Monday, January 23, 2017

Tokyo Dome Quilt Festival part 1

With a plan to meet Carin and Tanya in Friday, I was so excited I could hardly sleep through the night. Even though I set my alarm, I was waking up nearly every hour and looking at the time. Finally I just turned off the alarm and got up to take Nikko for her morning walk, checked and re-checked the train schedules and maps ... as if I had never gone before ... and set out on the mobile sardine can.

Tokyo keeps talking about "getting ready for the 2020 olympics" but from my point of view, they still have a very long way to go. When I got off the train, there were lots of signs... mostly in Japanese ... about making connections to other trains. Well, I knew the "Dome" was closer to the Marunouchi train station so, seeing the big red "M", I set off that way. Going through the gate there was a word, "Dome" and an arrow pointing to the left along with lots of other words and arrows in Japanese.

I set off in that direction but no further signs. I ended up doubling back, checking every underground gate for a possible sign and worrying that I would be late for our meeting. Finally I just picked an exit and came up above ground. Great! I could see the roof of the dome in the distance. I pulled out my map and wrote "Exit 6" in the margin for future reference, then hurried off to the meeting place just a few minutes behind schedule. Oh my, there was a huge line of people waiting to have their bags inspected and go in.... and luckily, just to me right side was Carin! Hurray, we were off.

First stop was the partnership quilts. Both Carin and Tanya's blocks were in quilt #1. Tanya has already posted pictures of the blocks but I can't resist a bit of duplication.

This year the walls behind the partnership quilts were painted green. Not too bad.

The blocks were made smaller this year. Each year there are over 60 quilts and if they were thinking smaller blocks would make fewer quilts ... well, there were 8,910 blocks submitted and 63 quilts. About the same as other years.

The project of assembling and quilting these quilts falls on a different well-known "sensei" or teacher and her disciples.

This year the teacher was Eiko Okano. Sponsored by NHK TV, there is a show with a few demonstration blocks. Even if you do not watch the show, it is pretty easy to guess which blocks were in the demo because there are multiple ones of that pattern.

This is quilt #1 and there are a few of each of patterns except for one with a bridge.
Maybe for quilt #1 they wanted the most variety.
There doesn't seem to be much else of a plan,

Can you find Queenie's block in the above quilt?
How about Tanya's ?

These are the ones suggested by the sensei.

I think you can find at least two of most of them.

Next to each quilt is a posted sheet of names,
arranged in order to indicate the makers of the blocks.

and ... below the sign is a box where you can deposit a raffle ticket (or if you really want that quilt, many more at 500 yen each ). There will be a drawing at the end of the show.

In these two quilts you can see a large amount of similar blocks. They almost seem to be competing with each other.

Though the theme was "Garden", this quilt looks more like a forest.

Here there seems to have been a plan to put blues and greens around the border and the lighter backgrounds toward the middle.

This one has red backgrounds and potted plants around the outside.

It might be that some people met in groups and worked on their blocks together because many blocks seemed to have used the same fabrics.

This is the quilt #61 that has my block.

My Ohio cardinal is planting his sunflower seed in the left border forth from the bottom.

There are a few more bird blocks and a few birdhouses.

And this one seems to have mostly Hawaiian style designs.

Tanya posted one with a forrest border and a large mob of moles in the center.

All the quilts were hand quilted with diagonal lines forming a square grid on point. The quilting was only in the background areas and stopped short if the applique designs.

I have no idea how many disciples a sensei has, but these quilts are a small single bed size and there were 63 of them. Assembling the sandwich, quilting, and binding, even with some help must have taken no small amount of time

Please look on my blog list and visit Tanya and Queeniepatch to see more of the show ... and better pictures than my camera could get.
More to come ........

Friday, January 13, 2017

Almost done

I might say this is all done but I noticed a few of the white stitches came all the way through when I was adding the hanging sleeve, so I will take those out and try again.

Though navy blue seems like an easy color to match, I ended up using a bit lighter blue for the binding rather than have something that was not quite there.
I think this dark blue doesn't distract much from the pattern.

