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Olympics ♥

16 Feb

I love love love love love the Olympics. I am not much of a TV-watcher, but for two weeks during the Olympics, I lose a lot of sleep due to staying up late trying to watch as much as I can! When I was a college student back in the day, I had the opportunity to volunteer as an assistant to the Japanese Team during the Salt Lake Olympics. My job included driving members of the team to various events and other places, translation, and general assistance. I often worked inside the Olympic Village and had to try hard to control the urge to not take pictures or ask for autographs when I saw Michelle Kwan, Apolo Anton Ohno, etc. If the Olympics ever come to you, I highly recommend volunteering!

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One of my blog readers requested that I post some links about the Olympics and here’s what I’ve gathered so far :).

1) Official Website for the Japanese Olympic Committee: http://www.joc.or.jp/english/

Go here to see the names of all the different events in Japanese: http://www.joc.or.jp/games/olympic/sochi/sports/

2) A great summary of the Sochi Olympics for children (in Japanese), by Yahoo Kids: http://topic.kids.yahoo.co.jp/article/sochi_olympic/

3) “What is the Olympics?” for children, in Japanese (with furigana): http://www.lib.adachi.tokyo.jp/kids/toshokann/siraberu/siraberu_back/sirabveru0807.html

4) Q&A with future Japanese Olympians, also by Yahoo Kids: http://topic.kids.yahoo.co.jp/mag/olympic2020/

Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, the Japanese athlete that has probably received the most screen time (I think he is amazing!):

As most of you already know, Japan is hosting the 2020 Olympics. If you are able, GO! Japan always does an incredible job hosting big events, public transportation is awesome, and uh… what’s not to love about visiting Japan? If you can’t get tickets to the regular games, I recommend the Paralympic Games too. I’ve been to a Paralympics Ice Hockey game, and it was incredible.

Look at this adorable bento box that Shirley of Little Miss Bento made! My kids would love it if I made them bento that looked this cute (and yummy).

Tokyo Olympic 2020 Bento

What events and athletes have you been following?

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Hiragana Mama on Facebook!

27 Jun

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Dear Readers,

In just a few days (July 1, 2013), you will no longer be able to follow Hiragana Mama using Google Reader. As an alternative, I have created a facebook page for Hiragana Mama. If you “Like” my page, you will be notified when I update my blog. If you prefer, you can also follow me via email by signing up at the bottom of the page. 

Thanks for being so great! これからも、よろしくね!

Love, Hiragana Mama

Olympics! オリンピック

1 Aug

image from ameblo.jp/tomatodaisuki111

I love, love, LOVE the Olympics. I volunteered as an assistant to the Japanese Team during the 2002 Olympics, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It is exciting to watch the world’s strongest and fastest go for the gold. Who are you rooting for?

This is a good opportunity for you to learn/teach new Japanese words related to the Olympics. Click HERE to see what all the sports are called in Japanese on the Japan Olympic Committee’s website. You can read more about how Team Japan is doing on NHK’s website, HERE.

National Cherry Blossom Festival 2012

13 Mar

Are you bummed because you aren’t going to Japan this year? WELL, if you live in the United States, don’t forget about the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.! THIS YEAR is an especially GREAT year to go because they are celebrating 100 years from the time that cherry blossoms (sakura) were donated to Washington D.C. If we had not been able to go to Japan this year, we were DEFINITELY going to attend this event!

Here’s some more info from the official website:

“In 1912, an incredible gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees was bestowed on Washington, DC by Tokyo, Japan. Rooted strongly and surviving outside elements, the trees have withstood the test of time – and nearly a century later, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is preparing for an unprecedented and once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

The epic 5-week spectacular, from March 20 – April 27, 2012, will unify and electrify the city, the nation, and the world. Washington, DC and the region will be abuzz with excitement. Creativity and innovation will permeate signature Festival events elevating them to new heights, and ground-breaking Centennial exhibitions and programming will amaze and delight. Timeless traditions. Rich culture. Renowned artists. World-class performers. The community at its best!”

A lot of my friends with children attend this event. It is a great event for the entire family. There are parades, performances, food, music, kites, fireworks, and a ton more. Are any of you going this year, or have gone in the past? I hear the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom next week!

