Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Work In Progress Wednesday

The Miniature Carpet - This has been my main project this week and I have been working on it as much as I can.

I added leaves, stems, and one daisy to the Floral Bouquet.

The Mola Fish is almost finished.

Yesterday I felt a very small earthquake and checked the jma website. The jma confirmed it was very small and the epicenter was very close.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Name's the Same


As you may or may not know, in Japan married couples must share the same family name. Everyone must register with the local govenment, according to the family register law in the Japanese Civil Code. Article 750 of the Civil Code states "a husband and a wife shall adopt the surname of the husband or wife in accordance with that which is decided at the time of marriage." This provision applies only to Japanese couples.  Foreigners married in Japan are able to keep their own family names. According to govenment data, 96 percent of married couples choose to use the husband's name.  I have one student who chose to use his wife's name.  His wife has no brothers, so in order to keep her family name going, they chose her name.

In 2018, three couples filed to keep their separate family names after local governments refused to accept their marriage registrations.  Last week, the Japanese Supreme Court again ruled that the legal provisions forcing married couples to use the same surname are constitutional, upholding the previous Supreme Court decision from 2015. This decision was handed down by Presiding Justice Naoto Otani. 

The 2015 Supreme Court ruling said the practice of using the same surname was "well-established in society" and there is no gender inequality in the system. At that time, five of the fifteen justices disagreed, citing the disadvantages involved in name changing. The 2015 ruling also stated the same surname issue should be taken up in parliament, rather than seeking a judicial ruling. 

Many companies in Japan now allow female employees to use their own family names at work. A Kyodo News survey conducted in March and April of this year showed that 60 percent of respondents thought married couples should be able to have different surnames, while 38 percent were against different names for married couples.  

What do you think? Should married couples be forced to choose the same name?  What is the rule or law where you live?

Monday, June 28, 2021

Monday Morning Star Count - Week 7

Year five of the temperature quilt 

Week 7 

June 13 - 19 

81, 79, 82, 75, 77, 79, 72

I am reporting the high temperature each day.  My Year Five temperature/color scheme remains the same as previous years: 

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 

You can see my finished Year One Quilt here.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Japanese Words for the Rainy Season

It's that time of year again - tsuyu 梅雨 (つゆ) or in English, rainy season. It seems like there are a lot of weather words in English, but I think there are many more words in Japanese. There must be hundreds for the rainy season alone, but that is more than I know. Many of these Japanese words are onomatopoeia, the words that sound like what they describe. You can just imagine what it is by the sound the word makes. Here are a few words for the rainy season.

ame  雨 (あめ) - rain 

bisho bisho - drenched to the skin

byoo - byoo - strong howling wind 

doshaburi - downpour

goro - goro - the rumble of thunder 

jakuu  - weak rain

kasa 傘 (かさ) - umbrella 

kirisame - drizzle

konukaame - fine rain

kumori 曇り (くもり) - cloudy 

niwaka ame - sudden shower 

oo-ame  (おお)    (あめ). - torrential rain

pika - pika - the sparkle of the lightning

potsu-potsu - raindrops hitting dry ground 

shito-shito - drizzle 

tsuyuake 梅雨明け (つゆあけ)  - the end of the rainy season

tsuyubare 梅雨晴 (つゆばれ) - sunny spell during the rainy season

zah-zah - pouring rain 

Ame ga sugoku futte imasu

It's raining cats and dogs.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Tokyo 2020/2021 Olympics Torch Relay - Shizuoka Prefecture

The original plan was for the Olympic Torch Run to pass through all 47 prefectures last year. Then came the pandemic.  The Olympics, including the Torch Run, were postponed for a year.  This year some prefectures didn't want the Torch Run because people would crowd in close to see it and potentially transmit the virus. It didn't go as originally planned, but it did go on. June 23 - 25 were the three days for it to pass through Shizuoka Prefecture. 

Thursday morning, I went to watch it.  The route was just a 20 minute walk from my apartment. 

I got to the route about an hour early because I thought it might be crowded.  It was not at all crowded where I was, which was near the #7 exhange. 

There were a lot of helicopters.  I don't know if they were media or the Self Defense Forces or something else.

There were tons of police officers, on foot and on motorcycles.

This bus carried the torch runners and dropped them off at the exchanges.

She got off the bus and waited for the fire from the previous runner. Each runner covered 200 meters.

The runners were surrounded by police.  There were more police than spectators.

Here's the fire exchange. It was done very slowly, I think for photos taken from the van.

And off she goes...

I was a little concerned about going because I had seen the crowds in other prefectures on the news, but it was not crowded, everyone wore masks and there were volunteers with signs to stay distanced and no shouting allowed. I think it was pretty safe.

I'm glad I could see it in person.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Friday Finish - Red Tree Ornament

This is a simple cross stitch ornament.  I made the twisted cording from six strand floss.

Thursday, June 24, 2021


Ueno Zoo panda, Shin Shin, gave birth to twins yesterday! The twins were born an hour and a half apart at 1:03 am and 2:32 am on Wednesday. Mother Shin Shin and father Ri Ri are also parents to Xiang Xiang, born in June 2017. It will be awhile before the new pandas will be presented to the public, but I am looking forward to visiting the zoo then.

This photo of a sign was taken at the Ueno Zoo in January 2017, before Xiang Xiang was born.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Shizuoka Prefecture - Where I Live

Japan is made up of 47 prefectures.  I live in Shizuoka Prefecture, shown in red on the map below. It is located in the Chubu region of Honshu, the largest of the Japanese islands. Before living here, I knew nothing about this place, and I think many people who read my blog might not either. This is the link to the prefectural website, if you are interested.

