Thursday, September 30, 2010

A truer picture of China’s export machine - McKinsey

A truer picture of China’s export machine

China’s growth depends less on exports than conventional wisdom suggests.
SEPTEMBER 2010 • John Horn, Vivien Singer, and Jonathan Woetzel
Source: Strategy Practice

In This Article

Exhibit 1: Growth in exports contributed much less to China’s GDP growth than traditional export measures have indicated.

Exhibit 2: The contribution of exports, measured as DVAE, to overall growth has fluctuated significantly in recent years.

Is China’s economic growth largely dependent on exports, or is it becoming more domestically led? That’s a question economists are vigorously debating—and an important one for policy makers and executives alike. An increasingly consumption- and investment-focused Chinese economy could improve the chances of more balanced trading relationships with developed economies. At the same time, businesses operating in China or planning to enter it could find greater opportunities as the economy accelerated its transition from a manufacturing center to a key consumer market.

To shed light on this question, we developed a new way of measuring the role of export growth in China’s overall economic expansion. We found that exports have been a major driver, but not one as dominant as commonly believed. Indeed, there are clear signs that a shift toward domestically driven economic growth is well under way. The picture that emerges of the Chinese economy has implications for the growth and supply chain strategies of businesses in China and elsewhere.

A different way to measure exports

Arguments over the true nature of China’s economic reliance on exports have been rooted in the difficulty of appropriately measuring the export sector. The traditional measure governments and most analysts use is the growth of total exports as a share of GDP growth. This measure indicates that export growth has accounted, on average, for almost 40 percent of the total growth in real GDP since 1990—rising to almost 60 percent since 2000.

Yet these numbers, portraying a dominant and growing role of exports, are at odds with the fact that China was one of the few countries that escaped the great 2008–09 global downturn without a major economic slowdown—suggesting that internal growth played an important role. That’s one reason other economists have used a very different measure: growth in net exports (total exports minus total imports) as a share of GDP growth. By that metric, exports contributed only between 10 and 20 percent of China’s annual 10 percent GDP growth in recent years.

We contend that both measures are misleading. Using total exports neglects the fact that many of China’s export shipments include a fair number of imported goods that are reassembled, combined with domestic content, or otherwise modified before being exported. Failing to remove these imports from the total export figure overstates how much value exports contribute to GDP. On the other hand, a strict net export measure (exports minus imports) underestimates the contribution of exports to GDP, because many imports aren’t used in assembly and exported but rather sold to Chinese consumers and businesses.

We calculated a measure we call domestic value-added exports (DVAE) to assess more accurately the role of exports in GDP growth. DVAE is what you get after subtracting from total exports only those imports used in the production of goods and services that are subsequently exported. In automobiles, for example, finished imports are not subtracted from our measure of exports. But engine parts imported to manufacture motor bikes for export would be.

Governments usually don’t break out total imports into those used domestically (for production, investment, and consumption) and those used for exports, and China is no exception. So we estimated the country’s DVAE by using data from three different sources, each with its own strengths and limitations. The results were remarkably consistent—and collectively shed a powerful light on the evolution of supply chain strategies, Chinese consumption, and Chinese economic performance during the global downturn .

Supply chain shifts

On average, our analysis suggests that imported goods accounted for 40 to 55 percent of the value of total exports from 2002 to 2008. Put another way, roughly half of China’s exports represent domestic value added. Concurrently, DVAE’s share of exports generally has risen over time, suggesting that China has become less of a pure assembler of imported goods—a publicly stated government policy goal.
That has implications for many companies’ supply chains and business models. If your company is a manufacturer in China that is primarily processing intermediate components for reexport—a Taiwan-based original-design manufacturer (ODM) of household goods, for example—it’s probably time to consider alternative locations for the assembly work. With China moving up the value chain and beginning to export more skill-intensive goods and services, chances are that pure assembly will soon be less costly in other parts of Asia.

