Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Work In Progress Wednesday - Felt Coasters

Here are the two in progress coasters I'm working on.  The backside fabric is blue with tiny tea cups and tea pots.  

I've also been working on some gift stitching that I'm not showing yet.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My New Ironing Board

I've wanted and needed an ironing board since I moved here, but hadn't been able to find one.  Finally, I found this one at Home Assist for about 3,000 yen.  I can sit on the floor and iron, or put it on my little table.  (I don't think I'll be ironing on the floor.) Before I bought this, I was putting a bath towel on a folding chair to iron - very inconvenient!  

I am happy with my purchase and expect to get a lot of use out of it with my many projects.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Eating Contests

Did  you ever see the movie Cool Hand Luke?  It's one of my favorite movies.  In one part of the movie, Luke bets with his fellow prisoners that he can eat 50 hard boiled eggs in an hour.  Whenever I hear about eating contests, I always think about Luke eating eggs.  

I often read about eating contests in Japan. Just the other day I read about a 28 year old man who died after participating in an onigiri (rice ball) speed eating contest in Hikone City in Shiga Prefecture on November 13th after a number of rice balls became lodged in his throat. He was given medical attention, but died in the hospital three days later.  

Iwate Prefecture hosts soba noodle eating contests. These soba noodles are served in small bowls in a tradition that began 400 years ago. People eat hundreds of these small bowls of noodles!    I like soba noodles, but one regular bowl is all I can eat.

Have you ever been in an eating contest?  What and how much did you eat?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Elderly Drivers in Japan

The National Police Agency in Japan reports there are 17 million drivers age 65 and over in the country.  Recently, aging drivers have been in the news after an 87 year old driver in Yokohama drove into a group of elementary children.   One six year old died and 11 others were injured.

Last week a 97 year old high ranking Buddhist priest returned his driver's license because of this controversy over elderly drivers. Originally the priest wanted to keep his license to drive until he turned 100, but decided it was stupid to try to maintain his license out of pride. He encouraged other elderly drivers to be safe and give up their licenses.  

I can understand wanting to stay independent, but there comes a point when it is safer to stop driving.  Do you know anyone who is still driving when he shouldn't be?  Or, on the other hand, do you know an elderly person who is still able to drive safely?  I don't drive in Japan, and may be quite old when I go back to the US.  I think I will be fine not driving when I'm elderly, but time will tell. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Stitching and Pizza

I had a great afternoon stitching on Wednesday.  Our host and hostess made pizza for us in their wood stove.  What could be better than stitching with friends and eating home made pizza? 


I was working on a  small coaster and didn't finish, but will work on it later.  Here are their gorgeous candle mats, front and back.

Next time we meet, we will start an ornament.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

2016 Smalls Stitch A Long - Holly Ornament

My small for this month is a holly ornament designed by Suzann Miller of Suzann's Designs.  I used fabric, beads, and and thread I had, not the called for materials.  This is the stitched piece before finishing into an ornament.  

I like how this one piece folded and finished into the front and back. 

Linking up with Heather at Stitching Lotus, the hostess of the stitch a long.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Work In Progress Wednesday - Woven Bag Progress

Today is a national holiday in Japan, Labor Thanksgiving Day.  I thought it was for being thankful you have a job, but maybe not... 

Labor Thanksgiving Day is the modern name for the ritual of Harvest Festival (Niinamesai).  On this day, the Emperor makes the season's first offering of freshly harvested rice to the gods, then eats the rice himself.  

So, I have the day off from work and plan to spend the afternoon with my stitch group. Before I go, I'll show what I have done with the bag this week.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Have you heard of Shogi, or do you play?  The game of shogi is sometimes called Japanese chess.  After being in Japan almost five years, I have only just recently learned about this game.  This is an intro to the game from  

The game has been in the news lately after a high level player was accused of cheating with a smart phone in a tournament.  Shogi apps rival and sometimes outperform human players.

In the past players have been allowed to check their smart phones during lunch breaks and when they leave their seats temporarily.  The Japan Shogi Association has now banned players from bringing smartphones into match venues. The phones must be kept in lockers during the tournament.  The new rules will become effective on December 14th.  Offenders face expulsion from the professional players association.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday Morning Star Count - Ready for the Backing

Did you guess that I would be combining the hexagons with the sashiko panel to make a table runner?  I'm getting ready to pin the front to the back so I can put it all together!

Linking up with Anthea at Hibiscus Stitches.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Identity, Gender and Teaching English in Japan

I recently attended a local JALT (Japanese Association of Language Teaching) meeting and the program was given by Diane Hawley Nagatomo, speaking about her recently published book, Identity, Gender and Teaching English in Japan.  The book tells the stories of ten non-Japanese women who teach English in Japan and are married to Japanese men. She conducted extensive research and interviews to write this book and is herself a non-Japanese woman and a university professor who is married to a Japanese man. She highlighted several of the stories in her talk. How interesting to be part of the Japanese world and an outsider at the same time.  I want to read the book now!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Stitch Group - Candle Mat Start

I'm so happy to get together with my stitch group!  

One person was missing last time, so she finished her biscornu, then started the new project with everyone else. 

Homework from last time was to cut the scallops in the black base.  Circles were cut this time and stitching them together was begun.  I think we will be ready to stitch a fabric backing on next time.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Whims And Fancies Trunk Show

Soma at Whims and Fancies is hosting a Quilt Show and Tell and I am joining in with a few quilted EPP pieces.  I started working with hexagons about three or so years ago and haven't been able to quit! 

My very first project was a small pouch made with Japanese fabrics.

I don't cook, but if I did, I'd be ready with this apron.

This piece covers my sewing machine and entertains me as much as a real aquarium would.

This is an iPad cover.

I've done many other epp quilty things, but that's all for today.  Be sure to check out all the fabulous quilts and such at Whims And Fancies.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Tokai Aquarium

Two friends and I had 20% off coupons to visit the aquarium, so it was only 1200 yen, instead of 1500 yen.  On the first floor there are 20,000 fish of 400 varieties.  The second floor is where they raise fish and a science hall with a variety of exhibits.  The aquarium was interesting and it was fun to be out with friends.