I ended up turning the bias twice to make it narrower and kind of rounded. I think it will wear better that way and I like the narrow look.

The Women's Conference is still two weeks away but now the pressure is off.

Next week will be the quilt show at the Tokyo Dome. Everyone is checking their calendars to find the best time to go.

I have two quilt groups going at different times, one member of my old group is giving a presentation on the 20th and the group is meeting up afterwards for lunch.
I am looking forward to meeting friends I don't see quite so often and I think my other group is going the following Monday when I will be working. My "partnership block" will be in quilt number 61 and Tanya's and Queenie's will both be in number 1. This year the blocks are smaller but it seems there are just as many quilts as usual. Those will be on the list to see, and the show itself is big enough to gobble up the hours. I just bought a new chip for my camera so I hope to get some good pictures to share. I may end up making a second trip later in the show.

Then the following weekend  will be the Women's Conference so this week I plan to make up "kits" for the "Quilting 101" class I will be teaching. Meantime, I am quilting on a table runner of the same design as this for my own coffee table

Wednesday past,  was the first anniversary of Paul's passing and we held a small family memorial by Skype. Norie and Paul's sister came here and we sat together in a row on the sofa for the visit. (I think it was a first for Obachan and she was happy to be part of the clan) With time zones for Boston, Colorado, Oregon, and Tokyo, it is amazing we could pull it off. But then, when those kids come up with a plan ... there is no stopping them! It was a good two hour visit and we are hoping to do it again in the future.

So ... that is it for this week. It's back to school on Monday and the schedule picks up. I have to admit though, it was nice having down time for quilting and getting rid of my cold. Who knows what new germs the kids will bring back from their holiday travels.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Scouting out nature in Tokyo

As part of the rank advancement requirements, Scouts have to be able to identify ten native plants and ten animals in the wild.

These are BSA requirements, and though comparatively easy in the USA, trying to get them signed off in Tokyo has its challenges.

There is very little in the way of resources in English, and even parks that label trees use only the Japanese common name, written in Japanese.

Even books that are for identifying plants, often do not have the Latin names.
In 1990, I submitted three proposals for projects to earn a PHD in Commissioner Science, and this was the one selected. I had one year to do the research and illustrations and descriptions and turn them into a usable resource. After all the drawings were done, they were scanned and using a word processor,  were turned into a book by printing each page on A4 paper, folding each sheet in half, and stapling the pile of pages along the open edge. I then added a heavy paper cover.

If you are interested you can view it at this  website A few years ago another Scouter, for one of his Woodbadge training requirements, took the book and scanned it to a file to which additions can be made.

For animal identification, the surest way to find ten is a visit to a lake or pond in the winter when mixed flocks of migrating birds join the local residents. For that, I made a page with pictures of those most likely to be seen at Shinobazu pond in Ueno, a rather central location that is easy to get to. I have a number of those laminated sheets and the scouts can use them to make their own identification.

Saturday morning was the first walk of the year, but as it was still school holidays, there was only one leader who showed up. Norie and Leia came along and I gave her a crayon/pencil to check off her finds.

The past two years there has been some construction going on next to the pond and though the pond used to be cleaned out, it has become increasingly choked with lotis plants.

The dead weeds make it harder each year to see the water fowl.

What, in the past has been a great variety of mixed flocks, was down to very few and even some of the local residents were missing.

The tufted ducks that usually show in great numbers were only a few among the reeds.

and ... all of those were males.

There were coots all over the pond, in and out of the reeds and a few diving cormorants.

There were no Mallards, no Teals, no Wigeons, no Pochards, and not even any Spot-billed Ducks which are a common resident.

There were a few Pintails but far fewer than the average year.
A few Shovelers but only males...

There were lots of sparrows and a host of domestic pigeons but no Rufous Turtle Doves.

No Japanese white-eyes, no Great Tits, and only one Brown-eared Bulbul.

I heard a Little Grebe once but could not spot it among the weeds.

One of the two Black-crowned Night Herons we saw was sitting out on the open on a float in the section of the pond used by paddle boats.

We usually see many more of these in the grasses of a small island.

I think this may be the first time not to see either a Great Egret or Little Egret.

