Tag Archives: China

Stationery and Kawaii Madness!

October 16.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

For stationery and kawaii enthusiasts, you’ll be glad to know that I made a wonderful discovery during my visit to Kingston, Ontario for the Thanksgiving long weekend holiday last week.

While visiting the artsy core of downtown Kingston, I accidentally came across an independently-owned stationery-and-kawaii-filled shop called, Midori. I would have passed right by it if I didn’t see the painted sign outside, which said stationery in elegant, cursive print. Thankfully, I noticed it enough to stop mid-step before heading toward the nearest Starbucks Coffee shop.

Once inside, I was transported into a wonderful, little room painted in pastels featuring a variety of kawaii products imported from China, Korea, and Japan that included stuffed, plush toys, jewellery, mugs, bento boxes, handbags, and loads of notebooks, paper stationery, postcards, and pens.

I chatted with Midori’s owner and proprietor, Tina Yan, who opened the store in October of last year (2013) and discovered that not only do we share the same birthday month, but that we’re equally enthusiastic about kawaii products!

Canadian-born with cultural roots from China, Tina, thought it was important to bring popular kawaii goods from Asian countries to provide Canadian customers with products solely created and distributed in South Asian countries—which suits me perfectly fine since I don’t see the possibility of travelling to South Asia any time soon. How else will I deal with my stationery and kawaii addiction?

Tina Yan, Owner of Midori Shop, in front of Midori rabbit logo design. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Tina Yan, Owner of Midori Shop, in front of Midori rabbit logo design. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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While chatting with Tina about the possibility of featuring her and her shop on my blog, she was kind enough to allow me to take a number of photographs in her store while I searched for items that I might purchase. Here are some of the wonderful kawaii items I found in her shop:

Notebooks, red-haired girls x2. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Notebooks, red-haired girls x2. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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Kawaii black cat plush toys. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii black cat plush toys. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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Kawaii cat notebook. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii cat notebook. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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Kawaii bento box made in Japan. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii bento box made in Japan. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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Kawaii linen bag, Girl on Bicycle, baby blue. $30.00 CAD. (The one I plan on buying when I return to the shop next month!) (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii linen bag, Girl on Bicycle, baby blue. $30.00 CAD. (The one I plan on buying when I return to the shop next month!) (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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I was so pleased with this little shop, I returned twice in one day and bought the following, cute products to use for my own, personal writing and snail mail:

My Fairy Tale World: Flowers & Beauty Girl notebooks x4, assorted. $1.15 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
My Fairy Tale World: Flowers & Beauty Girl notebooks x4, assorted. $1.15 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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These pretty 4″x5.5″ notebooks from the My Fairy Tale World: Flowers & Beauty Girl line created by languo is simply exquisite. I was drawn to the art cover designs, which features a different girl in each portrait. Inside, the paper is brown, blank, and consists of 24 pages.

My only regret about the design is that there is no Asian girl with black hair on a cover. Surely, a Beauty Girl would also come from Asia, right?

While I’m excited about my purchase, these notebooks seem far too pretty for me to use right away. I have yet to decide what to write in them! In the meantime, they will sit at my desk on display.

Kawaii gel ink pens, assorted. From $1.50-$1.99 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii gel ink pens, assorted. From $1.50-$1.99 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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After testing a number of pens in stock at Midori, I decided on buying the light blue, gel-ink pen with the bear cap, 0.38mm fine point, with “love dolls every day” printed on its casing; the Fihfio floral print, gel-ink pen with a cap that says, “Your happy story;” and my favourite of the three, the BCO black, ink gel pen with the sad ghost cap, 0.4mm fine point. It runs quite smoothly with a dark imprint and is the current pen I use to write all my snail mail letters.

London postcard set. $3.75 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
London postcard set. $3.75 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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These London photograph postcards came in a set of 18. The photographs are not only lovely renditions of London’s famous city, but the paper itself is slightly glossy with an embossed texture, which give them a far more realistic feel than other glossed postcards and reprints.

For 18 postcards of good photographs for the low price of $3.50 CAD per set, you simply can’t lose, which is why when I return I’ll be buying a few more packages!

“Got a Mail” pink kawaii agenda with cards and stickers. $7.45 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
“Got a Mail” pink kawaii agenda with cards and stickers. $7.45 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

The “Got a Mail” pink agenda is not only blank, but provides the user with both a monthly and weekly date format. While the user must fill in dates for himself/herself, numbers are listed at the top margin to provide for accuracy and a little help.

At the back of the agenda is a number of blank pages for notes and includes a few cards and stickers for decoration.

