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!