<   2010年 12月 ( 4 )   > この月の画像一覧

クリスマス前夜 The Night Before Christmas

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日本はもうサンタさんが来ましたね。カリフォルニアにはこれから、ドラゴン、気合いを入れて(?)寝入ることでしょう。

なんだかのんびりしたクリスマス・イブです。それもそのはず。旦那さんがキッチンで腕を振るっているのです。毎日クリスマス・イブだといいな〜。

数年前、chiezoさんがくれた飛び出す絵本、驚くほどよくできていて、見るたびに感動です。ちょっとお裾分けを。では、メリークリスマス!

I suppose Japan has been visited by Santa now. He hasn’t come to California yet. I’m sure dragon will go to bed vigorously (?) tonight.

Somehow I’m spending a very relaxed Christmas Eve. Oh, yes. My husband is in the kitchen now, vigorously working on our dinner. I hope everyday is Christmas Eve.

This pop-up book was given to us by chiezo-san several years ago. It is amazingly well done. There hasn’t been a time I don’t get mesmerized when I open the book. I wanted to share some of the pages with you. Merry Christmas!!
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by danceofdragon | 2010-12-25 11:33

読書の冬? Winter, Best Season for Reading?

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「うちの子、本ばかり読んで困るのよ。少しは遊んでくれないかしらねぇ。」

こんな悩みとは全く無縁の私。ところが、ここのところ少し変化が出てきました。

自分が子供の頃あまり本を読まなかった後悔から、ドラゴンには当然たくさん本を読んでほしいと思います。手を変え品を変え、ドラゴンに本を読ませようと試みては空しい思いをしてきましたが、気がつくと、ここ1年くらい続いていることがあります。それは1日15分くらいの親子読書タイム。ドラゴンと私が1章ずつ交互に声を出して読むことから始めました。

最初に選んだのは、少年向けシリーズ「Five Ancestors(5人の先祖)」(著者はJeff Stone)、虎、猿、鶴、蛇、鷹、龍、それぞれの動物のスタイルに秀でたカンフーの達人が、17世紀の中国を悪者から救うという話です。ドラゴンが習っているスタイルと同じカンフー・アクションが満載だし、登場人物が同じくらいの年齢だし、期待してしまうというものです。

全部で7巻の長編(写真には6冊しかありませんが)。最初はかなりのスローペース。1冊読むのに1ヶ月以上はかかったと思います。ところが4冊目を読んでいた頃、信じられないことが起こりました。ドラゴンが先を待てなくなり、自分で続きを読み始めたのです(もちろん黙読で)。最後の3冊はあっという間に一人で読んでしまいました。しかも感情移入してて、目がウルウルになっていたこともありましたよ。

「面白ければ、こうやって自主的に読んでくれるのね〜。」

それからはドラゴンが自分で黙読する本と、私が読んで聞かせる本が別になり、並行する格好になっています。「Five Ancestors」のようにのめり込める本が見つかるだろうかとちょっと心配しましたが、運良く「パーシー・ジャクソンとオリンポスの神々」シリーズに出会えました。人間とギリシャ神話に出てくる神々の間に生まれた子供達の冒険物。シリーズの最初の3冊をグランマにもらったのがきっかけでした。ドラゴンが自分で読み始め、最初はやはりスローペースでしたが、ここに来てはまってます。しめしめ。気がつくともう第3巻が終わりそうになってる! 慌てて図書館に第4、5巻を予約、滑り込みセーフでした(^ ^;)。この調子でいろんな本を読んでくれるといいのですが。

年末の忙しさでちょっと中断している親子読書タイムですが、実は私にとってすごくいい英語の勉強になります。ドラゴンが私の変な発音やアクセントを注意してくれるし。「いやぁ〜、私ってこんなに下手な英語をしゃべってたのね〜。」と今更ながら痛感の日々。次はジャック・ロンドンの「白い牙」に挑戦するつもり。かなり高度な文体にきっと悪戦苦闘するでしょうが、頑張ってみます。

そうそう、私が今寝る前に読んでいるのは「二つの祖国」、再び山崎豊子の小説で、第二次世界大戦を舞台に、日本とアメリカという二つの国の狭間で揺れ動く日系アメリカ人の話。Virgoさん、やっぱ読み応えあるね〜!教えてくれてありがとう!

Winter, Best Season for Reading?

"All my child does is read. I wish he would play even a little."

This is something I never have to worry about. However, things are a bit different these days.

