Thursday, June 30, 2022

Throwback Thursday - June 30

Sometimes I like to look back on my time in Japan. This is what I posted about on June 30th since moving here. (Click on the year to see the full post.) 

2021 Last year was a Work In Progress Wednesday post and I was working on three different projects that (surprise!) are all finished now.

2020 I reported that fire ants had been discovered in Tokyo.

2019 I wrote about Yoko Saito's exhibit at the Yokohama Quilt Show and posted photos of some of her work.

2018  I posted about four sampler pears I had finished.

2017 Was the June report for the 17 in 2017. One of my projects was the Blue Toolie set that I finished.

2016 June 30th was the day to post the Smalls SAL for that month and I finished a tiny fob.


2015 Take a Stitch Tuesday, I showed the Fern Stitch and the Beaded Fern Stitch. Links to all of my TAST stitches can be found here.

2014 Monday Morning Star Count - I was basting hexies for a bag.

2013 Watching and Waiting, and meeting people.

2012 I visited the Hokkaido University Botanic Gardens.

Sometimes I need to be reminded of the wonderful things I've been able to do in Japan.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Work In Progress Wednesday

This one needs more buttons.

The dogwood afghan second square progress

Starting a third beady triangle eyelet fob

The scarf progress

Mini Stitching Basket - Blue is my favorite color. I really like this Waterlillies thread.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Some People Are Allowed to Smile a Little

 The Police Departments are in charge of issuing driver's licenses in Japan. The National Police Agency asked local departments to take a look at their license photo regulations and let up on unnecessary restrictions. Osaka and Tokyo decided to drop their rules against smiling in the license pictures. 

I don't have a Japanese drivers license, but I looked at my now expired North Carolina (United States) license and I'm smiling. I read that the no-smiling rule was in place so that the person's face was in a natural, undistorted expression. So, even though drivers in Osaka and Tokyo can now smile for their license photo, they can't smile very big. Corners of the mouth are allowed to curve up, but lips must stay closed and eyes must remain open. 

I haven't heard about any changes in the photo requirements where I live, so maybe no little smiles here. I'll have to ask my students to see what they know about it.

Are there smile or no smile rules for driver's licenses where you live?

Monday, June 27, 2022

My New Favorite YouTube Channel

I don't have a television, but I do watch YouTube on my computer. Sometimes I watch too much "news" and current events and need to escape to something lighter.

I have recently discovered Griffin Frenchie -

The stars of the shows are two French bulldogs (real dogs) named Griffin and Haru, who live with their people in South Korea.  A baby joined the family a few months ago and these dogs are so good with the new baby. You can see the dogs, (that/who seem like little people) eating, playing, sleeping, going to the park or the vet or the shopping mall.

The language is English, but the pronunciation and grammar attributed to the dogs might not be easy to understand if English is not your first language. An example is - Heben hulp me (heaven help me).  For this reason, I haven't recommended this channel to my students, even though I have really enjoyed watching it. The videos are short and funny and just what we need these days.  Check it out!

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Open to Tourists

Japan's borders were closed to tourists for almost two and a half years.  Since June 10th, Japan is allowing tourists to come into the country, sort of. Japan is still a little nervous about tourists coming into the country, even though the economy needs tourists.

International tourists, who are part of guided package tours from 98 low-risk countries (low levels of covid-19 positivity), are now allowed to enter the country. 

Visitors who are part of these guided tours must take measures to prevent infection. 

1. Tour guides must make sure visitors wear masks, disinfect their hands, and avoid the "Three C's" (confined and enclosed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings). 

2. Visitors must purchase medical insurace. 

3. Visitors must register in advance at the Visit Japan website.  

4. Visitors must agree that infractions may lead to them not being able to continue on the tour. 

5. In order to limit contacts, there must be a record of tour participant activities with fixed seating arrangements in restaurants and other places. 

6. Tour guides must have information about multilingual medical institutions and specialist medical interpreters. 

7. Tour participants who test positive should be promptly removed from the tour group and examined at a medical institution. Other participants who are not close contacts will be allowed to continue with the tour. 

8. As always, tourists need a tourist visa.

I haven't read anything about how the tour business is going or how long it is taking to secure tourist visas in order to sign up for the guided package tours. Currently, the Japanese yen is trading at a 24 year low ($1 USD = 135 JY), which is very good for foreign tourists coming to Japan. 

Personally, I would not like a guided tour and having to stay with the group. (Luckily for me, I live and work here). What do you think about this guided tour situation and the weak yen?  Would you come to Japan under these conditions?

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Tokyo Giant Panda Twins Turn One


At Tokyo's Ueno Zoo, the twin pandas are one year old!  Picutred are twins Xiao Xiao, right, Lei Lei, left and mom, Shin Shin, center. Happy Birthday to these babies!

Friday, June 24, 2022

Friday Finish - Boro Zipper Pouch

Japanese fabrics and all hand sewn. The zipper came out really well being done by hand.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Yakuza Bosses Unable to Upgrade Flip Phones


The Yakuza (Japanese mafia) bosses are unable to upgrade from the old version flip phones. This is becoming a big problem, as the three big telecom companies in Japan (Au, Softbank, and DoCoMo) are ready to drop 3G service or already have. 

