Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Making Plans

Can I show you something?

This is why we send Sebastian to school. I may have some hesitation about his school and schooling in general but I have no doubts about giving him the chance to work with and love other children. And, he's learning a whole heck of a lot of Japanese these days as well which is the primary reason for his regular attendance.
At home though we are building a Montessori environment. It is not easy. I work full-time and Jason has his hands full with the boys and keeping up with the household duties (though lately it has been more about keeping up with the presidential campaign). I want to make most of the materials because I believe in craft over consumerism (also, it is a tad cheaper) and found some really cool sites like:
Homeschool Resources
Montessori Materials
Montessori Mom
Montessori for Everyone
And, the flickr group: Handmade Montessori Materials

All that aside, there are some items at Kid Advance Montessori that I would really prefer to buy since they would be study and durable such as a pink tower, a movable alphabet, dressing boards, and number rods. I know I could make these things but they would be out of cardboard and paper and not as effective for the kids in the long run (ahem, hint hint doting family members thinking of holiday gifts for two particular boys).

But, speaking of cardboard, I came across this over at Uniform Studio. Jason had quite a fixation with cardboard furniture a few years ago but nothing came of it. Now though we have something to do with our upcoming 3 day weekend. And luckily Friday is cardboard recycling day so we can raid other people's discarded stash.
Something else we may be trying this weekend, this chandelier. Isn't it amazing? And Sebastian's origami skills are soaring so it is something we can do together.

I also hope to finally finish some pants for the boys and my dress(es). It is my plan to make quite a few of the dresses from the 'Adult Couture Stylish Dress Book' (ISBN 978-4-579-11185-5) that Melissa mentioned. I really don't have much of a choice since I purposely didn't buy many clothes on my last visit to the city with the intention that I would force myself to sew my clothes. Of course, I also forget to factor time or the lack of it into my schemes. But this weekend we have three days with no school activities or other commitments (besides for visiting the Mister Donut that recently reopened in the now defunct City Mall-which was actually just a supermarket with a few restaurants, an atm machine, and a 100 yen shop on the second floor). 3 days, my friends. Of course that is peanuts compared to what awaits me in December: 22 days off. Paid. Think of all the dresses and origami and cardboard stools we could make then. Oh, the possibilities.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This one's for you, America

Today we voted for change. We voted against a narrow definition of marriage. We voted for tax exemptions for those who install energy saving devices on their homes as well as giving a break to waterfront property owners who use their property for fishing or boating businesses instead of building condos. We voted against a congressman whom we have voted against before.
These past weeks have been full of conversations regarding our citizenry. What it means to be an expat. How much we hope and pray that our vote will join that of the majority and that this time, the majority will rule. This election means so much to people all over the world but I must think that it means the most to my generation, those of us who entered adulthood with Bush, 9/11, and the war. Those of us who grew up expecting a different America only to be shocked to discover that the principles of freedom and democracy had somehow escaped our grasp. It is up to us to reclaim our country, to revive those sacred principles, with liberty and justice for all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


So, it is a little strange to go on a weekend hike looking for changing leaves and find cherry blossoms instead. It's been a little warm here lately.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty

With all the talk around the globe about the crumbling economy and how it affects the hard working middle class, I think it is time to consider how these set-backs are affecting the working poor. So many times, people hold the misconception that poor people are that way due to laziness or lack of motivation. And yet what if you are just in a situation where there are no opportunities, where all the exit doors are boarded up? This year's Blog Action Day is focusing on poverty at such an appropriate time in our history. With oil prices being at record heights, it forces the price of fuel for commuting to work and heating homes beyond the affordability of many who haven't seen their income adjusted to meet the new demands. Food prices are on the rise since transportation and production of food is so reliant on petroleum. Into this mix, add the newest failures of the market economy and it spells disaster for people all over the world. From this, we must consider what direction we will take. Hopefully, this "one" will get elected and take heed of this advice. Regardless of politics, we must do something to create positive change in our world. In light of this, I am inviting anyone who is interested to join me in creating a Kiva lending team. It doesn't take much but it can help tremendously. Please email me or leave a comment if you are interested. Together, we can make a difference. Thank you.

For more ideas on how to help:
Stand Up Against Poverty
Global Call to Action Against Poverty
Heifer International

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fukue Minato Matsuri

A smaller version of the famous festival in Aomori, Fukue began the nebuta (lantern float) parade in 1977. The floats here have local themes besides for the traditional themes seen in Aomori including a Japanese pirate boat. Every float has some element of the Camilla flower here, the blossom Fukue is famous for.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

From the Kindergarten Parade

As part of the festival, all the kindys on the island were in the parade honoring the island's Chinese heritage. I posted photos from the parade on flickr. I sent Jason and Sebastian out to the festival tonight as Nico's asleep on my lap as I type this. More photos coming soon.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sports Day

I posted the photos from Sports Day over on the good ol' flickr account. It was a full and fun day. Events like these are really important in the whole scheme of schooling so this was a good introduction for our family. I'm sure the memory of forcing the white beret onto Sebastian's crying head will fade by next year when I have to do it again. After that, I promise you, he had a ball.