Sunday, July 31, 2022

Monkeys Gone Wild


Monkeys are kind of creepy, but you can't help being fascinated by them at the same time. Before coming to Japan, I had only seen monkeys in the zoo, but here the Japanese macaque live in the wild. I've seen them at Snow Monkey Park in Nagano and when I was hiking on Yakushima

In Yamaguchi City, wild monkeys have recently started terrorizing the community. At least 58 people have been attacked since July 8th. Most of those attacked have been children and smaller adults. More than half of the attacks have involved women over 40 and at least six were children under ten years old. A four year old in a kindergarten was attacked, as well as a baby in a crib in a house. The creatures are going into houses through open windows and doors. One woman was attacked while hanging out her laundry and one man in his 70's was sleeping in bed when a monkey came in the second floor window and attacked him. So far no one has been seriously injured, but the animals are getting bolder. No one knows where the monkeys came from or why they are attacking.

Traps with food were set, but the monkeys weren't interested in the food, so that didn't work. It is so bad that the Yamaguchi city hall hired a special unit to hunt the animals with tranquilizer guns. People in the city are warned to close and lock doors and windows, even though it is hot.

Even though the Japanese monkeys live throughout Japan, this type of incident is rare. City official Masato Saito reported the monkeys tend to sneak up behind people and attack by grabbing at legs. Mr. Saito's instructions for what to do when confronted by monkeys: Do not look them in the eye, make yourself look as big as possible, such as by spreading open your coat, and back away as quietly as possible without making sudden moves. Some residents are now carrying umbrellas and tree cutting scissors as protection. 

I've heard of wild bears and wild boars attacking people, but this is the first time I've known about monkeys attacking innocent people. Have you ever heard of such a thing?  Why do you think they are doing this?

Saturday, July 30, 2022

World Embroidery Day

Did you know that July 30th is World Embroidery Day?  Will you stitch today? I would like to enjoy the face to face company of other stitchers today, but because of the increasing number of covid cases now, I plan to stitch at home by myself. I have pulled out a few things and may work on all of them, or maybe only one. 

I've pulled some fabric that may become the backing for the House Quilt and I also have fabric for Year 3 temperature quilt borders.

I have an idea for finishing this:

I might start something new.  I'll try to have something to show on Wednesday.

Here is some background on the day, in case you don't know about it:

Manifesto for World Embroidery Day 

30th of July

Textile reflects our world; embroideries can show the expressions of our time. Embroidery and textiles can focus on the social injustices between countries.

By the means of embroidery we can draw attention to the necessity of engaging in the force of textile in global trade and with it in world peace. Textiles is a power and let us use embroidery as an inspiration for people to engage in creativity that leads to a better understanding between countries and between people.

To embroider is a peaceful occupation. It can be traditional made from a common remembrance, drawn designs, from a pattern, or from your own imagination. You embroider for joy, beauty, decoration and for the creation of identity.

Stitches can be decorative, beautiful, comforting, repeating, healing, telling, plea- surable, rebellious, caressing and perfect.

People embroider out of joy, as a hobby, professionally, for the bare necessities of life and as an act of freedom. You embroider together with others or in meditative solitude.

We want to acknowledge embroidery as an act of free creativity, which can lead to free, creative thoughts and ideas. We want to tie our embroidery threads from the privileged northern hemisphere together with stiches that are sewn by embroidering sisters and brothers all over the world.

We want to be part of a joyfully creative peace movement.

The initiative came from Skåne Sy-d, a local group of Broderiakademin, the SwedishEmbroiderer’s Guild. The first World Embroidery Day took place in Vismarlöv, 30th July 2011. The importance of embroidery must be made known and World Embroidery Day will spread around the world. Make 30th July a day filled with creativity for the sake of Peace, Freedom and Equality.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Friday Finish - Joy Ornament

This was a quick project and easy to finish with twisted cord made with #5 perle cotton. Free chart for the cross stitch can be found here.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

How to Dress to Stay Cool

It has been hot and humid where I live. Summer is just getting started, August will probably be hotter. How can I stay cool while walking to work?  

I just read about experiment to find out what color of clothing will keep you the coolest in the summer sun, conducted by researcher Toshiaki Ichinose from Japan's National Institute for Environmental Studies. Ichinose set nine mannequin torsos in the summer sun, each wearing a different colored polo shirt. After five minutes, the surface temperatures of the fabrics were checked.  

