Thursday, November 20, 2014

Re-runs of the Yokohama Quilt show

I think I have waited too long to continue my posts about the show.

Since Queenie's pictures are so much better, I was kind of waiting to see what she would post before subjecting my viewers to my rather wonky takes.

Now my brain has become a bit foggy as to what categories my pictures belong or what Queenie has already posted.

Some of those categories were Contemporary, Traditional, Flower, "Wa" (Japanese quilts), and "Message" quilts.

Years ago I made a quilt of flower blocks on a black background, not as fancy as this quilt made by Kayoko Ozono, but large enough for a queen-sized bed. The bed was way too large for any bedroom in this house so the quilt was passed to one of my daughters but I still have memories that were brought to mind when I saw this garden,

This quilt by Harumi Asada has a title ...beginning with 100 flowers.
(something about colorful potential)...

What a lot of work went into that one. There are different flowers in the centers of each of those sun flowers.

This quilt is really more striking than my photo shows, so I include a close-up shot.

Titled "Clematis",
by Yoko Ozaki,

you can appreciate the amount of work that went into not only the background, but the applique and stitching.

It was done by machine but probably hand working over all those layers would have worn out a lot of fingers.

Now my memory becomes a bit foggy.

I can't remember what category this was but maybe still in the flower area.

3 x 3  (nine)

is the title of this collection of nine-patch blocks setting off lovely floral hexagons.

Since many of my plentiful scraps are in the one-inch box, I am always attracted to new ways of using them, and I think this is a cleaver possibility.

Both Queenie and I thought the border was a bit heavy on this Hawaiian quilt.

The workmanship by Yoko Kanazawa is excellent.
I was rather surprised to see print fabrics used in the boarder applique
because Hawaiian style usually deals in solids.

This quilt would be fun to see on a bed with the borders hanging at the edges.

This Bridal Bouquet quilt by Yasuko Hasegawa
seems to use either feed sack material or reproduction fabrics.

Since I grew up with clothing and quilts made using similar fabrics, it had a certain appeal. This pattern was also popular in that era.

(Note the little patches in the borders and you will know another reason it caught my eye).

Ginko Sueyoshi created this lovely "Christmas Rose".

As I recall, it was machine work and there was a lot of detail in the quilting.

There were a number of "Japanese Quilts".

This was somewhere between those and the flower quilts.

I guess cherry blossoms say "Japan", even on quilts. Matsuko Morishita put a lot of hand work into this quilt.

This quilt also seems to have been among the Japanese quilts.

The title has something to do with "Wa"

Made by Yuko Koshikawa.

There was plenty of embroidery in each of those circles both in the blocks and in the border.

And, here is a bit of folk art.

The title escapes my translation skills but I thought you might enjoy this struggle with a giant carp and the amazing hand work of Sanae Yamaguchi.

This quilt by Emiko Kushi caught my eye because all these designs are copies of manhole covers.

Somewhere in the quilt world there is a book of these covers and I have seen them and even photographed them in my travels around the country.

Tokyo's manhole covers have a large cherry blossom but they are not in color ... probably just too many to justify the expense.

They were first brought to my attention by my friend, Marion Fox, living in Maryland and visiting her son who was then working at the US Embassy. I still have a small album of pictures she sent me of manhole quilts taken at a show in her neck of the woods.

And, because I love to see kids getting hooked on quilting, I have included this photo of a group quilt made by Fujieda High School Students,

entitled "SU*I*KA", which is the name for watermelon.

One of my goals before leaving the show was to meet up with my new friend, Chikako Ueno.

As, in  the past, she found me before I found her. I had just said good-bye to my friend Queenie and was heading over to the Nihon Heritage Quilters Guild exhibition area.

This is always a wonderful example of how quilting brings people together. Their theme for this exhibit was "World Costume". Quilters from France, Korea, and Japan were given the name of a country and then made a small quilted hanging representing the traditional costumes of that country. This was the group's 15th Anniversary exhibit and very cleverly done. This is a picture of me with Ueno-san beside her wonderful interpretation of Korean costumes.

The group members were chatting around the center table and trying to think up a new theme to be used next year. We had an all-too-short visit before I spent my last bit of time hunting through the shops for pencil lead and batiks in purple. (I did find purple and green batik ... the color just right but it was already cut in pieces too short and had goldfish swimming all over ... Maybe not quite what that rainbow wants, but I still have two more places left to look).

Between the show and now, I have been hustling to finish up the Christmas present for my elder son.

This is the fifth Advent calendar I have made and I still need to add the hanging sleeve and get those pieces of wood carved and painted so it can get into the mail before Advent begins.