Exports, consumption, and strategy

We also applied our DVAE analysis to reassess the contribution of exports to GDP growth in the years for which we have overlapping data among our three metrics. We found that China’s export sector contributed 19 to 33 percent of total GDP growth between 2002 and 2008 (Exhibit 1). That’s only about half of the export contribution indicated by traditional total-exports measures.3

In other words, DVAE analysis suggests that exports have been an important driver of China’s growth, but not the dominant one, and that most common wisdom overestimates the role of exports while underestimating the role of domestic consumption for China’s growth. Any Chinese or multinational company that currently manufactures goods in China and primarily exports them to other countries should ask itself whether it needs to scale up its domestic strategy to get a bigger piece of the pie. This involves developing a more granular understanding of the Chinese market, making products that appeal to the Chinese consumer, and finding ways to market and distribute them effectively—all while contending with increasingly formidable Chinese competitors.4
China’s ‘downturn’ and the road ahead

A comparison between DVAE’s contribution to growth and that of other major macroeconomic components shows that DVAE topped private consumption, but was less important than investment, over the 2002–07 period (Exhibit 2). In the downturn years, 2008 and 2009,5 exports contributed much less to growth than other factors did, which explains why the Chinese economy could not fully match its GDP growth rates in the earlier part of the decade. However, the shift to a greater role for private consumption, investment, and finished imports explains how China could weather the downturn well and indicates movement toward a domestically focused economy, even though exports will probably continue to play an important role when the global economy picks up.

Of course, continued changes in the value of the renminbi in the coming years will also affect the evolution of Chinese trade. The more value-added-focused export sector suggested by our DVAE analysis implies that a greater share of exports will consist of higher-priced goods that compete more directly with those of developed nations. That, coupled with an appreciating Chinese currency, points to the creation of more balanced trading partnerships with the rest of the world—and an important shift in context when businesses consider future strategic moves in China.

About the Authors
John Horn is a consultant in McKinsey’s Washington, DC, office; Vivien Singer is a consultant with the McKinsey Global Institute; and Jonathan Woetzel is a director in the Shanghai office.

1 In this article, we address only national GDP, not employment or regional effects within China. Our interest is the overall health of the Chinese economy, and we leave aside the question of which groups or regions are better off because of any changes in the overall level of exports.
2 Calculated from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) China urbanization model.
3 Not surprising, exports measured by domestic value-added exports (DVAE) contributed more—almost two times more—to GDP growth than exports measured on a net basis. DVAE therefore represents a middle ground between total- and net-export measures.
4 See Jeff Galvin, Jimmy Hexter, and Martin Hirt, “Building a second home in China,”, June 2010; and Yuval Atsmon et al., “2009 Annual Chinese Consumer Study, Part II: One Country, Many Markets—Targeting the Chinese Consumer with McKinsey ClusterMap,” McKinsey Insights China, September 2009.
5 The DVAE for 2009 is based on data from IHS Global Insight only.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Help Wanted!

So you may have noticed that there are days here and there where I haven't been able to post.  Trying to manage my full-time "real" job and family, which includes twin two-year-olds, isn't always easy.  Combine that with trying to build and improve on AFOMFT and, well, some days I just need an extra set of hands!  So I've decided it's time to add someone to the team and I thought what better place to look than to my favorite people - all of you who read the blog!

Here's what I'm looking for in a Virtual Associate:
  • Someone who's available between 5-7 hours per week to help with administrative and creative tasks (facilitating giveaways, updating contact lists and databases, helping to track down new and interesting products and ideas to feature, posting links on the FB fan page, etc.)
  • Someone who has kids or is expecting (bonus points if you have boys since I'm often asked to review products for little guys and don't have any of my own)
  • Someone who's organized and a self-starter.
  • Someone who's interested in blogging but doesn't have a blog that currently covers the same topics as AFOMFT (reviews, features and giveaways on products for babies and kids).  Having a personal blog is not a problem.
  • Someone who may be interested in contributing posts to AFOMFT - this is a plus but isn't required.
  • Someone who has a general understanding of Blogger.
This isn't a paid position but there will be perks for the person chosen which I will disclose in more detail to the candidates I interview.  If you're interested in applying, simply fill out the form below and your responses will be entered into a private spreadsheet.  Looking forward to introducing our newest team member very soon!


Congratulations RAREYES!  You've won the personalized Halloween Stickers from Pear Tree Greetings!  I can't wait to see which ones you choose.  Maybe a design with a photo?

Please e-mail me at by end of day Friday, October 1st to claim your prize. If I do not hear from you by then, a new winner will be chosen.  A huge thank you to Pear Tree Greetings for
this spooktacular giveaway!

Even if you didn't win, we still have a treat for you!  For the month of September, Pear Tree Greetings is offering readers of AFOMFT 10% off any Halloween related purchase with code PEARSEP10.  Happy shopping!





