kodomo No Ie

KNI February Newsletter

1: Goals for this Month
2: Let's Sing - Songs of this Month
3: Hiamatsuri Event (Girls Day Celebration)
4: Report from the Disaster Area

Some of you might be thinking that something's not right in the vegetable garden. You are right. The children have been cheering for “daikon plants” to grow for a while, but we recently realized that most of them were actually red radishes!
Apparently we picked red radish seeds by mistake, but we didn't notice because the bunnies ate the young shoots three different times when the plants had just started sprouting. The plants lost leaves every time the bunnies sampled them, and new leaves grew again. With these incidents happening one after another, we didn't realize what they really were until they had grown much bigger.
We haven't had a chance to explain the situation yet, but some children have already noticed that the plants look different in shape and color than daikon plants. We are sorry for the confusion. We will talk to the children soon about what happened, and we hope we can use this opportunity for the children to enjoy observing how red radishes grow. Thank you for your understanding.

Goals for this Month

- Learn the origins of Setsubun; wear the ONI masks made by themselves and experience bean throwing
- Enjoy ONI asobi (game) and sing children's songs
- Younger group: start practicing jump rope, create jump rope chart
- Older group: make a scarf using finger knitting
                       (Ganbari or achievement chart = jump rope, one leg jumping, pole climbing,
                            Knot tying, Bun bun tops, horizontal bars, ball bouncing, 
                            Using chopsticks)
- Make hina dolls and enjoy Hinamatsuri events
- Proactively practice good hygiene habits for winter by gargling and washing hands

Let's Sing - Songs of this Month

Renege - Pon Pon Pon to Haru Ga Kita (Pon pon pon, the spring has come)
Momo - Kon Kon Kushan no Uta (Kon Kon Kushan Song)
Sumire - Tsubomi (Bud)
Kiku - Pachiriko Pachirin Nandaro Na (Pachiriko Pachirin, what could it be?)
Ume - Harukaze San to Cha Cha Cha (Cha Cha Cha with Spring Breeze)
Sakura - Ookina Ua (Big Song)
All Classes - Ureshii Hinamatsuri (Happy Girls Day)

Sheet music for all the songs are located next to the attendance sheets. Please feel free to take a copy and enjoy singing at home.

Hiamatsuri Event (Girls Day Celebration)

Date: 2/26 (Sun) 13:30 - 14:00, 14:30 - 15:00
                            (2 performances)
Place: Huntington Library

Sakura Class will be performing the musical play.
Please come join us with your friends and family.

Report from the Disaster Area

Two of the Kodomo no Ie alumni were in the disaster area when the Tohoku Earthquake hit northern Japan last year. Mrs. Hosokawa wrote to us and described what they went through. With her permission, we would like to share her experience with all of you.

That day Koichi and Nobuyo, my children, were still at school. They said that they heard the loud noise caused by the falling glasses from the 2nd floor of the school building.  Being prompted by their teacher yelling “Get out!!,” they avoided the front entrance of the building that was full of the broken glasses and got out from the back entrance into the school’s athletics track field.  When they got out, they saw the ground was shaking up and down as it was dancing.  That was what I heard later from them.  Even though it was already March, it was still cold with snow.  Without electric power and water supply, they waited for me in the school bus with their classmates. People at school kept children warm by turning the school bus’ engine on and off.   Mr. Stewart, Principal, is a man with such a strong sense of responsibility and he put up several kids whose parents could not pick up that day in his own house. 
I myself let my people at work go home and waited for my children at the usual pick up location where they normally get off their bus.  I only had a quarter tank of gas left in my car.   I had no idea when I can get more gas again as nothing in town seemed functioning including phone and e-mail service. While I was at a loss of what to do, it started snowing harder and I thought soon I could not go anywhere any more when we had 60 cm and/or more (about 24 inches) of snow.  So I prayed with all my heart to God and asked for help.  Then a big snow cloud in front of me suddenly split into two and the sunlight came through the clouds.   After that, snow slowly changed to rain.   It was a mystical incident that only lasted a few moments, but I learned later that about 9,000 people went to heaven in Miyagi at that moment.
Ryoichi, my husband was treating a 84 year old lady on the 4th floor of the new building of Tohoku University Hospital.  He said they felt a very strong shaking and the wall fell even though it was a brand new building (Did they cut corners during this building’s construction??)  While things like medicine containers and many other things came off from the shelves and people were in panic, this old lady tried to save the things that were falling off from the shelves.  She is such an amazing soul who survived the World War II.  She did not cry at all and said to Ryoichi with a smile, “I am so lucky to have such a young doctor u hold me tight! Shall I blow a whistle?” Then she started blowing a whistle that she carries around for some unknown reason. 
Regarding radiation effects of Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster, I was really confused.  I went to several seminars to listen to the talks by the experts in the prefecture and I read books on this issue.  Here are a few things we can do to protect our body.  Choose foods wisely to keep our body from being exposed to the unsafe level of radiation, and also strengthen our immune system by consuming fermented foods like miso, and lots of fruits so that we do not increase reactive oxygen in our system.   By doing the above, we can equip our body better to combat the radioactive contamination and will be less likely to end up with cancer.
Until now, I never appreciated the safe tap water that would flow out at our will. I also learned that it is such a privilege for me to have a car to go shopping.  It is such a blessing that everyone in my family comes home safe every day.  I wish everyone’s happiness.
Don’t you think many of us take our peaceful lives for granted?   This ordinary and even mundane life we take for granted is, in fact, such a great joy, blessing and something we should really appreciate. Why don’t we come back to the basics and reassess what really matters in our lives?


Encho sensei is going to be visiting the Tsunami devastated town of Kesennuma, Miyagi over the spring break. She will visit Shishiori elementary school in Kesennuma city to show our continuing support. Encho sensei will be carrying our donation with a message, “we still care, and we are here for you”. We hope you participate in the following fund drives:
1) CD sale-CDs by Ms. Tatsuki
We sold her ”Bless You during the fund drive last year.
This year we will be selling both this album and her new album “He Loves You” as the second album dedicated to the cause. We hope you make a purchase to enjoy Ms. Tatsuki’s wonderful music. Suggested Donation : $5

2) Handmade Calendars by the children in Sakura class
The children in Sakura class have made calendars.
The project has not gone as expeditiously as we were a little under prepared and also because we have had to wait for some children to come to school and finish their project, so it looks like the January calendar will not be usable by the time the products are ready for purchase. However, the art work by the children who worked on the January calendars is noteworthy so please enjoy them as well. The cost of each calendar will be $2 .
Please spread the word to your friends so that we can sell a lot!

The people in the disaster-stricken area are still carrying on a difficult life. In addition to the physical devastation, the accident at the nuclear power plant no doubt adds unnecessary anxiety to the mothers of young children. I hope that you would be kind enough to support less fortunate mothers whose wishes are the same as yours- the healthy growth of their precious children.


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