Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our granddaughters

by aleks
SJG • 7/23/12 - our granddaughters - the entrance of  the Garden

On Monday Lynnda and I took our granddaughters - 2 y.o. (minus 2 days)  and 7 y.o. (minus 4 weeks)  to Seattle Japanese Garden:  Ellie has been coming here for years, and Sophie is just starting.  There is something really nice in the fact that Lynnda and I have become friends through our work as guides in SJG, and even nicer to be able to pass our love of the Garden to our grandkids.

SJG • 7/23/12 - new young friends walking up the hill together

I don't know what to write in this post, without breaking any confidentiality rules (which is why I chose not up-close pics, too - the face recognition software that both girls will grow up to live with... well, I'm not going to help with that),  but i just wanted to share this.

Maybe only, that I hope the girls will grow up as inspired by the Garden as their grandmothers are. Maybe some day they'll find some laughter here, or peace and consolation, or maybe they'll  dream their dreams here, or find a connection with something that really matters to them.

SJG • 7/23/12 - feeding koi

Ellie is keeping a haiku journal of her summer in seattle and this is what she created that day (I still write most of her compositions down, but not all anymore; she now can write some of it by herself):

•••
Large flat rock
at entrance 
to magic garden

•••
fuzzy, velvet 
leaf 
on yakushima bush

•••
Sophie drops koi-food,
I push it off the deck -
koi are happy

•••

SJG • 7/23/12 - the Garden visit nearly ending....  see you later my childhood friend!

• • • • • • • • • 

A note about  yakushima rhododendron and teaching haiku to children:  I told Ellie that haiku is an easy way to make pictures with words: all you need to do is make up 3 lines about something  you want to remember - the shorter the lines, the better haiku. This year she learned to simplify her haiku by dropping unnecessary verbs and other grammatical 'luggage', and right now is learning the  concept of kigo (hint-words, denoting seasons).

Even though she only heard Lynnda say 'yakushima rhododendron' and wasn't sure if she wanted to even try to repeat it, she asked me to put the correct name in her haiku, because that is what she wanted to remember. She learned that trick last year while we travelled to Poland together: she wanted to remember correct names of places, rivers and castles we visited, so she asked me to spell them for her correctly in her haiku: she thought 'locking'  the names in haiku is a good way to preserve them,  and that when she re-reads her travel journals when she is older it will all make sense that way, because she trapped 'real' words which are on the maps and in dictionaries...


10 comments:

  1. I love all of Ellie's haiku but especially with the third one, I feel like I was there.

    Sophie drops koi-food,
    I push it off the deck -
    koi are happy

    Ellie is quite right about using correct name for places and things. She is so lucky to have such thoughtful grandmothers.

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  2. Charming! I love Sophie standing on tip toes to see the koi, and Ellie's open fingers, explaining(?)to her listening new friend.

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  3. Thanks, Aleks. Sophie had such a good time, and she continues to talk about Ellie. I look forward to more trips to the garden with Ellie and Sophie!

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  4. thanks, people - my friends in JG. i'm spent now... really. the garden is my escape... and you in it:)

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  5. Ellie asked me if i know that japan is an asian country - she was reading a book she checked from library, where she went with her father earlier today. i looked over her shoulder and saw a map of japan and a picture of hagoita; the title of the book is: 'i live in tokyo' :)

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  6. I had to look this up - from Wikipedia "Hagoita are rectangular wooden paddles, originating in Japan, ostensibly used to play hanetsuki, but often instead serving a more ornamental purpose. These are frequently painted, usually with lacquer, with auspicious symbols, or decorated with complex silk collages. This tradition dates to the 17th century, and although the game itself is now rarely played, crafting decorative hagoita is still commonplace. They are generally sold at traditional fairs, hagoita ichi, which are held in December. In Tokyo, they are sold at shrines, especially Asakusa and Furukawa Fudō." You have a very smart granddaughter who is very interested in the world around her. Keep on learning, Ellie!

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  7. thank you, Lynnda, for hagoita description. Ellie finished the book and concluded that she would like to live in japan: 'they surely have more holidays than we have in maine'...:)

    the book highlights each month's important traditions through the eyes of 7 y.o. japanese schoolgirl - Ellie asked for her own copy, and i'll be getting one for myself to use for the tours with young children.

    Keiko, do you know of this book by Mari Takabayashi? the amazon readers' reviews are good and say it's 'authentic' and spot-on; no silly notions that people run around japan in kimonos and eat sushi 3 times a day... Ellie surely enjoyed reading about kanji, shodo, chado and december bath with yuzu oranges...

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    Replies
    1. I have seen the book at my own branch of King County Library System. Wow, School Library Journal has written a review. To get reviewed by them is such a prestige.

      It is a shame that I did not think of using the book for tours for children. Thank you for your great suggestion.

      And yes, Ellie and her family are using the public library so wisely. Using library books to find a book you really like to own is very smart!

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  8. thanks Keiko - it IS an excellent book, no surprise that it was reviewed School Library Journal: very informative, full of facts, written and illustrated in a very engaging way. I have ordered 3 copies of 'I live in Tokyo', which means I'll have an extra copy if anybody needs it, guides... perhaps i should leave it at the entrance gate as a loaner?

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