Thursday, March 28, 2013

"We Do Not Quit! Again, Again!"

Today, I'm going to try something new. Instead of whining about a mistake that I made, I decided to find a humor in the mistake. I'm surrounded by people who laugh a lot, and I want to learn their secret tricks.

I'm not ignoring my mistake; I just tend to dwell on it too long.

So here is a funny video clip from "The Pink Panther". I laughed so hard the first time I watched this.

So the message today is "No, we do not quit! Again, again!"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Try making all ABCs! I recommend it!

I've posted origami letters A, B and C on a previous post, but here are the rest of the alphabets. 

I delegated the work (?), and asked K-kun to finish making the alphabet. The letters he made are from G to Q. 

As I mentioned in the previous post, the instructions for each letters are found at 

I totally recommend you to try this with kids. I really enjoyed the process of making them all with K-kun. The process of making some letters are similar (half of them starts by making creases to make 8 x 8 squares, but there are instructions that are totally unexpected. 

Did you see the Origami Google doodle on March 14 or 13th? I missed seeing it, but  Origami Google doodle was honoring Akira Yoshizawa, the father of modern Origami. (where was I? I almost use google everyday. I might have been on the spring break trip that day.) Interesting!  (read more about him here: Origami Google doodle March 13, 2013.

I also found his quote on Google official blog

“My origami creations, in accordance with the laws of nature, require the use of geometry, science, and physics. They also encompass religion, philosophy, and biochemistry. Over all, I want you to discover the joy of creation by your own hand…the possibility of creation from paper is infinite.

Folding these ABCs  felt a little like that. Fumiaki Shingu was the name credited at the end of the instruction of Origami alphabets. I thank him for his creativity. Definitely a good resource to teach kids all those things mentioned above. 

So, try folding these ABCs ---It's full of unexpected turns and twist, (we thought so) and I think your kids will have fun in the each step  I recommend it!

Now, I will make numbers!  

P.S. History of Origami site I recently read was also interesting.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Piano Practice: Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin

I stumbled a bit at the beginning, then I picked up the pace around at 39 sec. So skip it to there if you wish. I just wanted to share this because it shows what my family has to listen to :)

Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin was the piece that was intimidating at the beginning of September last year. In fact, this was what had made me want to take a break from lessons. You can read more about in my page: my music lessons.

As you see, this is only a part of the song. My piano teacher told me the rest of the music is for higher level.

At the last lesson on Thursday, I stumbled a lot with this piece, because I hadn't reviewed it for a while. I was little discouraged coming home, but determined to play again. With 8 time through, my fingers remembered more than I did. Interesting. So this video was taken after maybe 20 tries.  This will be the one of the songs I will be practicing really hard for the recital in June.

Origami piano (colored by A-chan)

The voice is set to "Honky-Tonk". The next piano post will be the Blues, which my piano teacher thinks that I have a knack for it. Who knew!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Multilingualism and My Laguage Learning ABCs

Origami ABC (instruction from

(edited on March 24)
For the last 2 days, I've been thinking about Multilingualism (Wikipedia). It's actually very long, but I found the section "Multilingualism = Multi personality" interesting. Although I don't know what it's like to be a trilingual or a polyglot, (speaking 2 languages has given me headache sometimes), I really want to find out more about this topic and how other people deal with it.

When I use social media, I've been really confused how to present myself. There are different group of people in my contact. My question is: how can you effectively communicate with different group of people with different backgrounds and culture?

 Francois Grosjean wrote in her first book, Life of Two Languages, that, “what is seen as a change in personality is most probably simply a shift in attitudes and behaviors that correspond to a shift in situation or context, independent of language”.

It's not just about languages; for me, it's also about different stages of life perhaps, what I experience in Canada is as a wife and a mother. I feel lucky I get to experience the whole growing up stage with my kids. I may appear too Canadian in one way, too Japanese in the other. I'm still working to adjust and master the life of two languages, and that's all I think about lately. I guess the same with everything else, I have to get out there and start sharing without worrying about what others might think.

This is my list of words and reminders that motivates me to practice my English daily.

