Thursday, November 30, 2023

KitKat Japan Does It Again - Holiday KitKats


KitKat Japan has hundreds of flavors. Now, they come in Santa shapes. The regular chocolate flavored Santas were introduced on November 6th, but I haven't seen them in my local stores. They come individually packaged in packs of six, seven, and twelve.

They are very cute, but a little different than the regular shaped Kitkats because to get the Santa shape, some chocolate areas are a little thicker. 

I think KitKat should get a marketing award for all the flavors and now shapes they come in. As cute as Santa is and even though I do like chocolate, I don't think I will buy any. What do you think about them?

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Work In Progress Wednesday

I finished the stitching on this pillow and need a pillow form for it.  I checked at the closest fabric store to where I live, but they didn't have the size I want.  The store clerk suggesting regular loose fiberfil, but I don't want it to look lumpy.  I will check another fabric store to try to find the size I want.

This is the Japanese hanging I am making with my stitch group. It is coming along.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Stitch Group Sunday - Starting the Japanese Hangings

Another fun afternoon with my stitching friends!

First some show and tell from the last project - drawn thread and chicken scratch.

I had already started my Japanese Hanging, but the rest of the group was starting on Sunday.

Here is what they did during our get together.  We are using kimono and obi cuts for these hangings. We will meet again next month to continue.

Tea and sweets

Until we meet again...

Monday, November 27, 2023

Monday Morning Star Count - 135 and 3 Rows

Seven new hexagon flowers for a total of 135.

I have connected three rows of 12 flowers. 

I think I have enough flowers made for about eight more rows. Not enough! Until next week...

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Japanese Textile Artist Konekono Kitsune

It is easy to get lost on the internet looking at interesting embroidery.  Here is another - 

Broccoli (2021) by Japanese textile artist, Konekono Kitsune

(I won't be able to look at vegetables the same way again.)

Saturday, November 25, 2023

The Self Check Out Gadgets at the Grocery Store


At the grocery store where I regularly shop, there are gadgets like these that shoppers can use to scan their own items. (This photo is from the internet, but my store has the same kind of set up.) I have not used them myself, but I see many Japanese people at my store using them. After scanning the items and putting them in the shopping basket, the shoppers go to a self checkout area with no live cashiers to scan their gadgets, then pay by cash, credit card, or smart phone. 

Since I have never tried them, I don't know if the gadgets are more convenient or if they save the shopper time. Maybe they save the store money. Or it might be that there is a shortage of workers for the cashier jobs.

I take my basket to a live person cashier, who scans my items and directs me to a pay machine that takes my cash and spits out a receipt.  I understand how this works, so that is what I do. The cashiers greet me and seem to recognize me. Sometimes they tell me things, like if I spend another 50 yen, my eggs will be half price that day. They know I can't read the sign next to the eggs. I appreciate their letting me practice speaking Japanese without laughing at me. I'm not in a hurry and I like the interaction with the store workers.  

Do you have these store scanners where you live?  Do you use them?

Friday, November 24, 2023

Smalls SAL for November - 2023


Thank You, Mary (at Mary's Thread) for hosting this link up. If you also want to join, check out this page on Mary's blog to find out how. 

This month, I finished the Lizzie Kate freebie called Give Thanks.  The chart can be found here.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Separate Thanksgiving Celebrations for Republican and Democratic States

Today is the American holiday, Thanksgiving. To tell the truth, I am very thankful not to be in the United States today. I am sick about what is happening in the country I once thought of as mine. Who could have imagined in 1939 when the big problem was which Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving that there would be the big division between the political parties there is now? 

I have many things to be thankful for every day, not just the fourth Thursday in November. For me, life is good.

Please read this interesting article about which day to celebrate the holiday, which comes from and is by Anne Ewbank, written in 2017.

IN 1939, PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO Roosevelt faced a dilemma. He was responsible for declaring the last Thursday of November to be a day of Thanksgiving—something American presidents had done since Abraham Lincoln began the tradition. But November of 1939 had five Thursdays, which would shorten the holiday shopping season. Retailers still struggling from the Great Depression encouraged him to move Thanksgiving earlier by a week. To the country’s shock, Roosevelt agreed. For the next three years, some states recognized the federal government’s new Thanksgiving date, while others defiantly stuck with the old one.

