Thursday, June 30

Heat Island

sweaty head: post preschool
This is what Nico looks like on the way to school. And on the way home. And, well, pretty much all the time now.

It is hot. Like, really, really hot. Nagoya is nationally famous for being one of the hottest places in Japan because the mountains curve into a pocket to trap heat, with the Ise Bay as a wall so that air cannot escape. Humidity, concrete, no wind plus geography added together equals misery. So we broke down and laid a fairly large amount of yen on the department store's counter and proceeded to whine and beg until they agreed to bring us an A/C. Sorry Al Gore, but it isn't optional this year. We feel bad about it, we do, but perhaps worse about sweating in our sleep.Starting July 11th, our footstep will be just a tad heavier. We said we were sorry.

Wednesday, June 29

Yochien Life

tanabata festival kindergarten
We've been back in the yochien (kindergarten) swing of things for three months now and let me just say, it is awesome. Nico has a blast everyday and has the most wonderful teachers, which is all we wanted for him.
Sure, the constant activities can be a little exhausting. Like the Tanabata Festival last week, held a bit before the actual holiday. I admit, we grumble a bit about these things but then when we get there we are floored by the cuteness. Who wouldn't be?
tanabata festival kindergarten
tanabata festival kindergarten
tanabata festival kindergarten

Saturday, June 25

Things I Have Learned as an Online Entrepreneur


So my digital doors have been open for a week and though I have had a few visitors, no buyers have crossed the threshold yet. During this initial downtime, I have compiled a list that I thought would be good to share with you, in case you are attempting to walk down the small business path or just like a good chuckle at how I have been stumbling around in the online marketplace for the past few days.

1. Don't set impossible goals for yourself. Especially if your goals involve your hands because, and this might come as a shock, you only have two of them. Ten fingers yes, but only two hands. And if small, nursing children are involved it is likely that there may be only one hand in the picture.

2. Don't take #1 as a challenge. It is not a challenge. There are such things as impossible goals.

3. Make and sell what you like and don't worry too much about what you think people will like. It seems that if you like something yourself, then you add that magic to it when you make it and people recognize and respond to that.

4. Renewing doesn't seem to be worth it. Just post more stuff instead.

5. Posting more stuff means experimenting more which means you will probably figure out what you like to make and sell quicker. Feel free to play around with your products and shop. Once you get more established you might not be able to do that.

6. Take advantage of the editing feature. If you feel the need to write a product description say at 1 o'clock in the morning, read it again after you wake up. Retake pictures because those visual gems become tiny little squares that pop up on the surface of the online marketplace for just a second before sinking back down into your shop.

Friday, June 24

I Heart Ajisai

Growing up, there were hydrangeas. I never really paid them any mind though as they were usually at the corner of the house with their pastel blossoms. By August they were essentially just sticks with brown dried blossoms somehow still attached. It had something to do with the name too, particularly pronounced in the Southern accent: high-drain-ya. While the Southern accent can lend a bit of romantic flavor to flowers like the magnolia, it does no favors for hydrangeas. It took me forever to figure out how to properly spell the word since the word I knew couldn't be phonetically dissected.
Then I moved to Japan where I learned that the plant is a rainy season plant so the annual Florida drought is not on the hydrangea's side. I really fell in love with the plant, or ajisai, the way it is in Japan, with rich, lush green leaves and vibrant orbs of deep blue, purple, and pink. Pastel versions are around, though I tend to ignore them for their darker neighbors.
At the end of summer, the ajisai will be cut down to nubby sticks in order to survive the long winter. Somehow they manage to resurrect themselves every year. We have a little potted ajisai now, with the most beautiful blossoms of them all. Unfortunately Jason forgot to water it while they were still thriving so I have no pictures to share. This year.

Wednesday, June 22

The Great Eight

party time
We celebrated Sebastian's birthday on Sunday. His birthday always provokes the most sentimentality in me, for it was he who made me a mother.
this is what 8 looks like
He's such a funny, witty, stubborn, cranky, creative, amazing, handsome, sensitive, sly, caring kid. With his crazy slew of presents (including but not limited to new silver shoes, a big kid bike, fossils, enough Legos to fill Biwako, and books to keep him reading until his next birthday) he is set for a great year. A big thank you to the grandparents, aunties, and great-aunties, by the way.
birthday kakigori
And in lieu of cake, we had kakigori (shaved ice) with red beans, dango mochi, green tea syrup, and condensed milk. Rather appropriate for a solstice birthday, ne?

Happy Birthday, Sebastian!

Thursday, June 16



It's go time, folks. My shop is up and running and we are celebrating the modest opening in a grand way by offering you a ten percent off coupon. Just enter the coupon code 'rockscissorspaper' when you checkout. I'm also offering free shipping during the grand opening week.

Here is the shop update schedule for the next month:

June 16th: Infant/Toddler Cloth Slippers (Suripa)
June 17th: Sundresses (Natsuko Line)
June 18th: Cloth Dolls (The Aki-chan)
June 20th: Pinafore Dresses (Arisu Line)
June 24th: Japanese Cut Fabric
June 30th: Jimbei (Midori Line)
July 4th: Sundresses (Yoko Line)
July 16th: General Update
July 20th: Lunch Kits (Obento)

I am really excited to launch the shop finally after so many minor and major delays. Thank you for all your support and encouragment. It meant/means a lot to me. Domo arigatou gozaimasu!


Saturday, June 11

June Sixteenth

hello, in english classroom
under train tressel

Yikes, it seems almost two weeks were caught in a vortex and swept away. There was Sebastian's sports day, Nico's petting zoo and picnic, Nico's picnic again, rain, more rain, work, more work, and finally today, a day off and we're off again to the aquarium with one of my students.

But after we get back, when the kiddies are sleeping with the windows open and fans blowing cool air on their flushed cheeks, then that is when I will be putting the finishing touches on Gu Choki Pa, my etsy shop. I will be opening the virtual doors June 16th with slippers, sundresses, and Aki dolls. There are a lot of things that won't be in there on the opening day and this was bothering me, but then I remembered that it is my shop and I can run it the way I wish. As much as I want to make a good go of it, my available time and energy is definitely abbreviated, a reality that is far different from my expectations. Regardless, as I am often telling my kids, a little bit is better than zero so I must do what I can and be happy. Especially with handmade goods. I couldn't image making things out of linen and cotton and having my negativity stitched right into the seams. I hope to give people little packages of joy and the best way is to start with a relaxed and joyful heart in the process of creation.

I will post again about the shop as the 16th approaches. Until then, please don't mind the silence.