Sunday, January 17, 2010

Kokeshi Dolls

For Christmas, Fox wrapped my present (which was this awesome book) in a yard of this fabric:

I think I am going to request fabric-wrapping from now on. So fun! The fabric above is Kokeshi doll fabric. Given my love of kokeshi dolls, it's so perfect that I don't want to cut it up. I don't know what to do with it! Any ideas?
Kokeshi dolls are traditional Japanese wooden dolls that evolved from this traditional style (Dento):

into today's "creative" style (Sousaku):

They are hugely popular with tourists. And myself. We made so many trips to so many temples while living in Japan. On every street heading up to a temple, there are several tourist shops just filled with Kokeshi. In fact, eBay is filled with Kokeshi. The same ones they sell in Japan for the same price (hint: future birthday presents!). I have a couple cute ones. However, I am on the search for an elusive pale-wood Kokeshi monk doll that I have only seen in a tiny shop located here. I can't even find a picture of it.
What I did find a picture of is this fabulous Kokeshi nativity set, which is on my wish-list:

Something about big heads on little bodies is just so cute!
Friday, January 15, 2010

In or Out?

My hubby usually works as a waiter on weekends. While he works until midnight, I usually catch up on my girly shows or birth documentaries. Last Friday, however, I just sat and watched random clips of Man Stroke Woman, a British sketch comedy show, on YouTube. BBC comedies, like the original Office, are notoriously vulgar, so I wouldn't watch some of them. But most of them are hilarious! I laughed so hard, and when Fox came home (in his nice little waiter's uniform with a tucked in shirt), I showed him this one. Heehee...
Saturday, January 2, 2010

Humans Vs. Aliens Movie Showdown!

Without planning to, I watched 3 humans vs. aliens movies in 24 hours. I can't remember the last time I've watched three movies in that amount of time, let alone 3 movies of the same genre. I think 2009 was a good year for alien-themed movies, which I really enjoy. So, here is my take:


This movie had beautiful music and special effects, but something about it just bugged me. I can't put my finger on what it was, though. The long length? Main character Sam Worthington's native Australian accent that kept popping up in his American one? The really annoying song as the credits rolled? I'm not sure--although I think it might have been the lame 3D glasses that didn't do much for the movie.

District 9:

Um, ew. Possibly one of the most disturbing movies I've ever seen. I really had no idea what it was about--segregation of aliens in South Africa and the abuse of a human who becomes part-alien. I love South Africa, so it was fun to hear the accents and the interspersed Dutch words. But, yeah, ew and yuck and violent and sad. No thanks.

Star Trek:

Ahh, my favorite! I don't think I've seen one Star Trek movie that I didn't love. Funny, fast-paced, not complicated. Just good entertainment with a good ending.

Okay, now as far as aliens go, I vote for the beautiful, unique ones in Avatar. I think I'm done with movies for now, though. Good thing Project Runway starts next week!
Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year, New Layout

Happy New Year! I am trying out a new layout for fun in this blog of randomness. What do you think?

Behold: Daruma-san!
Since our stay in Japan, the New Year always reminds me of Daruma-san. Daruma is the most popular good-luck symbol in Japan. He is based on the Bodhidarma, father of Zen Buddhism. In Japan, it is customary to buy or be given a Daruma doll at the start of the New Year. In fact, the dollar stores are packed with Daruma dolls around Christmastime. When you receive this eyeless, legless statue, you draw one eye in and then make a wish or a goal. If your wish or goal comes true throughout the next year, you draw in the other eye. That is momentous! At the end of the year, Daruma dolls are taken to the temples and burned in big bonfires.
We have a little children's book we got from Japan featuring Daruma-san. The story is sung, and so randomly, I will hear my little toddler sing "Daruma-san, Daruma-san". He recognizes the symbol, which is neat. Another New Year's tradition in Japan is to visit the temple. Thousands of people flock to their local temples during the New Year's holiday to honor their ancestors and pray for well-being for their families. They also do a deep-cleaning at the start of the year. On our street in Marugame, everyone in our neighborhood deep-cleaned their homes for a week. We know this, because all of the rugs and futons in town were hung to dry outside at once!
I am pretty sad that I didn't pick up the language while in Japan, but I think I really did gain a knowledge and appreciation of the yearly festivals and traditions. What a rich culture! I have been trying to think of ways to incorporate a New Year tradition in my own little family, other than the usual resolutions, which I don't make. Any ideas? (Please don't suggest deep cleaning!)

Blog Template by