Out of regret that I didn't read much when I was a child, I, of course, hope that dragon will read as many books as possible. I tried all possible means to get him into reading, much of which vainly failed. However, there is one thing that has been going on for about a year; dragon-mommy reading time, a fifteen-minute reading together eachday. First, dragon and I took turns reading aloud one chapter of a book.

What I picked first was a series for young readers called "Five Ancestors" by Jeff Stone. It is a story about Kung Fu masters who save the 17th-century China from a bad guy. Each one has his/her own animal Kung Fu style; tiger, monkey, crane, snake, eagle and dragon. The story is full of Kung Fu action, exactly the same styles as dragon is learning and the characters are about his age. My expectation was obvious.

There are seven volumes (only six of them are in the picture). We got off to a very slow start. I think it took more than a month to finish one book. However, as we were on the fourth book, something unbelievable happened. One day, dragon could not wait to find out what happens next and started reading on his own (silently, of course). The last three books were read all at once solely by dragon. He even got emotionally involved and had teary eyes once.

"If a story is interesting enough, the rest follows voluntarily."

Since then, there have always been two books; one that dragon silently reads by himself and the other that I read to him aloud. I wondered if we would ever encounter a book like "Five Ancestors" that would get him into reading so much. Luckily there was another series, "Percy Jackson & the Olympians," featuring adventures of the children born between human and gods in Greek mythology. My mother-in-law (Grandma) gave him the first three volumes of the series. Dragon started reading it on his own, again rather slowly. Now, his pace is very fast. Good! When I realized he was already on the third book, I hastily made reservations for the last two volumes at the library. They barely made it (^ ^;). I hope he keeps up and starts reading avariety of books.

Although the dragon-mommy reading time is temporarily stopped now due to hectic days toward the end of the year, it gives me a great opportunity to learn English. Dragon also makes corrections of my strange pronunciation and accent. After all these years of studying English, I'm painfully realizing now how bad my speaking is. The next challenge will be "White Fang" by Jack London, an author of highly sophisticated writing. I'm sure it won't be easy for me but will give it a try!

Oh, do not let me forget to mention "Futatsu no Sokoku (Two Homelands)" that I'm reading in bed. It is again by Toyoko Yamasaki and about Japanese-Americans whose minds waver between two countries during the World War II. This is so much well worth reading. Thank you, Virgo-san, for letting me know about this book!!
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by danceofdragon | 2010-12-22 09:09

不二子はどこだ? Where is Fujiko?

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オーナメントになった不二子ちゃんです。
Here is Fujiko who is an ornament.
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by danceofdragon | 2010-12-21 15:14

ハロウィーン折り紙 Halloween Origami

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季節もすっかり変わり、年の瀬に向かって慌ただしい時期がやってきましたが、とっくの昔に終わったハロウィーンの話を一つ。

ドラゴンが通っていた小学校のハロウィーンのお祭りで、去年、友人Cさんが主宰したフェイス・ペインティングを手伝った話を書きました(http://dradance.exblog.jp/12301485)。やっぱり絵筆をもつのは苦手、折り紙なら得意なんだけどな、なんて思っていたら、今年はそのCさんの後押しで、なんと自分が折り紙コーナーを受け持つことになったのです。(^ ^;)

ハロウィーンの定番キャラクターの中から、こうもり、お化け、パンプキンを選び、それぞれに、小さい子向けの簡単バージョンと、高学年向けの難しいバージョンの2種類を用意しました。とここまでは簡単ですが、一番の問題は助っ人です。誰でもいいって訳じゃありません。折り紙を人に教えられる人に限定されるのですから。助っ人を集められるかに成功の鍵があると言ってもいいくらいです。

そして、運が良かったとしか思えません。まず、私の折り紙クラスの最初の教え子達4人が来てくれることになりました。ドラゴンと同じく小学校を卒業して、今や中学生になっている子達です。そして日本人仲間から、maidoさんと中学生の娘さんAちゃん、近くに住んでるmasakoさん、そしてHさんの高校生の娘さんRちゃんと強力なメンバーが揃い、ドラゴンも入れて9人のスーパーチームが出来上がりました。これで子供達が殺到しても大丈夫!実は、例の舞姫の転倒事件はこのイベントの2日前に発生したという、相変わらずスリル満点の日々でございます(^ ^;)。

