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July 13, 2017 / Mika Riedel

The Nijiiro Play Park!

It’s been a while! I’m Hakase of Nokunoku House. It’s nice and cool here in Ishinomaki. I went to Nagoya for my friend’s wedding party some days ago, and it was quite hot there! I remembered how it was when I was living in Mie. It must be very hard for people who live in Western Japan now.

Here at Nokunoku House, which is still enjoying the refreshingly cool weather, our parking lot has been turned into a park (The Nijiiro Play Park!) that is free to use for anyone to play in. As a start, we made a sandbox where children can play together! The kids got real muddy while making sand castles!


They poured water into the moat they made, and the castle was complete! In the field next to the sandbox the sunflowers planted by kids and parents are growing really fast.


They also planted watermelons, corn, cherry tomatoes, and mysterious French fruits (we read the seed package, but no one had any idea what they were.), along with some other plants. We are looking forward to seeing them grow. I’d like to report how it goes.



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Mothers who participated in the Parents-and-Children Classes brought ingredients and we had a barbeque together. It smelled really good, as things grilling over charcoal tends to, and I had a great meal. Charcoal-grilled food really is the best. Eating outside makes it even better. Anyone can use Nokunoku House’s facilities such as charcoal grills, tents, and tables, anytime. Just ask!

We are planning to make more things like benches and flower gardens and other things for the Nijiiro Play Park. Everyone who lives near us is welcome to join! Let’s have a cup of tea on a sunny day and relax while viewing the sky!

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 2017/6/23.

Translated by Mika Riedel and Meredith Lescoe.

April 29, 2017 / Mika Riedel

Recent activities in Nokunoku House

Hi, this is Jobs. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Nokunoku House lately. Cherry blossoms have fallen already, but did you go to see them? I couldn’t. I enjoyed seeing them in full bloom only in the uploaded photos.

Today, I’m going to report how things have been going in Nokunoku House. We even have videos. Enjoy!

★Playing outside with Nokunoku

We were relocating the flower garden.

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We made this small farm. We sow seeds, grow them and eat them.

Lunch party in Nokunoku (April 8th)

This is the first time for some kids to wash rice!? They are frying hamburger steaks. The rice is ready! It looks tasty! Don’t forget to tidy up!

You can see the videos here on Youtube. Please subscribe the Nijiiro Crayons’ channel.

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on April 29th, 2017.

Translated by Mika Riedel.

March 11, 2017 / Mika Riedel

Meeting over a cup of tea

Hello, everyone, this is Sacchi! It’s cold, isn’t it? It’s already February! We met each other over a cup of tea on 3rd of February, last week.


We wanted to scatter nuts and beans for Setsubun but we didn’t since we were worried that babies might be allergic to nuts.


A lot of people participated our activity today as well. We appreciate it. It’s a tea group, but you don’t have to drink tea. Those who don’t drink tea also had a good time and talked a lot.



They talked about their babies, their husband, and how they spent new year’s day… Some of them said they had gastroenteritis. It must be really difficult to take care of children when you’re sick.


We had various kinds of teas today as well. Children were also having fun playing with toys. It was very nice to see their smiles. It was so much fun so I almost forgot it was so cold! We are waiting for you all with our toys in Hiroba!


Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 2017/2/8.

Translated by Mika Riedel and Daniel Sunstrum.

December 27, 2016 / Mika Riedel

The Parents and Children Art Class

We had a workshop where we used wood in ‘the parents and children art class’ today. We learnt to craft with natural materials such as large and small branches, acorns, and pine cones. They made their crafts trying out different combinations of those materials. I found it very interesting that they made completely different figures by mixing those branches and pieces of wood. We stuck a clip to them and made them stationary. The little children put beads on top of those pine cones and made Christmas trees.





Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 12/1/2016.

Translated by Mika Riedel and Lang-8.

November 15, 2016 / Mika Riedel

How about round eggs?

Hello, everyone! There are a lot of spooky Halloween decorations creeping up all over the town. Just seeing the costumes and decorations is making me excited. At Nijiiro-Hiroba, we are also having an art event, ‘Let’s make Helloween Hats’ until tomorrow. Please come and join us!