A---Learn to Act bilingual
B---Be Bold and speak up
D---Drill the basics
E---Be a Effective learner
F---Fake confidence once in a while
G---Google is my friend
H---Have a Heart that finds humor
I---Look for Inspiration
J---Jaggle in style
K---Kozue & こずえ---find my voice
L---Active Listening
M---It Matters
N---Have No excuse
P---Practice anytime anywhere
Q---ask the right Question
R---Reading (and listening Audio Books)
S---Stretch my facial muscles
T---Try new things
U---Use many resources
V---Have a Vision from a higher ground
W---Watch out for naysayers!
X---eXcercise (physically fit is important)
Y---Try YouTube? 
Z---Let my writing sleep (Zzzz) overnight. 

I'm going to add to this list as I keep practicing my skills and find things work for me. Please share if you have your list of ABCs that you created for yourself! If you are multilingual, what is your story? What your solution when using social media network? 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Where did All the +1 go?

A couple days ago, I changed my blog address to The old address still works, meaning that it still gets redirected to this new address. However, I can't see all your clicks anymore. I can see the comments (whew!), but reactions and +1 clicks were gone. I know there were +1 clicks, because it really made my day when I saw them. (especially on the ones that I didn't expect to get +1). I don't know who you are, but I thank you!

L-chan's funny face expresses well what I felt when+1 count was gone!
I also noticed the "blogs that I follow" list is also gone. If you were wondering, I didn't take it down the list! If you are already my friend or someone I follow and want to appear on my blog, let me know... I thought I should ask first just in case you like your blog to be private.

I have heard that Google reader is retiring in July 2013. I have used Google reader and I loved it. It says the number of users has declined, but what do people use to follow other people's blogs? I installed some apps, but I need sometime to get used to.

I'm also starting to use other social network tools so I can keep everyone posted. I guess that's what other blog authors use to send out updates, facebook, twitter, G+ etc. It's been a fun learning experience to jump into the blogger world.

I didn't get to post what we made for St. Partick's day on time. If it wasn't for L-chan whose homework(?) was to make a trap for Leprechaun, we probably didn't do anything, but we got fun time making things with what we had.

It's Spring on the calendar, but it sure doesn't feel that way here. Wherever you are, thank you for reading, and Happy Spring everyone!

Monday, March 18, 2013

I dislike... movies with bad translation.

Whoa! I can't believe this. We just watched "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" as a family. And the English dub of that movie was really bad. I almost turned it off the moment Pazu uttered his first line.

I have grown up watching Miyazaki movies, and I have told many that it's my favorite. I probably liked that one the best because it was my first movie to watch on a big screen. I also liked Kiki's delivery service as a preteen, and of cource, Totoro. Those are my favorite Miyazaki Movies that I want to watch with kids again and again.

What I was disappointed the most was the same as this blog author discribed.

Cons: Some issues with English dub including the translation differing from original Japanese script on some key lines and voice actor choices for Sheeta (Anna Paquinn) and Pazu (James Van Der Beek) sound older than originally portrayed (teens instead of pre-teens), the 2010 version's English subtitles are actually 'dub-titles' following the English dub rather than the original Japanese audio, background music is amped up, pirates are goofy (guys wear pink outfits)

He said that there are 2 versions of English dub made, in 2003 and 2010. I remember I watched 2003 version before, and that was not bad. That's why I wanted to have my own copy. The one we watched last night was 2010, which English dub was very disappointing, it really ruined a wonderful movie. 

I made me thinking all morning. I wonder how many occasions that I let others speak for me. With their interpretation of who they thought I was, or what they thought I said. I would be pretty upset if I were portrayed as someone that I am not. 

And then, what about learning a new language and trying to communicate with people who are natives of that language. Without knowing, I would be making mistakes (many mistakes) that would make me want to hide for the rest of my life. 

I have to consider this next time when I'm reading or watching foreign made movies or books that are translated. I also have to be careful not to misinterpretate when I'm translating for others. I also hope that I could learn to speak with my own voice in the languages that I use daily. 

