, so I picked it up and tried to throw it back over the fence. It hit the top of the fence and fell toward me again. Everyone chuckled, I was too.

I ask him if I embarrassed him, and he said "yeah, it was embarrassing!" "in a funny way, mom!" It was great to see him developing sportsmanship and getting practices in different sports. It was also nice to be around other parents who cheered and supported their kids in the baseball field. They are so good at encouraging all players! What an awesome place to be!

He likes to run so when asked if he wanted to run 5K marathon next month, he said yes!

This is really a big positive change for him, and I'm so happy to see him trying new things.

It reminds me of the time that I was worried about his delay in speech at age 2. Last couple of years I had been little worried if he was going to show interests in team sports. I felt more hopeful today by watching him in the baseball field. With more practices, he could definitely be a better athlete. Fear holds people back from trying something new, but he is fearless. So, it was easy to cheer him on from the stand today.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Guest Post: Bilingual encounters, cultural disasters? By Paula

I am pleased to introduce this guest blog post by Paula at Language Insight!!

In April, I posted about my first guest post experience. It was Paula's experience (read it here Growing up bilingual) that inspired me to share mine.

I'm so happy that she wrote a fantastic blog post for my blog. I've never traveled to Brazil(where Paula is from) and England (where she lives now), but this post makes me want to travel to experience different cultures! Thank you again, Paula!


After writing about bringing up my child as a bilingual speaker (English and Brazilian Portuguese), the idea of how two different languages affect a relationship, be it romantic or platonic or simply passing, started to intrigue me. Cultural differences affect us every day, yet when it comes to relationships, we all take those differences for granted.
According to the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis of linguistics, your language is your world view. The theory states that rather than your view of the world affecting your language, the language you speak establishes your perspective. For example, Brazilians have an expressive, lively and rounded language, so by default, they are perceived as being less formal and more fun loving. Or, as we call it, party animals.
Elsewhere, Italians and French people love to add a flourish to their descriptions of anything by adding lavish adjectives. Phrases such as “sweet night” make perfect sense for them while it sounds as cheesy as hell in English. By default, they are thought of as being very romantic. The English, on the other hand, use a heavy dose of apologies and euphemisms for everything. As a result, they are considered polite. Albeit most of the time this is mock politeness; nevertheless, the language demands that you apologise before complaining to someone that they are standing on your feet on the Tube. There is even a difference between countries that speak the same language. European Portuguese, for example, is considered to be more literal than Brazilian Portuguese. So if a Brazilian driver told a Portuguese driver that his door is open while stopped at traffic lights, the Portuguese driver might disagree and tell him that his door is not open, it’s just shut incorrectly.
According to the Oxford Reference Dictionary, South Americans - or Latin people - have a very expressive language (think hand gestures going in every direction), and their culture is known as a ‘high-contact culture’, which basically means their concept of personal space is particularly small. Meanwhile languages like German and English, for instance, feature less body language. Because of this, they are considered to be 'low-contact cultures' meaning personal space is very important. It doesn’t take much to see it. Walk into an English pub and try to tell who is in a relationship with whom. Most likely, you won’t be able to tell. Or at least, not until they have a couple of glasses of wine! Walk into a Brazilian bar and who is with whom is incredibly clear. It’s not that the Brazilians like ‘PDAs’ (public displays of affection); they are just  high-contact, which means they touch each other more often as well as stand closer to each other.
So, what happens when two people from different cultures get together? When we meet someone from another culture we automatically assume they’ll understand our sense of humour and expressions if they speak our language but, in most cases, we completely disregard the fact that their mother tongue will give them a different viewpoint. These differences in our way of thinking could also affect a person’s expectations or how they would react in certain situations. For instance, if an English man approached an English woman he had never met and told her she looked "good enough to eat" or blew kisses at her, she might consider him unstable and threatening. In Brazil, providing he does not touch the woman, that would be considered a compliment. In England, telling someone to "go to hell" might have very little consequence, but I would not recommend trying to say it to an Italian Catholic as it will not go down well at all. But perhaps the most interesting difference of all is sense of humour. Have you ever noticed jokes don’t translate well? Brazilian jokes tend to be very visual, while English jokes tend to be very sarcastic or a play on words. A joke in one culture could easily become offensive in another.
Idioms - those old sayings we love to quote as moral lessons or expressions - are another point of misunderstanding. The French, for example, might tell you “you have the heart of an artichoke”, which means “you are fickle in love” in English. The Dutch might tell you “that’s a monkey sandwich story”, which basically means it’s a myth.  Germans might tell you “you are playing the insulted liver sausage”, meaning you’re sulking. Brazilians will tell you they "prefer to have one bird in their hands than two flying away”. In other words, they'd rather be safe than sorry. And the list goes on … (If you want to read more, have a look at the book Idiomantics by Philip Gooden and Peter Lewis. Some of the examples are quite entertaining).
So, while someone might be fluent in a language, it doesn’t necessarily mean they think the same way or take things at the same face value as a native speaker. It’s necessary to be careful and always keep in mind these subtle differences in order to avoid major misunderstandings. This is why localization in translation is so important.
Localization accounts for regional dialects, typography, correct terminology and common sense. It is what brings your message home to your target audience or market. In other words, if you were at traffic lights in Brazil, our translator would tell you your car door is open, but in Portugal our translator would tell you your door is not shut properly.
For more articles by Paula and to find out more about translation, localization and bilingualism, visit the Language Insight media centre.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's Dental Hygiene Week!

