japan tsunami relief fundraiser

the saskatoon japanese association would like to announce that we will be fundraising for japan tsunami relief at the saskatoon farmer’s market on saturday march 26th and saturday april 9th.

100% of all donations will go to the japanese red cross. everyone making a donation will be given a small Japanese gift as a sign of our appreciation.

our fundraising booth will be open from 8am to 2pm, march 26th and april 9th, at the farmer’s market, 414 Avenue B south, in saskatoon.  we’ll be giving away japanese gifts such as paper crane, calligraphy and book marks etc.  i’ll be there most of the day.

i designed this poster for this cause in hopes that people will rebuild their lives and dreams with help from society and rise again.  i’d like to thank proprint for kindly printing the posters and the flyers for no charge.

hope to see you tomorrow.

computer arts project magazine interview

i was interviewed by charlotte river from a british magazine called computer arts project.  she interviewed six international artists including myself.  she sent me many questions via email.  she edited it for her article.  i’m happy about my drawings that she chose to show.

i think you can still buy this issue at bookstores.

today’s elijah :: school play at japanese school

elijah started to go to the japanese school here in saskatoon since september last year.  the class takes place every sunday morning for two hours.  elijah is in the preschool class and i help out as a teacher’s aide.  i make materials and do some drawings for them.

we had a school play day at the end of march.  elijah’s class did a traditional russian story called “the great big turnip“.  for this play, i painted the background image.

there are six characters in this story — grandpa, grandma, grandchild, dog, cat, and mouse.  we have 8 kids in our class, so we told them to pick the role they like and we could have two of the same character.

everyone picked a character except elijah.  at that point, all the roles were taken.  so we told him that he can be any character he wants.  so he picked…

an elephant.

「ぞうさんに、な、り、た〜い!(i want to be an elephant!!)」

he said that out loud standing on his chair.

then, he told me the day before the play that there is no elephant in the story…

too late, elijah!!

ame nimo makezu

ame nimo makezu, by kenji miyazawa

not losing to the rain

not losing to the rain
not losing to the wind
not losing to the snow or to the heat of the summer
with a strong body
unfettered by desire
never losing temper
cultivating a quiet joy
every day four bowls of brown rice
miso and some vegetables to eat
in everything
count yourself last and put others before you
watching and listening, and understanding
and never forgetting
in the shade of the woods of the pines of the fields
being in a little thatched hut
if there is a sick child to the east
going and nursing over them
if there is a tired mother to the west
going and shouldering her sheaf of rice
if there is someone near death to the south
going and saying there’s no need to be afraid
if there is a quarrel or a suit to the north
telling them to leave off with such waste
when there’s drought, shedding tears of sympathy
when the summer’s cold, walk in concern and empathy
called a blockhead by everyone
without being praised
without being blamed
such a person
I want to become

(translation from wiki)

nina simone :: my baby just cares for me

it was probably not a good idea to go on a bicycle ride yesterday — it was sunny, but cool and very windy.  we wanted to try out our chariot, the bike carrier, for the first time this summer.

now elijah and i have a cold.

his nose was running and i was coughing all afternoon today.  elijah noticed that i wasn’t feeling well.

he asked me ::

イライジャ 「ママ、どうしたの?どうした?」

ママ 「ママ、ちょっと、喉が痛いよ」

イライジャ 「チューしてあげる」

(喉にキスと撫ぜ撫ぜ)

イライジャ 「もう大丈夫になった?」

ママ 「もう大丈夫だよ」

elijah: “what’s the matter, mama?  what’s the matter?”

mama: “my throat hurts a bit, mama.”

elijah: “(i’ll) give you a kiss.”

(gives me a kiss on my throat and pets me)

elijah: “has (it) got better now?”

mama: “i’m okay now.”

he was super-sweet and i didn’t want to miss this sweet opportunity.

so i asked him ::

ママ 「ママ、目も痛いよ。チューしてください。」

イライジャ (チュッ)

ママ 「右のほっぺも痛いです。」

イライジャ (チュッ)

ママ 「左も」

イライジャ (笑って) 「痛くないよ~。もう、大丈夫だよ~。」

(笑いながら走って逃げる)

mama: “mama, my eyes hurt, too.  please give me a kiss”

elijah: (kiss)

mama: “my right cheek hurts too”

elijah: (kiss)

mama “left one, too”

elijah: (laugh) “(it) doesn’t hurt!  (you’re) all right now.”

(ran away, laughing)

once in awhile, having a cold isn’t too bad.

today’s elijah :: happy setsubun 2009

oni panda

three years ago on setsubun day (february 3rd), i debuted as an oni for the first time.  this year, panda-san volunteered to become oni!  initially i tried to put the plastic oni mask onto elijah — silly me.  elijah said a definite “no!” and threw the mask away like trash, running out of the room laughing with victory.  i grabbed him and tried again but he went limp and slipped through my arms.  

setsubun

i made some maki-sushi with tofu and vegetables.  elijah skillfully peeled off the nori and ate the rice and tofu.  you’re supposed to eat as many roasted soybeans as your age but they were too crunchy for him.  so i made cooked soybeans instead for easy digestion.  

setsubun

“who is this man anyway?”

setsubun

“ah~, panda-san!”

img_9803

happy setsubun!

today’s elijah :: 1+1+1+1+1+1=elijah

today, elijah is one year, one month, one week, one day, one hour, and one minute old.