You might be wondering why they don't get newer versions with 4G capability. That's not an option because the Yakuza members have been unable to sign a new phone contract since 2011 when Organized Crime Exclusion Ordinances (Boryokudan Haijo Jorei) were passed across the country. This prevents companies from doing business with members of the Yakuza. Since the passage of these ordinances, mobile phone service providers' contracts require signees to swear they are not members of these organized crime groups in order to avoid liability in the event the customer turns out to be a crminal. 

My first thought is, if they are already criminals, why don't they just lie and sign the contract saying they are not Yakuza members. Apparently high ranking members are under increased scrutiny by the police who will arrest them for any legal infraction. A case of contract fraud would allow the police to investigate their business practices thoroughly. So how about getting someone else who is not involved with illegal activities to make the contract? That, too, is contract fraud, with the same results. 

Would the police really arrest a mobster for such a thing? Yes! In 2017, the head of the Kobe Yamaguchi-Gumi was arrested when he and a female accomplice conspired to get a new phone. The individual charges weren't so serious, but the charges allowed the Hyogo Prefectural Police to search the group's headquarters and to investigate other members of the group. Another incident involved a 46 year old Yakuza member who was arrested by the Hokkaido Prefectural Police in 2020 because he signed a fraudulent mobile phone contract in 2018. 

Younger members of these organizations could have smart phones as they may have signed their contracts before joining the Yakuza. As mobile phone technology continues to change, all of the Yakuza members could be unable to get new phones before long. There are still a few pay phones around.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Work in Progress Wednesday

 A little progress on this.

I started a second fob.

When I pulled this out to work on it, I noticed a major counting mistake, so I had to fix it. I'm back on track again.

It doesn't look like much this week.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Gas Man

Yesterday the gas company man came to my apartment to check the gas detectors. Although I shouldn't have been surprised because people always give gifts in Japan, I was surprised that he gave me two gifts - a roll of toilet paper and a plastic document sleeve. I love living in Japan.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Renoir et l'art moderne, Collections du Musee du Petit Palais de Geneve

Yesterday, I visited the Shizuoka City Art Museum to see "Renoir et l'art moderne, Collections du Musee du Petit Palais de Geneve". The Musee du Petit Palais de Geneve is a museum in Geneva, Switzerland that is permanently closed, but is loaning pieces of its collection to other museums. Here is some information from the internet:

The Petit Palais in Geneva, Switzerland, owns a rich collection of modern French paintings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The founder, businessman Oscar Ghez, was an avid art collector, and the Petit Palais began in 1968 when he first exhibited and opened the collection to the public in an elegant mansion. The Petit Palais has been closed since the death of Mr. Ghez, but now an exhibition composed of only works from the collection will be held for the first time in 30 years in Japan. This exhibition will introduce the flow of modern French painting from Impressionism to Neo-Impressionism, Les Nabis, Fauvism, Cubism, and École de Paris (School of Paris), with a substantial lineup of 65 oil paintings by 38 artists.

All of the exhibit information was only in Japanese and French, but I was given this covid safety sheet in English.

The ticket price was 1400 yen, which seems more expensive than the last time I visited, but I'm not sure about that. Although the exhibit was interesting, I didn't linger in the exhibit area. To be safe, the ticket had a timed entry, but it still seemed a little close in the exhibit area, possibly because it was the last day of the exhibition. I don't like to get too close to people, even with everyone wearing masks.  Usually I buy post cards when I visit a museum, but the gift shop was too crowded for me, so I passed on purchasing anything.

The exhibit will be at the Sompo Museum of Art in Tokyo from July 13th to October 10th, if you are interested in seeing it.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Half Price Tokyo Disney Tickets for Children

Tokyo Disney announced it would offer half-price tickets for children this summer at both Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea. The Tokyo Disney Resort Kids Summer Fun campaign runs through August 31st. The 50 percent discount applies to one-day passes and timed entry from 10:30 am for children aged 4 - 11 years old.  Children younger than four years old do not need tickets. The discounted tickets are available online via Tokyo Disney's reservation system. Prices differ depending on the day of the week.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

WIP/UFO Update

I last posted about my WIP/UFO's here. This is 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 2022. It seems like I am starting more than I am finishing.

Bead Wrist Band

Bead Nutcracker

Year 2 of the Temperature Quilt 

Year 3 of the Temperature Quilt 

Year 4 of the Temperature Quilt 

Year 5 of the Temperature Quilt

The House Quilt

Hexagon Block Wall Quilt

Mt. Fuji Applique Pouch


Ribbon Album Wall Quilt

Braid Border 

Mary Queen of Scots  

Bess of Hardwick 

Paisley Purse

RSN Knot Garden 

RSN Rice Fields

Miniature Chair Cushion 

Silk Gauze Cat 

EGA Drawn Thread GCC (the oldest UFO, I think)

Blue Hardanger 

White Hardanger - Linda Driscoll

Eyelet Fob

Dogwood Afghan 

Sneek Sampler

Cross Stitch 

Cross Stitch Border


Sashiko Table Runner



Fashionable Ladies 


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). Maybe I can challenge myself to put at least a few stitches in each project and try to finish more than I start.