其中一個簡單的解釋是排除任何陰謀論的直接解讀。就是,沖繩的檢察官是根據事實依據而決定對詹其雄的處罰理據不足的。沖繩檢察官的唯一錯誤是不該自以為聰明地畫蛇添足加了一句”顧及日中關係” 。當然對於畫蛇添足之說,另有陰謀論的分解,有人說菅直人的黨內黨外政敵或沖繩不滿日本民主黨在普天間遷址問題違反承諾而暗地給菅直人難看。

  1. 沖繩檢察官經過十天還不能作出檢控決定而要申請延期,很可能是證據不足。
  2. 日本海巡的粗暴(aggressiveness)是有跡可尋的,以前就曾撞沉過台灣和香港的漁船(見華爾街時報9月12日 The Other China Sea Flashpoint)。
  3. 閔晉漁長度只有日本海巡船的40%,噸位大概(以程度比3次方計)6%。而且船體肯定沒有為衝撞而建的日船堅固。除非船長瘋了或爛醉如泥,否則不可能以卵擊石。 而日本應該有為船長做酒精濃度測驗的。
  4. 漁船船長希望逃逸避免被扣船罰款是可以理解的,特別考慮到是中國人民對官警的普遍不信任。
  5. 漁船船首碰到日本海巡船之側,不一定就是漁船故意碰撞。更可能的是日本海巡圍堵過於激進,漁船閃避不及。
  6. 日本遲遲不願意公開錄像。



 日本起初的理由是司法獨立,以致於有些媒體甚至批評日方放入是罔顧司法獨立的違憲之舉。不過這裡需要澄清一點,就是檢控權不屬於三權分立裡的司法獨 立。三權分立指的是法官的判決不能受到國家元首的影響。檢控權屬於檢控官,以及檢控官的上司(在香港是律政司,而律政司是聽命於特首的,而不是終審庭法官 的)。干預法官判決,才是違憲,而詹其雄還沒走到法官那一步。所以首相府可以介入也就理所當然了。


  • 其他的經濟牌:包括進一步的阻礙貿易運作,不惜兩敗俱傷。在日本,不是政府控制企業,而是企業控制政府,很難進行有效反擊。對於這種不對稱的戰略,日本只能指靠親西方媒體嚷嚷“不可靠經貿夥伴”,就如前幾年俄羅斯與烏克蘭的天然氣價格紛爭裡,西媒只批評俄羅斯是“不可靠經貿夥伴”,卻對烏克蘭盜氣視若無睹一樣。
  • 外交牌:最近的例子就是暗示在北方四島上倒戈一擊,與俄羅斯聯合對付日本。日本讀賣新聞9月29日已有相關揣測 (China, Russia team up on territorial claims)。從60年代開始,中國一直毫不含糊地支持日本向蘇聯對於北方四島的申索。假如兩個二戰戰勝國兼聯合國安理會常任理事國聯手對因為二戰而來的北方四島問題表態,對於日本是極其不利的。
  • 漁政船只是巡弋釣魚列島海域。這幾天已經開始。以後中國漁政船會一步一步的縮小其繞道巡弋半徑。
  • (有控制地)逐步開放民間示威
  • 放民間漁船出海 (為什麼竭力阻止保釣船出海,可能是為了留住這張牌)

        Tuesday, September 28, 2010

        Monday, September 27, 2010

        Map of the (Old) World 946 BC until 1000 AD

        Map of the (Old) World 946 BC until 1000 AD
        (the China portion has some mistakes, especially for Tang dynasty. see my previous maps and animation posts below)

        via Cominganarchy


        Here & There and Banned Books Week: September 27, 2010

        For Banned Books Week

        Check out my most recent Poetry Friday post at Blue Rose Girls: Poems for Banned Books Week (September 25-October 2, 2010). The post includes a video of Laurie Halse Anderson reading her poem Listen, Manifesto, a poem that author Ellen Hopkins wrote for Banned Books Week in 2009, and two poems I wrote some time ago. You’ll also find links to other articles and information about Banned Books Week from the American Library Association.

        From School Library JournalAnderson's Speak Under Attack, Again
        By Rocco Staino September 23, 2010

        Alvina Ling has an excellent book-related post at Blue Rose Girls titled Speak Loudly, which was mentioned in an article at Huffington Post last week.

        Here’s a link to the Huffington Post article that mentioned Alvina's post—Young Adult Novels Called 'Soft Porn': Attack Ignites Storm Of Responses From Publishing Community (POLL)

        Also from Huffington Post--Banned Books Week 2010: 15 Iconic Movies Based On Banned Books (PHOTOS)


        Here & There

        From Publishers Weekly (9/22/2010)
        Selling Color in a White Town
        Elizabeth Bluemle

        When we moved to Vermont from Manhattan, the biggest shock wasn’t the change from city to country; it was the shift from color to (not black-and-) white. We couldn’t get used to the lack of diversity. It felt unnatural, limited, and wrong. When tourists of color happened into the store, we embarrassed ourselves with our enthusiasm. For the first year, I even had a hard time telling some of my customers apart; in addition to the uniform Caucasian-ness, there was a sameness of dress—cotton turtlenecks, fleece vests, jeans*—and hair, lots of straight, shoulder-length hair. (Josie’s Mediterranean Jewish ringlets are quite exotic here.) Up until 14 years ago, Josie and I spent our individual lives in areas of the country that were richly multicultural.

