All the flavor of sushi, with half the effort. A favorite with my children!
Tanabata is the Japanese star festival. To celebrate, people write their wishes on strips of colored paper called tanzaku.
Was this non-interfering style of parenting in Japan I witnessed an anomaly or the norm? Do the Japanese discipline their kids?
I am being pressured by my Chinese mother-in-law to take a week away from my daughter
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is a popular traditional Chinese festival, probably the second biggest one after the Spring Festival.
We live in China and have been pushing the EC method or “Elimination Communication” method since she was four months old. This is the fancy term for something that has been practiced in China for centuries. Children here are often fully “squat trained” (rather than “potty,” as those are newer inventions to the culture) by the time they’re 10 months old. In fact, if they can stand and squat, most of the time it means that they can also do their potty business without any fuss. Traditional Chinese methods have their advantages, for sure.
I don’t know how to run a lemonade stand, make ice pops or build a sandcastle—all time-honored traditions of an American summer that I am struggling to acquire alongside my three-year-old Indian-American daughter. Among the many cultural dilemmas that we immigrant parents in the U.S. navigate when raising our children in a completely different culture is how to engage in the everyday rituals of our adopted homeland so that our children can fully embrace their hyphenated heritage.
One unexpected benefit of bilingualism is when I speak English to my daughter in China, people think I don't speak Mandarin and talk very, very freely about all sorts of things about us. Here's what I recently overheard!
Tanabata is the Japanese star festival. To celebrate, people write their wishes on strips of colored paper called tanzaku.
Best somen noodle recipe for the whole family to cool down on hot summer days
Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars! is a fun and educational book for children about the customs of Japan. It is full of colorful pictures with a playful quality depicting the practices of various Japanese holidays throughout the seasons.
Tanabata is a time when people make wishes for the year ahead and hang them on a bamboo branch.
My husband is Chinese and our journey as a couple has been full of bumps and triumphs, hence the blog title, "China Bumps and Triumphs." When we met and fell in love—a process that was frightfully fast but thrilling—my Chinese was very rudimentary and his English was virtually non-existent. Now our daughter is 17 months.
Ever since my daughter was born 14 months ago, there’s been a war between cultures in my household. As the Canadian underdog surrounded by Chinese culture, I’m the one who has had to be more flexible, particularly related to the Chinese tradition in which extended family comes to care for both the infant and the new parents. In my culture, the new grandparents might come and stay for a week or two after a baby has been born, but then they leave.
It was love at first ring! I can still remember the first time I ever heard the beautiful sound of a Tibetan Singing Bowl. I had never seen or heard of one before and the tone that it produced was immediately calming and intriguing. Children always have a lot of questions about where the sound is coming from and how it works.
When my daughter was born, my mother-in-law left her hometown and moved to Beijing, separated from her husband for the first time in their 35-year marriage. She left behind a prominent career as well as her aged father (my husband’s grandfather) for whom she was the primary caregiver for the past decade. A new generation is that important. Her role is clear. She has to be here.
Here’s a recipe for a simple family dinner that is always a top favorite with my kids: yummy Korean barbecue with our own twist. And it is gluten free too!
A great book for multiracial kids that answers that question, why don't I look like you?
An easy and fun craft for the Lunar New Year, made with materials you already have around the house.
As a first generation American, you always watched other families sitting around a Christmas tree or carving a turkey, consoled by watching reruns of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But Chinese New Year—that was different. That was my holiday, the one that made waking up early exciting, slowly lulled awake by the smells of burning incense, and the 10 special dishes my mom prepared, dishes with names that alluded to prosperity and luck.
The legend of the creation of the Chinese zodiac. Why the first year is the year of the rat.
The lotus flower is a well-known symbol of Buddhism, representing the journey from darkness to light. To explain this concept to a child you could make this simple lotus flower using pipe cleaners.
My six year old takes celebrating the Lunar New Year into her own hands
A very cool Lunar New Year lantern for kids made from a balloon and tissue paper.
Traditional Japanese music is quite different from Western music. With a sparse rhythm and periods of silence, the music tends to calm and tries to inspire feelings of nature. I am personally fascinated by the sounds of the Koto and the Taiko drums and the dreamy sounds of Japanese folk music. In this article I would like to share with you some songs and a dance I introduce to all my preschool classes.
Meet Elka and Thien, a family living in Vietnam, sharing four cultures and three languages including Vietnamese, English and French.
What would you do if you knew you would have just enough money to make sure you and your family would be OK for the next four years. I’m not talking buckets of cash, just enough to allow you to think about what really matters, not so much that you get distracted and take your eye off the ball. I asked myself that a year ago and this is how I found myself, post-divorce, with my two daughters in Southeast Asia, happier than I had been in years.
Every year, my mom would make nasi tumpeng, a unique Indonesian rice combination. She would start by making rice flavored with coconut, turmeric and other herbs, which she would shape into a conical pyramid and place on a bed of folded banana leaves. Here is how you can make this Indonesian classic.
Reading fosters children's imaginations, grows their vocabulary, primes them for academic achievement and supports numerous brain-related functions like speech, logic and concentration. Reading is also an accessible and powerful way to connect children to the world, not just the world they know but the undiscovered and unknown. In this slideshow, we celebrate reading with children around the world.
The West's paranoia of strangers with our children and the big difference in Asia.
This Chinese sweet treat took less than ten minutes of kitchen time!
When it comes to McDonalds or Asian street food, my kid picks Singaporean chicken rice every time.
Paper lanterns shaped like lotus flowers are a common decoration in the incredible lantern festivals on the Buddha's birthday in Korea.
Celebrate one of the most important Buddhist holidays with something scrumptious.
Relocation and a new language: why some people chose not to give the “gift” of multilingualism.
The Lunar New Year is the most celebrated holiday of the year across many Asian countries.