So please, please, if you ever watch this movie, Don't watch 2010 version. The above site also said that 2010 version of English Sub is of English dub, so no point in watching that. 

I don't like to give a bad review, but it's my favorite movie that I think English speakers should also enjoy... but with a better translation. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Storytelling with Pictures

My husband did a wonderful job to plan an awesome week for this year's March break. I've already posted about another activity we did in town.

Today's post is about a family trip to Great Wolf Lodge.

The wait  at the border was short
Great Wolf  Lodge in Traverse city in Michigan.

An awesome room with a loft. We loved it!

A BIG bear and A-chan

L-chan the story teller

MagiQuest was fun!

Also  went to Grand Traverse Mall. We  got some great finds :)

On the way back from our trip my kids all fell asleep.

I think they are dreaming about how fun we had this week!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A connection: Margaret Atwood and Sault Ste. Marie

Today's connection is about books---the must read books that most high school students read in English speaking country (so I'm told) One of the things that I listed to help with my English was to read more books. (see the list here: my language goal.)  My first blog post back in January, I mentioned that I keep coming across the thing that I read in books?  I made a connection like that yesterday between Margaret Atwood and books that I recently read and also with city of Sault Ste. Marie.

Well, first of all, here is why Margaret Atwood caught my eye. Recently when I signed up for Twitter, it asked to follow well-known people. It gave you the list of people to follow, right? I casually thought, I have heard of her, so I chose to follow Margaret Atwood, the Canadian Author.

Several month ago, I first discovered her (later I realized that wasn't the first time I encountered her) when L-chan brought a book home from school library.

As we read this book together, I thought to myself, this is a picture book not only for kids but for adult. I read about the Author and learned she is Canadian. (I still didn't know who she was.)

Then, just like on Twitter the other day, and on TV program I keep seeing her name. Yesterday I went to Library to check out some books, and I was at "A" section and saw her name again. I wanted to read her novels, so I got one along with other books.

Then at night, when I was checking something online, I saw Margret Atwood's retweet on Utopia,
and A link led me to the other and the other and I read to  this article . I read George Orwell "Politics and the English Language" 1946 recently, so reading this was interesting. Wikipedia article about Margret Atwood says that in Early life section:

Due to her father’s ongoing research in forest entomology, Atwood spent much of her childhood in the backwoods of Northern Quebec and traveling back and forth between OttawaSault Ste. Marie, and Toronto. 

I highlighted entomology because my son wanted to become an entomologist, and I knew what it was when I read it (K-kun's interest has changed now) and I was pleasantly surprised to find Sault Ste. Marie mentioned---because that's where I have lived for last 8 years and where I'm living now! By reading her political involvement, I realized that that was my first time hearing her name.

So, I had fun reading about her last night, and today I started reading one of her books called "The Penelopiad" I don't know if next time I will take this much time to write about my finding connection experiences, but I just love these moments when I find something that I thought I didn't know at all, then things starting to make sense as I recall... Another example of this is French. I thought I didn't study French at school therefore I know nothing, but now with little study of the language structure, reading in  French start to make sense! I also had an exciting moment when I heard little Indian boys (from India) talking amongst themselves in their language, and I heard something I understood. I said something back to them what I thought I heard, and their expression was so precious!

Thank you for reading again!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bushplane Museum Fun!

It's Spring break here this week. My husband had something planned for kids everyday of the week. Today's plan was to visit Bushplane Museum!

I had been inside before, but this was my first time going with the kids and looking around the exhibits. 

M-chan had a great time running around. A huge space that she is not used to see!
This  flight simulator was fun!

L-chan the pilot.

K-kun looking at the screen to search a forest fire. 

T-kun's turn to be co-pilot.
This is only the entrance area. So much more to see!

 A future astronaut?

It was more than displays that we got to go in, there were 2 short movies (one was 3D) that I really enjoyed. 

It was so much fun! (and not crowded at all as you can see!)

The best part was that we didn't have to travel far! It was close to M-chan's naptime, so I was afraid that she might get fussy, but she was as happy as the other kids. Even if she gotten fussy, there were plenty room for everyone, and wouldn't have bothered anyone at all.

