A month or so back, when we were all recovering from the flu, we found ourselves watching some lovely anime films by Studio Ghibli. My Neighbour Totoro, Whisper of the Heart, The Cat Returns, Kiki’s Delivery Service…. to name a few. They are whimsical, charming, and all round fascinating to watch, enjoyed as much by the mama as the littles.

So…. following along on this family interest, as well as Elijah’s relatively newfound love of Pokemon, the mama decided we should embrace Japan. We have been reading lovely stories by Allen Say, as well as looking at a variety of other sources of information. It has all been very interesting, and I am learning a lot that I never knew, with the littles coming along for the ride.

We have been lucky enough to find three great books at our library’s “buy a book” rack which were filled with ideas for projects and activities that tie in to Japan’s culture, past and present. Seredipity at it’s finest, when the very subject you are filling your days with lands in your lap in abundance.

So far, (as there is more in the works) in addition to reading and watching the Japan section of BBC’s “Around the world in 80 wonders” we have….

…woven Tatami mats (out of scrapbook paper instead of plant fiber). These are the mats used on the floor in traditional Japanese homes. Ours were smaller, and will be used as placemats instead.

…painted on our Buddha Board, to practice the zen art of being in the moment, instead focussed on the outcome (the image disappears in a few minutes as the water dries)

…practiced rolling (and of course, eating!) California rolls.

…learned (or attempted to learn) to eat with chopsticks. (we found sets of sushi dishes and chopsticks at the Take-it-or-Leave-it, also known as my personal unschooling lending library….)

..attempted to do some Japanese writing of our names.

…added a little bit of cherry blossom decor to our upstairs hallway.

And that’s just the beginning.

Of course there’s also been creek jumping, mud playing, acorn in the backyard planting, light-brighting, lego building, and doll caring. There have been library visits, BBC Planet Earth DVD’s, and learning to spell (and write) the 50 most commonly used words in the English language.

There has been rock painting, drawing, and reading stories together until Mama’s voice is hoarse. Othello, Connect 4, Chess, Clue, Labrynth and Candyland have all been played this week as well. Elijah has learned to make (and flip) pancakes.

And the best of it all, is that it is all just the beginning.

And at the end of the day, when a tired mama gets to go out and drink a Pumpkin Spice Steamer while talking to a soul-sister, well…

it just might be the loveliest of moments.

One response »

  1. Well, we are Studio Ghibli crazy in our house! Have you seen Ponyo yet? And I have always been obsessed with Japan! I love this post, so much amazing stuff going on in your lives.

    I love the last photo, your shoe is beautiful!

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