Friday, June 30, 2017

17 in 2017 - June Report

So what progress have I made on my 17 projects this month?  

I finished the Blue Toolie set.  

I finished two more of the 12 pears.  Ten stitched - two to more to stitch.  

I stitched the June cat. Now, six more months of cats.

To see all of my 17 in 2017 projects, check out this page.  To see the progress other participants have made, check it out here.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

2017 Smalls Stitch A Long - June

This year I plan to stitch the calendar cats (free charts at Happiness is Cross Stitching).  One small ornament per month, so this month is June.  I will wait to finish them all at the same time in December so that they will be the same size and somehow coordinate.  

I'm linking up with Heather, at Stitching Lotus, the hostess of this stitch a long.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Work In Progress Wednesday - Blue Crazy Block

This week, for a change of pace, I picked up the blue crazy block and worked on it.  I hadn't worked on any of these four blocks in quite a while.  The stitch group is working on their crazy quilt bag projects, so I have been thinking more about crazy quilting. It's fun to be working on this again. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It's a Girl!

Ueno Zoo officials announced that the baby panda born at the zoo on June 12th is a girl! At the time of the announcement she was 17.6 centimetres long and weighed 283.9 grams.  She and her 11 year old mother are doing well.  

I was happy to see the baby panda's parents at the zoo in January.  I think there will be another zoo visit in my future when this baby gets a little older.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday Morning Star Count - Rainy Days

The Weather Report  - The rainy season has arrived in central Japan.

Week 8 - June 18 - 24 

72, 80, 78, 74, 80, 81, 78

This is my temperature/color (Fahrenheit) scheme: 

100 + Brown 

90-99 Red  

80-89 Orange 

70-79 Yellow  

60-69 Green  

50-59 Blue 

40-49 Purple 

30-39 Pink 

20-29 White 

10-19 Black 

Linking up with Anthea at Hibiscus Stitches.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Shogi Boy

I first heard about shogi (Japanese chess) last year when there was something of a scandal putting it in the news.  Recently shogi has been in the news for a good reason - the youngest professional shogi player made history by winning 28 games in a row, tying the record which is held by Hiroshi Kamiya.      

This14 year old junior high school student, is named Sota Fujii.  His winning streak is creating a new interest in shogi, with many elementary students learning the game.  Although an estimated 20 million people in Japan are able to play this game, there are only 164 professional players. Major tournaments are held throughout the year by the Japan Shogi Association.  Professional players draw a monthly salary, as well as game fees based on performance. In February of this year, Karolina Styczynska became the first non-Japanese to be awarded full professional status.  

Fujii's next professional game will be held Monday.  I'll be cheering for him from afar!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Number of Births in Japan at Record Low

In 2016, 976,979 babies were born in Japan, going below 1 million  in a year for the first time since 1899, when Japan began keeping records. This is just a third of the number of babies born in Japan in the peak year of 1949, according to data released last week by the health ministry.  The overall poplulation shrank by 330,786 last year.

The shrinking population is causing Japan to wrestle with a labor shortage.  In addition, there is an ever increasing number of elderly people needing more medical and social services, with fewer working age people to provide these services. By 2065, the population of Japan is expected to decrease from the current 127 million to 88 million, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research estimates.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Lost, But Not Taken

At the Japanese hospital/doctor's office, you pay each time you visit. They don't send a bill in the mail.  The good thing is that it doesn't cost very much, so you are able to pay each visit.  At my hospital, there is a woman behind a counter, or you can pay at one of the three machines.  I usually pay at one of the machines.  One day, I paid with a 10,000 yen note.  I took my hospital ID card, my receipt and the coin change, but walked away without my paper change.  I didn't realize it until later in the day when I opened my wallet to pay for something else.  So, I walked back to the hospital and told the woman at the counter (in my best Japanese) that I had left behind my money.  She brought out a man in a suit who asked me the amount and which machine. He gave me an envelope with the money!  In the US, I'm sure the next person who used the machine would have taken my money, but in Japan no one takes things.  

I read an article on Japan Today that said 3.6 billion yen in cash was reported as lost property in Tokyo in 2016.  That is the equivalent of 10 million yen being found every day, according to the Tokyo Police Department.  Of that total, 2.7 billion yen, or about 74% was returned to owners.  

The number of overall lost property cases, including cash and other items, came to 3.83 million last year. Identification items, such as driver's licenses, and credit cards accounted for about 626,000 cases. Security-related and other items, including IC transportation cards, came in at about 481,000, followed by clothing items such as gloves and scarves at about 455,000.  If the owner is not identified within three months, lost property is given to the finders.  If not claimed by the finder, cash and proceeds from the sale of goods go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.  

