Sunday, October 31, 2021

Election Day

In the US, today is Halloween.  In Japan, today is election day for members of the House of Representatives.  Elections are always on Sunday and voters hand write the name of the people they are voting for on the ballot, but I don't know anything else about it. The following is from the Japan Today online news.  After reading it, I still don't understand.

The following is an explanation of how members of Japan's House of Representatives will be elected on Oct 31.

The number of lower house seats is 465, and 289 are elected from single-seat districts and the remaining 176 through proportional representation in 11 regional blocks.

Each voter casts two ballots at a polling station -- one to choose a candidate in a single-seat constituency and the other to select a party for proportional representation.

A candidate who runs in a single-seat district can also appear in the candidate list of the proportional representation system.

Even if such a candidate loses in the constituency, he or she could still secure a seat by the proportional representation vote, if the candidate's party wins enough votes, in what is known as a consolation round.

Political parties and groups, which have five or more Diet members or gained 2 percent or more of the total valid votes in the previous national election, can submit lists of their candidates for the proportional representation vote beforehand and will be given seats in line with their share of regional block votes.

They will then grant the block seats to candidates based on the order in which the lists are drawn up.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Japan's First Typhoon Research Institute

Typhoons cause a lot of damage every year in Japan. Earlier this month a research institute dedicated to studying typhoons opened at Yokohama National University, which is the first of its kind in Japan. The Typhoon Science and Technology Research Center brings experts from private and government sectors, in addition to experts from academia together in order to predict damage caused by the storms and to develop countermeasures.  

Another goal of the research center is to promote research into making typhoons into a source of renewable energy. The head of the center, Hironori Fudeyasu said "As a researcher, I have felt a sense of defeat looking at the great damage brought about by typhoons." In addition to being the head of the new research institute, Mr. Fudeyasu is a professor of meteorology at the university. 

The center's members include researchers from the University of Tokyo, Keio University, Nagoya University, Kyoto University, the University of the Ryukyus, and the Meteorological Research Institute.  Also participating are Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. and Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC from the private sector. 

This has not been a bad typhoon year where I live. I always check the typhoon situation on the JMA website, which is very helpful. 

In other areas of the world these storms are called hurricanes or cyclones. Have the storms been bad this year where you live?

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Love Letters from the Vending Machine


It seems like you can get anything from a vending machine in Japan - covid tests, umbrellas, alcoholic beverages, batteries, cigarettes, fruit.  Now I read in the news that you can even get love letters. Outside a convenience store in Nagano Prefecture are some vending machines.  In one of the machines you can buy a handwritten love letter, rolled up with the sticker seal, for 300 yen. The Lake Kizaki Y convenience store owner started selling the letters three years ago, because he thought getting a love letter would make people happy.  A workshop of writers compose the letters. If you are interested, here is the shop information:

Y Shop / Yショップニシ

Address: Nagano-ken, Omachi-shi, Uminokuchi 12076


(I found this story on the Japan Today website, but originally it came from SoraNews24).  

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Work In Progress Wednesday

I did more on the canvas piece. 

Puppy Love gained more stitches, mostly white stitches.

My other project this week was the Year two temperature quilt that I posted about on Monday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

No, You Can't Come In

This was on the wall outside my apartment door.  It was interesting to look at but I didn't want it to come inside.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Monday Morning Star Count - Year two and Week 24

I continue to work on the hand quilting of year two.I have quilted the hexagon flowers and will start on the seams of the squares next.

Year five of the temperature quilt 

Week 24 

October 10 - 16

79, 82, 72, 64, 73, 77, 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, October 24, 2021

Searching for Kambara Ruins

I am fascinated by Japanese castles.  As I was poking around on google maps, I was surprised to find out that just a few train stations and a hike away from where I live was the Kambara Ruins. I made a plan and thought I could walk from the Shin Kambara train station.  I was quite pleased with my google map find. I thought I could find my way with the map on my gadget! I walked along and passed under the expressway.  The roads I saw on the map didn't match up with the roads in front of me, so I checked the map again.  This is what I saw!

The map didn't know where was! I didn't know where I was either.  I started along this road, but it was going sharply downhill and into a tunnel, when I knew I should be going uphill.

I turned around and went in the uphill direction, even though the path didn't look like the map.  I saw some interesting things along the way.

This strange road came to a stop.

As I got higher, I had some very nice views.

Aha!  The map found me.

I finally saw this sign.  I was sure this was where I wanted to go, but still wasn't sure how to get there.

An uphill path through the woods was next.

I walked and walked and followed this path to the shrine. It looked like it had recently been mowed, but otherwise was pretty lonely looking.

I felt sure I was very close to the ruins, but I couldn't find a way to go beyond the shrine.  It was like a jungle and I couldn't see a way to continue.  There was no opening or path.

After walking around and failing to find a way to continue to the castle ruins, I had to turn away and go back down.  I plan to come back in the winter when the jungle has died back. There are so many adventures in Japan, but sometimes I get totally lost.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Go Big Orange


Recently, I started noticing these big orange vending machines around town. Orange is the team color for the local professional soccer team. I don't know if it is to show team spirit, or if the machines belong to the team and they get the profit, or something else. I think it is strange that the words on the machine are in English and not Japanese.  I have not met another person living in this little town who speaks English as their first language. This is another mystery.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Stitch Group Sunday - Hair Day

The Stitch Group met on Sunday, the first time in about three months. (The number of new covid-19 cases in Japan has really gone down and we feel much safer. I think this is due to the rapidly rising number of people who are fully vaccinated, but that is a topic for another day.) 

First, Show and Tell 

Mola Turtle pillows, both backed with the same fabric.

The kimono fabric that lines both of these comes from the sleeves of the maker's Coming of Age Kimono.

One of our members was very busy with cross stitch.


Eyelet and rhodes stitch button on stretchy band to hold the calendar page.

This is a mirror covered with the band sampler.

This is such a creative group!

The project for the day was the hair on the stumpwork portraits that we started last time.

What do you think? The hair makes such a difference.

                                              Tea Time

Here is my "Shirley", with her double chin.

I am already looking forward to next time!