The front cover also allows the user to change its design with the cards included.

I can’t wait to start using this agenda/diary in the new year.

Kawaii Cooky Mini Mate Notebook: Travel Story. $1.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii Cooky Mini Mate Notebook: Travel Story. $1.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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While this notebook does not match the My Fairy Tale World series, I could not resist the adorable Cooky character with her squinted, smiling eyes and huge red hood.

She reminds me of an Asian version of the Little Red Riding Hood character. Just look at her sitting in her suitcase!

I snatched this notebook at the recommendation of Tina who also thinks Cooky is adorable.

The paper inside is white, lined, and contains 46 pages.

Because its titled, “Travel Story,” I plan on saving this little notebook for my travels.

Pacific Mall

After leaving Kingston, Ontario, I visited the Pacific Mall in Markham, a mall that specializes in Asian-imported goods and products. It was the first time I visited in over 10 years and was ecstatic to find a few more kawaii goodies.

This is what I brought home:

Red Pucca wallet. $7.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Red Pucca wallet. $7.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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The Pucca wallet is bright red in colour, which symbolizes good fortune and happiness in Chinese culture. The Kanji symbol means love. It also comes with a removable coin purse with Kanji print, five cardholders, one identification holder, and a long pocket for cash.

Kawaii origami strips x4: Molang bunny, blue and yellow teddy bear, Rilakkuma bear, blue and yellow mouse. $1.29-$1.49 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii origami strips x4: Molang bunny, blue and yellow teddy bear, Rilakkuma bear, blue and yellow mouse. $1.29-$1.49 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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At first I thought these cute kawaii strips were washi tape, but when I inquired about them I was told that the strips are meant for paper crafts like the creation of small origami stars.

Because I’m attracted to small figurines, paper crafts, and kawaii, I quickly bought four packages. While I won’t use every strip to make paper stars, I do plan on adding a little glue at the back to decorate a few of my snail mail envelopes.

Because I’m partial to cute bunnies, my favourite one is the one with the Molang bunny.

OMG Korean hair colour change doll, phone charm, green. $1.99 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
OMG Korean hair colour change doll, phone charm, green. $1.99 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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This little kawaii doll drew me right in with her bright, curly, green hair. Instead of attaching her to my mobile phone, I put her on my key ring instead. I’ve named her Kiyoko, which means child of happy generations in Japanese. I trust we’ll be very happy together for “generations” to come.

Kawaii Pocket Bunny Oil-Control Sleek Mist from Tony Moly Beauty Store. $12.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii Pocket Bunny Oil-Control Sleek Mist from Tony Moly Beauty Store. $12.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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Aside for the cute kawaii bottle, this Pocket Bunny Sleek Mist helps to control the breakout of oily skin. Instead of powder to mattefy skin, this spritz can be used any time of the day. It smells good, too!

Kawaii Strawberry Lipgloss by Tony Moly. $12.50 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii Strawberry Lipgloss by Tony Moly. $12.50 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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The Tony Moly Strawberry Lipgloss line is light and sheer and its price point high most likely because of its marketable packaging.

I really couldn’t care less about the actual lipgloss (though I had my eye on the deep pink and coral colours), but I absolutely adore the lipgloss strawberry doll caps.

It comes in coral, pink, light, pink, and a nude cream.

I pucker up every time I look at these!

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The trip was well worth it with a number of unexpected kawaii finds. I hope to be able to travel again next month and pick up some more stationery and kawaii goodies. Which ones would you buy?

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Do you like kawaii? What do you like most about it?

Of all the items featured above, which one(s) do you like the most?

What’s your favourite kawaii item that you own?

Where do you find or shop for your kawaii items? (Feel free to share links to websites.)

If you were a kawaii character, what character would you be?

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zara - selfie 1

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Fashion Fridays: The Headmaster’s Wager. 06.29.2012

Fashion Fridays:

The Headmaster’s Wager

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

Fashion Friday is a weekly meme created by FireStarBooks in order for book lovers to post any fashion related idea or image that they think would be a great match for books on Friday.

Here are my fashion choices for the book, The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lam:

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Asian Heritage Month Ends with a Winner!

Asian Heritage Month Ends with a Winner!

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

May has come and gone and the Asian Heritage Month Blog Event is now over at The Bibliotaphe’s Closet.

It was not only an honour to feature different cultural aspects and literature about Asian places such as Japan, China, and Tibet, it was also a learning experience for me (and I’m Asian!).

Special post highlights for me were features on the geisha, the Tibetan language, and the various children’s books about Japan, China, Tibet, and Korea, and learning the translations of my own name in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tibetan.

