Friday, November 30, 2018

2018 Smalls Stitch A Long - November

This month's ornament is a cathedral window made with Japanese fabric I bought at the flea market.  Here it is - front, back, and side corner.  I like how it turned out.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

2018 Grand Prix Mascot Winner

Japan loves its mascots.  As I've written before, every area, town, city, and prefecture has a mascot.  Each year there is a grand prix national contest to determine the most popular.  This year, Kaparu (center in the photo), representing the city of Shiki in Saitama Prefecture won.  The runner up was Jabo (right), from Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture.  Third place went to Konyudon-kun from Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture. Don't ask me what this is all about!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tulip Fobs

The stitch group got together last Friday, which was a national holiday in Japan - Labor Day.  We are continuing to work on our butterfly handkerchief bags.  Everyone likes the tulips at the ends of the bag pulls, 

so we had some practice by making some little fobs.  After making the twisted cording from #8 perle, we turned pieces of four inch square fabric into little tulips. 

While we enjoyed treats and tea, we chose a date for our next get together and discussed our next project.  We also talked more about going to the Tokyo International Quilt Festival in January. 

Don't you wish you could join our little group?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

No Monkeys in Ibaraki

The other day I read an article on SoraNews24 about the Japanese macaques. I'm partly fascinated and partly creeped out by these wild monkeys. In the US, I can see monkeys in the zoo. In Japan, I have seen these creatures while hiking on Yakushima and in the onsen in Nagano Prefecture. Both times I was very excited to see them.  

My Japanese friends and my students take monkeys for granted, after all, the wild monkeys are all over Japan. Almost!  The SoraNews24 article said the wild monkeys can be found in 44 prefectures, but not in the other three. Can you guess which three? If you guessed Hokkaido and Okinawa for two of them, you are correct. Those two are at the far ends of Japan, so that seems logical.  The third one with no monkeys is Ibaraki. 

Ibarki is central and the prefectures surrounding Ibaraki have monkeys, but not Ibaraki. Why? Maybe there aren't enough trees, or maybe monkeys don't like natto (fermented soybeans), which Ibaraki is famous for. Maybe there are predators, like wild boars?  What do you think? Another Japanese mystery...

Monday, November 26, 2018

Monday Morning Star Count - Week 29

Year Two of the temperature quilt  

Week 29 

November 11 - 17 

66, 63, 57, 61, 61, 63, 66

Sarah at Sarah Did It! is continuing to host us on Wednesdays, so please check out the temperatures around the world.  Feel free to join in! 

I am reporting the high temperature each day.  My Year Two temperature/color (Fahrenheit) scheme remains the same: 

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, November 25, 2018

Japan's Passport is Stronger Than Any Other

I recently read an article about British consulting firm Henley and Partners' annual passport utility ranking, which found the Japanese passport to be the strongest in the world. The rankings are compiled by giving one point for each country a passport holder can enter without a visa or can obtain a visa upon arrival at their destination. Japanese passport holders have easy access to 190 countries. Singapore is in second place with 189 countries. Third, fourth, and fifth places have ties with several countries: 

Third place (188 countries): Germany, France, Korea 

Fourth place (187 countries): Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Finland 

Fifth place (186 countries): USA, UK, Norway, Austria, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal  

On the other end of the ranking in 106th place are Afghanistan and Iran with access to only 30 countries each.

Being a United States of America passport holder means I can easily access 186 countries. How about you?  Are you from a country with a strong passport?

Saturday, November 24, 2018

I'm the Unidentified Foreigner

My friends found this photo of me on the internet. (I think it is a real estate type website).  It was taken in May 2017 outside of a pottery shop. How funny!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thankful for Cats, Especially Monica

Sarah at Sarah Did It! hosts a weekly link up called Feline Friday.  This week she is hosting a special link up.  From her 11/9/18 post: 

 Yesterday Momma and Auntie Neesey were talking about all the cats that have owned them. Momma thought it would be fun to do a special post on the day after Thanksgiving dedicated to those cats. Kind of a lets be thankful for our cats thing. She asked me to ask you to start looking for pictures of any cats that have owned you and to join in the special linky party on Friday, 11/23/18!

Here is my contribution to Feline Friday - Monica. 

I miss her still.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Japan is Missing an Island

It is a mystery.  Japan is made up of many islands, including 158 uninhabited islands, and recently experts fear that one of them is missing. The tiny island, known as Esambe Hanakita Kojima, was officially surveyed and registered by the Japanese Coastguard in 1987.  The island rose 1.4 meters (almost 5 feet) above sea level and was visible from the northern tip of Hokkaido. It is unknown whether the island was washed away or if earthquakes may have caused it to sink or if rising water levels due to global warming covered it or if some other thing caused it to disappear.  What do you think happened to it?

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Work In Progress Wednesday

I've been working on some things I want to give as gifts, and I'm not ready to show them yet.  

In addition, I added another section to the blue cathedral windows.  There is no planning of the placement.  I have a little stack of blue squares and I stitch them in the order they are stacked.  So far, so good.

I also worked on the triangle fobs and added the beads to four of them. I'll probably continue working on these now that I have all of my beads pulled out of the closet.

I am so fortunate to be able to stitch every day.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Monday Morning Star Count - A Finish and Week 28

First, - A finish! ( If you are curious about the finishing of this seamless pouch, check out this post where I explained how to finish a similar project.)

Year Two of the temperature quilt  

Week 28 

November 4 - 10 

61, 70, 64, 66, 66, 61, 72

Sarah at Sarah Did It! is continuing to host us on Wednesdays, so please check out the temperatures around the world.  Feel free to join in! 

I am reporting the high temperature each day.  My Year Two temperature/color (Fahrenheit) scheme remains the same: 

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, November 18, 2018

2020 Olympics Holiday Changes

Maybe you've heard that the 2020 Olympics will be in Tokyo? Living in Japan, I hear about it all the time.  I guess I didn't pay a lot of attention to what goes into the planning of the big event in years past because I wasn't close to it.  

One of the big things about this Olympics is the summer heat. For awhile, daylight savings time during the event was considered.  The idea was eventually rejected, as it should have been. 

Another issue is the traffic and congestion in Tokyo during the event, as well as immediately before and after when important people will be moving around. The Japanese government has enacted a law to move national holidays from days outside of the time of the Olympics to other days to ease traffic congestion and provide for security. 

Anyway, under the new law, Marine Day, which is normally the third Monday in July, will be moved to July 23rd, the day before the Olympic Games begin. Sports Day, normally the second Monday in October, will be moved to July 24th, the day of the opening ceremonies. Mountain Day, normally observed August 11th, will move to August 10th, the day after the closing ceremonies.

Do you think this is a good idea?

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Finish - Pin Cushion and Fob

I used some of the Japanese fabric I bought at the flea market for this cathedral window pin cushion and tulip scissor fob.  

I like things that match.