Monday, 18 February 2013

Letters and Sounds: resources for phonics

The Letters and Sounds webpage

This site is used by the teachers in the Reception classes at my school (and undoubtedly many other British schools) and provides resources to help with the introduction of phonics to 4-5 year old children and onwards. In general, nursery classes (3-4 year old children) follow Phase 1 and reception (4-5 year old children) classes follow Phase 2 & Phase 3. Phase 1 is the listening and communicating stage and Phase 2 onwards starts to introduce letters and their sounds.

Pretty Cure and B'z and festivals

It's been a while since I've written here, so hello again! My family and I went back to Japan for the Christmas and New Year holidays. We were anticipating the sudden switch from English to Japanese in my daughter, but this time it didn't happen as quickly as it did last winter holidays. We spent time at first with the children's Japanese grandparents. Millie was slow to remember her fabulous Japanese but got by with greetings and simple requests. Then for the next week we were joined by their Japanese cousins. They all played together but did not talk together much, realising that their languages were different. Millie became very interested in her cousin's favourite animation, Pretty Cure, or Purikyuar as pronounced in Japanese. Back in England it has become a great way to continue to hear and sing along with Japanese. Not too sure about the short skirts and too cute girly fashions but hearing her try to sing along in Japanese is adorable.
The Pretty Cure Girls

We also bought a little CD player for them to play my old CDs on. A favourite of everyone's recently is B'z 's compilation album which is often played to accompany our meal times. Finally we are lucky enough to know a few Japanese/British couples and we are now making an effort to celebrate Japanese festivals and holidays together. Just recently we held the Setsubun festival at our flat, throwing dried beans at the dads with demon masks on! Next is Girl's Day in March, so we will be preparing chirashi zushi and the like for that too. The dolls are already on display.


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Haruki Murakami to cheer me up?

Recently I've been savouring my latest read during my lunch break. It's "The Elephant Vanishes" by Haruki Murakami. Not only do I get my Japan fix but his short stories are odd, eerie and shocking which shakes up my otherwise uneventful lunch breaks. I can hardly put the book down to go back to work!!!
A definite recommend.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Big fat Dorayaki!!

I can hardly believe I went to all this trouble for a sweet, but such is my desire to have a Japanese-inspired summer!! (We had to cancel our 5 week holiday there due to my broken elbow.) This morning I made tsubuan, which is red bean paste with a lumpy texture. This evening I made pancakes to sandwich my tsubuan, and there we have it....Dorayaki!!!
We are all now thoroughly stuffed and completely satisfied.

Found a great Dorayaki pancake recipe here.

Anko, Japanese sweet bean paste

Here's this morning's anko, sweet Japanese bean paste for the very first time! I found a super recipe here at Just One Cookbook. Tonight we'll try to make Dorayaki, pancakes, with this sweet bean filling. Yum!!

Samsi, a Japanese restaurant in Manchester

We had a day trip out to Samsi, as recommended by a friend. It's a Japanese restaurant in the centre of Manchester, walk-able from Oxford Road railway station. The restaurant was large and quite quiet on the early Friday lunchtime that we went. The decor was a mix of traditional and the tacky, and we were served by a yukata-wearing Japanese lady who was very helpful.
The food took a while to come but it was plentiful and we couldn't finish it all. We had a few pieces of sushi, rather bare miso soup, gyoza, chicken yakisoba, chicken ramen and tonkatsu curry. I wasn't a fan of huge slices of chicken in the yakisoba or ramen, but the taste was ok. My favourite was the tonkatsu curry and the gyoza. Oh and we had lovely little daifuku to finish. It was lunch where I felt like I was back in Japan or an hour or so, so overall, a nice experience.
Samsi also has a little supermarket below the restaurant, selling Japanese food, sweets, tea and ceramics.

Japanese restaurant, Samsi

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Peppa Pig's magazine

Just been looking at Peppa Pig's home page.
Peppa's Official Site
There are games, books to read, songs and lots of other activities to do to keep your little ones entertained!

There are some printable worksheets and colouring sheets from the fortnightly magazine, which my little girl loves. They are linked to the principles of early years learning. 
Peppa Pig worksheets

Subscribe to Peppa pig magazine here, for both UK and international subscriptions: