Back to the Past (タイムスリップ)

My husband came back from his business trip to the States, and brought this tiny box of raisins! …… Whoa! (I hadn’t seen this little snackage in over 30 years maybe! It whooshed me right back to …. elementary school in Hawaii!  

Time travel?!

Okay, maybe not really, but it was amazing how I was immediately “transported” to the past in Honolulu with our very American lunchboxes.


I remember how my mother used to pop in little boxes of raisins (like the other kids’s lunches) along with our lightly salted, soy sauce coated rice balls (which was very unlike the other kids.) While everyone had sandwiches and apples, we had our little taste of Japan, via our mom who was born and raised there.


It is quite different from the the “obento” that we see here in Japan, and (I suspect) how bento used to be way back when as well!


Typical kids’ “bento bako” lunch box for kids in the 70’s and 80’s, and sometimes still used (with the exception of renewed characters) today in 2019. This simple metal box was packed with rice and some side dishes like egg rolls or sausages, and wrapped simply with a large handkerchif-like cloth called furoshiki.

My lunch box was “Strawberry Shortcake” which was in full trend at the time. I loved the fact that we were on trend, but still able to have culturally familiar foods to give us subtle, comforting hints of “home.” It wasn’t such a big deal on the surface, but the “mom’s” touch always reminded me that I had a home to come home to, no matter how different it may be from other kids around me. 


How interesting how one item can open a well of memories that one never knew loomed in the tiny brain of ours.


One small step!!

The First Step!! 第一歩 !!

I cannot believe that after 2 years, the “book” is finally out! In 2019, I met an illustrator who (after hearing my idea on creating songs for young parents) told me that she would LOVE to help me make picture books for my songs!

2年で「本」がやっと出ました。2019年にイラストレーターの Junkoに出会い、ミッツの歌のアイディアの話を聞いて、是非絵本を描いてみたいと言ってくれました。

It was a new idea for me, and after seeing a sample of her illustrations, I JUMPED at the chance! I loved the way she captured the nuance of my song so poignantly and we were both so excited to start working together!


We made a sample book and started “testing out” the idea with mini workshops in the neighborhood. The parents LOVED it! We were ready to go into production… then COVID hit, and I had to shift gears!


After a year of adjusting, we are back on track and have started our adventures starting with a small booklet to sell in book stores and future workshops!






It went on the shelf yesterday! I’m very excited. Of course it rained, and of course the book store is not ready to open until the 10th of this month! (7 more days!) But here they are ready for a random customer wandering into the back gallery area.


Delightful Resource! Online Stories Series

I found such a delightful YouTube site!
The storytellers are brilliant, talented and colorful! It will help you on your journey of feeling the language known as English! Enjoy!

Website Fun

DIVI 4.0 is here!

This is great news for people running websites on wordpress! No more do you have to hem and haw over which “design” theme you should choose for your site! It is getting easier and easier to create with ease with fuller control over the design and layout of content!


I have been using DIVI since it first came out as DIVI 1.0 when I decided to officially start a web page under It was innovative for its time and I loved it from Day 1, since it allowed me the freedom to design and create my page to my content.


I have had the chance to work with Square Space for work. Although I appreciate its selling point in the freedom of design as well, DIVI beats the creative freedom and innovation to Square Space, hands down. Even in the early stages of DIVI, I thought that it square space could not live up to what Divi had and the constant upgrades that remind me that I made the right decision over 5 years ago.

他の人気ウェブサイトサービス、SquareSpaceは仕事で使う機会があります。DIVIと同じようにデザインの自由のあるプログラムとして知られていますが、DIVIの想像の広がり感やアイディア(ワクワク感)ではSquareSpaceはDIVIの足元にも及ばない。と個人的な意見です。初期の頃から、DIVIが優秀と感じ、さらにDIVI 2.0、3.0 そして今回の4.0のよくあるアップグレードの数から5年前以上にDIVIにしてよかったとよく思うことである。

Now, DIVI has come up with DIVI 4.0 (I was still pretty amazed with the new upgrades the 3.0 version had to offer!) and I am over the moon to see that (as I had decided to become a lifetime member 3 months ago) the folks at DIVI does not dissappoint! They come up with new things even before I know that I want them. That’s pretty amazing!
今回はv4.0 の公開で(前のアップグレード今だにびっくりしていたのに)とても嬉しいです(しかも3ヶ月前にライフタイムメンバーになろうと決心したところで)本当に想像以上のサービスで、何も言うことないです。自分が気付く前に次から次にプログラムを改良するので、毎回驚きます。

Anyway, I am now inspired to redesign my whole website. I would love to do the hard work of the creators at DIVI and Elegant Themes justice with a whole new look for my site. Thanks!

The Road to Independence

This has nothing to do with English learning…

Today, I went to Kamakura for an appointment. The station was really crowded.
At peak tourist season (with a festival taking place on the Kamakura shores,) crowds of people were walking steadily towards a narrow stairwell, BUT  at a snail’s pace!
There were all walks of people around me. Foreign tourists, local (Japanese) tourists, locals (like me, going to a lesson), children, families… everyone was very respectful of one another to make sure that there was no dangerous pushing going down the stairs. It was a bit frustrating, as I was already late for my appointment, but I kept calm and did not try to push ahead. 



In front of me, near the rail, a small boy of about 3 or 4 was walking slowly down by himself. At first, I was “Hmm. Who is he with…?” Then I immediately saw in front of him, his mother, carrying their second newborn looking ahead, walking step by step with the crowd. The boy was concentrating, being careful of each step. His mother was not looking even glancing behind her to make sure her boy was okay, which surprised me, but there was one tiny gesture that stood out to me.


私の左に、レールを小さいでで掴んで慎重に歩いている, 3・4歳くらいの男の子がいました。”一人かな?大丈夫かな?”と母性本能動き出した。よく見ると、彼のすぐ前に赤ん坊を前抱っこして、ぞろぞろ階段を降りている女性がいました。


I thought for a second that perhaps she was not his mother and looked around for someone near him who might be lost in the crowd. Then I looked down and saw that the woman in front of him was holding out her hand behind her, right near the boy’s head. The boy wasn’t trying to take her hand. He just seemed to concentrate on his walking, on the stairs, no desperation or hurriedness in his motions to catch up with mom right away. Ahh, I get it.



Of course, this was my interpretation, but I felt like this mom was being brilliant in letting him be “independent,” letting him do his thing even in this scary crowd of people. At the same time she was letting him know silently that she was there AT ALL TIMES. He knew she was there. She knew that he knew that she was there. And that was all they needed to get through this simple activity of going down the stairs at a crowded station.



What a beautiful small (natural) gesture between mom and child going through the process of “growing up” and learning to be on your own. We are alone. And yet there is always something in the wings to help. Heck, ”I” was ready to jump out to help if this boy had a hard time. Moms… I believe most moms want to help guide their kids into independence. At the same time, we are the first to jump out and want to protect them from hurt or danger. It’s not easy to know how to balance the extremes. 

This one mother’s gesture (as interpreted by me) was another sign how parents instinctively know how to let their children “be” while being there on the wings when duty calls. 


P.S. By the way, although I have not raised children in other countries, I can’t imagine this happening in a huge city overseas. Perhaps this is permissible because we are in Japan. Anywhere else, one would be afraid of a child being taken and would be seen as negligence. この行為も日本ならではのことかな、とつくづく思います。残念ながら、他の国ではこのように子供に「任せる」は(いつも見張ってない行動は誘拐の恐れがあり、)無責任と解釈されることもある。