There were vast numbers of Black-headed Gulls.

Many were juveniles and getting into fights with each other in every section of the pond.

Here is one sitting atop a "No Fishing" sign ...

This is a good view of the weeds.
There are fish as I did see the cormorants bringing up small fish to gulp down before making their next dive.

There was one immature Glaucous Gull which was a first for me to see there.

Of course there were lots of Jungle Crows.

Leia was able to check off 13 birds that she identified. Ten would have met the requirements for an 11 or 12 year old scout but I am wondering if they would be as observant as an 8 year old.

I am wondering if it is the strange weather that has kept the mixed flocks elsewhere, or the construction going on ... or the water filled with weeds ... parts that did not look all that clean.

I am wondering if I need to go around Tokyo to check out other ponds. There are a few on the outskirts of town ... not as easy to find or as centrally located. Some cost money to access. Next hike is scheduled for early February so I do have a bit  of time to check other sites. Certainly I will not be able to make up hand-outs for the scouts by then.

Sunday was blustery and very cold. I turned in early because of the early rise for rice patrol.
But ... I kept hearing the rain and wind pounding on the windows and rattling the shutters. It was very hard to sleep. The numbers of homeless had increased but there was enough rice to go around and some got seconds. I counted 78 dead and abandoned umbrellas on my way around the station and back. Some were shredded and some only bent up spokes and some on the move carried by the wind. By noon the rain had stopped and the sky was back to winter blue.

Today was "Coming of age" day and prettier than Saturday's birds were the crowds of young girls dressed in fine kimono. I should have taken my camera when Nikko and I went for a walk! Now that is a sight to behold ... and luckily, this year their pretty white tabi did not get wet and dirty.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Almost there ...

This morning I finished quilting in the words on the border of the runner I am making as a gift to the speaker at the Women's Conference.

I don't know if you can read them but stitched in white on the navy border, they show up pretty well without "taking over".

From the left side around ...

Women's Conference 2017
Celebrating 60 Years
Sharing our stories ...
God's stories.

The speaker's theme is weaving stories, ours and those of the Bible, together.

Originally, I made sketches of several blocks that gave an impression of weaving fabrics together.
After testing this one, I liked the effect and did not try out any others. 
There are 60 three-inch blocks,
each with two colors and I sorted through what I had pieced so the arrangement would not repeat any one fabric.

In the past I have used printed panels for the center and quilted in words. I also put a hanging sleeve on those runners.

I have not decided if this needs a hanging sleeve as it seems more suited to being a table runner. 

I know the last one I made has been used as a runner ever since it was presented ... but that is one out of many.

The finished size will be about 35"x23".

One more decision will be the binding.

I selected the backing you can see here from among a batch of stuff that came from a friend.

I thought it looked like streamers and confetti ... kind of good for celebrating 60 years. The piece was large enough and the price was right. (and it doesn't show my uneven stitches)

For a binding I am toying with the idea of using the medium blue in the backing. I have left enough backing that I could just turn it to the front but being a directional print and colorful, it would probably be a distraction more than anything.

I always get good advice from my blogging friends and I still have a few weeks before it needs to be presented ...

So I await your feedback with much gratitude for all that has gone before.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Welcome New Year

Norie, Leia, Hero and I enjoyed an end-of-the-year party with extended family, my husband's half sister and her children and grandchildren.

We don't have an occasion like this often so this year was very special to have the gang together.

That was Friday ... then Norie's family was off to Hiro's parents and I returned to Nikko's side.

This year, other than hang a new-year's quilt, I didn't do much else in the way of preparing for the new year. That was something Paul always did with great joy and polish.

Saturday, volunteers met at the church basement .. and fellowship hall to prepare a special New Year's meal for the homeless ministry.

This had been a tradition begun by Paul, and our family had donated money from his memorial service to keep the tradition alive.

There were mutterings that it was too much trouble and not enough help, but just the opposite was true.

Saturday there must have been nearly 40 people working to prepare packs of the special new years treats.

In the kitchen were those slicing pink and white kamaboko,
preparing the black beans and creamed chestnut and other things that are part of the meal.

