I think our stomach and feeling are tightly connected. When we are full, we feel good and happy. but when our stomach is empty, we feel terrible! Children don't understand this relationship inside them. So most of the time, trouble will start when they are hungry!
In Maya's case, she refuses to eat, when she is so hungry and upset... It is so hard to make her eat the first one bite! After fighting a bit, she finally starts to eat. When her stomach smiles, Maya smiles, too!
Maya has started to take ballet lessons since September. She loves it! Usually she gets really shy with new people and place, but she didn't have any problem to jump into the class from the beginning. Even though she understand little English, she is following what the teacher says somehow! She learned how to bow in Ballet. She is so proud to show me what she learned in the class. She put a wrong leg in front, though....
Recently Maya is all into Cinderella. She watches the DVD everyday, acts out with me everyday and dance with her prince, her daddy everyday. My husband has always dreamed to have a girl who loves dancing. So now he got one!
Maya also wanted to do the wedding scene with her prince, so my husband did a romantic propose to her.
Enjoy this precious time, Jim! Be her prince until she will find her REAL prince~!
I caught cold last week. My throat was soar, so I was gargling a lot. Maya was watching me curiously and wanted to try. Though she had tried a few month ago, she couldn't do it. So I let her do it without any expectation. Yet, this time she did it! She was sooo excited that she could do it, so she said "Look at me! I can do it!" Since then, she gargles whenever she goes to the sink.
Every time she succeeds to do something that she couldn't before, it reminds me that she is growing everyday and she is not the same person I knew yesterday.
We attended a party last weekend. They had cotton candy for desert. All the kids had one with big smile!
Whoever invented cotton candy, he or she must have been the person with full of imagination. He could make sugar into fluffy candy like cloud. Kids love it! Children inside adults love it, too. I got one bite from Maya and had a big smile!
My husband and I have been fans of Ryuichi Sakamoto for a long time. Recently, he released a new album and started his world tour. Last week he came to San Francisco . My husband went to his concert for the first time and he was so impressed by Ryuichi's piano. He got the new CD called playing the piano for me at the concert! So I could get a taste of how his concert was by listening to the CD. His music is so simple and even monotonous, but never boring. Almost like breathing. I inhale it in and exhale it out.
Listening to music is a fascinating experience. You cannot see it, but you can really feel it. I think great musicians can put his energy into music and reach people through music invisibly.
私と主人は、前から坂本龍一さんのファンです。最近新しいアルバムをリリースして、世界ツアーが始まりました。先週、サンフランシスコでコンサートがあって、主人が代表で観にいきました。初めて生演奏を聞いて、とっても感動していました。playing the pianoというタイトルの新しいCDを買ってきてくれたので、私もそれを聴いてコンサートがどんなだったか少しだけ味わっています！
We ride a bike to go to Maya's preschool almost everyday. 10 blocks to the preschool, so it is a little bit too short to go by car and too long to walk. It is quite challenging to bike uphill! But it is rewarding to feel clean morning air and see beautiful sky with Maya.
We found Sheep Clouds (Altocumulus cloud) the other day. In Japan, autumn has come when you find sheep clouds in the sky. I guess it is the same here in San Francisco. I was happy to feel the change of seasons in California.
Talking with Maya, I got to know that she thinks cars are living creatures with personality like animals. The lights are their eyes.
Her favorite car is, of course, our yellow car. It is bright yellow and she is a girl! She said our car has long narrow eyes. Jeep liberty has big eyes. When we saw a car with one of the light off, she described "This car is winking!"
We have been enjoying Indian Summer for a few weeks. But today it rained for the first time in this season. This is a sign of the end of short summer in San Francisco and the beginning of rainy winter.
For Maya, it was an exciting day! She got to wear rain boots, to hold her favorite umbrella and to play in puddles. When we went out, she run to puddles with a big smile.
Grown ups hate to step into puddles, but kids love to jump into puddles.... When is Maya going to stop enjoying rainy days....?
Elementary school tour has just started. In San Francisco, we have the lottery system to choose our child's school. So it is time to go to school tours and see which school we choose as our 1st choice.
At the first school tour, Maya and her friend were pretty nervous at first to see so many students at much bigger school than their preschool. They were holding their hands very tight, when we go into the classes. They looked like Alice in wonderland. It is exciting and scary at the same time to see new world that they have never been before. But holding their friend's hands made them a little bit braver.