        Last I checked, Vermont had the United States’ least diverse population. I think we’re at 97+% white. In Vermont’s defense, its record for equal treatment is excellent; we may not have a big nonwhite population, but folks that do live here have equivalent opportunities and salaries as their white counterparts. But the point I’m making is, Dorothy, we’re not in New York City anymore.

        All that by way of saying, we understand the challenge of making ‘books of color’ mainstream purchases for white audiences.

        At the New England Independent Booksellers Association trade show next week, the Children’s Bookselling Advisory Council is holding a panel discussion on this topic. I’d love for booksellers, authors, publishers and editors, sales reps and publicists to attend and share their successful strategies for getting past reluctant or stymied gatekeepers and reaching across color lines to share wonderful, diverse books with kids. I’ll be posting a follow-up in ShelfTalker after the panel.

        Here’s the description:
        Friday, October 1, 10:15-11:45 am
        Multicultural Kids Books: Selling Color in a White World
        We all want to support and sell wonderful multicultural books, but many of us live in areas with fairly homogenous populations. How do we get past unconscious color barriers, both our own and our customers’, and put great books featuring characters of all colors in the hands of children? Participants will leave with helpful resources, including sample booktalks, tips for successful conversations with hesitant customers, resources for meeting the needs of multiracial families in your neighborhood, a list of helpful websites, and an annotated bibliography of great multicultural books by age. Panelists will include bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle (The Flying Pig Bookstore, Shelburne, Vt.), author Mitali Perkins, Stacy Whitman (Editorial Director of Tu Publishing), and Karen Lotz (President and Publisher of Candlewick Press).

        From Publishers Weekly (9/22/2010): The Stars So Far by Elizabeth Bluemle

        • CONSPIRACY OF KINGS, A. Megan Whalen Turner. (Harper/Greenwillow, $16.99) ISBN 978-0061870934.
        • COSMIC. Frank Cottrell Boyce. (HarperCollins/Walden Pond, $16.99) ISBN 978-0061836831
        • DREAMER, THE. Pam Muñoz Ryan. Illustrated by Peter Sís. (Scholastic, $17.99) ISBN 978-0439269704
        • WAR TO END ALL WARS, THE. Russell Freedman. (Clarion, $22) ISBN 978-00547026862


        • FEVER CRUMB. Philip Reeve. (Scholastic, $17.99) ISBN 978-0545207195
        • INCARCERON. Catherine Fisher. (Dial, $17.99) ISBN 978-0803733961
        • KAKAPO RESCUE: SAVING THE WORLD’S STRANGEST PARROT. Sy Montgomery. Illustrated by Nic Bishop. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18) ISBN 978-0618494170
        • MIRROR, MIRROR: A BOOK OF REVERSIBLE VERSE. Marilyn Singer, illus. by Josée Masse. Dutton, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0525479017
        • NOTHING. Janne Teller, trans. from the Danish by Martin Aitken. (Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $16.99) ISBN 978-1416985792
        • SIR CHARLIE: THE FUNNIEST MAN IN THE WORLD. Sid Fleischman. (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $19.99) ISBN 978-0061896408
        • UBIQUITOUS: CELEBRATING NATURE’S SURVIVORS. Joyce Sidman, illus. by Beckie Prange. (Harcourt, $17) ISBN 978-0618717194

        From School Library Journal
        Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog

        It's My Birthday
        By SLJ Staff September 23, 2010

        Boy Story: Do you really want guys in your library?
        By Helen Cox
        September 1, 2010

        AND THE WINNER IS....

        Congratulations MELISSA!  You've won the $60 credit to CSN Stores!  You posted that you'd put it toward a new duvet cover and they have so many pretty ones to choose from.  This is one of my favorites:

        Please e-mail me at by end of day Wednesday, September 29th to claim your prize. If I do not hear from you by then, a new winner will be chosen.  A huge thank you to CSN Stores for
        this fabulous giveaway!

        AND THE WINNER IS....

        Congratulations MELISSA & NICK!  You've won the crocheted headband and newsboy cap from Bows 2 Cute!  They're so perfect for fall!