Arranged Marriage 101

I’ve realized the term “love marriage” is absent in the West. In India and a few other countries in South Asia, it would denote one of the two possible ways leading to a union, the other being arranged marriage.
My eight-year-old daughter did something a few weeks ago that surprised me. She asked me what “Asian” meant. For my kids, a person is either brown like us, dark brown or yellow haired.
A few days ago, a toddler was struck by two vehicles on a road in China and eventually died because no one stopped to help. My initial reaction? Total shock followed by immediate outrage coupled with an attitude of “this would never happen where I come from.” I was really surprised to find that I had experienced a full 180-degree shift.
In a country where women routinely consult the Chinese zodiac to determine the most auspicious date for the caesarean delivery of their babies, I was preparing for a natural childbirth in a private English hospital on the top of Hong Kong’s highest mountain in the days just after the British handover of the colony to China.
Dating back to the times of Genghis Kahn, Naadam features fierce five-year-old horse racers, women archers and 512 hefty wrestlers.
Mongolian children have traditionally played many different games using animal bones but don't worry, we're not going to suggest you save your animal bones for this game.
Simple and delicious Mongolian recipe for Khuushuur to celebrate Naadam.

Korean Hoddeok Recipe

Hoddeok is a “traditional” Korean street vendor food. Korean people love to eat this delicious snack especially in the cold winter. It tastes best when it is warm.
A popular craft for kids on Vesak is making a lantern out of popsicle sticks and tissue paper.
The Sam Taeguk symbol is found on traditional Korean fans. It is a variation of the Taeguk symbol, similar to a yin yang. Make one with the kids!
Editor’s note: On Vesak, it is prohibited to kill any being, so everyone eats vegetarian. Here’s a recipe from Malaysia that is popular on Vesak.
Vesak (also known as Wesak) commemorates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. Casually the holiday is often referred to as the “Buddha’s birthday.”
In this beautifully illustrated story, young readers journey to cultures around the world to explore the meaning of the Sikh dastaar, or turban. The dastaar is used as a metaphor throughout the story and represents nobility, guidance, wisdom and strength.
Sarson ka sag is traditionally a Punjabi dish, often made on Vaisakhi but not exclusively. It's totally delicious, vegetarian and incorporates one of the world healthiest veggies—mustard greens.
One element of the celebration of Vaisakhi is a parade. A fun thing for kids to do is make their own Nishan Sahib, the Sikh holy flag, to carry in the parade.
Let your kids get messy and colorful in the spirit of Holi.
In Mongolia, breast milk is not just for babies, it's not only about nutrition, and it's definitely not something you need to be discreet about. It's the stuff Genghis Khan was made of.
Out of the Way! Out of the Way! follows the journey of a sapling, a boy and a road, but most of all, the place where they all grow, an unnamed village in India. The boy finds a young tree in the middle of a busy village street and carefully borders it with stones.