Roosevelt had rejected previous requests to change the date of Thanksgiving, fearing that he would foil local plans and disrupt football schedules. But according to The New York Times, due to the urging of “department stores, general stores, small stores, and almost every kind of store,” Roosevelt announced on April 14, 1939, that Thanksgiving would be on November 23 instead of the expected November 30.

Angry Americans sent Roosevelt thousands of letters and telegrams about the breach of tradition and their disrupted schedules. An anguished calendar maker from Salem, Ohio, wrote in a letter to the White House that the decision would cause “untold grief” in the industry, since 1939 calendars and many 1940 calendars had already been printed. Just as the White House had predicted, football schedules were scrambled, leading some coaches to vow to vote Republican.

Things quickly became partisan. Several states ignored the presidential proclamation due to tradition or convenience, and others ignored it to snub Roosevelt, a Democrat. This muddled schedules even more. A girl in a New York boarding school wrote Roosevelt on October 18 that her home state, Republican-governed Connecticut, was celebrating Thanksgiving on the later date, making it impossible to go home for the holiday.

In 1939, 22 states celebrated Thanksgiving on the new date, and 23 on the old. But Texas, Colorado, and Mississippi took the best approach: They celebrated Thanksgiving on both dates. Many Americans did the same. In New York City, which celebrated the earlier date, restaurants offered turkey dinners on the “old” Thanksgiving date, too.

Journalists and politicians invented names to mark the confusion. The mayor of Atlantic City called the new date “Franksgiving,” which stuck. Others used the moniker “Democratic Thanksgiving” or “New Deal Thanksgiving,” describing it as another example of the president inappropriately flexing his executive powers.

People were still confused a year later. In 1940, a restaurant sent a telegram to the White House: “CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR REELECTION. WHEN SHALL WE SERVE OUR THANKSGIVING TURKEY 21ST? OR 28TH?” Only 32 states ultimately celebrated on the new Thanksgiving date. After a survey of 200 stores depicted no real economic benefit, Roosevelt announced that 1942’s Thanksgiving would be held on the original, traditional date.

The president seemed to find his failed Franksgiving experiment funny. The New York Times reported that he seemed lighthearted at the press conference, which was supposed to be about wartime foreign policy. But Congress was less jolly. In October of 1941, the House passed a resolution to make Thanksgiving a public holiday, celebrated on the last Thursday of November regardless of presidential proclamation.

But the resolution was amended when it got to the Senate. Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday. That way, most Thanksgivings would happen on the last Thursday, without cutting the holiday season short in other years. Still, some states held onto the last-Thursday date for years, sustaining the sense of confusion. In the 1942 movie Holiday Inn, which starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, an animated scene shows a turkey hopping between two potential dates before giving up with a shrug.

And the two-Thanksgivings phenomenon didn’t end there. In 1944, which featured another five-Thursday November, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, and Tennessee all celebrated a week after the rest of the country. Texas was the last holdout, observing Thanksgiving on the last Thursday until 1956. Today, Americans all celebrate on the same date, without waiting for a presidential proclamation. In 2017, that’s probably a good thing, because President Trump might have kept the country in suspense.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Work In Progress Wednesday

New start

New start - Japanese Hanging (stitch group project)

Floral Pillow Cover progress 

Kogin progress

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Japanese Artist, Hosanna Hirano


Lin, who blogs at St. Victor Quilt introduced me to Hosanna Hirano.  (Thank you Lin!)

I'm not on instagram, but if you are, you can check her out at @towelket_tokyo

You can also see more at the website here.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Monday Morning Star Count - 128 and Starting to Connect

Eight new ones for a total of 128.

I started to join the hexagon flowers (right side in photo below). 

I still need to make many more flowers!

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Japanese Embroidery Artist Narumi Takada

Have you heard of her or seen her work?  I'd like to learn more about her and her work.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Rising Elderly Nursing Costs

Japanese people are among the longest living people on the planet. With people living longer, more elderly care is needed.