My chinese name: Zhenrui
My Japanese name: 清水 Shimizu (clear water) 子 Aiko (child of the morning sun).
My Korean name: Park Dae Rae
My Vietnamese name: Ai Le
My Tibetan name.

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To see the posts featured for the Asian Heritage Month Blog Event, please visit here.

And what better way to celebrate Asia then with a winner of the Asian Heritage Month Blog Event Giveaway?

I am happy to announce that a fellow vocalist and book reviewer has won the coveted prize of the book, Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin, winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize. You can read my review here.

PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOM by Kyung-Sook Shin

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I-Ching was certainly in this entrant’s favour!

Congratulations to…

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Margaret, a Literary Chanteuse!

I’m positive she’ll be “singing a great tune” when she receives the book in the mail and finishes reading it.

Thanks to all who visited my blog and entered the giveaway contest.

Just a kind reminder that the Cherry Blossom (or Asian Theme) Photo Contest is still open until the end of June. If you don’t have a photo of cherry blossoms to submit, photos portraying an Asian theme are more than welcome.

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The prizes are books related to the Cherry Blossom and will be delivered by The Book Depository.

Depending on the amount and quality of photos that are submitted, more winners and prizes may be added to the pile!

So, get your photos in!

Cherry blossoms at Kariya Park. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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For more details about the Cherry Blossom (or Asian Theme) Photo Contest, please visit here.

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And a special thanks to L.R. of Random House of Canada and Vintage Canada publishers for kindly providing the literary prize for this contest. Looking for your next great read? You can check out new titles at their website here.

 

May we all continue to work together to encourage respect, reading, and inclusivity!

Asian Heritage Month: Children’s Feature: Books about China

Asian Heritage Month:

Children’s Feature: Books about China

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez/@ZaraAlexis

In light of Asian Heritage Month and Mother’s Day, the posts on The Bibliotaphe’s Closet will feature children’s books and stories about and originating from Asian countries every day of this week.

To not only celebrate the beauty of Asian culture, it’s also important to share cultural stories with children to broaden their understanding of the importance of cultural diversity and inclusivity.

Today’s children feature is about books and stories about and originating from China.

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Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats

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Category: Children’s/China

Authors: Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz, The Children’s Museum, Boston

llustrated by: Meilo So

Format: Children’s Hardcover, 74 pages

Publisher: Gulliver Books, Harcourt Inc.

ISBN: 0-15-201983-9

Pub Date: 2002

My Review:

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats is an extensive collection of Chinese holiday folktales, fun activities for kids, and easy-to-learn recipes.

It’s broken into four parts:

  1. Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival
  2. Qing Ming and the Cold Foods Festival
  3. The Dragon Boat Festival
  4. Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

And has a wonderful variety of Chinese folktales and information on the meaning of Chinese practices, traditions, and significant Chinese symbols that children can easily understand.

The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) crafts are creative and fun and include craft ideas for New Year prints, good luck characters, Chinese shuttlecocks, paper lanterns, kites, dragon boats, pinwheels, fragrant bags, and shadow puppets.

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And though it’s children’s treasury, an adult could easily find the content readable, interesting, and a fun instructional guide for the children in his or her life. It’s also an excellent resource for teachers and those in need of an Asian educational tool.

I especially enjoyed learning about the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival also known as the Harvest Moon Festival that honours the female goddess of the moon. I also enjoyed learning about the history of the moon cake (which is one of my favourite Asian pastries) and how to make the Five-Treasure Moon Cakes, which I may just try before the month ends in celebration of Asian Heritage Month.

Moon cake

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This book would be an excellent addition to the culturally appreciative reader and an excellent resource for families.

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Zara’s Rating

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Maples in the Mist: Children’s Poems and the Tang Dynasty

 

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Category: Children’s/China

Authors: Minfong Ho

Illustrated By: Jean & Mou-sien Tseng

Format: Children’s Hardcover, 32 pages

Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books

ISBN: 0-688-12044-X

Pub Date: 1996

My Review:

The Tang Dynasty from 618-907 A.D. was a time when arts and poetry flourished and Tang poems were widely accepted as the best classical poems in China’s literary history. The poems in the Maples in the Mist collection are translations of a few of the well-known Three Hundred Tang poems of the 18th century.

These are exceptionally important to honour as Chinese children have always learned how to read by reading poetry and has been an important literary fabric in the Chinese tradition.

A beautifully translated poem, which is one of my favourites of the collection, is:

Moon

When I was little

I thought the moon was a white jade plate,

Or maybe a mirror in heaven

Flying through the blue clouds.