The white shirt was the coolest, with a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius (about 86 degrees Fahrenheit), which was about the same as the air tempurature during the test. Next coolest was yellow, followed by gray, red, purple, blue, green, dark green, and black.  Dark green and black both had surface temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), more than 50 percent hotter than the white shirt. 

I was surprised that red was cooler than blue.  Normally, I think of red as a hot color and blue as a cool color.  Apparently that is not true when in the summer sun. This is an interesting study and I will think about what color to wear to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Work In Progress Wednesday

Another fob start on a small piece of canvas

Quaker Heart from Piecework magazine - thanks Dot for commenting last week and giving me the link to the free chart.

This freebie ornament chart came from Danybrod -

Another freebie cross stitch ornament from Make Stuff Be Happy blog.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Tokyo's Transparent Public Toilets


In 2020, these public toilets with transparent glass walls in bright colors were installed in Yoyogi district in Tokyo. The transparent walls let you see how clean they are from the outside.  Once you go inside and lock the door the walls turn opaque so the user cannot be seen! 

The walls are made of glass covered with PDLC film that is transparent when electricity is applied.  Locking the door turns off the electricity making the glass opaque again. They were designed by Shigeru Ban to give users a safe, clean, comfortable public toilet.  You can be sure it is clean and that no one is hiding inside before you enter. 

What a great idea! Remember to lock the door after you go inside.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Drug Vending Machine at JR Shinjuku Station

Japanese drug company, Taisho Pharmaceutical Company is testing out a vending machine at JR Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, one of the busiest train stations in Japan, selling cold medicine, pain killers, eye drops, and other items through August 31st. This trial is testing the waters before installing them in regions of Japan with few drugstores. 

The machine sells about 30 products and is available to use between 10 am and 6 pm.  If all goes well Taisho Pharmaceuticals will consider extending the machine's hours after the trial run. 

I've never seen a drug store vending machine before, but Japan has vending machines for everything else so I can't say I am surprised.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Oldest Male Panda in Captivity Dies - Rest In Peace An An


From the Associated Press — The oldest-ever male giant panda in captivity has died at age 35 at a Hong Kong theme park after his health deteriorated.

An An lived most of his life at Ocean Park after he and a female panda were gifted to Hong Kong by China in 1999. The female panda, Jia Jia, died in 2016 at age 38, making her the oldest-ever panda in captivity. 

Ocean Park mourned An An as a family member who grew with the park and built bonds with locals and tourists.

“An An has brought us fond memories with numerous heart-warming moments. His cleverness and playfulness will be dearly missed,” Paulo Pong, chairman of Ocean Park Corporation, said in a statement.

An An had high blood pressure, a common condition among geriatric pandas. Over the past three weeks, An An had been kept out of sight from visitors at the park as his health worsened. He stopped eating solid food and was significantly less active in recent days.

Last week, hundreds left comments on an Ocean Park post about An An’s condition, wishing him a speedy recovery. 

He was euthanized to prevent further suffering Thursday morning after veterinarians from Ocean Park and government authorities consulted the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, Ocean Park said.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Friday Finish - Quilted Table Runner

I'm pretty happy with the way this turned out. It was easy to make up the four squares into the table runner by adding the braid sections, then quilting it.

Thursday, July 21, 2022


Covid numbers have been rising in Japan, and maybe everywhere else too. I read that some places in the US want to reinstate mask mandates. I can guess how well that will go over. 

In Japan, people have been wearing masks since the beginning of the pandemic with no mandates. Community pressure and concern for others make people wear masks and continue to do so. The government has been requesting people to take off the masks if they are outside and distanced from others in order to prevent heat stroke, but I don't think any Japanese people are doing it.  I see people riding bicycles, running, driving cars alone, working in gardens - all wearing masks.

I asked one of my students who lives very close to work if he still wears a mask when he walks to work.  He said of course!  He can't let his neighbors see him without a mask. Community pressure.

I don't wear a mask when I am outside and no one else is around.  I always carry it by the elastic, just in case though.  I'm not crazy about masks, but I do care about not getting infected and I care about other people feeling safe around me.  I wouldn't think about going inside the grocery store or the post office or other place without one. And, I never see anyone inside these places with a bare face.  Never. 

I made two new cloth masks. If I am in a place that I can get out of if I think it is crowded, I wear a cloth mask.  If I am somewhere I can't get out, like the train or the Immigration Office, I double mask with a cloth mask over a KN95.

What is the mask situation where you are? How do you feel about wearing or not wearing masks at this point in the pandemic?