The tables were set out in a big U shape and the plastic trays, like those that hold the usual onigiri for morning delivery,

traveled in a constant train, picking up items down the line, to be closed with a rubber band at the far end and stored in bags for Sunday's meal ... numbered and put in the refrigerators.

My job was just beyond this bowl of cooked carrots, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms...

adding little foil cups of black beans.

As the packs were complete, some of us stayed to chop carrots, mochi, and other items for the Ozoni soup that would be served hot along with the meal.

The white bag on the table was filled to the brim with chopped carrots by the end of the afternoon.

I got to experience the frustration of using right-handed knives ... the beveled edge on the right that makes the blade go crooked when used with a lefty. It was only luck that that bag contained no finger parts.

The meal was given in Paul's memory and he attended in spirit

... his picture above the apron ...

Norie cut jonquils from her garden and brought those along with other gardening trimmings ...
plum branches, pine branches, and some branches from the nandina that had begun to turn red.

I was given a huge vase to make an arrangement and it was the first time for me to use blocks of foam rather than a kenzan ... another challenge.

Leia supplied the caligraohy on the left saying Ohshogatsu or New Year.

Our sextant brought out the folding screen and there was a guest book that many of both helpers and homeless signed. I was rather surprised on Sunday morning to find the arrangement and screen had been brought to the sanctuary for the service.

Sunday, from two pm, the homeless came through the line to get their bowls of hot soup which had been in preparation from the morning service onward.

That was also an assembly line of workers, arranging items in the bowls and passing them along to the last table to be filled with hot soup.

The tables had been set with cups , chopsticks, and the packs that were put together the day before.

The homeless could come back as many times as they wished for refills of the soup.

I usually wash dishes at these meals but yesterday I was in the line passing prepared bowls to those filling in the soup.

There was a second seating and some of the helpers joined the meal with the guests.

There was a mad rush between the sessions to clean and re-set the tables.

In all, maybe 200 or more were served.

and this great gang of kids were not only showing off their juggling skills, but handing out fresh sweet mikans to the departing guests.

I don't know how many of the helpers had gone to parties or stayed up late to watch the new year arrive on TV ...

I only know the service was well attended and lots of people stayed around to help prepare and serve the meal.

Some left early and some were still in the kitchen when this commemorative picture was taken but Paul, whose photo is behind Norie must have been smiling down upon these servants of the Lord, doing the very thing he spent the last day on his feet doing.

I might add that some of these are experienced dedicated helpers in meals month-after-month but there were also those who chose to start their year with a new experience... a true global team, working together to serve others.

What better way to welcome in 2017!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

NHK sends the link for Ohayo Nippon

I don't know if this will work for you but when I click on this link, the website appears.
The text is all in Japanese though I found if I click on the translation at the top, a rather strange translation comes up.

The first section is about Tokyo Union Church and the last part is Wally Higgins. I think what he said was a bit easier to translate ... at least makes a bit more sense. shutoken/ohayo/report/ 20161224a.html 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

53 years ago

Comments on my post from Sara got me thinking about all the changes that have taken place, just in Nerima where we set up housekeeping 53 years ago.

Today, Nikko and I took a walk back to the site of "Masumiso", the little two-story walk-up where we lived at first.

Several years ago the building was still standing. I had seen a sign on the wall advertising for renters.

I do not know what changes may have been made to those apartments over the years, but when we were living there, each apartment had one six-mat room, one four and a half mat room, a one-mat closet, and the last two and a half mat space formed a toilet, genkan, and kitchen.

One tatami mat is about 6'x3'. This picture was taken my first Christmas in Tokyo. Behind me the two sliding doors lead to the kitchen and genkan. In the left corner is my kitchen cupboard. The refrigerator was an ice chest that sat outside the kitchen door. There was a small sink ... no hot water ... and a small propane burner for cooking,

We had investigated several potential apartments but all were very expensive. The cost of this, including the propane, was 18,000 yen a month. Insurance was 2,000 yen. Paul was working for Hitachi at that time and it would have been cheaper to live in company apartments but they were far from his family and I was reluctant to face living up to company expectations.

