Sunday, February 28, 2021

Packages to the United States

This year there are some changes for packages from Japan to the US.  As of January 1, 2021, packages with handwritten labels are no longer allowed under the US STOP Act. The Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act is a US Federal law about counterterrorism and control of drugs.  It requires customs data on postal items to be sent to US Customs in advance. 

What does that mean for people in Japan who want to send packages to the United States? It means we have to use the International My Page Service to send Electronic Advance Data (EAD)  and to create a label. The data sent includes the sender's name and address, the recipient's name and address, names of contents, gross weight, and number of items. 

I have not tried to use this system yet, but Cynthia, who blogs at wrote that it is a "nothing is easy" experience. 

Another Japan Post change is that International Postage Rates will be going up on April 1, 2021. The last time these rates were revised was March 1996. The United States will become its own zone (Zone 4) and will see the largest increases.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

WIP/UFO Update

I last posted about my WIP/UFO's here. Here's my latest update. I've taken out the finished projects and added the new ones. Bold titles show the ones I have worked on in 2021. In case you are wondering, I did finish a few things - and they can be seen here.

Year 2 of the Temperature Quilt 

Year 3 of the Temperature Quilt 

Year 4 of the Temperature Quilt 

The House Quilt

The Midnight Mystery Quilt 

Flower Applique Wall Hanging

Hexagon Block Wall Quilt

The Hexie Tree Wall Quilt 

Diamond Hexie Shape

Ribbon Album Wall Quilt

Mary Queen of Scots  

Bess of Hardwick 

Paisley Purse

RSN Knot Garden 

RSN Rice Fields

The Miniature Rug 

Miniature Footstool

Miniature Chair Cushion 

Silk Gauze Cat 

EGA Drawn Thread GCC

Blue Hardanger 

White Hardanger


Bunny Afghan

Dogwood Afghan 

Winter Banner

New Year's Eve Mystery

Sneek Sampler

Strawberry Thief

Crazy Cross Stitch Heart

Sashiko Table Runner


Fashionable Ladies 


Fairies Hiding

Little Dragonfly Stumpwork Project

Sardinian Filet

I think visiting this list from time to time is helpful.  It reminds me what I have that is still unfinished (and also how many things are still unfinished).

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Minimum Wage

Since 2009, the federal minimum wage in the United States has been $7.25, which works out to about $15,000 a year for a 40 hour work week. The Democrats are currently working to raise the federal minimum wage to $15.00 an hour and are meeting opposition. ( Some states have a higher than $7.25 minimum wage.) 

This had me wondering about the minimum wage standards in Japan. According to, which says it is valid as of February 2021, the prefectures with the highest minimum wage (and the only two over 1000 JPY an hour) are Tokyo and Kanagawa at 1013 JPY and 1011 JPY per hour, less than $9.60 in USD at today's exchange rate. Quite a few prefectures list 790 JPY (about $7.46) as their minimum, so that might be the federal minimum also. In my prefecture, Shizuoka, the minimum is 885 JPY, or about $8.36.  

What is the minimum wage where you live? Is it enough, or do you think it should be higher?

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Work In Progress Wednesday - Continuing Cross Stitch

 I've continued working on the projects from last week. 

The Heart

Strawberry Thief

If you are curious about this design, here is some information from Wikkipedia:

Strawberry Thief (William Morris)

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Strawberry Thief, 1883, William Morris (1834-1896) V&A Museum no. T.586-1919

Strawberry Thief is one of William Morris's most popular repeating designs for textiles.[1] It takes as its subject the thrushes that Morris found stealing fruit in his kitchen garden of his countryside home, Kelmscott Manor, in Oxfordshire. To print the pattern Morris used the painstaking indigo-discharge method he admired above all forms of printing. He first attempted to print by this method in 1875 but it was not until 1881, when he moved into his factory at Merton Abbey, near Wimbledon, that he succeeded. In May 1883 Morris wrote to his daughter, "I was a great deal at Merton last week ... anxiously superintending the first printing of the Strawberry thief, which I think we shall manage this time." Pleased with this success, he registered the design with the Patents Office. This pattern was the first design using the technique in which red (in this case alizarin dye) and yellow (weld) were added to the basic blue and white ground. 

The entire process would have taken days to complete and consequently, this was one of Morris & Co.'s most expensive cottons. Customers were not put off by the high price, however, and Strawberry Thief proved to be one of Morris' most commercially successful patterns. This printed cotton furnishing textile was intended to be used for curtains or draped around walls (a form of interior decoration advocated by William Morris), or for loose covers on furniture.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Yatsuyama Hiking Trail

 My friends invited me to join them on a Sunday hike and I was happy to do so.  We started at Kiyomizuyama Park in Shizuoka City.

Our starting point is the left side of this map, where the red star is.

There were a lot of ups and downs

At this place, you could go down the hill to a cemetary, but we did not because after the cemetary, you have to walk uphill again to get back on the trail.

There were shrines or temples and look out areas and lunch spots all along the trail.

We are here.

Continuing on....

Next, was a whole lot of stairs up to a temple.  There was something going on, but I don't know what it was about.

We found a nice place for a picnic lunch.

At the end, we came out of the woods at Gokoku Shrine.

Sunday was a beautiful sunny day in the 60's F.  I was so happy to get out with my friends.