Happy O-Higan!

One of my favorite holidays in Japan and Buddhism occurs not once, but twice a year around the spring and fall equinox: O-higan. The holiday literally translates as "the other shore."
Thandai is a refreshing milk-based drink, accented with bold flavors. It is traditionally consumed in Northern India during the festival of Holi.
Yuanxiao, or sweet rice balls, are traditionally eaten on Lantern Festival, which is the last day of the two-week Chinese New Year holiday.
Most of what I remember of my childhood consists of the image of my mother standing over me with a rattan cane in her hand, her eyebrows bunched together and her lips in a tight line. There was a lot of yelling, a lot of "Why are you so stupid?", and a lot of hitting. Even the teachers knew not to ask what I had done wrong when I showed up in school the next day, limping, with swollen purple gashes on my calves.
The Chinese New Year is the most celebrated holiday of the year in China. It takes place on the first day of the first new moon after the winter solstice in the lunar calendar. Socially, it is a time for being with friends and relatives and the greater significance is of flushing out the old and welcoming in the new.
InCultureParent's essential reading list for the Chinese New Year.

Little Buddha at Home

My daughter has recently reached four years old, and has blossomed mentally and physically. What surprises me at this age is how her mind has matured and how she picks up on things that I might overlook. Recently, she started to imitate the Buddha seated in meditation as a joke.
Some of the best crafts for the Chinese New Year.
A Japanese friend wanted to learn English so she started watching CNN while on the treadmill at the gym to train her ears.
The Japanese New Year, shogatsu, spans several days from December 31st to January 3rd. It is the most important holiday of the year in Japan.
Ozoni, or mochi soup, is a Japanese holiday meal traditionally prepared on New Year's Day. After baking, fresh mochi is put into a bowl, and soup and cabbage are ladled over it.
I was raised with a balance of spiritual exposure and inspiration from Sikhism and Paramahansa Yogananda. Even though Yogananda is my Guru, I do not feel the need to choose one path. I believe all religions are different faces of the same God.
New Year's is a huge festivity in Japan, larger than any other holiday observed there. After my first experience in 2008, I couldn't help thinking that it was Christmas and Thanksgiving in the U.S. all rolled into one three-day festivity.
The stories are full of fantasy and provide a window into another culture without needing experience in the culture for children to appreciate them. Beautifully illustrated, the stories are imaginative and often dramatic.
This fascinating family incorporates Brazilian, Japanese, Cantonese and Thai cultures into one.
I had my parents quite nervous about whether or not I would ever get married and have a family. No one was quite sure when I would run off to the Himalayas and I am sure there was some heavy betting going on with high odds that I was going to do just that. Well, I am glad I didn't run off, as there was never any need to and I am glad I decided to get married and make babies. My wife was completely floored when I proposed.
Diwali: A Festival of Lights and Fun (Diwali: Kushiyon Ka Tyohaar) By Manisha Kumar & Monica Kumar (Authors), Sona & Jacob (Illustrators) Reviewed by Meera Sriram   (Reprinted with permission from Saffrontree.org)   This bilingual book on Diwali is from Meera Masi, a Bay Area...
It wasn't until we adopted our daughter Willow that the full scale of the communication gulf between my husband's parents and me became plain.

Diwali: November 5th

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is one of the most vibrant and exciting Hindu celebrations.
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