I don't think Ken looks at my blog but even if he does, he already knows I have drawn his name this year and this is probably what he will get.

I have a Scouting event from early tomorrow and in some of that outdoor time I plan to do some whittling ... rather than add wood chips to the dog hair that is already covering my floors.

So ... off I go to re-fill my coffee cup and hunt up my sharpest knives.
Hope your weekend is productive too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yokohama quilt show, part 2

I have been rather distracted by my senior driving test that I had to deal with today, and am now glad to have that behind me. There is really no way to prepare for the test. They check  your memory, your eye sight, your reaction time, speed at certain tasks, and driving skills on a tiny course in a strange automobile. It is a three-hour workout to maybe check your stamina because they lecture to the class as if everyone was a five-year-old crossing the street for the first time.

I was the only woman in the large class and the oldest but I got 98 out of 100 and passed. Some of the tests I finished up early and had to sit around for 30 minutes wishing I had brought some quilting to do.

Looking over my pictures, I think they are rather poor.

Queenie has posted much better pictures of the same ones I took.

There were some nice close-ups of these pieces in the "Small Quilt Contest".

I rather liked this bright cheerful sunflower by Mariko Hayasaki.

This challenge is a good place to see some interested embellishments.

This one entitled "Marriage" is by a Chinese quilter.

The names on all these quilts were in kanji only.

A few of the titles were in English, but only a few.

Both Queenie and I were attracted to this small piece of quilt art bu another Chinese quilter.

If you haven't seen Queenie's post yet, please don't miss it because she has some wonderful details.

At the entrance of the "Genji" quilts, there was a counter of Hagoita ... decorated battledores.

Though the game is played by hitting a feathered weight as in badminton, it is just as likely to see fancy decorated ones with seasonal themes.

There were many and these only happened to be some that were visible between the crowds.

These were the Tale of Genji quilts.

They seemed to be very popular with the crowd and though no pictures were allowed, I saw many cell phones being aimed in their direction.

These must have been inspired by woodblock prints.

There was a section of bags and wearables ...
some of those with matching bags...

This coat caught my eye and I am sorry I cannot put a name of the quilter on it.

It must have been hiding somewhere.

Queenie had some very good shots of the winning quilts.

A few over-all pictures will give you an idea of the exhibition hall.

Unlike the Tokyo Dome, which is a covered baseball stadium with a great deal of natural light,
This hall is at the lower floor of a huge building.

It is not unusual to have different conventions going on using all or part of different floors. The space here was all taken up by the show and, vendors.

Instead of being well lit from above, there was a spotlight on each quilt.

Sometimes it was to the quilts advantage showing off the quilting but other times it made for a challenge to get a really good over-all picture.

As at Tokyo Dome, it is usual to see these huge banner quilts hanging above everything at the center of the hall. I wonder what they do with them when the show is over.

As the day wears on, the viewers begin to leave for home duties and the quilts get much easier to view and photograph without shoulders and elbows getting in the way. Of course, by then one is getting more and more tired.

I do have a few more favorites to show but I still need to sort through and pick out things that Queenie has not posted. I do hope you will check out her posts if you have not yet done so,

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Yokohama quilt show, part 1

With my battery charged and a brand new chip in my camera, I was ready to head out to the train station. My husband said I should take a picture of him, just to make sure I had the chip set right.

Smile and say "cheese".

Actually, Nikko will do just about anything for cheese and you don't have to hold her head.

Yep, camera is working, I've got my train schedule and even remembered my cell phone just in case. Off to the mobile sardine-can! 860-some yen and I had to hang from a strap for the first hour of the trip! So much for senior seats!

As I came down the escalator at the site, the line was building up in front of the entry.

This is the third day crowd and among them a good number of foreigners. There was a large tour group coming from Australia, and my Friday group had a contingent too.

I met up with Carin and headed in with map in hand and a plan in mind.

Some of the first places we viewed requested no pictures. Those were special exhibits by well-known quilters. Probably many of those quilts have been featured in books or magazines. We did notice an improvement in that many of the names of the quilters represented were written in English.
Also, the exhibit areas were covered by volunteer staff in pink smocks, and many of those spoke to me in English. Though conversations quickly switched to Japanese, I was pleased to see that an event that calls itself "International" is working in that direction.

Some of the featured exhibits were "Colorful World of Kaffe Fassett, (we saw him giving a presentation to a standing-room-only crowd), Kathy Nakajima, (who usually has an exhibition spot featuring her Hawaiian quilts), Fumiko Nakayama's wonderful Mola quilts, (saw her giving a talk too), Faculty showcase ... whatever that means, and quilts by previous judges.

