Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Finish - Cruise Ornaments

I recently showed my finished bracelet from my fall cruise trip with needlework teacher and designer Sandy Arthur. Another of the cruise projects from Sandy was the set of four canvas pieces representing our trip. I worked on them during our stitch classes on the cruise and finished the stitching when I got back home. 

They were designed as coasters, but I decided to make mine into ornaments. I made the cording from #5 perle cotton and the backing is kimono fabric.  

I am happy with the finished ornaments and will happily remember the trip when I look at them.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Limited Time - Mt. Fuji Beer

In Japan, there are frequently seasonal or limited time products.  Asahi Beer has a new design for its Fujisan beer. The artwork on the can is The Great Wave off Kanagawa, one of the most famous works of Japanese woodblock artist Katsushika Hokusai and part of this Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji series.  It is available for a limited time only at the Aeon chain of supermarket/department stores.

The beer is 5.5 percent alcohol and made with only Japanese ingredients: Japan-grown barley, Japan-grown hops, and rice grown in fields with water flowing from underground streams beneath Mt. Fuji.  

This is the second time Asahi has offered the Fujisan beer.  Last spring there was a limited time offering, but without the famous artwork on the can.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Work In Progress Wednesday

This week, I continued working on my Ainu coasters.  

I had to unstitch a little on the USA map to correct a counting mistake, but now I'm back on track.

I also stitched a little more on the snowman flapper ornament.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Unexploded WW2 Ordnance in Okinawa

The Okinawan Urban Monorail, known as the Yui Rail, is the monorail public transportation system in Naha Okinawa. The "Yui Rail" brand name and logo were chosen in a public competition. It opened on August 10, 2003 and is the only public rail system in Okinawa Prefecture.  It now runs from Naha Airport to Tedako-Uranishi and stops at 19 stations, covering 17 kilometers.  The ride from one end to the other takes 37 minutes and costs 370 yen.  The top speed is 65 km/h, with the actual average speed being 28 km/h including stops.  Trains are made up of two cars, with 65 seats and a total capacity of 165 people.

It is very convenient and inexpensive, especially when you get a day or two day pass.  

I was interested to find out that service would be interupted for an hour on Sunday, August 2nd to remove an unexploded World War II ordnance (not to be confused with the word ordinance).  Ordnance is defined as military weapons and ammunition. Maybe this is some kind of a bomb?

After all these years, there are still dangerous remnants of World War II among us.  The current pandemic is like a war, attacking and killing people.  How far into the future will we be living with the remnants of this?

Monday, July 27, 2020

Monday Morning Star Count - Week 12 and Four Year Comparison

Year Four of the temperature quilt  

Week 12

July 12 - 18 

88, 73, 72, 72, 75, 70, 72

And the previous years, for comparison - - -

Year 3

Year 2

Year 1

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 26, 2020

July Grand Sumo Event

Japanese Sumo events are also having to make changes due to the coronavirus pandemic. March's Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka was held without spectators for the first time ever. The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) cancelled the May Grand Tournament after the nationwide state of emergency was declared.  This was the third time in the organization's history that a tournament has been cancelled. 

The July tournament was delayed by two weeks and moved from its usual location in Nagoya, to Tokyo to lessen the risk of infection which would be created by travel, since most of the sumo wrestlers are located in Tokyo. Even though there has been a recent rise in the number of cases in Japan, the Japan Sumo Association decided to allow about 2,500 fans per day (down from the usual 11,000 fans). There are normally six Grand Tournaments a year, three in Tokyo and one each in Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka. 

In addition to changing the location and limiting spectators, the JSA has implemented other safeguards.  Spectators will be required to wear masks and to sit individually in the "masuseki" boxed enclosures that normally accommodate four. They are asked not to cheer, but applauding is allowed.

The wrestlers are prohibited from going outdoors and they have been asked not to train at different stables.  Wrestlers are also asked to wear masks while in their dressing rooms and to have their temperatures taken daily. 

