November 30, 2007


Posted by Picasa

My daddy passed away on November 20, 2007. He was 81. He was a good daddy and grandaddy, an inventor, a storyteller, and, at one time, a soldier. He never said much about his days as a soldier in WWII. I read recently that his regiment liberated over 80 concentration camps. I also recently learned that he had been awarded the Bronze Star twice. I chose this picture to post to honor him and those who fought in WWII. Here he is at 20 years old with some buddies in Paris. He is on the left. He was fortunate to go on to have a good long life.

Not many pictures were taken of him over the years. A picture of him in the porch swing telling tales would have been a nice way to honor him, too. He is missed.

I returned to Tokyo on November 28th. I will start posting again after the new year. Until then, look back through the archives for seasonal posts.

November 10, 2007


What does that stand for? Gone to Texas!! Look it up to find the historical significance.

Sorry I haven't posted, but I've been in Texas since Nov. 2nd because of a family emergency. And sorry some of the pictures aren't showing up. I'll fix it when I return to Japan.

October 31, 2007

Persimmon Jack O'Lanterns

There was a time when we couldn't buy orange pumpkins here. So, we used persimmons to make jack-o-lanterns. Persimmons are smaller and softer and easier to carve. Here's how we do it.

I (the mom) cut off the top. Even when the persimmon is ripe, the fruit is a little difficult to spoon out. I cut around the outer edge and then through the center twice. Big Sister and Little Brother scoop out and eat the fruit. Then they cut a face in the sides. When they were younger, they used toothpicks instead of knives or pumpkin carving kits.

We stick a meditation or prayer candle in the center. It's possible for the candle to stand on its own if it is pushed down into the bottom of the fruit.

Posted by Picasa

Here are some meditation candles. These are really short. They burn for 5 minutes. I put some coins around them so you can tell how small they are. There is a coin from Korea, Japan, France, Mexico, Canada, Malaysia, the U.S., and the Philippines. Click on the picture to enlarge it. I couldn't find any other foreign coins. I know I have more somewhere.

You probably can't find meditation or prayer candles in your neighborhood. You could use birthday candles, but have an adult cut them into small pieces. Would that work? In any case, this is something to do with an adult. Never light candles without an adult with you.

October 30, 2007

Japanese Pumpkin

This is kabocha. It is translated as Japanese pumpkin. It is really a squash.

They are really hard. It is difficult to cut them! I usually buy them like this. This piece is 159 yen. I didn't check the price on the whole ones. I haven't seen whole kobocha in the fields or vegetable stands around here.

Posted by Picasa

October 27, 2007

Small Building Near The Great Buddha

The sign on this building says that it is used for security. Papa thinks somebody sits in there to watch the grounds of the Great Buddha. Good thing I didn't go peep through the window!! It looked abandoned.

Here is the drain pipe.

A broom hangs on the side.
Posted by Picasa

October 26, 2007

Sakura Medal Picture Book Nominees

The Sakura Medal nominees have been posted on some of the participating international school websites. Books of Japan residents, Naomi Kojima and John Shelley, have been nominated. Naomi Kojima wrote and illustrated Singing Shijimi Clams published by Kane/Miller. John Shelley illustrated The Boat in the Tree written by Tim Wynne-Jones and published by Front Street Books.

Sakura Medal Picture Book Nominees

Sakura Chapter Book Nominees

Sakura Medal Middle School Book Nominees

Sakura Medal High School Japanese Book Nominees

Sakura Medal High School English Book Nominees

October 23, 2007

What AreThese?

Windows in the back of Buddha.

Daibutsu, the Great Buddha of Kamakura, is hollow and is big enough for visitors to walk inside.

People going in and coming out.

Posted by Picasa

Detail of The Great Buddha of Kamakura

According to the pamphlet, this round disk is a symbol of wisdom.

Posted by Picasa

The curl on the forehead "emits rays of light revealing all worlds."

Posted by Picasa

This is a meditative pose.

Posted by Picasa

October 22, 2007

Monorail in Kamakura

After giving the kitties away, we went to Kamakura.

Posted by Picasa

October 21, 2007

Yokohama Manhole Cover

Kitten Give-Away


If you're following this blog, you know that we rescued four little kittens on 9-11. We decided we could keep two kittens. Two needed homes. How did we decide which kittens to keep? Little Brother picked his favorite, an American Shorthair, from the very first day they came to our house. That little kitten had her favorite-- her brother who looked just like her.

Our vet posted the pictures of the black kitten and the gray kitten with white socks on the internet. Both of them are really cute and sweet. A couple living in Yokohama saw their pictures and drove all the way to our neighborhood to meet them at the vet's office.

Two other families wanted to have an appointment to see them, too. We chose the young couple from Yokohama because they wanted to have both kittens. We were very happy that the two sisters could stay together!

We drove to Yokohama to deliver the kittens but also to see if we still agreed to let the couple have them. The vet told us not to let them have the kittens if we didn't like their apartment or them. Their place was very small but they will move to a big place soon.

They had bought a big cage with three levels for them. (They will have to stay in a cage a little while each day until they are older.) They also bought them a fancy water dish. It circulates the water. The kittens drank in it before we left. We felt happy that we found them a good home and good people.

Posted by Picasa

Here are the four kittens with our two dogs. Papa said there would be no place for us to sit when the cats got bigger! That was already true. See Little Brother lying on the floor?

October 20, 2007

Richard Tulloch's Visit

Richard Tulloch, an Australian author and playwright, came to Japan to visit international schools. He came to visit our Tokyo chapter of SCBWI, Society of Children's Book Writers. He read from his book, Stories From Our House. Note his expression. He reads books well.

He then performed his book, The Brown Felt Hat. The brown felt hat performed as well. (That blur was caused by the hat telling its side of the story.)

Posted by Picasa

Here we all were after he performed Cocky Colin. As you can tell, his stories are all lively and fun. He is a great performer!

Posted by Picasa

Richard Tulloch's Books

Here are a few of Richard Tulloch's books. He also writes plays and television programs like "Bananas in Pajamas".

Here is a copy of Bananas in Pajamas in Thai. And a copy of The Brown Felt Hat. Sorry about the glare.

Here are the Tokyo SCBWI advisors with Richard Tulloch. They are holding some of his books. John Shelley, Holly Thompson, Richard Tulloch, and Naomi Kojima. Keiko Okamoto was busy taking the admission fee at the door. Thank you advisors for setting up this great event! If you ever have the chance to see Richard Tulloch perform, do it. It's a lot of fun!
Posted by Picasa