        Please e-mail me at by end of day Wednesday, September 29th to claim your prize. If I do not hear from you by then, a new winner will be chosen.  A huge thank you to Bows 2 Cute for this wonderful giveaway!

        AND THE WINNER IS....

        Congratulations KAT!  You've won an adorable hand-painted Initial Hairclip Holder from Ashley Petite

        Please e-mail me at by end of day Wednesday, September 29th to claim your prize. If I do not hear from you by then, a new winner will be chosen.  A huge thank you to Ashley Petite for
        this darling giveaway!

        Friday, September 24, 2010

        Peekaboo, Look Who's Two! (Part One)

        I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since Gabrielle and Alaina's party!  It was a fabulous day and I can't wait to share all of the details with you.

        We live in New York City so where to have the party was a bit of a debate.  We had the girls' first birthday on our roof deck which was gorgeous but with 15 kids between one and three coming this time, we decided a local play space would be a better plan.  We chose a spot called City Treehouse and it was just perfect.

        They have a huge Treehouse with a slide that the kids loved (and I did too!).

        And a gigantic water table that kept everybody happily - if a bit wetly - occupied.

        We didn't have a real theme for the party but everything revolved around the great graphics that Maureen and Adria from Anders Ruff created for us.  I cannot rave enough about working with these wonderful ladies!  I had very specific ideas of what I wanted for the party but never could have brought them to life without Anders Ruff.  They are creative, patient (I'm a bit of a perfectionist) and so so flexible, and collaborating with them was a lot of fun. 

        So for Gabrielle and Alaina's "themeless" party, I knew I wanted to incorporate gingham, ric rac, poppy colors and the phrase "Peek-a-boo, Look Who's Two!"  Weird combination, I know, but Anders Ruff managed to make it all work.  You can see how all of the elements came together with the invitations.  The address labels had a spin on the "Peek-a-boo" saying and I couldn't resist adding a personalized stamp!

        The return address labels featured a layered flower that became one of the main graphics for the party.

        The invitation itself turned out even better than I ever imagined.  After lots of e-mail back and forth, Maureen, Adria and I came up with the idea to play off of the "Peek-a-boo" idea by hiding the girls' picture and some of the party information with a 3-D element on the invitation.  This is what guests saw when they pulled it out of the envelope.

        And here's what it looked like when the ribbon came off.

        Okay, so back to the party!  Gabrielle and Alaina's outfits tied in with the gingham theme.  Sara from Peanut & Pumpkin Design made the girls onesies with their initials on layered flowers to match the ones on their invitations.

        And we paired them with the cutest custom ruffled gingham bloomers from Three Yellow Starfish.  Oh, no shoes are allowed in the play space, hence the bare feet!

        After playing like crazy and getting their groove on to the music stylings of Tony Corsano:

        It was time to hit the party room for snacks and cake.

        There were personalized sippies waiting for all of the kids.

        And "Eau de Deux" for the adults.

        I had a lot of fun making the paper flower bouquets that decorated the table.  I'll share a tutorial on these next week but I have to give a huge thanks to my mom for coming up with the great idea to fill the vases with Fruit Loops.  Not only did the cereal hold the flowers in place but it looked really cute too.

        Since most of the party guests were toddlers, I didn't want to go too overboard on the sugar so I used patterned paper that matched our graphics to make boxes for Toddler Trail Mix (Cheerios, raisins and Goldfish) and little containers we filled with Veggie Sticks, animal crackers and cheese puffs.

        But there were sweet treats too!

        The mini-cupcakes were store bought from Whole Foods and dressed up with toppers (I used paper straws instead of lollipop sticks to make them pop a little more).

        Ally from Girly Gatherings did an AMAZING job transforming the logos from Anders Ruff into cookies.  They were almost too cute to eat.  Almost!

        And I was planning on making chocolate covered marshmallows and Rice Krispie Treats but when Jairy from J's Sweet Art volunteered her services, I couldn't say no.  I love how the marshmallows had little flowers on them that matched our graphics.

        And some of the Rice Krispie Treats had chocolate "gingham."

        And of course there was cake!

        Miriam from BCakeNY took the graphics and used them on this delicious and darling confection that I hated to even cut into.  But boy was it worth it.

        After two hours of water tables and slides and treats galore, the party was over.  But one of the birthday girls (in her custom made dress from Nookie Scooter) didn't want to leave.

        I have to admit, I was sad when the party was over too and went into total planning withdrawal.  It's only been 13 days, but I'm already thinking about next year's bash....

