Thursday, May 30, 2013

No Nestle Quik for Lunch

One time my daughter came home from school without her Dora thermos. She had mistakenly put someone else's Dora thermos in her backpack. When I went to wash it, I noticed inside was mugicha, which is a kind of barley tea. It seems like such an adult drink to me, unsweetened barley tea, but here it was, in a Dora thermos for a three-year-old. The preschool, like schools in Japan, tells us to only send water or "ocha" おちゃ (any kind of Japanese tea) for the kids to drink with their lunch each day. Absolutely nothing sweet. No juice, no sweet tea, etc.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Is It Possible to Make an English-Japanese Bilingual Yearbook?

Since my daughter's school is very young, they have never had a yearbook before. So I've decided to head the yearbook committee. The problem is that none of the easy-to-use, print-on-demand online yearbook creation companies can handle Japanese characters. Why, you ask?
"(The multitude of characters in the Japanese language) cannot fit in the 256-character code space of 8-bit character encodings, requiring at least a 16-bit fixed width encoding or multi-byte variable-length encodings. " (Wikipedia)
Or put more simply, when I type in Japanese on the yearbook layout software, nothing shows up. *sigh* There are yearbook companies in Japan, like, that can easily handle Japanese characters, but I can't navigate the sites very well and the shipping would be crazy expensive. So I may just have to photoshop each and every name onto the pictures beforehand. Lots of work.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Japanese Momotaro Story and Momotaro Song

It was a special day at my daughter's Japanese-English kindergarten. High schoolers came to perform the play "Momotaro" (Peach Boy), which is a popular kid's story in Japan. In the story, an old lady finds a little boy inside a peach. Crazy.

She came home happily singing the Momotaro song, which I had never heard of before.