Thursday, February 23, 2012

Getting Crafty: Luggage Tag

Cramming

The school year winds down here in Japan in March so mama friends are trying to cram every activity that has been put off, into the next few weeks. Yochien Mama friends and I recently went to the onsen. Sans kiddos we were able to get massages and indulge ourselves. I noted the crowd was mainly older so it must be a good thing to spend as much time as possible at the onsen or so I rationalize when I think of my kitchen sink full of breakfast dishes, my floor sprinkled with food offerings, and my racks of laundry- that work never goes away and a good mama must look after herself. As the afternoon wore on, I began to get more and more itchy and then I broke out in hives. I think some of the goop used was not for sensitive skin. Darn shame, I'd hate to have to skip the massage part.

At last, Reflexology

My friends were lounging in the warm rooms, I don't know what else to call them. It was quiet and kind of steamy in there plus we were wearing the spa issued polyester lounge wear, the unbreathing thick kind that sticks to your sweat. I was too squirrelly to rest so I wandered off. I found myself standing in front of the Shiatsu Massage Desk. The menu was entirely in Japanese, but I could read the numbers. I pointed to the item listed for twenty minutes and found myself the recipient of a foot massage. Turned out it was reflexology which I had never tried. The reflexologist commented, in Japanese, that I have cold feet. I nodded and smiled. I've heard that since childhood. I would have loved to have said, "And they have heat seeking devices implanted in them that can pin down a limb and rob it of any and all heat in mere seconds." Seriously, I could medal if it were a sport. Ah, the pains of the language divide. She was able to tell me in English where some of the target points were as she pressed on my feet. It was pretty fabulous so I didn't really care if it was for my stomach, my shoulder, etc. My feet were happy.


Story Time

I read stories to the Japanese first graders in English today. It went pretty well- same books, last of the four classes. The teacher's assistant was in the room while I was reading to the kids. She seemed impressed that I managed to get them enthralled even though I can't speak more than two words of Japanese at a time. Hey, I've been perfecting my guttural Japanese for five years now and body language helps. I cupped my hand to my ear and waited for the children's' responses. It works. I'm debating if I could do "The Three Little Pigs" or "The Gingerbread Boy" next term. I think I would lose the kids, but I so want to hear them in unison saying, "Little pig, little pig, let me come in!" and "No, no, no! Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin." Really I want to read "The Stinky Cheese Boy" so I can hear the children say, "You can't catch me! I'm the Stinky Cheese Man!" My friend told me that last week she read to the fifth graders on Valentine's Day so she read a love story. Sounded like you could have heard a pin drop. Thankfully, the first graders are full of noise and I had my fifteen minutes today to channel it. I skipped the meeting afterward, but I signed on to read through at least June.


Crafty Mama

I skipped the mama book meeting to go to a crafting group. I was the only one so I got lots of help. I made a bag! I am so psyched. I made a real bag. It looks nice, but I have to finish one side before I can post the picture. I had to leave to return to my mama duties. It is so much easier to make something when there are directions and someone who knows that they are doing. Over the weekend I made a bag with Japanese directions and no help. I will not be posting that photo. I did make a luggage tag from an internet pattern I found on Studio Kat Design, and I finally finished off the munster's bags. I seem to unsew as much as I sew, but at least I'm starting to get the drift of how things go together. Try the luggage tags, surely there is a sport bag, suitcase, or something that needs one around your house.

My stitching is not so great, but I was able to do it by myself
Luggage Tag- fits a business card- I cut the plastic from a stiff sheet protector
My favorite models sporting their new bags