        Stay tuned for tutorials next week on how to make the paper flower bouquets, the trail mix boxes and snack containers as well as the scoop on what was inside the personalized tote bags we gave out as favors.

        We'll also have some giveaways for you from the vendors who helped me pull this party together.  

        I can't close this post without thanking Maureen & Adria from Anders Ruff, Ally from Girly Gatherings, Jairy from J's Sweet Art, Miriam from BCakeNY and last but not least, our photographer Ryan Trupp for capturing all of the moments and details for us! 

        Images: Ryan Trupp Photography

        The Super Duper "Things to Do" Poems Post

        The Inspiration for My "Things to Do" Poems

        Last week, poet Heidi Mordhorst left a couple of questions for me in the comments section of one of my Poetry Friday posts.

        Her questions:
        - Where can I see more of your Things to Do poems?
        - How did you get started with that?

        And Looking for the Write Words left the following comment: You know how much I love your poems so my contribution is modeled after many of your Things to Do poems.

        I thought it might be a good time to explain how I got started on writing “things to do” poems.

        The process began in 1995...I think. I was trying to come up with new ideas for writing poems with my second grade students. I was looking through Paul Janeczko’s book Poetry from A to Z: A Guide for Young Writers when I read a list poem by Bobbi Katz titled "Things to Do If You Are the Rain.” That jogged my memory. I went to my bookcase and pulled out Upside Down and Inside Out: Poems for All Your Pockets, a collection of poems written by Bobbi. In the middle of the book, I found six "things to do" poems—

        • Things to Do If You Are a Subway
        • Things to Do If You Are a Flower
        • Things to Do If You Are the Snow
        • Things to Do If You Are a Pizza
        • Things to Do If You Are a Cold
        • Things to Do If You Are a Star

        Bobbi's “subway” poem begins like this…

        Pretend you are a dragon.
        Live in underground caves.
        Roar about underneath the city.

        The “snow” poems ends like this…

        Perch on the branches of all the trees—
        Sparkle when the sun shines—
        Quiet the city.
        Close the schools.

        I really liked the idea of writing list poems using this type of format. I went into school one day shortly thereafter and wrote some collaborative poems with my students.

        Here is one of the collaborative class poems I wrote with my students a couple of years later. (Sorry I can’t find the collaborative class poems I wrote with my students in 1995 at the moment.)

        Things to Do If You Are a Witch

        Wake up at midnight.
        Fly around the moon
        on your magic broom.
        Zoom around a haunted house.
        Swoop out of the dark sky
        and scare children.
        Have a huge purple wart
        on the tip of your long, pointy nose
        and skin as green as grass.
        Wear a tall black hat
        pointed as a thumbtack.
        Make yucky snake skin potions
        in your kettle.
        Cast nasty spells on princes
        and turn them into toads.
        Eat vulture leg stew, bat wings,
        and frog eyes for lunch.
        Throw bat noses into the air
        and catch them in your mouth.
        Go to sleep in a graveyard
        before the sun comes up.

        My students enjoyed writing “things to do” poems together. Later, they attempted writing some on their own. Some students would even write them from time to time when given a poetry writing assignment.

        NOTE: You’ll find some “things to do” poems my students wrote about animals during the 1995-1996 school year here.

        And here are three of the “things to do” poems about space that my students wrote in 1998:

        Things to Do If You Are the Sun
        by Teddy B.

        Explode your fiery volcanoes.
        Reach your flaming arches
        millions of miles into space.
        Show off your sunspots.
        Heat up your solar system.
        Shine on the planets for
        billions of years.
        let your light give life to Earth.
        Spin all the planets around you.
        Don’t let the planets
        get lost in space.

        by Joey G.

        Spin around the Earth.
        Come out in the evening.
        Put on your silver dress
        and dance in the night sky.
        Shimmer like a pearl.

        What to Do If You Are the Sun
        by Lila M.

        Shine on the planets
        and their moons.
        Give Earth dawn and dusk.
        Stretch out your arms of light
        and wake people up in the morning.
        Hug Earth with your warmth
        and help living things grow.
        Show off your glorious crown
        during a solar eclipse.

        I loved the “things to do” poems my students wrote. Their poems inspired me, in 1998, to start writing my own “things to do” poems. I began listing subjects for the poems in my writing journal. Then I started writing rough drafts of the poems in the journal.

        Here are two "things to do" poems in that journal that remain in their “rough draft” stage:

        Things to Do if You Are a Frog

        Be beetle small.
        Don’t be green.
        Be ruby red, topaz yelloe, or amethyst.
        Sit inside a rainforest flower
        Like a little jewel
        Drinking dewdrops.