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Work In Progress Wednesday

The House Quilt progress. I don't have enough floor space, so two clothes pins on the laundry pole are the only way I can photograph it.

Table runner -I sandwiched some thin batting and backing fabric and am doing a little quilting. It measures about 48" x 18".

American Braid

New Fob Start - I found another little bit of fabric and couldn't help myself.

Quaker alphabet cross stitch - this was a freebie that I saved, but I don't remember now where it came rom.  Maybe I can figure it out, if anyone is interested.

Paisley Pocket progress

Tuesday, July 19, 2022


This has nothing to do with Japan or stitching, I just think it is funny.  There are too few funny things these days. Photo taken in San Francisco September 2010.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Sea Day

Today (third Monday in July) is a national holiday in Japan. The purpose of Umi no Hi 海の日  or Sea Day is to give thanks for the sea's bounty and to consider the importance of the sea to Japan as a maritime nation.  

I haven't done much sea related stitching but here are a few things, mostly fish, which come from the sea - - 

Sakana Daigaku Sewing Machine Cover

Blackwork Fish Pillow

(Project title links to finish post).

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Teru Teru Bozu

The rainy season was officially declared over weeks ago, but for some reason it continues to rain All The Time. I walk to work and walk home after work, 40 minutes each way. I don't mind walking, but I don't like walking in the rain all the time.  I don't like carrying extra clothes and wearing all the rain gear.  I'm just tired of it. 

I made a teru teru bozu, also known as a Japanese rain prevention doll, but it didn't work.


Teru Teru Bozu are traditional Japanese handmade dolls made from tissue paper or cloth and are hung on doors and windows to get sunny weather. They are hung during the rainy season and on occasions when sunny weather is appreciated, such as festivals or sports events. Teru means to shine and bozu refers to a Buddhist monk (or other bald person), to call on the monk's magic powers to prevent rain. Children begin making them in kindergarten and there is a strange song about it, but I don't know the words.

Do you know of any other rain prevention or rain stopping tricks?

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Princess Yuriko, 99, Infected with the Coronavirus


Princess Yuriko with granddaughter Princess Akiko

Princess Yuriko, who celebrated her 99th birthday last month and is the oldest living member of the Japanese Imperial Family, tested positive this week for covid-19.  She is said to have mild symptoms of coughing and a slight fever.  

She is the widow of the late Prince Mikasa who died at the age of 100 in 2016, the aunt of Emperor Emeritus Akihito, and the grandmother of (my friend!) Princess Akiko

According to the Imperial Household Agency, Princess Yuriko exercises for about 30 minutes every day at her home at the Akasaka Estate in Tokyo. She reads newspapers and magazines and is interested in articles about both Japan and abroad.  She also enjoys watching baseball on television. I wish her a quick recovery.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Work In Progress Wednesday

I added the bead fringe to the bead eyelet fobs and hope to get them put together soon. I like how each fob is unique.  They are like snowflakes.

I also worked on the bead bracelet this week.

House Quilt Corners - Simple little pictures

Table runner - Originally I was going to make a wall quilt with the four squares, but I changed my mind and am now making a table runner.

Paisley Purse

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

The Police are Surveilling the Yakuza, Who Are in Turn Following Them

Have you heard of an Apple AirTag device? I hadn't, so I looked it up on the internet after reading about the Yukuza using it.  Apparently these small devices are made to be used for locating personal belongings such as keys or wallets. The 3.2 centimeter in diameter device sends out a Bluetooth signal that can be detected by a nearby phone or device.  Using an iPhone app, the location of the device can be determined.

In Toyoto City, Aichi Prefecture, one of these devices was found on an unmarked police car which was being used to investigate Yakuza members and their drug crimes. The police allege one of the Yakuza crime organizations planted the device on the police car to track the movements of the investigators who were tracking them. 

There are no reports of other tracking devices being found, but the Aichi prefectural police department issued a directive to officers to sweep their vehicles to make sure no other suspicious items are attached to any cars. What will criminals think of next?

Monday, July 11, 2022

Monday Morning Star Count - Year 3 Progress

So far, years 3, 4, and 5 are only the center sections of the quilts with the temperature blocks. None of them have borders yet. After finishing Year 2, I felt motivated to do a little more, so I pulled out Year 3. Not much happening yet, but it is a little progress. An interesting thing about that year is that there were no high temperatures below the 40's or above the 90's (fahrenheit).