Now I’m going to write about how our reading event went last week. First, we played a game with our hands. We sang the Korokoro-Tamago (round eggs) song. It goes like this:

‘The round eggs are smart ones, smart ones…’

Parents hugged their children when singing ‘the smart ones’. On this day, the parents who were participating for the first time joined in singing and playing with us!





The best thing about this ‘play with hands’ is that the parents could communicate with their children using songs and movements that could be easily remembered. After having a wonderful playtime, we started reading. Requests and new ideas for games are more than welcome. Tell us what games you play in your region.


After the game, everyone enjoyed exploring the world of books. This was written by me, Maki-chan, who would like to read in the nice autumn night but can’t due to sleepiness.



Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 10/26/2016.

Translated by Mika Riedel and Matthew Jellicoe.

September 21, 2016 / Mika Riedel

The beautiful weather after the typhoon has passed

Hi, everyone! I’m one of the Nijiiro-Hiroba staff members, Nori-chan. The typhoon we had yesterday was quite scary, wasn’t it? We had a day off on our activities for both Nijiiro-Hiroba and Nokunoku-house. It was flooding all over the city, and the warning to prepare for evacuation was given. It was a rough day. It caused harm spreading over even Iwate and Hokkaido prefecture. Once again, I realised how important it is to prepare for such things.

We had held an art event until last week in the Hiroba. It was called ‘Let’s make twinkling plastic bottles!’

We put rubber bands into the plastic bottles, and then we filled them with some laundry starch and water. The laundry starch makes things move slowly in the bottle.

We closed the bottle caps tightly, and then we decorated the bottles with masking tape and stickers! You can get all you need for this in a 100 yen shop.


You can have a good variety depending on the shape of the plastic bottles. It’s going to be hot after the typhoon passes in Ishinomaki, but it’s quite refreshing in this Hiroba and we are doing well.


And this is just between you and me, but I’m going to tell you that we’ve got new friends in our circle. Daruma-san, Momon-chan, Nontan, and Mikke… I was very excited!

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We will have a children’s book reading day on Thursday, September 1st. Sacchi must be very excited by those new children’s books! With those new books, we are all waiting for you visiting us in the Hiroba!

Hand-me-downs are also welcome for the ‘Hand-me-downs exchange party’ we’ll have at the Nijiiro festival.

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 8/31/2016.

Translated by Katherine Lundy and Mika Riedel.


July 30, 2016 / Mika Riedel

So many inventors and artists!

Hello, I’m Pi-cock! Don’t you think it’s been really hot every day lately? Since the summer break has started, the kids have been attending our activity from the morning.

Today, we’re going to introduce the inventors and artists in Nokunoku-house. Here we go!


Can you tell what this is? This is a home-made vending machine! You can get a prize when you turn the plastic bottle in the direction of the arrow.


Awesome! And this is how it looks inside. The plastic bottle has a hole and the prizes go into the hole.


Then the prizes slide down a ramp inside the box! They finished the whole thing within 10 to 20 minutes. I was amazed by their imagination. 


The children want to play Pokémon GO, since it’s been so popular now. But they don’t have smartphones, so they made it themselves! So, they made Pokémon and Poké Balls with paper, then they can play a game which they throw Poké Balls at Pokémon to catch them.

In Nokunoku-house, we have not only inventors, but also many artists.


This is the “fairy tale world”! There are mermaids, pegasus, and fairies. What remarkable about it is how they use the colour. I asked her which colour she was going to use, and this artist answered, “Every colour!” She finished her artwork using coloured pencils, Coupy Pencils, marker pens, and water colours!


This piece was also done in 20 to 30 minutes. It’s so impressive she can finish such a great painting in that short of time. We entered this painting into the “Summer Break Children’s Art Show”, which is sponsored by Senkindo. Onchan-shisho actually helps out with this art show, too! If you’re interested in it, apply now since the deadline is July 31st.

Also, there are so many great things made by the children such as the “Caution: Children At Play” warning sign in front of Nokunoku-house.


Please come and visit to see those inventors and artists, or visit us as an inventor or an artist yourself! We are looking forward to seeing you all!


Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 2016/7/29.

Translated by Daniel Sunstrum and Mika Riedel.


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