March 22, 2008

Dragons and God's Sovereignty

It's Holy Week. If you are thinking, like many are this week, about God's role in human actions, here is a nice analogy I just came across. It's called Dragon's and God's Sovereignty. Enjoy.

March 11, 2008

Climbing Mount Kuratake

On Saturday, a couple friends from church, T and I climbed Mount Kuratake in Yanamashi. This is one of my favorite hikes because it offers great views of several ranges and Mount Fuji; it's easily accessible by train (no bus ride!) on the Chuo line; and there aren't many other hikers. This was T's biggest hike by far and he was like a mountain goat up there, sometimes even telling us big guys to hurry up. It's great to be able to share a hobby with my son.

Here's a map. Not sure if it's zoomable.Oops. Never mind. Just click this link if you want to see a map.

And some photos.

If anyone has ideas for other good hikes around Tokyo or would like to join sometime, let me know.

March 8, 2008

Tips on Raising Bilingual Children

I just read a good article called "Raising a Bilingual Child" (it's a pdf) by Julia Gariel and Jo Bristow. It gives good, common-sense tips, many of which we follow with our own children and those at the preschool.

Here's an excerpt.
For language learning to be successful it is essential that all exposure provides positive experience. There is no room for destructive criticism or negative comments. What the child needs is praise for effort, celebration of success, joy and laughter. Don't worry if he makes mistakes in grammar or pronunciation. Try to avoid correcting negatively. Just repeat the sentence back to him accurately, model it for him. In time he will automatically use the right structure which the language-learning area of his brain will have stored away for future use. For example:

Child: "Want go now park."

Adult Solution A:
"That's not the right way to ask. If you want to go to the park learn to ask properly. Say it like this . . . No, like this . . . ."

Result A:
Child feels wrong, gets bored repeating words, loses interest in going to the park, loses confidence in his ability to make his needs known. A learning opportunity is lost.

Adult Solution B:
"You want to go to the park now? I want to go to the park now, too. We'll go when we're ready."

Result B:
Child hears his sentence modeled correctly and stores it away. His needs are acknowledged, he feels good about the communication. Further language learning opportunities will take place in the park.
There are several other articles too. Check them out here.

March 4, 2008

Parking Lot Game

Here's an online game I just stumbled across. The higher levels will make your brain hurt. Make sure you have several minutes to kill before starting.


Or if you want to play without looking at a screen, you can get the atoms not bits version at amazon.

[Edited to add the link to amazon]

March 2, 2008

Fun Food

We made a couple different kinds of bread in the preschool last week and I found out that tortillas are really easy to make. Mexican food is something I miss in Japan so I took my newfound tortilla-making skills and made fresh tacos for the family last night. They were muy rico!

Tomomi had to fix the dough for me after I made it way too sticky by using a mix of metric and "normal" measuring devices.

And here is a picture of the chocolate gorilla I got for Valentine's Day from a student last month. Everyone gets chocolate gorillas, right?

I didn't think to take a picture until I had eaten the foot.