Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Rainiest Season

Japan, except for Hokkaido, has a rainy season, called Tsuyu, every year between late May and late July.  The wet weather is caused by cold winds from the north colliding with warm southern winds.  Where I live, the average dates for the rainy season is June 8th to July 21st. 

The first year I lived here in Shizuoka, it hardly rained during the rainy season.  I was still asking when will the rainy season start, after it had ended. This year seems to be the rainiest rainy season ever.  Every day I am wet walking to work and wet walking home.  The laundry never seems to dry.  All of this is inconvenient for me, but is really nothing compared to what is happening in Kyushu, the southern most of the four main Japanese islands. Some people have been evacuated from their homes, while others are stranded by the deadly floods and mudslides. Yesterday I read the death toll was 66 and 16 were still missing.

Over 300 millimeters of rain has fallen through Saturday and it is still raining. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued its second highest evacuation order to more than 450,000 people, but such orders are not compulsory and most residents are choosing not to go to shelters because of coronavirus fears.   It is difficult to ensure the safety of those in emergency centers, but the centers are doing what they can. 

The company where I work makes large commercial air conditioners.  Last week the company donated five of these large units to shelters in Kumamoto prefecture in Kyushu and quickly had them delivered and installed. I am in awe of the generosity of Japanese people and companies even in these poor economic times. 

Every day I am thankful to be living in Japan for so many reasons. There is no where I'd rather be, even in the rainiest season.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Ninja Studies Graduate Degree

Central Japan's Mie University is offering a master's degree in Ninja Studies. To enroll in the program, prospective students have to take an exam on Japanese history and a reading test on historical ninja documents. Only about three students a year enroll in the program, although there are many inquiries from overseas.

The program's first graduate is 45 year old Genichi Mitsuhashi.  He read that ninjas worked as farmers in the morning and trained in marial arts in the afternoon, so he grew vegetables, honed his martial arts techniques, and spent many hours in the classroom with ninja studies. Mitsuhashi teaches ninja skills at his own dojo and runs a local inn while pursuing his PhD. 

Would you be interested in this ninja program?  I imagine you have to be in great physical shape as well as be able to read and write Japanese. It does sound interesting though.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Friday Finish - Mediterranean Treasure Bracelet

This bracelet was one of the projects from last fall's Mediterranean Cruise with needlework teacher and designer Sandy Arthur. 

These are the components of the bracelet, according to the instruction booklet: 

The Maltese Cross represents our visit to Malta. Bordering each side of the Maltese cross is a triskelion motif consiting of a triple spiral, which is a traditional symbol of Sicily. Blue lines represent the water and the white background stitched in a small bargello pattern represents the water of the Mediterranean Sea.

I'm happy to finish this.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Most Popular Cat Types and Names in Japan

Are you a cat lover? You might find this information interesting.

It is estimated that 99.5% of Japanese cats are exclusively indoor pets. (Source Anicom Pet Insurance). I sometimes see cats without owners, but not as often here as in the US or other countries.  Kittens are very expensive at the pet store. 

The most popular cat breeds in Japan in 2020 are - - - 

1. Scottish fold 18.1%

2. Munchkin 11.2% 

3. American shorthair 9.9%

4. Mixed breed 9.4%

5. Norwegian forest cat 7.3%

6. British shorthair 6.5%

7. Ragdoll 5.0%

8. Bengal 4.5%

9. Maine coon 3.4%

10. Russian blue 3.3%  

The Scottish fold was the most popular breed in Japan for the twelfth year in a row.  The top three: the Scottish fold, Munchkin, and American shorthair are so popular that they account for almost 40% of all cats owned in Japan. 

The overall top five cat names in Japan are Mugi (wheat), Leo, Sora (sky), Maru, and Coco.  For female cats the top five names are Momo (peach), Mugi, Coco, Rin, and Kinako.  For male cats, the top five names are Leo, Sora, Maru, Kotetsu, and Mugi. 

What are popular names for cats in your country?