Some of my friends told me that Maya's drawing has some similarities to the characters in my illustration. I also noticed the same thing a while ago. As you can see from the picture above, Maya draws a big rounded face, dot eyes, a smily mouth... For sure, she sees how I draw and learned from me!
But she is my art teacher, too. I think all of the artists adore kid's imagination, expression and freedom in their art and keep making art to get to draw like them.
One day, when Maya and I were having early dinner, Maya found a blimp flying in the sky through the window. At first, It was far away. But we noticed it was changing the direction and coming toward to us. It was getting closer and closer! Then Maya's smile disappeared and she started to feel danger! I joked to her "He is coming to get your dinner!" She was panicked and scared, so she hid behind me. In the end, the blimp came really close to our apartment. Maya was saying to the blimp, "Don't steal my dinner~~~!!!!" The blimp just said "Hello!" to us and flew away slowly and quietly.
Since I announced that my home page is up last week, I received so many comments and encouragements from my friends all over the world. I'm really grateful of your warm support. I felt I'm connected with people through internet.
But I believe the fastest and most certain way for us to get connected is through our minds and we have ability to do it. Just we forgot how to, because of our industrialized society. So we created computers and internet to substitute our disabled minds.
I'm sure someday we all will regain our ability to communicate each other without any device and the limitation of time and space. But for now, thanks, Internet!
Maya is a very picky eater. She only likes something while. No red, yellow and green... So I'm having really hard time to make her eat vegetables.
But recently, being influenced by her friends, she challenges to eat vegetables sometime. She put them into her mouth and say "I like it!". Then, before she bites them well, she put water into her mouth and swallow them....
I told her not to swallow them, but bite them. She said, "Veggies are having fun on water slide!"
Maya started her 2nd year of the preschool this week. This year, she is having fun with all her friends and familiar teachers. Seeing some new students crying in the morning reminded me our difficult time last year... So I took out my diary and read how we were doing in Maya's first days of preschool last year. It said "Maya is not eating and drinking.... I needed to leave her while she is screaming in the teacher's arms...."
I remember, after I came home I still could hear her scream in my ear, so I made these paintings...
Last evening, there was Bonodori Festival at Japan town in SF. It was a little bit chilly to wear Yukata, but Maya and other kids were so excited to be dressed up and dance! At the end, Maya got so tired and high-per that she started to dance crazily...
In traditional Japanese song, it says "people dancing is stupid. people watching the people dancing is stupid, too. If both are stupid, you better dance!" It is very true. We all enjoyed dancing! Dancing with Maya brought me back my childhood memories in Japan.
I just had a last Children's Book Illustration class. Last a few weeks had been crazy to finish up the assignment!
Story development and pencil sketches went pretty smoothly. But coloring was pain... Even though I tried many different color on it, the sunflower, the main character in my story, kept saying NO! NO! NO! Just like children! So I took a break and did something else, like when I deal with my child. Then I dressed up my sunflower with another color. Finally he smiled!
We had a camping trip together with other families from preschool to Del Valle regional park in Livermore. It was first camping for Maya and most of the kids. Also it was first overnight trip together. So all the kids were excited to play until it became dark. They got flash lights on their hands and visited each other's tents. One of Maya's friends came to our tent to sleep. It became a wonderful summer memory for all of us.
プリスクールのお友達の家族とLivermoreにあるDel Valle regional park にキャンプに行ってきました。子供たちにとって初めてのキャンプ、初めてのお泊まり。みんな普段の生活から抜け出して大興奮でした。暗くなってきたら、懐中電灯を片手に、それぞれのテントを回ってお客さんごっこをしてました。お友達のひとりが「マヤちゃんと一緒のテントで寝る！」と言い出し、私たちのテントで寝ることになったり、とっても楽しい夏の思い出ができました。
Yesterday I told Maya that one of her friends is going to come, after I talked to her friend's mother on the phone. She hasn't had a visitor for a while, so she seemed pretty excited. I told her that her friend will come very soon, since she lives nearby. But she kept asking me every minutes, "Is she coming soon?", "Is she in the car now?" and so on! She all prepared her dolls to play together. Then she said, "Ah~, my heart is beating so quickly! (Doki Doki suru!)"
It was the first time to hear she said that. She was so excited that I almost can see her small heart beats and huge imagination in her mind!
I'm sure people outside of San Francisco are enjoying hot weather, but San Francisco becomes colder and colder approaching August... Last week was so cold that we could not stay in the playground for a few days. So one of Maya's friends invited her friends to her house after school. Her mother told us that they have a BIG dog. When we arrived, a BIG golden retriever came into the living room. Kids were excited to pet her. So we thought this is the dog she was talking about. But is was not! Later, she brought in a GIANT dog!!! It's called Great Dane. Compared to this one, the golden retriever lookes like a puppy...