Now I know more about bushplane heritage and forest fire. I felt like I'm a local now.

3.11 Japan Earthquake

I'm struggling to find the right words to say about 2 year anniversary of Japan Earthquake. I want to say the right thing. I'm aware that there are still many people in temporal housing, and suffering from traumatic experience. It's definitely not about my Show and Tell to say "look at what I have done to help support rebuilding effort." but I thought the picture above remind me what I did 2 years ago to try and find something my young children could do for the children in the affected area.

The first year after the disaster, I followed the news daily to find out more about what people are doing to , but I didn't follow much of the news this past year. I wonder what I could have done more and how. What I'm going to do now this year?

There are so much more to learn from this disaster. It caused many people's lives. I will not forget that.


I was so excited tonight to watch the Brier final! It was an awesome game!

I haven't played curling, but made me want to try it someday. My husband played curling many years, and his family plays too. Maybe my kids will play too.
The principle of the school that my kids go to, are the uncle of these Harnden brothers. My husband played curling at Soo Curler's, so he knows them. This is amazing news for Saultlites. Can't wait to see them play in the World Championship.


(updated on March 25) Check it out. Team Jacobs Facebook page!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Piano Practice (Level 3) Videos!!

Today, I'm going to share my piano practice videos! 

I still have to practice a lot more as you can see (I mean, hear, ah, both). Putting these up here when they're not really recital ready kind of makes me nervous, but I have to get used to share things as they are. And I've come so far since the beginning. (I posted my history in Music on the page.)

I'm so nervous (I've been working on this post for 2-3days now.) so I asked K-kun if I can post his practice video as well. This piece he is playing is what the piano teacher put together for K-kun for the end of the year recital. He is familiar with the each pieces, but this is the first part of the new arrangement. This is taken right after the piano lesson and it's his 2nd time looking at this 5 page music.  (sorry the recorded sound is not good...I should retake it, since he plays really well.)

I will be practicing other songs for the recital in June. I will write more about them when it gets closer!

Thank you for watching (listening)!

Monday, March 4, 2013

3 Sisters on Girl's Day Party

I still can't believe it's over! Since lady's luncheon in January, I had been worried and busy planning to have this Girl's day party that I invited neighbors over. I'm so proud to say that it was a huge success! 6 ladies were able to come, plus my mother-in-law; I think everyone had a great time. I had a great time sharing my home, family and culture. 

 Girl's day in 2013 Picture update.

3 Sisters!

M-chan's 2nd Girl's day.

A-chan always have a big smile for the camera!
Side by side comparison of me as a baby (on the left) and M-chan (my youngest girl) on right. 

After the party :) 

Party planning can be stressful with small children especially when I'm worried about impressing the guests.Then I came across this blog called Pepper Lynn Loving people through food, and reading her story has inspired me to "let go of myself and bring family, friends, and strangers together over a shared meal."  (quoted from her blog)

The preparation for the party was well worth it, and I was so glad that at the time when everyone gathered, I was able to focus on what's most important---having a good time and celebrate Girl's day... (young or old!)

For those who interested in refreshments that I served today, here is the pictures that I remembered to take before the party. Fruits kabobs, rice crackers, pretzels, Pockey (Japanese chocolate covered pretzels), chocolate covered cherries, cupcakes, 3 kinds of cookies; vanilla, lemon and cinnamon shortbread, sour bunnies to add some pastel colors. The drink was peach juice since peach blossom is a part of Hinamatsuri theme.

Thank you my blog readers for letting me share with you my love for this Japanese celebration. It really brought everyone together; My children, my family in Japan, my family-in-law in Canada, local friends, online friends, new friends, old friends, neighbors and strangers. 

Now, my boys are certainly looking forward to Boys day Celebration on May 5th! It's going to be different since my boys are older. That's going to be my next challenge :)

BTW, today is March 4th. March Forth, everyone! :) 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Have I Done Any Good In the World Today?

This Music video caught my eye today.  

