Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Origami Slinky

As you might have guessed, I like making things with Origami. When you are an international student, you'll find many ways to share your culture... for example, at cultural night. For me, Origami was one of the ways to share Japanese culture.

Now Origami isn't related to only Japanese, many people enjoy origami folding. In order to teach others how to make origami creations, I had to learn to give instructions in English, so I'm always looking for instruction given in English. I see more and more ideas on English site given by non-Japanese people.

I found this Origami Slinky idea while searching YouTube for something fun to make for someone's birthday. (Yes, it's you! if you are reading this :)  I didn't have the time to make it that day, but I found another opportunity to make it. It was my nephew's birthday, and I got my kids involved in the process. 

K-kun, T-kun, and even L-chan (well, she is the youngest of the 3, but she is the neatest when it comes to holding origami papers!) divided the process in 3 sections, and I supervised, and assembled finished pieces into a slinky!

K-kun testing Origami Slinky.

L-chan and T-kun testing slinky.

I used 72 papers to make this following the instruction on YouTube video.

We made this for our nephew.

I'm planning to make another one (with warm colors... orange, red, pink, yellow, and light yellow...) next time. 

Below is the Origami Slinky instructions I found on YouTube. It took me about 2 hours with kids. I think I can do much faster next time!

I like make things with tiny papers, or something playable like this slinky. What should I make next?

Hina Dolls (part 2)

Last 4 days or so, I couldn't find my camera! I finally found it today. So I'm updating the pictures of Hina dolls. Hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I do!
So, this is the overview of the set.
The rest of the set (the lower 3 tiers) holds furniture (dresser, tea ceremony set, sewing set), ceremonial food, transportation etc...

5 court musicians that consists of a singer, a flute player(missing a flute in this picture), drummers.

3 court ladies. (and one of the musicians)
Right Minister (in Orange)  is much older and wise. and Left Minister (in black) is young and show strength. Both Ministers have a bow and arrows.
3 servants also sit in the display.  Each shows different emotions: Anger, Sadness and Happiness.

Empress checking her beauty in the mirror :)

This was Hinamatsuri card from my sister to my girls in 2009. I love Japanese greeting cards. So cute.

"Hinamatsuri (Doll's Festival)" is held on March 3rd. This is a day to pray for young girl's growth and happiness...

If you want to know more about the each items in the pictures, here are good links about Hinamatsuri that I referenced.
 Hinamatsuri (Wikipedia)
The dolls wear beautiful ancient court costumes of the Heian period (794-1185). The costume of the Empress is called the "juuni-hitoe (twelve-layered ceremonial robe)." Even today the juuni-hitoe is worn at the Royal family's wedding ceremony. Most recently, Princess Masako wore it on the wedding of the Crown Prince in 1993. When wearing the juuni-hitoe, the hairstyle is gathered at the neck to hang down the back (suberakashi) and a fan made of Japanese cypress is held in the hands.

There is a superstition that if you don't put away the hina-ningyo soon after March 3rd, the daughter will get married late.
There are some special dishes for the festival. "Hishimochi" are diamond-shaped rice cakes. They are colored red (or pink), white, and green. The red is for chasing evil spirits away, the white is for purity, and the green is for health. 

This is me as a baby (I look like a boy LOL) in front of the same Hina doll set, trying to eat the diamond shaped rice cake. 

Hinamasturi makes me think of hopes and dreams that my parents had for me while I was young. As an adult daughter, it's a chance to recommit myself to be a better person, wife and mother. I also realize no matter where you live, the wish parents have for their daughters are the same. On Hinamatsuri day (also called Girl's day), I celebrate with my 3 young daughters and wish that they grow up to be healthy and happy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Journal Writing Habit Comes in Handy

Surprisingly, I don't say this in public often enough. I love my husband very very much. Since it's Valentine's day, I'm going to write about my plan for my valentine, my husband for 11 years.

It has been so busy last week, I didn't have anything special planned for today. I think he might be thinking the same thing. 

If you know me, you know that I keep my journal faithfully. I'm glad that I have kept a good record of almost everyday. I just took out my journal of when we were dating. I haven't read this journal for so long! I don't remember the details anymore, but this entry is written on the plane to Toronto when we were dating. I made a list of things that I like about him. There are 77 of them. Suddenly, I have a great plan for tonight! I glaced at the list, I'm saving it to read with my husband tonight. 

I have exactly 6 hours before he comes home, so I should get working! (I've already made something fun for kids.)

P.S. I've added the picture of my journals today (3-24-2013) that I took 2 years ago.)

My Journals over the years. (2 are missing from this picture, but I have them.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hina dolls that traveled to Canada

Here they are! The pictures of Hina dolls as promised. It's only the top 4 tiers showing though, so if you want to see the rest of the set, you will have to come back again next week! (and I really hope you do! or subscribe my blog on your google reader!) 

The top 4 tiers (total of 7) showing. I love the fact this hina doll set features the beautiful imperial garden. 

The Emperor and the Empress
 I just realized the fences(?) on the top tier don't need to be there? 
3 court ladies

5 court musicians. (and 2 ministers)

One of the drummer. He is so cute. 
Our family out of town is going to visit us this weekend. I get to meet a new baby nephew! This weekend is  Family day weekend, and my kids are going to spend a lot of time with the cousins, aunts and uncles!