You can also GO HERE to see how you can help with Japan Relief Efforts.

Remembering 3/11

11 Mar

Thinking of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami victims today, especially the children.

Quick News

9 Jan

1) The Japan Tourism Agency will NOT be giving away free flights to Japan in 2012 😦   It seemed too good to be true, anyway.

2) The article I wrote last August, “Is Raising Bilingual Children Worth the Costs?” made the Top 10 Articles of 2011 at In Culture Parent.

3) Our family has decided to take the plunge and fly to Japan this year! This means there will be many posts coming up about getting passports, what to pack, flying with children, what to do in Japan, etc (That’s my plan, anyway!). Anyone else going this year?

4) On New Year’s Eve, along with most other Japanese people, I watched “Kouhaku Uta Gassen“. I was smitten by these two 6-year olds singing “Maru Maru Mori Mori“:

Harajuku Mini for Target

10 Nov

Are you excited? I am!! (see the collection HERE).

Please Show Hafu Film Your Support!

5 Nov

I’ve blogged about the Hafu (ハーフ)Film before, but it’s worth mentioning again! This is what the film is about, from their website:

As a mother raising two hafu (half-Japanese) children, I know I am very interested in the experiences of hafu people and what I can learn from their experiences. I don’t think it is unusual or difficult to be a hafu living in the United States (at least where I live)… we have so much diversity. And diversity is applauded around here. But for hafus living in Japan, I know it can be difficult at times to live in such a mono-ethnic country. I am so glad this film is coming out so that more people can be aware of the challenges that mixed race people can face… and to realize that 1 in 30 babies born in Japan are mixed race! I think that is so cool. I am looking forward to seeing how the increase in cultural diversity affects Japan as the years go by.

The film has entered the final phase of production and needs your support to finish! Hafu Film has launched a fundraising campaign on indiegogo to help with this. You can donate as little as $5 to the cause.  They are being super-generous and you can receive some cool rewards for making a contribution. For example:

For $10, you will get a shoutout on facebook and twitter AND a handwritten thank you note! I bet this would be of interest to those of you trying to grow the number of visitors to your blog!

For $25, you get a CD by a hafu artist, a booklet, postcard, and shoutout

For $50, you get a copy of the DVD

For $100, you’ll get your name put in the credits of the film! How cool is that?!?

And there’s more. CLICK HERE to see how you can help. Their goal is to raise $10,000.

Gogogo Hafu Film! from Hafu Film on Vimeo.

What has been your experience being a hafu where you live? Are you excited for this film to come out? Do you know someone who would be? Please help spread the word about this project. ありがとう!

Free Trips to Japan

10 Oct

I am reading in the news right now that the Japan Tourism Agency is planning to give away 10,000 flights to Japan beginning next year!

According to Fox News:

It’s not finalized yet, but Japan’s national tourism agency has announced it plans to give away 10,000 free airlines tickets to international tourist who visit the country.

The giveaway — set to start in April if it receives final government approval–is an effort help Japan boost its beleaguered tourism industry crippled after the tsunami and Fukushima  nuclear plant disasters. 

To apply for the flights, visitors will be required to submit online applications, including details of where they plan to visit, reported The Yomiuri Shimbun, citing preliminary plans.

 I will definitely be keeping my eyes and ears open to when this begins and how we can apply, and will of course let you know when I find out. How about you? If you won a free flight to Japan, would you go, despite the risks?

Check out my article :)

1 Sep

おはようございます!! I hope you’re enjoying the end of summer (I guess in some parts of the world, summer is just beginning).

My big news for today is that I have an article published in In Culture Parent magazine. I was contacted by the owner, Stephanie, a month or two ago about submitting an article about bilingual parenting. I felt like I could have written a book on the topic, but I managed to whittle it down to just a few hundred words. What do you think of it? I am feeling both proud and sheepish about it. Proud because this is the first time anything I’ve written has been published since my high school days. And sheepish, because I’m not confident in my writing skills.

Read my article HERE.

And, I guess my “secret identity” isn’t so secret anymore. Oh well. You all aren’t going to stalk me now or anything, right?

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