june 8th, 2008.  a minute after he was born…

1 month

2 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

6 months

7 months

8 months

9 months

10 months

11 months

12 months

i’ve been having an awesome time playing with elijah.  we play all day from dawn til nightfall.  he’s running around all the time.  and he’s started saying a few words that i can understand.

elijah loves spending time outside.  he’s always running up to the screen door and trying to push it open.  i have to keep it locked so he doesn’t get out on his own.   if i ask him ‘out?’, he bangs on the door and say ‘ahhtoh~, ahhtoh~’.  if i say ‘shoes’ he goes to the entranceway and grabs his sandals, even if i don’t gesture or point.  once we get ready to go, he is so proud to step out of the doorway on his own.

we go to a park a few blocks up the street from our house almost every day.  he runs around on the grass pulling out the dandelions, saying, ‘ahwuh~, ahwuh~’ (‘flower’).  he likes to break open the seeds of the dandelions after they go white.  he points at dogs we meet, saying ‘dahh~, dahh~!!’ very loudly.  he’s always noticing birds flying in the sky or sitting on the grass in the park.  whenever he spots a bird, he points at it and says, ‘burrrrr! burrrr!’ and looks to make sure i notice it too.

at home,  he tries to dig around in everything possible.  he takes a bunch of stuff out of a dresser drawer, then puts it back in, he repeats the process many times, non-stop.  he goes into the food pantry and brings me a box of something (usually the box of brita water filters).  he climbs up on the low buffet table and presses all the buttons on the phone and answering machine.  he’s always erasing all the messages and recording his own chatty voice as the answering machine message.   he always wants to play with the non-baby items in the house: the phone (he likes the real phone more than his toy phone), the computer, the stereo, any remote control.  a couple of times he’s been playing with the stereo buttons when there’s music playing and suddenly turned the volume knob all the way to maximum. that made him cry with surprise.

he wants to feed himself all the time.  he pushes away the spoon if anyone tries to give him a bite.  he’s not that interested in most finger foods like cheerios anymore.  he wants to eat with a fork or spoon, even though he makes a big mess.  his favorite food right now is apple pieces.  he knows the word ‘apple’ and can say it clearly when he sees a photo of an apple, or a drawing of an apple, or a pile of apples in the grocery store.  after the meal he brushes his teeth.  of course, he wants to do it himself.

he is climbing up and down from things.  he knows the word ‘up’ and asks us to pick him up or take him somewhere.   he’ll ask other people to pick him up sometimes, like the cashier at the grocery store.  when he says ‘up’ he holds his arms straight up towards us and twists his hands back and forth as fast as he can.  now that he can get up on so many things (the low coffee table, the small armchair, the bench near the window, not to mention the stairs), we’ve been teaching him how to get down safely.  he knows to turn on his stomach and gradually go backwards so his feet touch the floor first.  he does this getting down from our bed (it’s a tall bed), even though he has to fall a bit before his feet hit the floor.  he says ‘dahh’ (‘down’) when he’s doing this technique.

when he wants to hear a story, he takes all his books out of the cupboard and brings them to me one by one.  when i tap on my thigh, he crawls onto my lap and i read him stories. his favorite books right now are: ‘don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!‘, ‘don’t let the pigeon stay up late‘, ‘DOG‘, ‘bossy bear‘, ‘tamahiyo doubutsu‘, ‘tamahiyo misete‘, ‘dr. seuss’s abc‘ and mama’s japanese novels.  he likes it when we say lines from his favorite books at other times during the day, like when i’ll do the pigeon’s voice saying “first of all, i’m not even tired… in fact, i’m in the mood for a hot dog party!!”

i read ‘dr. seuss’s abc’ to him before he goes to bed.  his favorite character is ‘itchy itchy ichabod’.  sometimes i can only manage to read till the letter B before he starts saying  ‘oppa~, oppa~’ (‘oppai’, the japanese word for breast/breast milk)’ and putting his arm inside my shirt to grab onto my oppai.  he does that in public sometimes, so i have to be careful i’m not on parade.

after breastfeeding, it’s time for bed.  he starts sleeping in his crib every night now.  he usually wakes up a couple of times before coming to bed with us early in the morning.   he likes to start the day early, like at 6:30 or even 5:15, so i have to get some sleep to get ready for the next big day.


13 months

today’s elijah :: children’s day!

the fifth of may is a japanese holiday called ‘kodomo no hi‘ (children’s day). the holiday used to be called ‘boy’s day’, but the government decided to rename it children’s day to celebrate the happiness of all children. we still celebrate boys on this day since there is a girl’s day on the third of march.

for boy’s day, we raise a carp flag (koi nobori) and display dolls in samurai armor. one of the dolls represent ‘kintaro‘. kintaro was raised in the mountains by his mother. kintaro rides a bear instead of a horse. the animals of the forest became his friends due to his gentle nature. eventually kintaro joins up with a Samurai clan and helps to defeat a gang of demons. kintaro is a symbol of a healthy and strong boy.

i don’t have carp flags or the dolls yet, so i made an origami kabuto and jinbei kimono for elijah. i happened to have a kintaro bib. i tried to put a paper origami kabuto on his head, but he ate it. here he is on his rocking moose.

i hope he had fun on his first boy’s day. or maybe he’s sick of being a model…