Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Things That Crack Me Up

This is a picture of some modeling clay someone gave Max for Christmas. They gave him a number of packets of the stuff, too, and since they were from Japan, and I have a thing for kitschy Japanese items, I couldn't help but pour over the pictures, directions, and English translations on the packets. As I suspected, the translations were worth every second. Not only that, but every packet has a cover worthy of a Golden Book Gone Mad: blue bears grinning wildly, robotic-looking bunnies in various stages of odd behaviour, purple girls flying, and the cutest little eggs and flowers and vegetables you've ever seen reposing perfectly in little dishes. Oh, and rainbows, don't forget the rainbows (not on this particular packet, sadly). If I could read Japanese I could even tell you what the little idea bubbles have written in them, but I can't, so I won't. One has the word ECO in it, and nothing else. What does this mean? Secret consumer messages? Acronyms? Could this stuff be claiming the eco-friendly moniker, even though it contains "microcapsules, antibacterial, and synthesis glue"?

Sadly, Max was unimpressed and rather, err, repelled by all the strange gaiety on the packets. That is, until I took him into the local Japanese food store and showed him that this sort of packaging is de rigeur in Japan. A few Hello Kitty candies, some giggling cashiers in fluffy white headbands, and a lot of yam tempura later and Max was much less put off by the clay. I was even able to get him to make a ziggurat out of it that afternoon. And he followed most of the instructions, too, although I suspect it was mostly out of fear, rather than respect for the rules: I think "Wash my hands well? Eww, what's IN this stuff? It feels weird" were his exact words.


Wash hands prior to use.
Okay, with you so far.
Knead the clay well with clean hand.
Yup, gotcha. Clean hands. Right.
When making a petal, please lengthen the clay thinly by rolling pin. After that, cut with scissors.
So polite! Of course I will be pleased to lengthen the clay thinly.
Use paints to enjoy various colours.
Hmm, not with you on this. I have to paint this stuff? But it's already coloured.
Do not eat. Eating could lead to choking. Choking could lead to death.
I know exactly what you mean - I tell my kids this every day.
When a work breaks, please use the glue for woodwork.
I'm a little confused. Why am I gluing woodwork when I should be gluing clay?
Please put the remaining clay into a plastic bag and keep it.
Forever and ever? Okay, since you asked nicely.

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