Did you know in Japan, today (June 4th) starts Dental Hygiene Week in Japan?

It's okay if you didn't. I wouldn't have remembered it myself, but I happened to have a friend whose birthday is today,( Happy Birthday!) and I remember telling her long time ago that she was born on "Mushiba no hi (虫歯の日)"---the day of cavity. (prevent cavity day.)

Why is June 4th the day of cavity? Let's break it down.

Mu (6) Shi (4) ba (tooth) no hi.

Number 6 can be read "roku" as some of you know.

Mushi (bug) ba (tooth) no (of) hi (day)

According to Wiki, June 4 to 10th is called different names over the years. Oral Hygiene week, Dental Hygiene week, health week of teeth and mouth.

So if you are reading this, let's remember to take extra care of your teeth and mouth this week and always!


Friday, May 24, 2013

A Coincidence?

Hi everyone! I did't get to update for a while. I want you to look at these pictures.
The picture (left) shows the time I received a phone call notifying me that I finished my old job. (I didn't get fired. It was my rental house business, and one of the property was sold finally.)

The picture (right) shows the time I received an email regards to my new job. A new project for me to work on!

It was my son's birthday that day, and we had a busy weekend ahead. I wasn't sure if I could take on a project, but I didn't want to say no to my first project on this job. I was notified later that day that I won't be starting on the new project until Monday. Another miracle?

Everything seems to be falling ing into places lately, and I'm so happy about my new job and things that I'm learning from it.

More updates to follow!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Dream

I drew this in 2010. I added the words using today. I remember thinking which way to take next. I felt something was missing from my life.

 I found this notepad last week, and I had to have it. It was $2. I recently posted my language learning ABCs and "J" was Juggle in style. I thought this was really cute way to visualize that. The illustrator's (Bonnie Marcus) website is here.

I wish I could say that I'm getting better at juggling. In fact, I'm far away from juggling "in style". No way! I'm dropping everything everywhere, and if I were to drew myself of this month's schedule, I would be covered with the mountains of laundries! (The season change...)

For language learning, though, I think that's what it was missing 3 years ago. I always had a passion for languages. I just wasn't confident in using the languages. I still often wish my language skills are better, I know I have to work hard everyday to improve. I challenge myself each day to different tasks of learning. As I discover more about languages, I understand more about myself. It's really cool. So I can confidently say that I found my dream. It has been the same since as long as I can remember. I think I'm going to draw another picture of me chasing my dream!

New Origami Craft Pictures

These origami crafts are for L-chan's birthday party. I'm happy with how these modular boxes turned out. The texture of the paper I used was perfect for these boxes. You might want to check the link for more ideas. There are pictures of boxes that readers have posted. 

I quickly made this crown too. It probably took me 5 minutes. I used scrapbook paper (cardboard paper) as instructed on here.

The room has been decorated, with a help from A-chan, The cake is frosted and A-chan has already set up the dinning table for dinner. We picked the flowers for the center piece. I can't wait to see what L-chan thinks of all these when she comes home!

( She loved it!!  The picture below was added on May 24)

My Embarrassing moments

Ok... here is my attempt to laugh at my mistakes.

I just heard "my mom's so stupid that she did..." jokes a couple of days ago. I feel like now I am the one to laugh at!

I will share 3 of my embarrassing moments.

1. I thought the picnic table signs are shrine signs. I first saw it on highway, I said to my husband, there is a shrine in Canada?? I was glad no one else heard me say it.

2. I always called a fly swatter a fly sweater. Again, probably the only person heard it was my husband.

3. I misunderstood chess pawns as chess ponds. Oops, I just published it (I edited it later) on my previous post. I wonder how many has seen it? On Facebook? Now I feel really embarrassed.

Now you can laugh at me. I promise I won't make these mistakes again!! But I'm sure I will make many more mistakes! Hope it will become less and less as I seriously learn to write better in English. (and practicing pronunciation should also help.)

Here is a post that I read today.

How to Immediately Become a More Productive (and Better) Writer

What do you think? I thought the point #2 was interesting. So much to improve!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Good Read "How to Be an American Housewife

I really felt good after reading this novel. I enjoyed it so much, because I could understand what the main charactor Shoko was going through. By saying this, I don't want you to think I have had the same experiences that she had, (the author says that some of the stories are of her mom's real stories) but I think I could have been her friend. I felt like this would be how my daughters would describe me and my life as when they grow up. 

There were parts (very small parts) that talked about Mormons. I don't think that the author is a Mormon (a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and I didn't understand why she picked Shoko's husband to be a Mormon in this book. From what she described, it left me thinking he couldn't be a Mormon that I know... I don't know why he couldn't be as any Christian. Hmmm.

Other than that, from a book I picked up at a store for $5, and I didn't have any expectations other than read someone else's fictional experiences, I thought this book was very good. I got a lot of insights. If you already understand a lot has changed since the postwar era which this book is based on at the beginning, and know that there are stereotypes of both Japanese and American cultures, I think some of you might enjoy reading this book too. I'm already thinking to read more on this topic.

Read more about this book on here.