Batik is a traditional textile made by hand where artisans use wax to create a design, and then dye the cloth, which resists the vegetable dyes. Originally from Indonesia, batik has symbolic meanings in its colors and designs, and people use the craft to express their creativity and even spirituality. In this easy project, kids substitute hot wax for Elmer’s blue glue and convey their own creativity by choosing images that represent themselves, and colorful paint that reflect their personalities. Continue reading
Learn about Japanese haiku, read about Bosho- the master of haiku, write your own, and even enter an international haiku contest!
Photo: Public Domain
When Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694) was a child in Japan, he fell in love with a type of poetry that began with a verse of 5-7-5 syllables. He traveled his homeland island writing short poems about his experiences of his travels. Centuries later, when this stanza was presented to stand-alone, it was named the haiku 俳句. Basho’s incredibly rich anthologies of his poems have made him one of the most beloved poets in the history of Japan. Teach your children about Basho with the following books and resources, and then write a haiku together- all while learning a bit about Japanese culture! Continue reading
Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.- The Dalai Lama
With so much violence in the world today, it is our duty as parents and teachers to teach our children about compassion, showing them kindness and respect, and giving them examples and role models to follow. Studying great leaders who embody peace helps kids to make better decisions and learn from others wisdom as well as from their mistakes.
The Buddhist religion was founded in India over 2500 years ago, and is currently practiced by over 500 million people all over the world. The countries with the largest number of Buddhists are: China (especially Tibet), Thailand, Japan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Viet Nam, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Laos, and Nepal among others. Every country has different ways to worship, but the universal goal of Buddhism is to achieve a state of enlightenment- freedom from suffering- through acts of compassion on all living things.
The Dalai Lama: Peacemaker from Tibet, a biography by Chris Gibb.
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, though Buddhist around the world follow his teachings of non-violence and kindness.
Dalai is translated from Mongolian as “ocean” and lama in Tibetan Buddhism is “perfect teacher.” In fact lama refers to a religious master, specifically a Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhist monk. Continue reading
Posted in Around the World, Asia, China, India, Japan, Literature, Malaysia, Nepal, People, Thailand, Tibet
Tagged biography, buddhism, education, famous person, multicultural
Photo credit: this Wikimedia Commons image is from the user Chris 73.
If you’d like to introduce your kids to an unforgettable global musical experience, check out the international phenomenon of taiko drumming. Taiko means wide drum in Japanese, but taiko drumming is no ordinary drumming performance. The exuberant rhythm pounded into a variety of drums is a whole body experience. After enjoying it from front row seats in a recent international festival, my youngest daughter told me “I feel the drums inside me!”
Before listening, talk about the historical significance of taiko drums. Continue reading
While bento boxes are now popping up all over the world- from preschools to anime- in Japan they have been around for centuries. A bento (弁当) box is simply a compact lunchbox (sometimes with 2 tiers) whose compartments are traditionally filled with rice, pickled vegetables and fish or meat. Although they do not have to be an intricate work of art, it is fun to create little details for your kids while making a nutritious, homemade meal.
Kyaraben are bento lunches made in the shape of anime or other characters - hard to produce and not practical for everyday lunches (but fun to look at nonetheless!).
Now let’s be honest readers. Do I have time to do this every day for 4 kids? (hold the snarky chuckles). I might only have artsy bits once a month, or for a special occasion- but we do use the bento boxes daily to carry their lunches to school. And we are healthier and greener because of it. Here are 10 reasons you and your kids will love Japanese bento boxes: Continue reading
One reason we share foreign films with our children is to get transported to another time, another place. Kids love screen time, parents would like to limit it and sanction the content, but diversifying movie night with a wonderful sister adventure story at least expands our little ones’ minds while they munch away on their popcorn.
Totoro on DVD
My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ Tonari no Totoro) is a stunning, animated film that takes us to the green countryside of 1950′s Japan. Two playful sisters Mei and Satsuki move with their professor father to an old house to be closer to the hospital where their mother is being treated. They meet a magical forest spirit named Totoro, who looks like a cross of an oversized rabbit mixed with a cat. Later, when Mei is worried about her mother and attempts to visit the hospital by herself, Totoro and a 12-legged “catbus” help to find her.
Not only was the story heart-warming and appropriate for all-ages, the subtle cultural references were fascinating. Genius director Hayao Miyazaki treats us to scenes of life in rural Japan as we glimpse inside their house (inhabited by friendly “soot sprites”) and a school, watch the girls frolic next to the rice paddies, over bridges, and in the forest. I was mesmerized by the setting and subtle details- Continue reading