    Wednesday, July 8, 2020

    Work In Progress Wednesday - Mistakes and Little Things

    I made a counting mistake on the sampler, so it is currently in time out.  

    Here are some little things I've been stitching.

    Tuesday, July 7, 2020

    Japanese Professional Baseball 2020

    Like some other major sports around the world, Japanese professional baseball started up this year with empty stands due to the coronavirus. After a three month delay, the first games were played June 19th. Players are being tested frequently and so far there have only been a small number of postive results.

    This year the season has been reduced to 120 games per team, with a shortened playoff season, too.

    According to a survey conducted by Waseda University, the majority of fans in Japan are fine with the measures to conduct games without spectators at the stadiums.  Limited number of spectators may be able to attend after mid-July. 

    What are professional sports like in your country this summer? Games being held? Spectators?

    Monday, July 6, 2020

    Monday Morning Star Count - Week 9

    Year Four of the temperature quilt  

    Week 9 

    June 21 -27 

    75, 70, 79, 75, 73, 84, 84

    I am reporting the high temperature each day.  My Year Four 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  

    You can see my finished Year One Quilt here.

    Sunday, July 5, 2020

    Japan's Travel Ban

    Recently, I've been reading about countries that are now opening up to travelers from other countries (as well as keeping others out). Japan is keeping people out for the time being. Just this past week Japan added 18 more nations to its no-entry list, bringing the total number to 129. Anyone who is not a Japanese citizen and has been to any of these countries in the past 14 days, will not be allowed to enter Japan.  

    Here are all the countries countries affected by Japan's travel ban.

    Asia Pacific: Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Brunei, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
    North America: Canada, United States of America. 
    Latin America and the Caribbean: Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, the Grenadines, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Uruguay.
    Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican City.
    Middle East: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates.
    Africa: Algeria, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central Africa, Cote d’lvoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, South Africa.

    Currently, I only travel to work and to the grocery store by foot, but I do hope to be able to travel again sometime. How about you?  Can you travel outside of where you live? Do you want to travel now or in the future again?

    Saturday, July 4, 2020

    The People's Choice SAL - Most Popular Designer

    Jo at Serendipidous Stitching is hosting a Stitch A Long the first Saturday of the month, with the topics chosen by her readers.  This month's topic is "Most Popular Designer". 

    The word Most means just one. I'm not really a super fan of any one designer, but I have stitched more than one design from several designers. Maybe these are the most popular designers with me.  So here goes --  

    Tanja Berlin - I've stitched three of her blackwork designs. I took the pheasants class with her at an EGA National Seminar and stitched the other two on my own.

    Dorothy Lesher - I've stitched three of her dragons. I think I took the Sundragon class with her at an EGA National Seminar, and the Dragonmaster at Calloway School of Needlearts.  The Moondragon was on my own.

    Lynn Payette - both of these were classes at guild seminars.

    Deanna Powell - both the beaded bag and the beaded shawl were classes at EGA National Seminars.

    Denise Harrington Pratt - The box and the little toolies were a class at a regional EGA seminar, the small box kit and the many fobs were done on my own. I have no idea how many fobs I have made, but these are a few I have posted about on my blog.

    Marion Scoular - the bee hardanger/blackwork piece was a class. The others were done on my own.

    Thursday, July 2, 2020

    The Wind Phone, Otsuchi, Japan

    After his cousin died in 2010, Itaru Sasaki built a glass paneled phone booth with a disconnected rotary phone to communicate with his relative and help him deal with his grief. The next year was the great disaster of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Sasaki's coastal town of Otsuchi was hit with 30 foot high waves and ten percent of the town died.  He opened up his wind phone to the people of the community who also lost loved ones.  Word spread and others from around the country came to talk to loved ones.  It is estimated that 10,000 visited the phone booth within three years of the great disaster. The phone is a one way communication, but people hope that their loved ones can hear them.  It gives people the chance to express feelings or say things that were left unsaid before the death.  

    I love this story!  Another great find from Atlas Obscura.