With overtime pay, Paul was bringing home 20,000 yen a month and I was able to get a job teaching English at an English Salon in the Ginza area. Thus, we were able to survive as long as we were careful with expenses.

This picture was taken outside our door. The dog is "Merrily" who came to us from Paul's Uncle who was moving to South America. She lived with us many years and was buried under a plum tree in New Jersey, where we lived while Paul was in training at Banker's Trust in NY.

Behind Paul, at the end of the building where the stairs come up, was a big field and off to the left was another field. At the end of the field was a row of two apartments.

The fields changed produce from season to season, Cabbage, daikon, winter wheat, broccoli and sprouts and onions.  Along the back road was the farmer's big house and also a public bath house.

During lunch time, the sewer trucks parked along the back road. (stinky)The area did not have city water or a sewer system at that time. Our water came from a well that was turned off once a week for cleaning. Almost all the toilets in the area were indoor out-houses of the squat type. Hard to believe these days where most houses have modern sit toilets with even heated seats ... some with sensors that flush when you get up and many with washlets.
Depending on the time of year, the trucks came along with a wide hose that sucked up the contents... maybe once a month or more often in the summer. I was always a bit afraid one of my kids would fall in that hole. A wooden lid fit over the opening when not in use. Toilet paper did not come on a roll but one bought paper and cut it into pieces about the size of half a sheet of paper, and those were placed in a small basket beside the squatsie.

Now standing on the site, though the old wall remains, is a new house.

The streets are now paved and any trace of the fields, farmhouse, or public bath are long gone.

What fields that remain have mostly been turned into co-op apartments called "Mansions" or parking lots or warehouses.

 This is now the scene from where we turned up the stairs to our apartment.

This building on the left looks something like Masumiso but it is, along with the building behind, built in what was then fields.

All the area to the right was also fields, with the apartment buildings and public bath at the end.
Straight ahead was the farmer's house and more fields as far as you could see.

There still remain a few fields that are active, growing mostly a variety of vegetables. One was turned into a public garden with plots that households could rent to grow their own produce. Sadly, that area was turned into a huge apartment a few years ago. The plot behind it became a parking lot.

Our apartment was a short walk to Nerima Station on the Seibu train line and it was just a bit farther to the street where Paul's folks lived.  We often went there and used their bath, which was much nicer than being "exhibit A" at the public bath. I had a few private english students that came there for lessons. Their home was much warmer with a narrow hall separating the rooms from the outer windows and buffered from the cold with shoji-papered doors.

There was little insulation in those days. I remember watching buildings being put up with a layer of straw being plastered to the walls before the inner board was put in place. Most homes had small space-heaters but they were kerosene and dangerous so not used at night.

Other than doll bedding, the first quilt I made was pieced from scraps I got from a tailor who altered men's clothing. It was just a tied cover and not fancy but needed for warmth. There was never a photo taken, even of Merrily sleeping on top, and being mostly wool, it was given up long ago ... or what was left when the moths took over.

We lived in that apartment until 1965. During the Tokyo olympics, Paul was loaned by Hitachi to the Olympic Organizing Committee. Those were days of many changes and I did get to attend some of the events as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.

My first daughter was born in February and kept at the hospital for a month because she was too premature. in going back and forth to the bus stop on my way to deliver milk to the hospital daily, I found a new duplex going up at the spot where we are now living. The rent there was 22,000 yen a month but it was just down the street from my inlaw's place. I could teach english in my own home so add classes and there was a real bath, a three-mat kitchen, and a three-mat room for a crib besides the six-mat bedroom. By the time my little one was released from the hospital, we had made the move. A new chapter had begun. We planted a flowering plum in the garden to celebrate and enjoy it still.

NHK did not walk to this site but they did get the story.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The rest of the story

Well, Saturday morning has come and gone in a whirlwind of activity. Friday was a National Holiday ... the Emperor's birthday ... and from early morning I had been off to Mochi - pounding with the Scouts.

I arrived exactly at 10:am as the opening ceremony had begun.

My Scouts are lined up along the back row.