–        Li Bai

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The illustrative paintings by Jean & Mou-sien Tseng are exquisite and as a collection, heightens the value of this children’s book of classical poetry. The art on its own is sufficient enough reason to purchase this book and add to a personal library, but the poetry is a testament to China’s long-standing literary tradition and easily bridges the old generation with the new, reaching the children, both Chinese and non-Chinese, of today.

Zara’s Rating

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Kites: Magic Wishes that Fly Up to the Sky

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Category: Children’s/China

Author: Demi

Format: Children’s Hardcover, 35 pages

Publisher: Crown Publishers (imprint of Random House)

ISBN: 0-517-80049-7

Pub Date: 1999

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My Review:

Kites by Demi is a wonderfully illustrated children’s book about the history, origins, and symbolism found on Chinese kites and the art of kite flying.

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It includes a detailed description of the various animals and symbols that are found on Asian kites and what they mean in Chinese culture.

Do you know that the Mandarin Duck means nobility, faithfulness, and happiness? Or the Thin Swallow for female loveliness? The Wasp for industry and thrift and the Carp for abundance?

A tree swallow

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These are just a few explanations of the symbolism of animals on Chinese kites.

The book is prettily illustrated and includes a step-by-step instruction guide on how to make your own Chinese kite.

Children of any culture will enjoy learning about the beauty and history of the Asian kite and how to make one on their own. It’s also a great resource for parents and teachers.

Zara’s Rating

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The Empty Pot

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Category: Children’s/China

Author: Demi

Format: Children’s Hardcover, 32 pages

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

ISBN: 0-8050-1217-6

Pub Date: 1990

My Review:

The Empty Pot by Demi is a quiet and lovely story based on Chinese folktale of a boy named Ping who loved to plant flowers. When it was time for the Emperor to choose an heir he decided to give each child in the kingdom a seed to plant and grow and instructed the children that “Whoever can show [him] their best in a year’s time, shall succeed [him] to the throne!”

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It’s a beautifully illustrated and classic story that teaches the importance of hard work and honesty and how doing the right thing can be abundantly repaid.

Zara’s Rating

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To read more posts for the Asian Heritage Month Blog Event, please visit here.

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What’s one thing you appreciate most about China and the Chinese culture?

If you have children, what’s your favourite DIY project with them?

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My chinese name: Zhenrui

Asian Heritage Month Blog Event: The Fortune Cookie. What’s Yours?

Asian Heritage Month Blog Event:

The Fortune Cookie

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

A fortune cookie often served as a dessert in Chinese restaurants in North America is a cookie with a “fortune” inside: a piece of paper with words of wisdom or a vague prophecy.

You may be familiar with the popularity of adding “in bed” to your fortune for laughs. I’d rather add, “with a book” for mine.

Here are some of the real fortunes I have received that are my favourites:

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You can also enjoy the “fortune” of making fortune cookies yourself with this Fortune Cookie Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • non-stick cooking spray
Directions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg whites and sugar, and beat on medium speed, about 30 seconds. Add flour and salt, and beat until combined. Add butter, heavy cream, and almond extract, and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.

3. Pour 1 tablespoon of batter onto half of the baking sheet, and spread with the back of a spoon into a thin 5-inch circle; repeat on the other half of the sheet. Bake until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown, about 8 minutes.

4. Transfer baking sheet to a heat-resistant surface. Working as quickly as possible, slide a spatula under one of the cookies. Lift it up, and place it on a clean kitchen towel.

5. Using your fingers, fold the cookie in half, pinching the top together to form a loose semicircle. Hold the cookie with your index fingers inserted at each open end, and slide your thumbs together along the bottom line. Press into the center of the cookie while bending the two open ends together and down to form the shape of a fortune cookie. This whole process should take about 10 seconds.

6. Once the cookie hardens, which begins to happen almost immediately, you cannot fold it. Place the fortune cookie on the kitchen towel to cool, and shape the second cookie. Repeat until all the batter is used up. To speed up the process, bake four cookies at a time, staggering two cookie sheets by 4 minutes to give you time to shape. To avoid wasting batter, practice folding with a circle of paper first.

7. Write your message on a long strip of sturdy art paper. Thread the fortune through the cookie when it has cooled.

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To get your own virtual fortune from a fortune cookie, you can visit the Fortune Cookie Generator here.

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To read more posts for the Asian Heritage Month Blog Event, you can visit here.

Do you enjoy receiving fortune cookies? Do you believe in them? What’s the best “fortune” you have ever received?