I'm taking an evening class for children's book illustration in down town once a week. These a few hours are very precious for me. Not only because this is the class I love, but also because this is the only time I become myself as an art student again, not as a mother.
After the class, I was waiting for a bus at a bus stop. I found a beautiful crescent moon in the night sky. When was the last time I looked at the moon by myself?
A part of me was longing for seeing my daughter's peaceful sleeping face. The other part of me was wishing that the bus would be late, so that I can enjoy looking at the moon a little longer...
Maya's preschool had off for 2 weeks. So some of her friends and her took summer camp at the nearby playground for a week. Since Maya desn't speak English at all yet, it was a big challenge for her, and also for her friends. They stayed together all the time and they were speaking Japanese together quietly...
But on the last day, when I came for picking her up, all the kids were on the big swing with shining smile! Kids were so excited that teachers pushed the swing so high. They were ready to fly!
How easy for kids to break the language barrier...
We went for hiking to Tennessee valley trail in Mill Valley. It is very easy access from the city and a very easy trail, but you are away from noises of the civilization.
While we were hiking, I noticed a crowd of hikers standing in front of us. "Do you want to see a snake?", they called us. As we get close to them, we saw a beautiful snake crossing the trail. He slithered gracefully and proudly. One of the hikers told us that this snake is harmless and called Gopher Snake. We all were just standing there as if we are waiting at the traffic light, until the snake crossed the trail and hide in the bush.
ミルバレーのTennessee valley trailにハイキングに行きました。サンフランシスコから車で２０分位のところにありますが、一歩トレイルを歩き出すと都会の近くにいる事を忘れてしまうくらい静かで美しい景色が広がっています。
Today is Father's day. The relationship between a father and a daughter is a little bit awkward.
First of all, they are the opposite sex. They have very limited time to be together. So they don't have the same intimacy as a mother and a daughter. My family is not an exceptional. My husband, Jim, is having a difficult time with Maya, sometimes.
But this week, Jim really succeeded to entertain her with his hidden paper cut talent! He is always very clever with his hands.(better than me...) I didn't know he is good at paper cutting. He created a princess, a mermaid, a prince and a dragon, everything Maya asked. She was so excited about those paper dolls that she even slept with them. Happy Father's Day, Jim!
We have two cats at home. They are brothers, but they have completely opposite personality. Flip is very friendly. Flap is extremely shy and doesn't like human, especially kids... So since Maya was born, Flap has been having very difficult life. He hides under the bed for a whole day until Maya goes to bed. But recently Maya began to understand Flap's personality, so she doesn't chase him that much any more. Flap started to feel more comfortable to be close to her. He even says Hi to Maya in cat's way. You know, cats never show their affection directly like dogs. Flap touches Maya's face with his tail and just walks by, even without eye contact. But we know this is the best expression of friendship by Flap!
San Francisco has a beautiful sky and clouds, because wind from ocean always blows. That's one of the reason why I love the city. One windy day, Maya looked up the sky and said "Mama, clouds are running so fast today!" Just like kids playing tag, beautiful white clouds were moving fast in the blue sky.
On sunny weekend, me, my husband and Maya went to Golden Gate Park for picnic. Coming out of our car, I found something staring at me on the ground. It was a gopher, not afraid of human at all! Just focused on his job pushing dirt out of his hole. Then we realized so many holes were around us. We must have been right on his huge castle. Having a castle in the middle of San Francisco? I'm so envious...
In our parking lot, Maya notice an orange flower growing out of a space between the boards of a wooden fence. She asked me " Where is the flower growing from?". Without questioning, I answered "From the garden next door.". She was still curious, but a little afraid to peek into the space. So I peeked into it instead. There was a very dark and narrow space between our fence and our neighbor's fence. It was somewhat mysterious. I felt like there is a magical world existing behind the fence that Grownups will never imagine... And the flower grows out of the world to indicate us to notice and see beyond what we see.
I studied Traditional Animation, so I'm very picky about animation for kids.
But I loved it as much as my daughter, Maya, did!
They succeeded to keep the quality of the picture books and to make characters alive. After Maya watched it, she became Peter and pretended to eat imaginary carrots on our bed as an imaginary carrot field.I hope she will eat a REAL carrot like that, too!!!