The rice was steaming in trays, ready to be moved to the stumps for some active pounding.

The chip in my camera had been swapped out with another and there was no room left for more pictures, but the scene changes little from year to year.

At the tables by the flagpole, Cub Scout mothers were lined up, serving Mochi in all kinds of styles and the most delicious "Ozoni" a soup specially made for the occasion and worthy of several helpings.

(actually, it is one thing I look forward to every year).

Norie and Leia came in the afternoon and the cookie guru set to work making painted cookies with sprinkles.

Some went into a box to share with her friends, some went with me to the choir, and the rest piled on a platter for Sunday's dinner party.

Norie and Leia spent the night on Friday and were in position in front of the TV by 7:30 am.

It was interesting to see what the TV crew had picked out of three hours worth of filming to show. After a bit about Tokyo Union Church, there was a video of Nikko and me walking along a back street. Luckily they left out the part where I was picking up trash.

They played some of the clip with the Rice-store lady "Kanazawa-komiya-san" Having suddenly appeared at her shop with a camera crew and a reporter with no warning at all, she came off her usual warm friendly self.

Then there was some interview in a corner of my rather cluttered livingroom ... a bit of stitching ... and a bit of quilt showing and some chatter about the "early days" in the 1960's. I didn't record the program ... actually, I don't know how to use all the gadgets with only Japanese labels, but they said they would bring me a DVD and that can be copied and sent to the kids.

The rest of the interview featured another member of our church, Wally Higgins, who was my husband's best friend and has worked many years for Japan Railways, and probably has more knowledge of the railroad system than any other employees. He has an archive of historic photos.
I have a suspicion that he may be the one who got my name in the pot.

Today, the reporter called to ask my permission to post it to their web site. She would send me the link in a few days.

Tanya watched the program in far off Nikko and posted some pictures on her blog. (along with many very kind words)

The rest of Saturday was spent prepping for a big dinner on Christmas day. Having Christmas fall on a Sunday made the schedule that much tighter but we managed to make a pumpkin pie out of fresh kabocha and also a pecan pie before I had to rush out to my English lesson and then to the church.

The choir sang in two services Saturday night. and there was a special choral offering by the small group.
Though I have been fighting off a cold and cough, my voice held out enough to do my part.

It was way past my bed time when I returned but I could get the stuffing prepared for the turkey before turning in.  Sunday was an early start. I had to smile when, on my way to the train station, a lady living near the tracks came rushing up to tell me that she had been watching the TV Saturday morning and saw the first picture of me walking the dog and was so happy to see the whole show.

The rest of the day was a scramble but the food was ready when guests arrived...

Behind me, SIL Hiro, Leia, daughter-on-loan Kiyoe-chan, now famous Wally Higgins, Obachan (Paul's sister) and Kanazawa komiya-san (who came to share a chat with Obachan and dessert).

So, there it is ... not much of the story left to tell.

The dishes have been washed and put away, the turkey bones for boiled down and became a yummy soup

The official greeter finally could take off her regalia for another year ...

And now in leading by example.

(or maybe she is dreaming about turkey left-overs)

I hope you all have had a happy holiday ....

Now ... maybe a bit of time for some stitching???

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The "Rest of the Story" is yet to come

 School Holiday began a week ago.
I remember looking at time off as a time to relax and renew and have a bit of down-time.
Could my memory be slipping in my old age?

On the way home from school to the train station, I passed "Blue and White" and took this picture of the "tree" in the window with all the fancy coasters decorating the branches.
Some have really fine sashiko work and you can probably make out a few of my little round ones.

The dust is beginning to settle since the TV crew showed up a week ago.  What was to be two hours of filming, turned into three ... and then the crew showed up at the first service on Sunday to film the choir. In all, for a half hour show, including the church and two "old" members, there is going to be a pile of cuttings on the NHK floor. The other "elder" in the equation gave an equal amount of camera time.