        Things to Do If You Are A Fish

        Be sleek.
        Flash your silver scales.
        Slip through the water like a whisper.
        Play hide and seek in the seaweed.
        Watch your breath rise in spheres
        to the surface of the sea.


        Here are links to some of my original “things to do” poems that I’ve posted at Wild Rose Reader:

        Things to Do If You Are a Mole

        Things to Do If You Are a Castle

        Things to Do If You Are a Mountain

        Things to Do If You Are a Lawnmower

        Things to Do If You Are Grass

        Things to Do If You Are the Moon

        Things to Do If You Are a Bell

        Things to Do If You Are a Pencil & Things to Do if You Want to Be a Snowflake

        Things to Do If You Are the Ocean

        Things to Do if You Are an Orb Spider

        Things to Do if You Are a Cow



        At Blue Rose Girls, I have some poems and links for Banned Books Week.

        Karen, at The Blog With the Shockingly Clever Title, is doing the Poetry Friday Roundup today.

        Thursday, September 23, 2010

        Make Your Blog a Book {GIVEAWAY}

        When Gabrielle and Alaina surprised us by arriving 12 weeks early, my husband and I started a blog called And Babies Make Four.... to keep all of our friends and family updated on their progress.  The first few months of their lives were spent in the NICU, where we experienced some amazing moments as well as some truly terrifying ones.  Our family blog was an outlet for us during that time and I'm so glad that we have that record of everything we went through.  After both girls came home, I continued to post on the blog but with less and less frequency, and by their first birthday, Facebook became the place where we shared our pictures and updated on new milestones and achievements.  But the thing about Facebook is that I can't easily look back and see when Gaby took her first step or figure out when Alaina said her first phrase.  I really regret not posting more regularly on our blog so all things Gabrielle and Alain could be contained in one place.  Lucky for me, there's a way to assemble everything just the way I want it.

        When Gabrielle and Alaina turned two, I decided that I would have our blog made into a book for them through Blog2Print, a website that transfers blogs on Blogger, Wordpress and Typepad into books.

        It's such a simple process - enter in your URL, choose a cover design and whether you want a hard cover or soft cover and you're on your way.  You can include every post and picture or pick and choose (you can re-order them, too) and I love that you can also include the comments people left in your book as well.  I laid out more than 100 posts in no time.

        But remember when I mentioned being able to incorporate all of the things I'd posted on Facebook instead of the blog?  That's where Everything2Print comes in.  On this site, you can access your Facebook photos, status updates, notes and more, and choose to include any of that information in your book.  In addition, you can add Twitter updates, pictures from Picasa, Word documents and PDFs.  When they named the site Everything2Print, they weren't kidding!  So all of those little things I posted on Facebook - funny moments, silly comments, etc. - are a part of our book now, too.

        I am so excited to get my bound version of And Babies Make Four.... and I'll post pictures here once it arrives.  Just putting it together and reading all of the blog posts and messages we received made me extremely emotional.  Thanks to Everything2Print, someday we'll be able to sit down with Gabrielle and Alaina and read them the story of their miraculous road from 2 pound preemies to healthy, happy little girls without missing a step along the way.  Now I've learned my lesson and vow to get back to posting all about the girls on our blog.  But just in case I don't and slip back to my Facebook ways, I'm glad to know that those memories won't be lost. 

        Want to publish your memories?  I've got great news - Blog2Print has generously offered to give away one 40-page book to a lucky AFOMFT reader!  To enter, leave a comment here telling me why you want to transfer your blog into a book (this is mandatory).  For additional entries:
        • Subscribe to AFOMFT or let us know you are a subscriber
        • "Like" AFOMFT on Facebook --
        • "Like" Blog2Print on Facebook
        • Ask your friends to "like" AFOMFT on Facebook by sending them this link - - and post a comment here with the names of each one who does.  You'll earn one entry per new friend who "likes" our page and names will be cross-checked.  
        • Follow Blog2Print & AFOMFT on Twitter (@Blog2Print & @AFOMFT or click the birdie icon on the sidebar) and tweet this post by clicking the graphic above or this giveaway:  @blog2print lets you easily transfer your blog into a book. Want to #win a 40 page one? Head over to @AFOMFT now!
        • Click here to vote for AFOMFT on Top Baby Blogs and post a comment here that you did - Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs.  You can vote once per day per computer so if you vote every day or on different computers, be sure to post one comment for each one.
        • Grab our button and put it on your blog or website and post a link here showing us.
        • Blog or post on Facebook about this giveaway with a link to this post (worth 2 entries so please post two comments) and make sure your comments include a link to your status or blog post.
        Please leave a separate comment for each entry (two if you've blogged about the giveaway) and make sure to include a link to your tweet, blog post, etc. All entries must be posted on AFOMFT as a direct comment to this post.  Comments on Facebook will not count as entries.  This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and ends September 30th at 11:59 pm EST. The winners will be selected by and announced on AFOMFT on October 1st. If the winners don't contact AFOMFT within 48 hours, a new drawing will be held so be sure to check back to see if you've won!