Yoko Saito had a spot and there were "Japanese Quilts" by Yoshiko Katagiri. There were quilts from Korea and Taiwan, "Tail of Genji" quilts, and a few other exhibits where photographs were not allowed. I felt I was watched because I had a camera hanging around my neck but I saw many Japanese and foreigners taking pictures with their cell phones and I-pads. I see many wonderful pictures on different blogs of quilts taken at shows in the States. I have only been to one show there (except for museum shows) and pictures were allowed everywhere. I wonder why pictures are not allowed. Certainly those taken are more "snap-shots" than anything that might be put in a book.

Well, the contest areas DID allow photos and some of those were astounding.

The first area we viewed was a Miniature Quilts "Star challenge" ... in fact there were several challenge areas and all of those were quite charming. The "star challenge" gave each participant three small pieces of three different fabrics.

You can see them on the poster below,  a yellow print with small pictures printed on it, a purple and blue check on a white background, and a brown floral print with yellow, white and dark red flowers.

The rules were to make a star design.
Use each of the three fabric bits somewhere in the piece,
and finished size, 20 x 20 centimeters.

There were plenty of star patterns but there were some that were not readily easy to spot. Some of those feature fabrics were easy to see but just as many were very cleverly hidden.

There were a few with little ribbons attached which I assume were given special prized.

This is how they were displayed.

There must have been several hundred of them.

They reminded me of the "Partnership Quilts" at the Tokyo Dome show. In that case, the blocks have a theme but no fabric requirement other than size, and they are placed in quilts that are then raffled off.

Here the stars are in the background .

One flower from the brown print is on  the cat's tail and the other two fabrics are appliqued in the stars.

Here is a cute one.

I am fond of owls so took note.

Considering the total size is only 20 cm., this is very lovely piecing on this little feathered star.

Challenge pieces are in the center star and star points.

Here are a few with pink ribbons attached.

Can you find the star and the featured fabrics?

Here is another.

I will be waiting to see what Queenie might post.

We were both running around this place with our cameras.

It was fun to examine the many entries and hunt the stars and fabrics... Kind of like an adult game of "I Spy"!

Names of the quilters and title of the bock are listed on the slip below along with the location of the quilter.

I think I recall a similar challenge last year so it must have become a regular feature of this show and has picked upin popularity.

Well, I am having some issues with blogger and will make another post if this one goes through.
... maybe tomorrow if time allows.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

An adventure awaits

In less than an hour, I will be out the door and on my way to the train station.
The sky is bright blue and the sun is just getting up.
The wind is playing among the leaves in the maple outside my window.

I am smiling ... because ... at ten I will meet my friend, Carin, and we will "do" the Yokohama quilt show together. Being pretty much a loner, group viewing has often been rather frustrating to me ... keeping up with the group, adjusting to group schedules, and the like but there is one thing about viewing a show with Queenie, both of us see so much more! Our pace is much the same (and she is easy to find in a crowd).

My Friday sewing group will be there too and we will be meeting with Ueno-san who we met last year. It is going to be a fun day and I hope I will have a few pictures to flash on a post.

This is what will be waiting when I return.

I finished the little genkan runner.

Even my husband noticed the change.
This is our small entryway. To the right is the front door, a floor space for taking off shoes, an umbrella stand below the post box, and a small coat cupboard.

The space under the runner is a "geta bako" or cupboard for storing shoes (so there is space to get in the door).

For a very tiny space, I am happy we could plan this area for the best use. The space to my back has stairs going up and the area underneath is also storage space.

The window has levers and can be left open even in the rain. My #4 daughter made the hanging owl planter
and a few other owls keep watch ...helped by a few other critters. The horse will move to make way for a sheep next January.

This is the scrappy runner.

I started to quilt it on the diagonal through the centers of the blocks. Half way I decided I didn't like it and it stalled to a UFO pile. Finally, when the rainbow quilt was assembled, I needed another take-along project. I decided to take out all the quilting and start over.

Now the pieced blocks are in-the-ditch ... much better. I began to quilt tulips into the three-inch blocks but some were a waste of time because they didn't even show. Then I noticed the fall runner on my coffee table has three inch blocks and only every-other one is quilted with a leaf design, So,,, I decided to leave some of those blocks in-quilted, bind the edges, and say "Done"!

So ... now I'm off! Three guesses what will be in the next post... and the first two don't count!

Monday, November 3, 2014

A busy weekend

Norie and Leia came Friday evening with the promise we would put the Halloween cookie cutters to use.

We spent some fun quality time together, and even though we got a bit behind the day, there were plenty of fancy painted cookies to go around.

