Japanese writing

Konnichi wa! That is Japanese for Good Day! Japanese writing is very difficult. There are two ways of forming a letter – one is called kanji, and is borrowed from Chinese characters. The second is called Kana, which uses more symbols. Almost all Japanese sentences use a mix of kanji and kana with several thousand kanji characters are used regularly. The traditional writing is not across the page, like English, but vertical, and read down the columns from right to left. Because of this mix of scripts, the large number of kanji characters, and the different direction of the words, the Japanese writing system is often considered to be the most difficult to use anywhere in the world.
Purrs, Gulliver


The Island of Love

Ia ora na (hello)!  I am on one of the many Tahitian Islands.  Moorea means “yellow lizard” which is a name taken from a family of chiefs that governed the island.  It is also known as “The Island of Love”.  The Tahitian alphabet contains only 13 letters: the vowels a, e, i, o, u and the consonants f, h, m, n, p, r, t and v.  did you know the word tattoo came from the Tahitian word tatau?  I heard some wonderful stories about Tohu, the god of tattoo who painted all the ocean fish in beautiful colors and patterns.  In Polynesian culture, tattoos are signs of beauty.  In earlier times, tattoos were ceremoniously applied when reaching adolescence.

I tried to put this postcard in the mailbox outside my friends house, but he laughed and said “that is not for mail, it is four our French bread deliveries!”  they get fresh loaves of bread twice a day, but to get their mail they have to go to the post office.  What an interesting custom!  Purrs, Gulliver


“Mail in a Pail”

“Mail in a Pail”? Michigan is the only place in the world with a floating post office. Michigan has many huge rivers and lakes which are used by big ships called freighters to transport things. These ships cannot stop in the middle of a river so people can get off and mail a letter or go shopping. So in 1874 J.W. Westcott started a US mail delivery service by rowing a boat out to the freighter, who would toss a bucket or pail over the side for its mail. The current boat, J.W. Westcott II even has its own zip code – 48222. In addition to the mail, deliveries have included books, candy and even the occasional pizza!
Purrs, Gulliver



Early American settlers called bison “bufello” due to the similar look between the two animals, and the name “buffalo” stuck for the American kind. But it’s wrong. The American bison lives only in North America, while the two kinds of real buffalo live in Africa and Asia. Scientists think that bison crossed over a land bridge that once connected Asia and North America over a space of many many years. Through the centuries buffalo slowly moved southward, eventually reaching Mexico and east to the Atlantic Coast. The largest herds settled on the plains and prairies of Central Unites States and Canada. Bison were a symbol of  abundance and a sacred life for the Native Americans, with many stories and legends told about them.   Purrs, Gulliver


Big Scissors, Little Cat

Gulliver is eagerly awaiting International Post Day, October 9, 2013.  He has been trying his paw at making his own postcard, cutting card stock in halves and quarters and gluing old map sections to the card stock.  To celebrate this day, the classrooms who have been receiving cards will be making their own postcards describing their community and what they like to do. Those cards are then put in a large envelope and mailed to another classroom.  The classrooms will receive an envelope in return, though not necessarily the same number of cards sent, depending on class sizes. At this time, there are no international classrooms set up to swap with. Maybe next year.

The cards may vary from hand drawn to photographs to stickers, map sections and collages of pictures from local magazines.   The most important part is not the picture, but what is written by the student. This is an exercise in creative thinking, evaluating his/her surroundings and communicating in complete sentences.  Cats are always aware of their surroundings, now it is time to take a page from their “book of life” and stretch your horizons.

As a side note, here is an excellent short history on the origin of the postcard:     gulliver with scissorshttp://www.co.seneca.ny.us/history/Postcards%20History.pdf