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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.


June 30, 2016 / Mika Riedel

The Big Help, Tazu

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, everyone! This is Nattsu from Nijiiro Crayons. Today I’m here to tell you about the Asahi Power Device event we held last Saturday.
This month’s event was actually pretty quiet since most of the children who usually attend have moved out. It’s been two years since we started this monthly event, and nearly all the volunteers who joined us for the first event still come out to help us. The volunteers come from different areas and from various occupations, but all look forward to participating in our monthly event. The children who have come to know them over these years also look forward to their visit.

Since most of the volunteers who come to help out are regulars to our event, they were a bit sad that the kids that they’ve come to know have moved and won’t be participating anymore. However, the volunteers are also happy knowing the children are moving on to a new chapter in their life. They hope that the kids are doing well in their new homes and hope to see them again sometime.

Today, since there weren’t so many children in attendance, we enjoyed having tea with the local residents. These people usually have many opportunities to interact with kids, so it was a nice change of pace to enjoy a more relaxed moment of tea and knitting, having a chance to be able to actually speak with them outside of the usual brief greetings.

Micchan’s knitting machine was very useful here again. (See the previous blog entries for details about the knitting machine.)

We had a nice time chatting as friends, asking questions and making friendly comments a little on the more personal side such as: “Are you married?” and “You look slimmer than last time I saw you!”

The residents let us know that they enjoyed the comparatively relaxed event day. And that yes, it’s good to have a relaxed, easy-going time now and then. The volunteers who came to this month’s event have been with us a long time and we have all come to know each other pretty well, which is why I think we could enjoy such a relaxed time together. I think it would be nice for the people here if they could enjoy more visits like this, with people they can enjoy a relaxed time with.

Would you like to join us? We always welcome new volunteers. I know. It was a little bit cheeky to call for help. ☺ This is it for today’s report.

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 5/17/2016.

Translated by Mika Riedel and Meredith Lescoe.

March 27, 2016 / Mika Riedel

The Trip Map

Hi everyone, I’m Nori-chan, a member of the Hiroba staff.

The traffic was very heavy in Ishinomaki due to the snow yesterday. The winter of Ishinomaki is not going to end very soon. Colds and the flu are still going around. On such a cold day, you can come visit us in the Hiroba. The popular event ‘Let’s have fun through Hinamatsuri!’ will be held until the 3rd.


Don’t you want to take pictures with the elaborate costumes we made? And another thing — we have ‘The Trip Map’ now in the Hiroba.


I went to cafes and restaurants in Ishinomaki with my 2 years and 6 months old boy, and I wrote reviews. You may have been some of them or you might find a new place to go. We’ll have a notebook there so that you can leave your comments.


Everyone who visits this Hiroba can work together with the staff to make our own original trip map! We’ll have more information in the future, so you can look forward to that!



We’ll have picture book reading day tomorrow, on March 3rd. We’re looking forward to seeing you in the nice and warm room!

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 3/2/2016.

Translated by  Mika Riedel and Katherine Lundy.


February 1, 2016 / Mika Riedel

Let’s Make A Snowman!


Hi everyone! I’m Nori-chan from Nijiiro-Hiroba. A new staff member just joined us last week! This is Kaori Makino. You can call her Maki-chan!

It snowed over the weekend. Every week, we have to shovel the road and get the snow off of cars, and it’s quite tough. I hope you don’t catch a cold! The children are energetic as usual even though it’s cold out there. All of the staff members are glad to have many parents and children here every day even with this cold weather.

Last week, we held an event which is called “Let’s make a snowman.” They made so many cute snowmen! We’re showing them off at Nijiiro Hiroba, so please come and see them! This week, we’re making demon masks. We’ll be making the room warm for the children this week, too.




We are having a tea ceremony once a month, and now we’d like to ask you what would be a good theme for next month.

You can vote or write down what you’d like to talk about on the whiteboard. You can tell us secretly too if you want to! We are looking forward to seeing you all.

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 1/27/2016.

Translated by Daniel Sunstrum and Mika Riedel.

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