After my sister-in-law's family got to see this hina doll set, I will probably post more pictures (maybe even some pictures of me when I was as young as my youngest daughter's age!) for everyone else to see!

I also try to write more about what this Girl's day celebration is all about. (Sorry, I'm just so exhausted today.) Have a Happy Valentine's day tomorrow everyone, and have a fun Family day weekend if you are in Canada!

(More Hina dolls pictures added. Go to this post to see and find out more!)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year!

This is Hina doll display for Girl's day that is celebrated on March 3rd in Japan. Isn't she beautiful, and isn't he handsome? This was given to us from a friend as our wedding gift. Looking at these two warms my heart.

Since I'm thinking of Chinese New Year and valentine's day, I thought this picture would be a cute one to make you want to celebrate the season too. (Upon my daughter's request, I'm making these origami hearts for her friends.)

I'm also getting excited to share more pictures of Hina doll display soon! It makes me sentimental to  write about it, though; it's a beautiful celebration. It is one of my favorite holidays of the year.

Well, Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Seasonal Celebration---Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is coming up on February 10th this year.  

Growing up, I remember my mom would get ready for Kyu Shougatsu (lunar calender New Year) by sending special package to family in Okinawa. It dawned on me this week, that Kyu Shougatsu and Chinese New Year is the same thing!

Both of my parents are from Okinawa. (they started a new life in Osaka when they got married. Osaka is where I was raised.) Okinawa is a southern part of Japan, and has a distinct culture of its own. (think of Hawaii...) I didn't pay much attention then, but I understand now that my parents celebrated 2 cultures every year, just like I'm trying to celebrate Japanese traditions in Canada.

My mom said it's 28 degrees in Okinawa. She took this picture of a butterfly for my girls to see. 

Do you have a similar experience?  Maybe it's similar to someone celebrating both Canadian and American Thanksgiving. (it's about a month apart, right?) My husband said this...

I just think that eventually you need to let certain holidays go.  For example if you have 16 Great Grandparents from 16 different cultures you would probably be celebrating something just about every day. J

I have nothing against remembering culture, but there needs to be limits to how much time we spend in celebration.

India, for example has over 16000 religions with literally millions of dieties and each one comes with its own festivals.  Families basically just have to pick and choose which ones they want to celebrate the most.

Well, it's a good point. It seems like we are celebrating family birthdays every month beside holidays. Kids look forward to it, though, and I think it's important that they understand family history. It's a great opportunity for me to research, too. Every year it gets more fun as kids get older and understand more about culture, and get involved in activities. But as I said, when I saw "Chinese New Year" on the calender, I didn't make that connection that it has been celebrated in some parts of Japan as well. We haven't planned anything special for it, I only thought of it because now my parents live in Okinawa. It's been exactly a year since they moved there.

I look forward to going to visit them in Okinawa in the near future. It's going to be fun if I know more about the culture.

(added on Feb 9)--- we had a couple over for dinner tonight. The wife is Japanese, and her husband is a Canadian, just like us. We didn't plan it because this was Chinese New Year weekend, but we had a very good time. Making note to myself to maybe make it a tradition.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Seasonal Celebration--Setsubun

At our home, we celebrate Japanese seasonal celebration called "Setsubun". A-chan's birthday is the day after the Setsubun.  So we had double the fun yesterday.

Small packages of soybeans for Setsubun. Beans in blue package is seasoned. 
Setsubun is the day in Japan which is celebrated as the beginning of Spring. On the day (Feb. 3rd) one person in a family (in our family, we each took turns) wears a mask of Oni (a devil) and everyone else throw beans by shouting "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi! (Out with devils and in with happiness)" at the Oni to chase away the evil spirit from our home. (If you want to know more about history of Setsubun, read it here on wikipedia.)

My oldest, K-kun (-kun is for boys, -chan is for girls) probably had the most fun throwing soy beans.  We then ate the beans one for each year of our lives plus one for good luck. My husband lived in Japan for 2 years, but he never got to experience some of the holidays. He thought I was crazy letting kids throw beans and make a mess. Well, kids had fun and they all volunteered to help cleaning up after!

Check out How We Celebrated Setsubun by Hiragana mama as well! She has some cute pictures of how Oni masks look like and the food to eat for this occasion.

Next time I will write about another celebration---Chinese New Year.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Yes day!

What do you call a day when every answer is yes? ---a book by Amy Krous Rosenthal and Tom Lichienheldt
Today is "Yes" day for my daughter A chan. She turned 4 today.

So far, she watched her favorite shows, ate snacks, took funny pictures, played "hide-and-go-seek-but-don't-find-me" game and helped me with laundry.

Some of you might remember me telling you about A chan tricking me. She was asking for a popcicle (or candy) and I told her no. Then she said... "...Mommy?" and I answered by saying "Yes?" Next thing I know, she was dancing and saying "Yes!!" So clever, isn't she?

Well, the day isn't over yet. I wonder what kind of things she will come up with on her own this year.

What would you ask someone if it were "Yes day!" today?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blog this! Cotton Ball Sushi Craft

I love making sushi, so once I saw this post, I knew I had to make it with my girls!

Pink and Green Mama: Cotton Ball Sushi Craft

I had everything I needed to make this craft, except black masking tape.

So this is what I did.

no black masking tape, but this will do!

This black wide tipped marker made it easy!


Look at her! She is so proud of her creation!

Thank you for Pink and Green Mama for a fun and easy craft idea!