(I know this post might not be for everyone, especially if you are not familiar with this hymn. I want you to know that I have been raised in the church, and hymns have a special part in my daily life.)

Alex Boye said in this video (starting at 1:30 to 1:50)  about the lyric of the hymn "Have I done any good in the world today"... the world is not just America, but it's all and every part of the world... and because my family is from Nigeria and I wanted to put little part of that in, because it's a part of me"

That's exactly what I was thinking today. I often say that "I want to share my ideas with the world", but the world I'm talking about is still vague. I'm not a world traveler, and many of the languages spoken in the world are still foreign to me. There are many parts of the world I don't know very well. Watching the news helps but it only shows a little part of that country and sometimes the information presented to us are not always accurate. I can think of the time when I saw a Canadian broadcaster was talking about the debris from Japan after the Earthquake were washed up on the shore of Canadian west coast. The camera showed the pictures of a milk carton and I instantly thought "That's not Japanese!" It was written in Chinese characters, but it wasn't Japanese.

I still don't know what I write here actually help anyone to know Japanese culture. After I wrote about Setsubun (bean throwing ceremony), I read more about Setsubun. The more I read and the more confused I got because I thought it was celebrated in the same way all around Japan, but it very much differs in different parts of Japan.

But what I want to share today is this. I shouldn't wait until that I know everything, and be able to  say the things the right way. I want to be a part of the big world now. I used to feel the pain in my heart because I don't "fit in", but really, that was my excuse. I perfectly fit in.

If you watch the video (the first part is making of the video, and the rest is the music) he says more things about the song.

1. Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.
2. There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.
“223: Have I Done Any Good?,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 223
Text and music: Will L. Thompson, 1847–1909, alt.

 (I wrote this 3 days ago. I wanted to polish my writing, but I guess I will never share anything if I took too long to think about it.)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Girl's Day Origami Craft (Fan)

Pretty much everything I shared on here, my daughter took to school, (she didn't take the hina doll set, of course! but I sent in the pictures). I wasn't thinking about sending anything more to school. I just sent cute origami hearts for valentine's day for L-chan's classmates, I don't want to overdo it, right?

But, then I saw a class calender for March that L-chan brought home from school. Her teacher (very thoughtful!) put Japanese Girl's day on the calender on March 3rd! Oh wow! Now the parents will be wondering what they were learning about Japanese girl's day. I wish I had more time to prepare for it, or communicated with her teacher to set a day to come to do a presentation, but I trust that L-chan can do her own show and tell; I decided last minutes to make something girly for her friends at school.

So, that's what you are seeing in the picture above. I made these fans from the instruction I found on The card is printed from I hope this helps for anyone looking for something to make for Hinamatsuri this weekend.

L-chan took some of my scrapbooking pages from Japan trip when she was 1, when she first saw this hina doll set. (see my previous post with pictures of Hina dolls), and some more crafts from, and coloring pages from other sites. (If you need more ideas, hiraganamama has a tons of resources all in one place!)

If you are wondering, Japanese Boy's day is on May 5th. I promised that I would send in something special for the boys in L-chan's class on that day.

Hopefully, you aren't tired of hearing all about Hinamatsuri (Girl's day), since I might post one more about it after the weekend. I hope I shared some fun ideas especially if you have a daughter, a niece, friends, neighbors, a sister, a cousin...and  just have fun celebrating Girl's day (March 3rd) in Japanese style!

Sunshine and Solar Powered (toy) Car

It's March 1st, and the outside looks beautiful with rays of sunshine!

This is for my husband, who is very passionate about anything solar, renewable energy etc. Five minutes before this video was taken, the sunshine was not strong enough to start the car. After a several minutes after this shot, the sun was high enough, and angle was right to give so much power, the car fell off the window sill. So this was the perfect shot :)

We still have a LOT of snow on the ground (and on our solar panels), and I don't expect to go away soon, but I feel the spring is on its way. 

(added on March 8th--- My husband was able to shovel and melt all the snow off the solar panels the other day. It's been sunny last couple of days, and so good to know that our solar panels are generating power again.)