Oct 072017

Niigata, Japan: Festival of Huge Rice- Straw Animals

from my children’s site http://http://childrenandteensstoriestomotivateandinspire.com    Please pass on this link.  Thank you.



Let me take you to Niigata (新潟市 Japan.  It is also called the “City of Water” because of the two rivers that flow through it


Niigata is the biggest city on the island of Honshu.  This is the largest island of Japan and it faces the Sea of Japan.  Over 807,000 people live in the city of Niigata.

Outside of the City

If we travel outside of Niigata we will see very large areas that grow rice.

Rice is grown in “Paddy fields.”  Rice is the number one source of food for many people.  There are three types of rice: short, medium and long grain.

Rice is planted in water filled fields.

It takes one year for the rice to grow from a small plant. Sometimes, water buffalo are used or tractors.

The plants grow until they have many heads filled with rice grains.  When the heads turn golden, they are ready to be harvested.

Rice is one of the oldest grains known to humans.  Some rice grains discovered in South Korea are thought to be 15,000 years old.  The first written account of rice is found in a record on rice planting authorised by a Chinese emperor in 2800 BC. From China across to ancient Greece, from Persia to Africa, rice migrated across the continents and around the world.  Rice is a cereal that is a relative of wheat, oats and barley.

Fun After the Rice Harvesting

On this part of the island of Honshu every September to October marks the beginning of the Wara Art Festival.   The festival began in 2008, when local university students joined the tourist industry.


To bring tourists to the island, the students agreed to make huge animals from the left over rice straw which is called “Wara.” Here are some of their straw animals:

After the festival is over, the animals are taken down.  The straw is ploughed into the earth or fed to animals.  Some of the straw will be woven into gifts that next year’s tourists can buy.

If you liked this article, I hope that some day you will be able to travel to Honshu island.

Oct 072017

Be a friend to one and all.

Let your light

shine in the darkness.

Let your justice

bring hope.

Let your kindness bring joy


Let your smile warm

a fearful mind.

Let your words

sooth a troubled and lost soul.


Let your hand

reach out in friendship.

If you encounter negativity,


peace shine through your eyes.


We are not counting numbers of successes,

but individuals that we encounter along life’s journey.

 Let us remember

our friends who have made the journey easier for us.



Pass it on.




Faithful, kind and always true.

Reassuring through and trough.

Insightful in your wise advice.

Enthusiastic, sweet and nice.

Noted for your smiling face –

Dear Friend No one can take your place.



Oct 072017

    Decorating an Apartment or Space Space with Tricks

Unless you are an artist, have an artistic friend or can afford an interior designer, most people need help with colours for apartment decorating.

Why?  Why not just pick your favourite colours and be done with it?

Why not pick ANY colour for small spaces

Colours convey warmth, coldness, health recovery, happiness, people-friendliness.  We may not be aware of them, but we feel and see them and react to them.  Too bright colours ‘trap’ people if they are in too small a space.  They ‘overcome’ but subtle colours are more relaxing and adding colourful pictures or cushions or a rug can bright up the space for special occasions.

Of course, free will gives you that choice, but remember that unless you are a hermit, people will visit you.  In this happens, then you should try create moods that do not make people want to barf, or become moody or never want to visit you again.  Do you know that hospital wards and prisons are now looking at colours in terms of healing and reducing the stress of inmates.

Colour Accessories – that are Easily Added or Taken Away

You may be a hyper type – whirling and twirling on a 24/7 basis, but at the end of the day – you may need to relax.  A house can offer more rooms for relaxing – more wake-up colours for studying – or a working mood for the kitchen.  Small apartments do not offer these features.  With careful thinking, accessories such as rugs, moveable paintings, and cushions can be added or removed to create different feelings/moods. etc.

If you have a small space, picking the right colours can make the space  look and feel much bigger.  And according to designers, you can paint small room in colours other than white!  (Who knew?)

The Top Four Shades for Mellow Living

According to a number of ‘experts’ these colours can make a space space feel larger – the names are from the Benjamin Moore collection, but you can find them in other manufacturers’ products.


Look at these bedrooms, the dark bedroom walls can be offset with lighter pictures, lamps and bed pillows and duvets.


Gray and blue shades can help trick the eye into thinking that the space is larger than it is.   Painting the wall and trim the same colour, makes the ceilings appear to be taller.

Here are some interesting colours used in different situations. Most are gentle hues.

IGNORING SOFT COLOURS AND GOING FOR BOLD – Reds, Greys, White, Black and other combinations: