Thursday, February 29, 2024

Yesterday's Fuji San View and Special Gift Cup

This was yesterday's view from my apartment.

I received this gorgeous Mt. Fuji gift last week.

I am thankful every day to be able to live in Japan.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Work In Progress Wednesday

 New Start - another mitten ornament

International Pandas progress

EGA Drawn Thread - small progress on section 9

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Increased Use of the Internet Blamed for Postal Mail Volume Decrease


According to the Japan Post, mail volume in Japan had decreased by 45% in just over two decades. The volume of domestic standard postal items peaked at 26.2 billion in fiscal 2001, and has declined since that time, with fiscal 2022 at 45% lower that 2001. Apparently more people are using the internet to send and receive messages.

In fiscal 2022, Japan Post had an overal deficit of 2.1 billion yen.  International mail services posted a surplus of 3.5 billion yen, but domestic mail was 24.6 billion in the red. 

The number of mailboxes has also decreased by over 8,000 in the past ten years. A survey conducted by Japan Post in June 2023 found that 43,000 mailboxes handled less that 30 items per month, and further reductions in the number of mailboxes are being considered. 

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced plans to increase the price of sending a standard size letter from 84 yen to 110 yen, and the price of sending a postcard from 63 yen to 85 yen, starting sometime in the fall of this year. This will be the first price increase since 1994, other than the increase made in line with consumption tax increases. 

While I hate to have to pay more to send something by mail, I understand the reason for the probable increase later this year. How much does it cost to send a letter or postcard where you live?

Monday, February 26, 2024

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Never Too Old?

Yes, this is another crazy crime in Japan story. An 88 year old man was arrested in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture for trespassing into the men's bathing area at a Miyagi inn, and climbing over a partition to observe the women's bath area. 

According to the police, at around 5 pm last Friday, the Ishinomaki City man, who was not a guest at the inn, entered the men's bathing area, then climbed up a two meter partition and sat on top so he could see the women's area.  A woman noticed him and reported the man to the inn staff, who contacted the police.  

The man denied the allegation, saying he didn't want to see the naked bodies of the women bathers, he was just checking the structure of the women's bathhouse!

Friday, February 23, 2024

Emperor Naruhito's Birthday

Today is a national holiday in Japan, celebrating the birthday of the Emperor. The date of this holiday changes to reflect the birthday of the current Emperor.

Naruhito was born February 23, 1960, the eldest son of Akihito, then the crown prince, and his wife, Michiko, and grandson of the then Emperor Hirohito.  

Naruhito was raised in the imperial palace in Tokyo and attended Gakushuin University, graduating in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in history. He spent two years studying at Merton College in Oxford, England. Naruhito met his future bride, Owada Masako, in 1986. The two were married in June 1993 and their only child, Princess Aiko, was born in 2001. Naruhito became the emperor on May 1, 2019, at the abdication of his father. 

I wish him a very happy birthday celebration.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Addition to the Library in Queen Mary's Dollhouse

I am fascinated by miniatures, especially very detailed accurate ones.  I enjoy stitching small things and would have a doll house now, if I had the space. 

My favorite thing about visiting Winsor Castle was Queen Mary's Doll House. It is the largest and most famous doll house in the world. It was made for King George V's consort, Queen Mary. British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens designed and built the house between 1921 and 1924. The 1:12 scale house has electricity, running water, working elevators, a grand piano, and a wine cellar with tiny bottles of real champagne. It is accurate in every way.

Recently, twenty books were added to the library, including one written by Queen Camilla.

The library's original collection had books from the time it was built in the 1920's and featured handwritten books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy, A.A. Milne, and Vita Sackville-West among others. The books measure just 1.8 inches (4.5 cm).

There is something fascinating about tiny things.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Work In Progress Wednesday

 New Start

International Pandas progress

Drawn Thread progress - only removing the threads for section nine.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Bishamon Daruma Festival


The Bishamon Daruma Festival is an annual festival at Myoho-ji Temple in Shizuoka Prefecture.  It is one of Japan's three great Daruma Festivals and is held over three days according to the lunar calendar between late January and mid-February.  The other two big Daruma Festivals are Shorinzan Daruma-ji (Takasaki, Gunma) and Jindai-ji (Chofu, Tokyo) temples.

I met up with two friends and we attended the festival Saturday morning. The temple is about a 15 minute walk from the train station, along a narrow street full of vendors. I thought it was pretty crowded, but my friends had attended before the pandemic and said it was much more so back then.

Even though I know it is not a healthy snack (is any type of festival food healthy?),  I really like these fried noodles covered with seasoned salt.

If you don't know about Daruma dolls, check out this link, to learn all about them. In short, they are traditional Japanese good luck charms that symbolize resolution and perseverance in achieving goals. When you buy the doll, it has two blank eyes.  You color the left eye as you make a wish or goal, then the right one when you achieve the wish or goal. The next year, after the second eye is colored in, you can return it to the temple.

This festival is held at Myoho-ji, which is said to be a one-of-a-kind temple. The pavilion designed to shelter the incense burner has a Chinese influence, with dragons on its roof. You have to walk up tall steps to get from the street of vendors to the temple.

This line of people are waiting to return last year's daruma dolls.

This monk seemed to be in a hurry.

I bought a small red daruma doll and will do a post another day about it.

I think red is the color for general goals, but there are all different colors for different wishes, such as health, wealth, and relationships.

Next year's festival will be February 4, 5, and 6, 2025. 

After leaving the festival, we headed for the Gakunan train station for our next destination.

When we got off the train, we walked to Izumi no Sato, a pretty park with a spring.  

Even though the day was kind of gloomy, the flowering trees perked things up a bit.

There were a lot of fish - big black ones and smaller silver ones.

We had lunch at this cafe.

I had cheese and tuna toast, which seemed more like an American lunch than a Japanese one.  It was good and a little nostalgic.

After lunch, we walked back to the train station, then changed to the JR train and everyone headed home.  It was a fun day and it felt good to be attending a festival again.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Monday Morning Star Count - 15 Rows

I have connected fifteen rows of twelve hexagon flowers. I'm pretty happy with the randomness of the flowers.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Shohei Ohtani Donates 60,000 Gloves to Elementary Schools in Japan

Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese baseball superstar who now plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers, donated 60,000 youth baseball gloves to about 20,000 elementary schools in Japan.  He said he wants to inspire a love of baseball in the next generation. He wrote "I'll be looking forward to sharing the field one day with someone that grew up using this glove!" 

With all the evil in the news these days, it makes me feel happy that there is still good in the world.

Someone I know teaches English at an elementary school and shared with me photos of the gloves and the letter that arrived with them.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Really, Who Buys and Eats These Things?


I read on Japan Today's website that Burger King has introduced a new limited edition one pound burger. It is made with four beef patties and six Gouda cheese slices, covered with white cheese sauce. The sandwich alone is 1,637 calories. The price is 1,990 yen for the sandwich alone or 2,290 yen for the set (I assume that means with fries and a drink). Is this only in Japan?

Friday, February 16, 2024

Friday Finish - Moomin Hanging

Moomin cross stitch hanging, measuring eleven inches square. Designed by Antonina Taskaev.

The hanger clips are from Daiso - 100 yen for four clips.