The November Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament will be moved from Fukuoka to Tokyo, again in response to the pandemic. There are so many changes due to the pandemic all over the world this year, still we are trying to stay as normal as possible.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Holiday Weekend

In Japan, we have a four day holiday weekend.  This was supposed to be the opening weekend of the 2020 Olympics.  Two national holidays were moved to Thursday and Friday to ease the congestion in Tokyo for the opening of the Olympics.  Sea Day was moved from earlier in July to July 23rd, and Sports Day was moved from October to July 24th. 

While no one knows what will happen in the next 12 months, officially, the Olympics were postponed to the same time next summer.  This includes the moving of national holidays. 

Because there are no overseas tourists coming to Japan now, the Japanese government came up with a plan to get people living here now to travel within the country.  The travel plan is called "Go To" travel campaign and it kicked off on Wednesday, just before the holiday weekend. (There are rebates and vouchers and it looks very complicated to take part, actually.) I'm not sure when it ends. 

The problem is, the number of people testing positive in Japan and especially Tokyo has been rising the last two weeks or so. On Tuesday (the day before the travel campaign started), Tokyo was excluded from the program. Don't go to Tokyo and people in Tokyo, don't go anywhere else.  I know, I know, what a mess. 

My weekend plan all along has been to stay at home, stitch, clean a little, maybe read.  My plans aren't changing. As much as I love to travel, I'm more than okay with staying at home over this long weekend and however long it takes.  

I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for next year at this time though.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday Finish - December Ornament

I finished the December Lizzie Kate piece into an ornament.  The backing is kimono fabric.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

International Stitch With Friends Day

(Note - this Day's designation is our own) 

Our stitch group hadn't met since January because of the pandemic. We were all very happy to get together again!  Our new project is an Ainu inspired coaster project.  I worked up four steps of example - Upper left, basted background; Lower left, basted design; Lower right, couched line; Upper right, chain stitch. The red basting thread will be removed at the end.

Here are the two books I have on Ainu stitching and two stitched pieces I received as gifts.

Headband and coaster

Our hands were busy and we talked as we stitched.

Here are the five stitchers' pieces at the end of our session.  We will all do our homework before we meet again.

I will work on mine a little more and show it on Wednesday.

Until we get together next time....

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Work In Progress Wednesday

I put a few more stitches in the USA map.  

I also started a new ornament.

Lately I've been jumping around from project to project and starting too many new things.  I think it's a result of that's going on in the world.  Everything is so unsettling right now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Deadliest Creature in Japan (Other than Covid-19)

If asked what is the deadliest creature in Japan, many people would reply with "a Bear". I sometimes see a news story about a hiker or an elderly person collecting mountain vegetables being attacked by a bear. I have only seen bears in the zoo in Japan, but if anyone sees a bear in the wild, signs are put up to warn others.

Actually, bears are not the most dangerous creature in Japan.  From 2008 to 2018, there were only 22 deaths from bear attacks according to the Ministry of the Environment.

Hornets and wasps are much more deadly than bears in Japan. During the same time period, 2008 to 2018, 191 people died after being stung by wasps and bees! This makes them the deadliest creatures in Japan, more dangerous than poisonous snakes and sharks, which kill even fewer people than bears.

According to, "The main types of wasps that attack people in Japan are paper wasps (ashinagabachi) and hornets (suzumebachi); the latter are particularly aggressive. Very little poison is released from a wasp sting so that is not the direct cause of death, but antibodies are produced the first time a person is stung, and a second sting can unleash an intense allergic reaction causing anaphylactic shock. In this case, blood pressure suddenly drops and death can quickly result after the victim experiences breathing difficulties and falls into a coma."

Wasps and bees live where we do, so it is much easier to come in contact with them.  Last summer, there was a wasp nest in the bicycle parking area where I work and they closed down the parking area until winter. I was told it was too dangerous to try to remove the nest, so they waited until cold weather and the wasps died!  Experts claim the color black can provoke an attack so people should wear lighter colors and to cover black hair.  

Be careful out there and stay safe!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Monday Morning Star Count - Week 11

Year Four of the temperature quilt  

Week 11

July 5 - 11 

79, 77, 82, 79, 77, 82, 82

First 11 weeks year 4

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.