According to statistics on long-term care benefit expenditures for fiscal 2022, the cost of resident nursing care services increased 158.6 billion yen year on year to 10.9 trillion yen. Preventive care for those with less serious conditions rose by 3.4 billion yen to 283.1 billion.

The average annual cost per care recipient was 203,100 yen, an increase of 3,500 yen. The average cost of preventative care for those not requiring resident care was 27,900 yen. (source - Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare)

By prefecture, the highest average expenditure was 223,700 yen in Tottori, followed by 216,100 yen in Okinawa, and 216,100 yen in Ishikawa. In fiscal 2022, the total number of those requiring resident nursing care rose by 123,000 year on year or 2.2%. 

The number of recipients of nursing care or home support as of April 2023 was 7.2 million, and increase of 60,000 year on year. The number recieving resident nursing care in that same time was 5.5 million, a year on year increase of 100,000.  Women outnumber men at 3.8 million to 1.7 million.  In-home support services recipients were the largest number of users (3.9 million), equipment rental (2.8 million), outpatient day care (1.6 million), and home visits (also 1.6 million).

Japan's mandatory LTCI (Long Term Care Insurance), that every person 40 and over into, was started in 2000. The amount of the premium is based on income. Everyone, regardless of income, has the same benefits. Benefits can be accessed starting at age 65 and all services require a 10% co-pay. 

I imagine elderly care is expensive everywhere, but I wonder about how other countries compare with Japan.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Friday Finishes - Two Coasters and a Mini-bag

Using two small houses left over from the center of the House Quilt, I made two coasters.

I finished this cute Lizzie Kate (free) design into a self lining drawstring bag.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Wanderful Train


Japan Railway East has a special train package in December that allows dogs to ride without cages from Tokyo to Izu. This special train is called the Wanderful Train.  Wan is the sound dogs make in Japanese, so this is some cute word play. 

Onboard the train will be a veterinarian, just in case the four legged passengers need medical assistance and the seats will have protective sheets in case there are any "accidents". Little JR caps will be available for the dogs to borrow for the doggie photos.

The Wanderful Train departs from Ueno Station in Tokyo on December 9th and carries the dog and its people to Izu Kogen Station on the eastern side of the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture, returning the next day. The train ride is part of a tour package and includes a night at either the Wan's Resort Jogakasi Kaigan or the Izu Kogen Wanwan Paradise Hotel, both dog-friendly facilities with outdoor dog runs. The package, which includes round trip train fare and hotel costs for two adults and one dog, costs 69,000 yen at Wanwan Paradise and 74,000 yen at Wan's Resort. The package is limited to small dogs. I don't know what is considered a small dog, but it seems like almost all dogs in Japan are small. 

What do you think about this tour package? Would you like to ride the train and stay at a resort with your little dog?

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Work In Progress Wednesday

New Start -Lizzie Kate's Give Thanks (free chart)

New Start - small kogin project from this book.

New Start - Soon to be finished and posted.

Floral Pillow Cover progress

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Shichigosan Day


Shichi Go San (Seven, Five, Three) Day is a festival day held on November 15th to celebrate the growth and well being of young children. It is not a national holiday, so it is generally celebrated on a weekend in November. 

The start of this celebration goes back to the Heian Era (794-1185), when children's mortality rate was high due to illness. When children reached these milestone ages (3, 5, and 7), parents wanted to thank the gods for their growth. The tradition continues and families dress their children in kimono or nice clothing and go to the shrine or temple to take photos there or often at professional photo studios. It is a time to celebrate the happiness and growth of children.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Monday Morning Star Count - 120

This week I made eight hexagon flowers for a total of 120.

More to come...

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Shinkansen Goes Smoke-Free

JR Central has announced that it will soon be removing the train's smoking rooms. Currently the Tokkaido Shinkansen (my area in central Japan) does not allow smoking in the cars' seating areas, but cars 3, 10, and 15 have standing use smoking areas at the end of the cars and are accessed by a sliding door. 

Starting in the spring, which is the usual time for Japanese companies to make major policy changes, JR Central will be permanently closing these smoking rooms and use the space for storage of drinking water in case of emergency. East Japan Railway Company and Hokkaido Railway Company have already banned smoking inside their shinkansen.