営業(?)時間は夕方6時から9時まで。最初はのんびりとした感じでスタート、人が来なくて、助っ人の中学生ボーイズが宣伝役をかって出て、看板片手に呼び込みの旅に出たりしましたが、あれよあれよという間に教室が満杯に。ハロウィーンの衣装をまとった可愛い子供達が続々と入ってきます。子供達をテーブルに誘導して、助っ人さんにこの子をお願いねと確認し、込んでいるテーブルでは自分も教える側に回ってと、最後まで目の回るような忙しさでした。中学生ボーイズはさすが男の子、時々いなくなってはちゃっかり遊んでました。

どの子も楽しそうに取り組んでて、出来上がった時の嬉しそうな顔と、パパやママが目を丸くして驚いている様子に、自称「折り紙仕掛人」としては「うっしっし、これよこれよ」と笑いが止まりません。この企画を後押ししてくれたCさんにひたすら感謝です。

ところで面白い現象を2つ発見しました。1つは、子供達が3つのキャラクターを一度に折ろうとしないこと。どれか1つを選んで作っていくのです。「へぇ〜、これは予想してなかった」と一人で関心。中には何度も戻ってくる子もちらほらいて、「また来たね〜」と冷やかしてあげたり。

もう1つは、どういうわけか3つのテーブルに均等に子供が来ないことです。さっきまでこうもりのテーブルが押し合いへし合いしていたかと思うと、次はお化けが大繁盛、パンプキンのテーブルまで進出しないと追いつかないっ。ところが、暇だと思っていたパンプキンも気がつくと賑やかになってたり。「へぇ〜」とまた関心することしきりです。

イベントが終わって集計したら、延べ180人の子供が作品を1つ作った勘定になりました。助っ人の方々本当にお疲れさま、お陰さまで大成功でした〜!(^o^)/
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Halloween Origami

Now the seasons have completely changed, hinting that the busy season is arriving toward the end of the year. However, here is a story about Halloween which is already a thing in the past.

It is about the Halloween festival held annually at the elementary school dragon attended. I wrote last year in this blog that I helped in the face painting station that a friend of mine, C-san, had put up (http://dradance.exblog.jp/12301485). Not being good at handling a paint brush, I thought I would do much better with origami at the time. Then this year, with her support, it turned out I was going to lead an origami station. (^ ^;)

I picked three Halloween characters to for kids to make; a bat, a ghost and a pumpkin. I prepared easy and hard versions of each character; easy for little kids and hard for older children. This part was pretty easy. Now, the biggest issue was to get helpers. This could not be anybody. They had to be someone who could teach origami. It was no exaggeration that success would totally depend on whether I could recruit a good number of helpers.

I can only say that I was very lucky. First, I secured four helpers. They were my first origami students who, just like dragon, had graduated from the elementary school and were now in middle school. Then I got four more helpers among my Japanese friends; Maido-san and her daughter A-chan in middle school, Masako-san who lives nearby and R-chan, H-san's daughter in high school. Now, including dragon, the super team of nine helpers was formed. No matter how big the crowd would be, we were ready!! As a matter of fact, the incident of princess falling happened two days before the event. As usual my days are full of thrilling moments. (^ ^;)

Our business(?) hours were from 6 to 9 pm. The first 30 minutes or so were rather slow. The middle school boys even spontaneously made a round to lure customers in, holding up a sign. However, in a blink of an eye, the room was packed with kids. Cute kids dressed up in Halloween costumes came in one after another. Things were hectic until the last minute. We guided each child to the tables and made sure the child had a helper. I sometimes taught at a short-staffed table. The middle school boys were boys after all. They didn't forget to have fun themselves, disappearing every once in a while.

All the kids worked merrily. This origami fun setter, which I call myself, could not stop grinning when she saw their happy faces when they were done and their parents' faces so amazed with what their child had done. "This is it. This is what I wanted to see." I am so grateful for C-san who had given me an encouraging push to do this.

By the way, I made two interesting discoveries. First, most kids would not make all the three characters at once. They picked just one. This was something I hadn't expected at all. I was pretty much amazed but at the same time I noticed some kids were coming back over and over. "How many times are you coming back????" We enjoyed teasing them.

The other thing was that somehow the three tables were never evenly crowded. The bat table got so packed at one moment. Then I found the ghost table was overcrowded. "We have to invade into the pumpkin territory!!" However, there were times that the pumpkin table was lively populated that had been empty a while ago. I was double amazed.

Counting the tickets after the event showed that 180 kids made one project in total. Thanks to all the help from the helpers, the station was a big success! Thank you all for your great job!!(^o^)/
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by danceofdragon | 2010-12-02 09:57