They photographed a pile of quilts  ... the ones I keep in use, they did interviews about my early days in Tokyo ... interesting questions, not only about quilts, but the things I found surprising about life here ... like men peeing in the bushes along the narrow street and mothers pointing out the strange foreigner to their children. They were really curious about why I came and stayed.
Was it just an adventure? Or from my point of view, to be my real self ... I was expected to be different, being a foreigner, but after an early life of trying to meet other people's expectations and failing miserably, I was given free reign to just be myself, and loved for who I was ... ever rather admired for my unique solutions to daily challenges.

Oh, they wanted a walk with me and Nikko through the neighbourhood ... stopping to talk to the rice store lady (poor friend with no warning of what was going on). Then, as I thought they were done and we were walking home, I passed a few drink cans that had been tossed in the bushes along the street, and as usual I reached down and snatched them up to put in the proper trash. "Wait! wait! we want to film that"! Huh? toss the cans back and let them film me? Good thing I wasn't picking up cigarette butts or green gum!

O am glad to say they did not photograph the messy piles hiding in the corners. I was able to clear enough space and the quilts are slowly returning to their beds and resting spaces.

Norie came to serve tea and snacks to the crew with an agreement she could avoid camera time.

Now I have added the seasonal table runner and brought three blooming Christmas cacti down from my bedroom-greenhouse to be enjoyed during waking hours.

I think the tree-decorating fairy and cookie guru will be coming tomorrow to stir the pot.

Meanwhile, Nikko and I will go on with the day.

She is little concerned with how she appears on TV.

Saturday Morning Norie and Leia and I will turn on the TV at 7:30 am and see "The rest of the story".

Saturday evening and Sunday morning will be filled with song (if I can keep this cold at bay) and good food and friends will fill the spaces between.

Christmas Blessings to you all.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

What have I gotten myself into now!

Progress is being made on the runner for the Women's Conference speaker. All is quilted except the words in the navy border. Then add the binding. I have one month left and that should be enough time to complete the task.

My friend, Amy Katoh of the "Blue and White" shop, was looking for blue and white coasters so I made a few from some yukata fabric in my stash and dropped them off a week or two ago.

When I passed the shop on my way to the train station Monday, there was a lashed bamboo "tree" in the shop window and the shop assistant was fastening lots of coasters as decorations on the tree. I will have to remember to take my camera tomorrow and get a picture.

The shop window along the street has a constant change of blue and white displays. New owners of the building are trying to get the shop to move but it is an icon of the area and finding a new spot in the area will not be easy.

And ... now the plot thickens. Today at church, I was interviewed by a lady from NHK who was looking for "old timers" to interview in a TV program to be shown on December 24th. Though ours is the church of the revolving door, there are a few who have been in Tokyo for even longer than I.

The lady was interested in my quilting. Indeed, there are plenty of quilted banners hanging around the church and I think only one has my name on the back. Even church members probably do not know where they come from or even that they are hand made.

Anyway, after an interview, it was decided the lady will come to my house on Tuesday ... to look the place over??? and they will film the interview on Thursday. Oh Boy! How am I going to get everything picked up and tidy by Tuesday morning? I haven't even had time to read the newspapers for the last three days! I will have to find a place to put things where I will be able to locate them in the future without stirring the pot and making things worse.

She mentioned pictures from long ago ... oh I have more albums than anyone could imagine ... and quilts ... well, I wonder how many I should dig out. Maybe if I pile them on the sofa they will hide all the other stuff. Then there is the dog hair! No way to hide that! I guess I had better un-plug the laptop and get busy.

The teacher I work with at school asked me when winter begins. With the first snow? well, we had an early snow a few weeks ago and it had been 54 years since snow came that early. Yet, the leaves on the ginkgo trees had not yet turned color ... or even the maples in my garden.
Well, a week ago, Wednesday, there was one ginkgo turned a golden color along Roppongi-dori where I walk on my way to school. This past Monday all the trees were dressed in gold, and this Thursday three were completely bare and three others with only a few scattered leaves. After  very gusty weekend, I expect the whole row will be bare and winter will have begun. After hearing of big snow in Ohio and Oregon and northern Japan, I am rather glad to see our brand of "winter".

Though this snow made the news ....

I am happy to have blue skies ... even with the blustery wind.

And if snow is to make the news ... this variety is preferred.