KRAFTY KORNER: It’s a Small World


Rafu Craft Editor

(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on Sept. 22, 2010)


Think kids.

Pop this DVD movie, “Babies,” in and watch four adorable infants from different countries–U.S., Japan, Mongolia and Namibia, through their first year of life.

The lens captures these newborns as they go through various stages of development while fitting in with their parents’ daily lifestyles.

Pampered is the only word for big city babies. Nurtured by both sets of parents, an American baby girl in San Francisco, the other a Japanese girl in Tokyo, have those luxuries we too often take for granted–toys, products, clothes and an early exposure to learning tools.

Contrast that with a backpacked Mongolian baby boy who heads home soon after birth on his mom’s back straddled behind dad on a motorcycle, then co-exists with farm animals and a freedom to explore.

A seemingly happy African baby girl lives sans shoes, diapers, store bought toys, bottled water, running water and processed foods in a rural desert habitat with her mom, brother and extended family.

Palo Alto-based author Christy Hale will be on hand to autograph her first book about Isamu Noguchi’s childhood. (Courtesy of C. Hale)

Selecting the right name for any baby is always a hot topic. New parents dare to be different. Nix spell check. Caitlyn, Katelyn, Kaitlin. Ali, Elle, Elli. Cari, Carey, Karrie. Maybe an eclectic city name–Paris, Sofia, Chelsea, Asia. Crossover names stay popular picks, as Hayden, Taylor, Riley, Jamie and Logan.

Relax at Border’s thumbing through books or check that new iPad for lists of baby names and how-to guides. Equally important is starting a book collection of classics to jumpstart a child’s imagination.

To your holiday gift list, add books for school age children from Heritage Source’s Carolyn Sanwo of Santa Clarita, all available at the Jan Ken Po Gakko Arts and Crafts Fair on Saturday in Elk Grove, near Sacramento.

Since 1994, Sanwo has been a valuable merchant for JA families with books about the arts, culture, history and reference materials for both young and old.

Get Mark Reibstein’s signature on his picture book about a special cat named Wabi Sabi. (Courtesy of M. Reibstein)

Picture book author-educator Christy Hale made her debut last year with “The East-West House: Noguchi’s Childhood in Japan.” Younger eyes are introduced to this boy who went on to become an acclaimed modern artist/sculptor.

Far from living a fairy tale story, Noguchi, born in 1904, was raised by a Scottish-Irish American mom in Japan after being abandoned by his Japanese father. Being gaijin and hapa were unacceptable during those times. Nature became his refuge, resulting in an East-West house built from his design.

Be smitten with this book’s title, “Wabi Sabi.” Find yourself adopting this cat of the same name bent on a mission to uncover the meaning of her unusual tag. Bay area English school teacher Mark Reibstein reveals that wabi sabi is an age-old Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in simplicity, the ordinary and the imperfect.

Get a signed copy of this book that hit the New York Times bestseller list for 11 weeks. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Ed Young’s appealing artwork relies on torn paper collage depictions.

Shop til you drop at the first So Cal arts and crafts marketplace. The West L.A. Japanese American Citizen’s League Aki Matsuri is perfectly timed to celebrate the autumnal equinox, officially arriving today. Be ready for higher temps expected this weekend.

Occupational therapist Judy Kang of Santa Monica developed no-scratch baby mitts to encourage sensory development for her newborn son. (Courtesy of Spotlightbaby Co.)

Need gift ideas for tiny tots? Check out products from Spotlightbaby. Eco-friendly and made with organic cotton and bamboo fibers, they’re designed to encourage sensory stimulation.

With the birth of Judy Kang’s first son in 2007, she wanted to mesh her therapy world with that of babies. Thinking outside of the box, Squeez-Ease mitts evolved. Cushioned coverings are geared for infants up to six months, especially when they’re tired or fussy. Little fingers remain free for exploring, while preventing babies from scratching themselves.

Along with partner Sally Park, they offer a line of ultra-soft animals called Bamboo Buddy. A smiley lion and horse provide tactile stimulation. Consider a newly released DVD that promotes a mommy-child bonding while exercising together. All done with a yoga ball!

Check for calendar updates only on Wednesdays.

Saturday, Sept. 25, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Jan Ken Po Gakko Arts & Crafts Fair
Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation
9040 High Tech Ct., Elk Grove
408-839-6023, Renee Kumamoto

Sunday, Sept. 26, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
WLA JACL Aki Matsuri Fall Festival
Venice Japanese Community Center
12448 Braddock Dr., Culver City
310-399-4526, Sandy Toshiyuki

Saturday, Oct. 2,
12-8 p.m.
Aki Matsuri Fall Festival
East San Gabriel Valley Japanese
Community Center
1203 W. Puente Ave., West Covina
626-960-2566, Pearl Omiya

Saturday, Oct. 2, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Eden Holiday Craft Show
Marina Community Center
15301 Wicks Blvd., San Leandro
510-471-8052, Karen Valerio

Sunday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kokoro Craft Affair (Friends of the Museum)
Japanese American National Museum
369 E. 1st St., Los Angeles
(213) 625-0414, ext 2222,
Janet Maloney

Saturday, Oct. 9,
8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
SEJSCC Holiday Boutique
(Hawaiian-Style Pancake Breakfast
7-11 a.m.)
Southeast Japanese School &
Community Center
14615 Gridley Rd., Norwalk
714-847-1173, Edna Kurihara

Saturday, Oct. 16,
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Crafty Foxes Holiday Boutique
Saratoga Community Center
19655 Allendale Ave., Saratoga
408-356-2764, Carol Yuki

Sunday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Krafty Delites #1
Carson Community Center
801 E. Carson St., Carson
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Friday-Sunday, Nov. 5-7, Saturday-
Sunday, Nov. 12, 13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Touch of Nature Home & Holiday
Décor Show
Diamond Bar, call for location
909-594-5964, Lily Saito

Sunday, Nov. 7, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Holiday Crafts Faire
Gedatsu Church
7850 Hill Dr., So. San Gabriel
626-572-0923, Judy Hamamoto

Saturday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
JAMsj Winter Boutique
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
San Jose Buddhist Church Gym
640 N. 5th St., San Jose
408-294-3138, Mimi Suga

Saturday, Nov. 20,
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair
Blaine Memorial Methodist Church
3001 24th Ave. So., Seattle, WA
425-827-4930, Shizue Yahata

Saturday, Nov. 20,
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Koi Krafters
Almansor Court, Lakeview Room
700 S. Almansor, Alhambra
626-282-2932, Irene Jong

Sunday, Nov. 21,
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Beary Best Friends
Holiday Inn
7000 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
562-865-2637, Ellen Mabuni

Saturday, Dec. 4,
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
imaginAir Crafts Boutique
Torrance Cultural Arts Center
3550 Civic Center Dr., Torrance
310-719-8697, Deanna Takahashi


1 Comment

  1. Gail,
    Enjoyed reading about the various offerings around the area and even up to Elk Grove.
    I was curious about the term ” wabi sabi” and how it translates to Western world.
    Thank you.

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