Thursday, September 25, 2008

Basic Geometry


HAPPI BAASUDEI, お誕生日おめでとうございます!★d(o⌒∇⌒o)b☆

Happy Birthday to Rachel, the lovely lady on Humphrey street who brews kombucha for all her friends, and who baked her own tragically delicious birthday cake. I say "tragically" because it's all gone now. ;_; That was damn fine cake, Rachel. Majide.

And now for something completely different:
A Scotsman on a horse.

No, actually, it's a pattern. Yes, I am still making patterns! I would probably have them up more often, if only I stopped making things and focused instead on writing up how to make things for a while. Also, if my camera worked better.

This is one of several techniques to make a sphere in fabric. It's one of the more decorative methods, because you can pick twelve different colors and it comes out looking all colorful. It is also very easy, because there is only one pattern piece to cut out. Download the pattern sheet (with instructions) and see for yourself. I'mma put up some process pictures, just for fun:

Inside-out, with a gap for turning...

...turned right-side-out, and getting stuffed.

Simple, right? At the stuffing phase, if you want to make your ball extra special for any pets or children that you may intend to present it to, try sinking a little rattle or jingle bell into the very middle of the ball and stuff all around it.

A rattle is simple enough to make; just get a film canister and put some rice/beads/pebbles inside. A jingle bell is only marginally harder to set up, because if you just put a bell into the stuffing, it won't jingle, but if you put the bell into a film canister, you can't hear it very well. The solution is to cut small holes in your container, or get these:

Some (but not all) medicine bottle caps come with holes already formed into the sides. Just put a little bell inside two caps, tape them together, and you'll have a nice clear-ringing jingle mechanism.

それでは、楽しみしてね。Go have a ball!

...AUGH, I said it. I tried so hard not to make that pun... チェクショ〜ウ。>,<

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Short Note - 小さなノート

(Yes, I have patterns to post. Come back in 5 hours.)

I notice a lot of folks who find this blog from a search engine are looking for help with Japanese language. They're either trying to find a word in hiragana, or looking for translations between English and Japanese.

If you, your personal self, are looking for such information, you can just drop me a comment at the bottom of a recent post. I'm always up for translating stuff. (It's the best practice I can get out here in misery Missouri.) If you're a language student, that's great, too* -- we can do practice conversations over IMs or Skype.

So don't be shy. :D

*If you're a language student just looking for a dictionary, please do treat yourself to the lovely Jim Breen WWJDIC. Draw-in kanji lookup is here, paragraph/page translation is here.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Japanese Festival 2008 (the aftermath thereof)

I am a goddamn Bon Odori dancer. Oh hell yes. d(>ω<)b

Ku is somewhere in this picture.

The Missouri Botanical Garden held it's annual Japanese Festival this past Labor Day weekend, and for the first time evar (EVAR~!) I got to participate. ^-^

My younger sister and I are first-year members of a local Tozan Ryu group (for dancing, not shakuhachi), and we were privileged to perform dances for the Obon festival along with the rest of the troupe and about 200 festival attendees who, bravely, accepted sensei's challenge to dance along with us.

(お盆) is the big autumnal holiday in Japan. It's similar in intent to Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico, but different, of course, in style and execution. Obon comes with its own special music called ondo (音頭) and a collection of dances that are simply referred to as Bon odori (盆踊り), literally, "Obon dances." There are songs and correlating dances about all kinds of things, including (but not limited to) famous cities, coal miners, fireworks, traditional clothing, wishes for good fortune, and Pokemon.

Yes, Pokemon. And many other anime.

Besides dancing, there were lots of other lovely attractions as well:


...and bonsai...

...and fans of kimono...

...and adorable Asian children...

...and a master of the deceptively difficult Japanese koma tops...

...and origami...

...and a f*ck ton of Niki de Saint Phalle sculptures which are on loan to the gardens and have nothing to do with the Japanese festival, but were still photographically interesting...

...and more cosplayers than there should have been, so I didn't take pictures of them. XD

I hope you've all had an equally lovely weekend. If you should find yourself near St. Louis this autumn, please consider visiting the gardens; they're fantastic. 超すばらしい〜