I made Japanese Hiragana List and distributed in my Japanese personal blog almost a half year ago. I realized that I should do it here in English blog even if it does not have phonic signs in alphabet letters. Maybe someone out there might appreciate it to study Japanese Hiragana characters.
This list has a basic set of 50 characters. In other words, neither Dakuon(濁音: dull sounds) nor Youon(拗音: contracted word or diphthong) are included. I just wanted to make it simple and easy for my kids to learn as a first step.
You can download this zip file here below. The zip file includes three PDF files to print in letter size. I printed it in a magnetic paper and cut it into pieces to display on fridge. Surely, my “letter” fanatic boy got instantly hooked!
I recently made this fun growth chart template for my kids. It is created from free Photoshop brushes that I downloaded from DeviantArt (PS Brushes: Plant And Animals by cesstrelle). Since the creator of brushes did not limit usage, I decided to distribute my growth chart template for free. I really appreciate her for such beautiful brushes and her generosity.
It’s been a while since the last time this website was active. I kept it “under construction” for long time because I decided to change something “purpose” wise. It used to be my portfolio site as a professional web designer. However, I am no longer “full time” web designer and my interest in my life has dramatically shifted and geared toward my own children rather than career. I have very active twin boys and yes, it’s still handful! But I love it and really enjoy every day with them.
I still love creating something and always will do. Designing website is still fun although I’m so into crafting and home decor at this point. To keep both creative joy would definitely be my ideal. So, I am still playing with WordPress customizing themes and learning new stuff in the web technology.
Anyhow, since I have a limited time to sit on the computer, I have decided to use some free resources to rebuild the website rather than making my own from scratch.
I have found and implemented this intriguing yet well-developed theme: Custom Community
I am planning to customize more adding a child theme as I go. So far so good! I really like it!
As I googled around to find a graphic resource, I came across this beautiful pattern: “Gypsy Garden” a seamless background by Pixels & Ice Cream (Jen Furlotte).
I have not put her credit on the bottom of my website yet but I will do so after I got a child theme right! Yes, I am going to customize the website design based on this beautiful pattern that is now used on the background.
Wow, these free resources are very much time saving for busy people like me. I really appreciate such designers and developers who put their own time and effort into! It’s free but always I keep them in my mind. Thank you!
Since I really enjoyed the beets salad at Luxe restaurant (Cleveland, OH), I was looking for the ingredients in it. I finally found one of the ingredients, Lake Erie Creamy‘s goat cheese at the West Side Market. It’s such a luxurious treat (Yes, it’s relatively expensive comparing to some imported cheeses) for me but it’s totally worth it. It tastes elegantly sharp but mellowly sweet. I really love this cheese.
Besides this locally produced cheese, I encountered another local product, Jorgensen’s Apiary Honey at the market. To be honest with you, I’m not an expert in honey tasting. All I can tell you is “It’s thick and very tasty”. And again, I just love it!
Jorgensen's Apiary Honey
After that, I stopped by the local farmer’s market, Gordon Square Farmer’s Market. It is a cute tiny market and I found some interesting foods and fresh produces there. I’ve got locally produced eggs (It’s less expensive than the ones I usually buy at the WSM!) and some vegetables including one of the ingredients for the beet salad, Arugura.
Here’s what I finally made mimicking the beets salad from Luxe restaurant. I put a slice of beet, a little arugura leaves and a drop of Lake Erie Creamery cheese and Jorgensen’s Apiary Honey on a saltine cracker. This appetizer type of my creation was served at the July 4th dinner. I think everyone liked it!
I still have some cheese left, so before the expiration(It won’t last more than 3 weeks!) I have to seek for another great use with it.
I have recently encountered the compelling documentary film called “Dogs, Cats and Humans.” It’s a recently released Japanese film and I have not seen it yet. However, as reading its synopsis and introduction at the official website, I was stunned by the ongoing fact of animal cruelty in Japan. Of course, it is not a social problem for only Japan but also other countries. Yet, I believe that the case in Japan is speechlessly outrageous, comparing to the other economically advanced countries such as U.S. and United Kingdom.
All my dogs came from the local animal shelters. In fact, I recently adopted a 9-months old pup used to be a stray. So, I can’t help getting emotional about the horrible situation of animals in Japan. I now really want people to know about this film and to think about the animal protection.
Here’s the introduction and synopsis of this film. I translated the contents on the official website with a permission from the director of the film, Motoharu Iida.
Do you feel that they are cute or pitiful?
Walking through towns and cities, you will notice the many familiar sights of dogs walking with their owners and cats sleeping in alleyways. That is not to say, however, that all dogs and cats live happily their whole lives. Due to the unprecedented pet boom in Japan, more than 300,000 dogs and cats are disposed of each year. It is a sad reality; 1,000 per day are killed. Have you heard about such dogs and cats?
