January 7, 2011


Days two and three of the new unit got a little derailed. I had to run a gazillion errands on Tuesday and then yesterday Cowen threw up and I was dealing with that.

However, since the baby's arrival creates a bit of a deadline for this unit, we persevered as best we could.

On Tuesday, after taking Eli to the doctor (ear infection) and making copies at Weber State for the class I teach that starts tonight, and picking up medicine, and dropping off library books and picking up new ones . . .

we also went to my favorite Asian market. It is called Oriental Market Foods and Gifts and is on Riverdale Road as you head into Roy. So, if you are at the Target in Riverdale, you head west toward Roy, going past all the freeway exits and entrances, and just before you hit the main road that runs through Roy, on your right is the Oriental Market.

I love that place.

I took a Chinese cooking class back in the day so I do a lot of Asian cooking. Mostly Chinese and Thai. The man who owns the market is from Taiwan and he is as nice as could be--but doesn't speak much English. His son is there most of the time and he's fluent. Don't worry though, if you write down the ingredients you need the owner can find everything for you. I've never had a problem.

At the market we picked up some seaweed for sushi, some Japanese soup base, some frozen rice cake things for a soup we are trying, and then I let the kids pick a few different treats.

The treats, like most foreign treats, weren't that great (how come sweets don't transfer borders the way the rest of the food does???). We are making our fancy Japanese meal the beginning of next week--I'll post all about it.

However, even if you don't want to tackle actual Japanese cooking, you should definitely go on a field trip to the Oriental Market. There are lots of fun dolls, statues, fans, carp kites, fancy tea sets, origami paper, and even a fancy samurai helmet that had Cowen's heart yearning. He continues to yearn, but seeing it was awesome. Plus all the dried squid (yum!! I'm serious--yum, you should try it), and other foods that look very different from our own. Since I don't know of any museums around these parts with a good Japanese representation, this is as close as I can get.

So that was Tuesday. On Wednesday, despite Cowen's illness we managed to read the following three books:

I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi is a good one. The baby in the movie lives in Tokyo, so that got the kids' interest right off. We liked it.
K is for Kabuki: A Japan Alphabet by Gloria Whelan didn't keep my kids' interest quite as well as the other two. I think that was mainly because Eli was crawling on and off my lap and trying to get me to read a different book and screeching when I wouldn't. To give the book its due--it has a lot of good info and the kids like looking through it on their own. I think I will try to revisit it with the kids when Eli is asleep.
Of the three, My Japan by Etsuko Watanabe was the runaway favorite. It is fairly similar to the Tokyo book but it also has Japanese letters in the back and pictures of food that Miriam has been practicing writing/drawing much of the morning. If you do anything with Japan, definitely get this one.

This morning was hectic as I was trying to finish getting my class ready for tonight, so school was kept to a minimum. We did two things. In the picture below you can see Cowen coloring a picture of a boy and girl in kimonos. We then hung the finished pictures on the wall as a decoration for our forthcoming Japanese dinner.

You can find the coloring page here. Just scroll down a little.

We also did a little vocabulary. I put the words on the wall and spread the definitions on the table. The kids looked through the definitions and matched them to the words on the wall. They knew most of them, so it didn't take them long to figure out the last two or three that they didn't know.

We used the words:

kimono--a loose robe fastened with a wide sash; made of silk



archipelago--a group of islands

samurai--Japanese warriors who were masters of archery and swordmanship

origami--the art of Japanese paper folding

pagoda--Buddhist temple; symbol of heaven

ancestor--a relation who lived a long time ago

Hopefully, tomorrow we'll be able to get back on track.

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