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(My Asian name…)

Asian Heritage Month Blog Event: Chinese Calligraphy

Asian Heritage Month Blog Event: Chinese Calligraphy

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

Chinese calligraphy (Shūfǎ 書法 in China) is an art unique to Asian culture and literally means, “the way, method, or law of writing.”

In Japan, it is called Shodō 書道, which means “the way or principle of writing.” In Korea, it is Seoye (서예) 書藝, “the skill/criterion of writing.”

To me, it seems to be both a serious Asian discipline as well as an art and according to Chinese culture, is often thought to reveal personality and inner aesthetic due to both the expectation of excellent and correct execution as well as creative expression.

Depending on the concentration of the ink, the thickness of the paper, and the flexibility of the brush, the calligrapher is able to create a variety of styles.

It is both a highly disciplinary act as it is a meditative one, I think.

The Four Treasures of Study

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The Four Treasures of Study (in China) and The Four Friends of the Study (in Korea) is an expression used to describe the essential tools of East Asian calligraphy:

  1. Ink brush
  2. Ink
  3. Paper
  4. Ink Stone
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The Ink Brush

The body of the brush can be made from either:

  • bamboo
  • red sandalwood
  • glass
  • ivory
  • silver
  • gold

The head of the brush can be made from the hair or feathers of the following animals:

  • weasel
  • rabbit
  • deer
  • chicken
  • duck
  • goat
  • pig
  • tiger
  • wolf

There is also a tradition in both China and Japan of making a brush using the hair of a newborn, as an once-in-a-lifetime souvenir for the child.

I have my own personal set of brushes that I purchased in Chinatown, Toronto on a day-trip I made with my family.

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Paper

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Special types of paper are used in East Asian calligraphy.

In China, Xuanzhi (宣紙), is the preferred type of paper made from rice, paper mulberry, bamboo, hemp, etc. In Japan, washi is made from the kozo (paper mulberry), ganpi, and, mitsumata, as well as bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat.

Paperweights

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Paperweights are used to hold down paper and often placed at the top of all but the largest pages to prevent slipping and come in several types. Like ink stones, paperweights can be collectible works of art.

 

Desk pads

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The desk pad is made of felt and can be printed with grids on both sides, so that when it is placed under the translucent paper, it can be used as a guide to ensure correct placement and size of characters. However, printed pads are used only by students (that means me!).

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Ink and Inkstick

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The ink comes in inksticks, which must be rubbed with water on an inkstone until the right consistency is achieved. Much cheaper, pre-mixed bottled inks are also available, but are used primarily for practice since inksticks are considered higher quality.

Learning to rub the ink is an essential part of calligraphy study. Traditionally, East Asian calligraphy is written only in black ink. Calligraphy teachers use a bright orange or red ink with which they correct work or write practice characters, which students can trace.

Inkstone

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Stone, ceramic, or clay from the banks of the Yellow River inkstone is used to grind the solid inkstick into liquid ink and to contain the ink once it is liquid. Chinese inkstones are highly prized as art objects.

Seal and Seal Paste

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Calligraphic works are usually completed by the calligrapher putting his or her seal at the very end, in red ink. The seal serves the function of a signature.

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My cousin who had travelled to China for a vacation to visit with her husband’s relatives brought home a custom-made name seal for me. It’s one of my favourite pieces.

My personalized Chinese seal and seal paste. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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What is considered to be good calligraphy?

Of course, when asking what is considered to be good calligraphy really depends on individual preference and taste, but there are some established, traditional rules, which cannot be violated. Those who repeatedly “violate” these rules are not considered legitimate calligraphers.

These rules are:

  • The characters must be written correctly.
  • The characters must be legible.
  • The characters must be concise.
  • The characters must fit their context.
  • The characters must be aesthetically pleasing.
Here’s my personal collection of ink brushes and my seal from China:
My Chinese ink brushes. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My personal collection of ink brushes and my Chinese seal and seal paste. (c) Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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 Here is a fun link to generate for yourself a Chinese name and discover your Chinese zodiac: Chinese Name Generator.  Try it!
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My name translated from:

Zara Alexis D. Garcia-Alvarez and born on January 6 is:

Kong
Zhen
Rui

Zhen is in place of my given name, Zara, which means raise, excite, arouse action.

Rui is in place of Alexis, which means sharp.

I was born in the Chinese Year of the Tiger.

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What is your Chinese generated name? What does it mean? Do you feel it properly reflects your personality and the sound of your English name?

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To see more posts for The Asian Heritage Month Blog Event here at The Bibliotaphe’s Closet, please visit here.

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