        Image: Blog2Print

        Wednesday, September 22, 2010

        The 1783/1785 Ryukyu Map by Japanese cartographer Hayashi

        Nicolas Kristof's blog regarding Diaoyu (Pinnacles Islands aka Senkaku as translated by Japanese) has attracted a letter from the Japanese government. He maintained his view, but also published the letter from Japan to provide the other side of the argument.

        This (三国通覧図説 / 林子平 図並説)should be the 1783 map mentioned in Kristof's blog. It was  mentioned byJapanese version and the source of the map below)Japanese scholar by Kiyoshi Inoue , Professor of History department, Kyoto University
        • Ryukyu territroy began from the Kume Island and the area east of it, whereas Chihwei Yu and the Huangwei Yu and Tiaoyu Yu (Diaoyutai) to the west were Chinese territory. Obviously, this was defined in clear terms after the middle of the 16th century at the latest. There are no records or documents whatsoever by the Ryukyu side or the Japanese expressing disagreement or doubt. Moreover, there are not even legends, not to say documents about contacts of the Ryukyu people with the Tiaoyu Island (Diaoyutai) and Huangwei Yu in ancient times. Sailing from Ryukyu to the Tiaoyu Island (Diaoyutai) was particularly difficult because it was against the wind and the tide. In the middle of the 19th century, that is, the closing years of Japan's feudal period, the Ryukyu people knew the Tiaoyu Island (Diaoyutai) as Yokon (or Yokun), the Huangwei Yu as "Kubashima", and the Chihwei Yu as "Kumesekishima". This was confirmed by the records of the last Chinese imperial envoy. These in no way affect the title to these territories. The map and explanations about Ryukyu Kingdom in the book General Illustrations of Three Countries by Shihei Hayashi were completely based on the Chungshan Mission Records. The Chungshan Mission Records had found their way to Japan long ago and there was even a Japanese edition. This document was the most comprehensive and authoritative source of knowledge about Ryukyu for the Japanese people in the late Edo period.
        The map labeled the islands in the same color as China's (Qing Empire), most likely because of the recording of shipping route China used to reach Ryukyu.(source: Hokkaido University)

        Full Map and Japan Map (日本図 + 三國圖)
        三國=琉球、蝦夷、朝鮮,當時皆不屬日本。當時還特別有列明為無主島的,是今天的小笠原群島。(The 3 Country maps means Japan and its 3 neighbors, Ryukyu, Korea and Hokkaido, not part of Japan back then. It also included a section of "uninhabited/un-owned island groups", which are today's Ogasawara Islands)

        Ryukyu Map (琉球島図)

        Diaoyu and Taiwan portion enlarged (Diaoyu colored same as Qing's, instead of classified as "uninhabited" like Ogasawara. As Professor Inoue indicated, the map is probably created based on his reading of the Chinese travelogue)

        Japan was first interested in Ryukyu in 1885 but waited till January of 1895 to formally set claim on the islands, by then the Japanese army had already completely smashed Qing' navy and army, and have taken Lushunkou near today's Dalian in November 1894. The Shimonoseki Treaty was signed in April but the war was almost finished by January. Some used the difference in dates (January vs April) to claim that the Diaoyu was not part of the spoil of the war, but the fact is the Pescadores Islands (Penghu) was taken by the Japanese in March 1895, also before the signing of the Treaty.

        However, I am not as confident as Kristof about how ICJ would decide, for reasons outlined by Alexander Peterson.

        The first (full) map above, to the east (actually, between E and ESE) of Ulrungdo (鬱林島), seems to be an island marked as Korean held (朝鮮ノ持ニ), seem to fit the relative position of Dokdo (Takeshima) very nicely, and was labelled Takeshima in the enlarged map below.

        Enlarged portion shows Takeshima held by Chosen

        Below is the Korea map from Hayashi's book, where Ulengdo (鬱林島)is shown as the island very close to the Korean mainland.

        Korea Map (朝鮮八道図)

        Hokkaido Map (蝦夷国全図)