Thursday, September 23, 2010

more japanese culture

I had another one of my Japanese Culture classes last night. This time we learned about traditional calligraphy. We learned how to make the ink, sit properly, breathe properly and hold the brush. I am super un-artistic so this was a challenge for me. I felt awkward - but was pleased with my results. At first it was super stressful, but then I got all zen and felt good doing it. Be the brush. But it was cool to find out there are over 10,000 characters that mean different things based on how you draw it. There are 3 ways to end a character drawing; a stop, leap, and sweep. So even though 2 characters could look almost identical - you can tell the difference by the way the lines end. It was interesting (also hard to explain on this blog).

Anyway, we learned our Kanji names and meanings. Mine means wisdom holder of the house. Sounds about right :-) But even the Japanese people thought the first character was really hard to draw - so they changed it a bit. Apparently - your name is spelled with characters that make your sound. Since the Japanese do not have a sound for "L" (seriously - it's not just a stereotype - they really don't have the sound in their language) so "R" is the closest to it. So my characters were Kar and Ree. But the Kar character was really hard - so the changed it to the "Harr" character - which when paired with "ree" changes it to sound like "Kar-ree" not "Harr-ree". It was a bit easier to draw - but made me raugh-out-roud (LOL) because it sounded like Hairy Kairy when they joked about it.

We also were given the opportunity to learn how to write a word or saying and create it onto some really nice, expensive paper. I was super nervous for this, but luckily my phrase was pretty easy to write. It means "Be now", as in live in the moment. I love it! I also had to write my name down the side too...but I was proud of the way it turned out. We are going to frame it and put it in the hallway :-) My first Japanese treasure!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


We decided to take a little family time and go bowling on Evie's birthday afternoon. There is a bowling alley on base so we swung by to give it a try. It was very nice anc clean (and big)! They had bumpers for the kids as well as those ramps to help them get the ball down the lane. We are not sure if the lanes were warped or not - but the kids' balls never went it became a game to angle it to figure out the best way for them. We got Gavin to try a few times without the ramp - but he liked it better with... he had such a spin it kept riding the rails. Both got at least one spare and they actually tied the first game. 1/2 way through the second game, Evie dropped the ball on her foot (while attempting to put it on the ramp) and was done. Gavin also gave up around this point too. But it was still a fun, exciting family birthday celebration!

birthday cake

I know it looks gross, but we need to be creative with Gavin's egg allergy. I get sad for him when he can't eat cake like everyone else on special occasions - so I found a bunch of alternative ways to make a cake without eggs. This particular one was posted on a lot of different sites so I gave it a shot. It looks gross - but was super easy and got great reviews. I think it turned out great (better than using applesauce). It is sweet with a moist, but spongy texture. A perfect alternative for us! Also, Evelyn made the whole thing...with just a little help from me at the end for stirring. She also frosted it (and learned a secret trick from me on how to eat the frosting out of the can before you put it on the cake :-)!

I posted a few pictures of her opening her early birthday gifts (that she opened at breakfast so she could call the East Coast people to thank them). She loved everything! She opened each one, even the outfits, one by one admiring and ohhing and ahhing. She even took each pair of Princess panties out of the package to play! She got a new Wii game, DS game, her annual outfits from Godmother Eileen, clothes, pjs, some homemade felt food, money and a renewed subscription to National Geographic Wildlife magazine for kids. What a spoiled little girl!!!