What is the Lost and Found situation where you live? Are people elsewhere as honest as those in Japan?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Away Game Day

The local soccer team was playing away, so this big screen was set up in a parking lot near the train station so the fans wouldn't miss it. I don't know how often this is done.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Work In Progress Wednesday - Another Pear

I finished another of the sampler pears - two more of the 12 to stitch.  

This is part of one of my 17 in 2017 projects. You can see my other stitched pears at that link.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Starting a Crazy Project

The stitch group met Sunday to start working on a new project! Everyone seems to be enjoying the piecing.  No counting is involved, so we can talk and stitch at the same time.  

My project is on the table, front and center.

This is how far they got in one session.  We will all work on them at home, then we will meet again next week.

Can you see her earrings (our last project)?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Morning Star Count -Week 7

The Weather Report  

Week 7 - June 11 - 17 

77, 75, 75, 77, 78, 86, 79

This is my temperature/color (Fahrenheit) scheme: 

100 + Brown 

90-99 Red  

80-89 Orange 

70-79 Yellow  

60-69 Green  

50-59 Blue 

40-49 Purple 

30-39 Pink 

20-29 White 

10-19 Black 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Shizuoka Gubernatorial Race

It's campaigning time again!  The upcoming (June 25th) election is interesting, with Olympic judo silver medalist, Noriko Mizoguchi, challenging the incumbant, Heita Kawakatsu.  Kawakatsu, 68, is seeking his third term. Mizoguchi, 45, won the silver medal in the women's 52-kilogram division at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She was a professor at Shizuoka University of Art and Culture and coached France's national judo team in the past.  Mizoguchi wants to give back to her community by changing prefectural politics, while Kawakatsu is empahazing his achievements during his two terms, such as the addition of Mt. Fuji to UNESCO's World Heritage list and securing the cycling events of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for the prefecture. I wonder who will win!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Abandoned Bicycles

The Tokyo Metopolitan Government reported that 34,247 bicycles were abandoned at Tokyo train stations in 2016.  That sounds like a huge number, but that was about 2700 fewer than in 2015 and down from the peak number of 240,000 in 1990.  Every October, all train stations within Tokyo are visited to count the number of abandoned bicycles.  

This seems like an incredible number of abandoned bikes and a huge expense to replace them.  Everyone rides bicycles to get around here in Japan.  How can they just leave their bicycles behind?  I could understand two or three drunk salarymen forgetting which station their bicycles were at, but 34,247?  In Hokkaido, bicycles left in the fall would emerge from the snow in the spring and be totally crushed from the weight of the winter snow.

How about where you live - do you ever see bicycles abandoned?

This reminds me of a joke told by one of my students -- 

Why couldn't the bicycle stand up by itself?  

Because it was too/two tired!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Work In Progress Wednesday - One Pear

This week I stitched this pear (one of 12 free pear patterns at Samplers and Santas). I had already stitched 8 of them and put the remaining four, plus finishing them on my 17 in 2017 list.  

Three more to stitch.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lemon Chips

I always like to try new and different things, so when I saw these Chip Star lemon chips, I had to buy them. (These are a brand of Pringles-like chips).  I have to say though, in my opinion, they are only so-so.  Not lemony enough, not salty enough.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday Morning Star Count - Great Weather Last Week

It seems I didn't do a lot with my hexagon projects this week.  

This week's weather has been very pleasant, but rainy season may be starting soon, according to my students. 

Week 6 - June 4-10

77, 75, 72, 72, 69, 77, 82

Weeks 1-6

The Tree  

I have five gifts ready to attach and have been thinking about the tree decorating.  Maybe I'll get started on that in the week ahead. 

Linking up with Anthea at Hibiscus Stitches and Sarah at Sarah Did It!

Baby Ducks - Here are the first I've seen this year - so cute!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Kappore Dance

Last summer I attended the Minato Festival in my town. I saw the kappore dancing and wanted to learn.   I have been attending the two hour dance classes at a local gymnasium on Sunday evenings and trying to practice a little with the YouTube instructional videos. I had no idea how difficult all the dances were! The gym is full of people of all ages - children to elderly.  There are three or four instructors on a stage in front, one with a microphone. I don't understand everything they say, but it is a lot of right, left, step, stop, and similar words that I know.  For the rest, I just try to follow what the people on stage are doing.

Here are videos of the three dance classes I have attended so far. (There is no class tonight so everyone has a break, to practice, I guess.)

Needless to say, I won't be participating in the festival, but I do plan to go and watch.  This year the festival will be held August 4, 5, and 6.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Beach Clean Up Day

My view as I walked to the beach

My company participated in an annual beach clean up day, so I volunteered to join them.  I think there were about 10 or 12 companies participating.  There were individuals and families with children cleaning up the parking area and the beach.  

There were a few fisherman who didn't seem to be distracted by all of us.

With so many people the clean up only lasted around an hour.  We were all given some special cold green tea afterward.  

It was a fun morning and I was happy to do something with my company for my community.