The Prefectural Flower is the Azalea and was chosen as the official flower in 1965 after consulting with the public.

The Prefectural Tree is the Sweet Osmanthus. They are often used in gardens because of their sweet smell.

The Prefectural Bird is the Black Paradise Flycatcher (Japanese name - sanko-cho).

As of December 2019, Shizuoka Prefecture's population was 3,637,998 and it has an area of 3,002.88 square miles (7,777.42 square kilometers). The prefecture is located on the Pacific Ocean coast. Mt. Fuji, the country's cultural icon and tallest mountain is on the border of Shizuoka Prefecture and Yamanashi Prefecture.

The largest city is Hamamatsu and the capital is Shizuoka City, which is also the second largest city in both population and area. As of December 2019, the population of the capital city was 690,881 and the population density was 1,300 per square mile (490 people per square kilometer). Shizuoka City is made of three wards - Aoi, Suruga, and Shimizu. Even though it is called a city, it doesn't have a city feel.  I think it is a big town with lots of neighborhoods. This is the link to the Shizuoka City website.

Facts About Shizuoka City (April 2020) (from city website)

・Total Area 
(in square kilometers)   1,411.90
・Length (kilometers)                          83.10
・Width (kilometers)                            50.62

・City Bird        Kawasemi (Kingfisher)
・City Tree       Hanamizuki (Dogwood)
・City Flower    Tachiaoi (Hollyhock)


The "city" is well known for its agriculture. 

Green tea is grown in all areas of the city, especially the high quality varieties in Aoi and Shimizu wards.

Strawberries are grown along the Suruga Bay coast in a five mile (eight kilometer) stretch known as Ichigo Dori (Strawberry Road).

Wasabi is grown in Aoi Ward.

Mandarin orange and other citrus fruits, especially mikan and satsuma are grown through out the area.

Lotus root from Aoi Ward is well known.

Roses are grown, especially in Ihara and Okitsu sections of Shimizu Ward.

Peaches, especially in the Osada area, are being sold now.

Seafood in this area is fabulous.  Shimizu Port has the largest tuna haul in all of Japan. Sakura Ebi (little pink shrimp) and Shirasu (called sardine children by my students) are other specialties from Suruga Bay. 

The weather is pretty agreeable all year, although some people would say the summers are too warm.  It never snows here and doesn't get very cold in winter.

I hope this gives you an idea of where I am in Japan. Let me know if you have questions.  If you come to Japan, (when the borders open again) please get in contact with me.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Monday Morning Star Count - Week 6

Year five of the temperature quilt 

Week 6 

June 6 - 12 

75, 82, 85, 86, 84, 82, 81


I am reporting the high temperature each day.  My Year Five temperature/color scheme remains the same as previous years: 

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 

You can see my finished Year One Quilt here.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Father's Day and Election Day

Today is Father's Day in Japan, which as in the USA, is the third Sunday in June. In English there are many names for Father, including Dad, Daddy, Papa, Pop, Pa, to name a few. In Japanese, there are also many names for Father. 

Otou-san お父さん 

This may be the most common. Along with Otou-san, are Otou-sama (more polite) and Otou-chan (used by children).  Use Otou-san to talk about someone else's father.

Chichi  父 

This is the word you use to talk about your own father to someone else. 

Papa パパ 

Just like in English, Papa. In Japanese, it's a word that mostly children use. 

Oyaji 親父 / おやじ 

The kanji for this word mean parent (親) and father (父).  In addition to a casual word for father, it is also a term used for middle-aged or elderly men. 

Oton おとん 

I've not heard this word used, but I understand it is used by people who speak the Kansai dialect, the Japanese used in and around Osaka. 

Chichiue 父上 

The two kanji mean father (父) and up (上).  Used in the time of the samurai, it means something like "exalted father". 

So, what do or did you call your father? Happy Father's Day to all the Dads, no matter what they are called.

Today is also election day where I live. There are two candidates in this race for the prefecture governor.  Notice the fist and the candidate's age in the bottom photo. The photo on top is the incumbent, Heita Kawakatsu, who has held the office since 2009 and is now 72 years old.

 He looks the same as he did four years ago!

There are three candidates for the second race, which might be the local representative to the prefecture senate or something like that? 

I recognize this guy, Kenzo Yamaguchi, from an earlier election.  I guess he didn't win so he is trying again. It looks like he is making his photo signs on his home printer.

I hope everyone can get out and vote today.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Bakkai Train Station - Hokkaido

This is another interesting secluded train station in Japan.  It is located in Wakkanai, Hokkaido and is the northernmost station in Japan.  It was opened June 25, 1924. The station building is made completely of wood and is an unstaffed station. It has been used as a movie location because of its "snowy beauty".  You can reach it on the Soya Main JR Hokkaido Line, but be warned that if you visit in the winter, you should be prepared for a blizzard.


Friday, June 18, 2021

Friday Finish - 2019/2020 NYE Mystery SAL

I'm glad to finally finish this one.  If you would like to stitch this, you can find it on Magical's Quilts and More. That link will take you to a page with all of the finished Mystery Stitch a Longs.  This one is about half way down the page. Just for my own reference, these are the threads I used: 

A - DMC 775 

B - DMC 809 

C - DMC 798

D - DMC 820 

E - Krienik silver 

F - DMC metallic blue 

This is the finished stitched piece.

I made it into this tote, which measures about 11" x 11".