Beginning a journey to explore the plight of abandoned dogs and cats
This film is the result of a cat-loving elderly lady who wishes to save these unfortunate dogs and cats. Thus began four years of research to complete the film. The director, Motoharu Iida, is known for his documentary, Ashigara-san, about the homeless. From the perspective and eye-level of dogs and cats, he closely captures the relationship between human beings and animals. This film delivers such images as a dog sadly gazing at you through an iron fence and newborn kittens just brought to animal pounds. This film also approaches the situation in one of the leading humane countries of the world, the United Kingdom, and the tremendous hardship that exists for the abandoned animal rescue effort. However, even in such somber circumstances, you will for a moment witness a gleam of humor in the eyes of these animals.
Dogs and cats are reflecting human beings.
Some might not be interested in animals. Yet, the children and people trying to save animals will demonstrate to you their love for “lives.” Not all who abandon animals necessarily hate them. Indeed, many who professionally dispose of animals do love them. The way we treat animals may represent both our ego and love hidden inside of us. We are the humans who abandon dogs and cats, but at the same time, we are the ones who can save them. In this film, you will certainly find some hope beyond your initial sentimental and pitying reaction to these dismal situations.
The film begins with the scene where the director, Iida, meets an elderly woman. Ms. Keiko Inaba has voluntarily been taking care of abandoned cats for years. However, she is now concerned about being elderly and so approaches Iida saying, “I want you to create a film that will make people treat animals nicely.” She wants it to make people care about animals. Iida asks her, “Why do you care about cats so much?” She answers, “Although I like people, I think animals are better than them.”
Researching the current situation in the so-called “Pet Great Nation” Japan, it is clear that this country does not provide well for animals. There are, of course, many families who consider their pets as family members. On the other hand, there are unending numbers of greedy pet shops interested only in profits, illegal animal abandonment, and the public’s irresponsible attitude toward the problem. As a result, up to 1000 dogs and cats are disposed everyday throughout Japan. Why does it happen? What can I do to prevent it? Such questions motivated Iida to create this film.
Iida’s first subject is the current situation of abandoned animals in Japanese facilities where the majority of dogs and cats are put to death by gas, carbon dioxide poisoning. Even so, more and more unwanted animals are continuously brought to such facilities. It was more than a little shocking for Iida to see with his own eyes so many friendly dogs and newborn kittens put to death.
Shifting the spotlight to the private sector and humane movement, Iida encounters various people and animals. Unique dogs and cats are shown at the Kanagawa Humane Society. Veterinarians providing spaying services are faced with the dilemma of providing such surgeries for the sake of human convenience. He spoke to a couple who for years watched and photographed stray cats along the bank of Tama River and to an elderly man living at the once-notorious place called “Dog Abandoning Mountain” who cared for such dogs with the help of a group of students. Elementary students are shown nursing pups, using their New Year’s monetary gifts. Iida then looks towards the situation in the leading humane country, the United Kingdom, and the Japanese situation of animal protection during the World War II.
Iida reveals the heartbreak of these small lives and how human ego results in animal abandonment. He continues to film many dogs and cats and the people trying hard to save them.
Dogs, Cats and Humans
Release Date: 2009 (Japan) Director: Motoharu Iida Genre: Documentary Running Time: 118 min Official Website: http://www.inunekoningen.com/ (Only in Japanese)
I am a big fan of the documentary films. I’m interested in a couple different yet newly released films: The one is called Food, Inc. Another is called Herb & Dorothy. Especially, I would like to mention about Herb & Dorothy, not only because the director of this film is a Japanese, but also because it really looks a good documentary.
Actually, this film was screened at Cleveland International Film Festival this spring. Unfortunately, I did missed a chance to go see this film. I did not know about this film although I did go see Achilles and Turtle (directed by Takeshi Kitano, 2008) there.
I don’t describe the synopsis of this film here. I think you should check out the official website for more information. But I think the tagline of this film is pretty much summarizing what this film is all about.
You don’t have to be a Rockefeller to collect art.
It’s been a while since the last time I updated this site. Well, it’s because I was so busy with a huge project called “Japan Film Festival in L.A.”
Yes, I helped people over there develop the web site utilizing WordPress blog engine. It was such a fun to work with cool people in L.A. Now, I just hope to visit them and wish the festival success!
My experience with people in L.A. and being involved in a huge project is very priceless. I don’t think I have ever had such a joyful time with a big group of people. I also learned a lot about developing, programming and administrating a web site. My work ethic is to have fun. I totally realize it by this project!
Hopefully, this experience will lead me toward more professional opportunities in the future.
OK, here’s information about the festival below.
Japan Film Festival 2008 in L.A. Dates: April 11th through 20th Venues:
The Imaginasian Center (April 11 to 17)
251 South Main Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Starplex Cinemas (April 18 to 20)
4626 Barranca Parkway
Irvine, CA 92604