At Christmas last year, less than a year ago, Leia was hardly able to part with any of the cookies we made. BUT, this time she was not only ready to share, she picked out some of the favorites for me to share with the choir on Sunday and her "Jiji" to take to his Homeless Ministry meeting. When I set them out on the counter Sunday morning, there were many phone-cameras recording the results ... and I think some even made it to facebook.

As I have been going through "saved stuff" I pulled out the costume box and things that had not seen the light of day for decades, got a good workout. Clowns, Indians, witches, magicians, pioneers, ... I can't even remember what all these were used for.

Leia found one dress at the very bottom of the trunk that matched one I had made for the doll she loves to play with.

This could have been made for her mom or aunt back when there was a big celebration in New Jersey for the Bi-centennial.

There is still a bit of that fabric hanging around the stash box and Leia was able to find some scraps in the quilt I have been working on.

Friday evening, I managed to sew the last few blocks together and now I can sing a rainbow.

I wanted to take a picture to show my Grandson, Ben, but it was raining all day Saturday so no chance.

Sunday I took it to church and put it out on the floor of the fellowship hall for a picture.

It still needs a border and it is already too big for my tiny futon.
I have been thinking that it will make a good "Big Boy" quilt for my Grandson, Ben. He had requested purple and lime-green but though I have been collecting fabric for over a year, I still am far from having enough ... and much is on the pink and flowered side of purple, not too boyish.  I thought if I could add a purple batik border, it might be something he would enjoy. Of course, I can use it and really love how it is turning out and I didn't want to make Ben change his idea of what he wanted. After seeing the picture, He said yes, he liked it!

I stopped at Yuzawaya fabric department on my way home Sunday but they had no batiks at all and very little purple.

Friday I will be going to the Yokohama quilt show and perhaps there I will be able to find something good at one of the shops there.

If you could see Ben's sunny smiling face, you would know a rainbow is perfect for him.
You can't have a rainbow without sun and that smile lights up my world.

I was glad I added the sashing when I began putting these blocks together. It made the whole process a lot easier.It should be easy to quilt in the ditch ... maybe over the winter, keeping my lap warm.

A five or six inch border should hold it all together. I wonder if it needs a narrow white inner border as well... hmmm.

Meanwhile I am quilting a small runner for the "geta bako" (shoe cabinet) in our entryway. I had been quilting the pieced blocks on the diagonal and the more I did, the less I liked the results. Yesterday I un-did all those quilting stitches and began quilting in the ditch. Much better!

I hope you all had a happy Halloween too. Wish I could share some cookies with my blogging friends.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Progress ... I think

Friday evening we set out for our choir retreat.

Each fall we take a weekend to tackle the music selected for the Holiday season.

The first Sunday of Advent we have a "Choir Sunday" where the sermon in both services is replaced with a choral presentation .

This year, Bob Chilcott, "A Little Jazz Mass" is the selection.  It was good to work on that complicated rhythm and clashing notes until it became a little easier to handle.

Saturday morning we awoke to a stunning view of Mt. Fuji with it's first cap of snow. I really need to study how to get views on my camera. The point and click picture I got on my cell phone was much better but I don't yet know how to transfer those pictures to my computer.

No danger of me ever becoming a computer geek!

Of course I took my four-inch (well, now six inch) blocks to work on joining. Evenings and breaks and car rides I sewed them together in groups of four. I was really happy to complete that goal but also a little sad because now joining four twelve-inch blocks is a bit more difficult to count as take-along-work.  I haven't tried it yet but I am thinking that all those pins to hold the pieces as I sew might be a challenge to keep under control.

The sun set on a wonderful weekend.

The weather was warm and sunny.

Whatever rain that was predicted must have blown off with the wind.

The bits of music are playing over and over in my head.
(which is probably a good thing because it means I remember a lot of it)

and the quilt sits patiently beside me, waiting for some more togetherness.

Meanwhile, a huge task of sorting storage items and figuring out what to do with them is taking time and energy and more space than I have to spare.

The nights have become cold and another cover has been added to my bed.
It reminds me a little of my Grandmother's house ... always a quilt ... or two ... or three on every bed.
Who will keep warm under this one, I wonder ... and when will I have time to finish it?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ready for a botany lesson?

Earlier today, I was visiting my blogging friends and came across some lovely photographs of leaves in the rain.

JoAnn of Scene Through My Eyes is a master with a camera and I always enjoy her nature pictures.

The pictures she provided are leaves in the rain and in fall colors ... lovely!

They looked to me like Katsura, Cercidiphyllum japonica, a tree that is native to Japan. In fact, Katsura is the largest deciduous tree native to Japan. It is the only member of its genus and, like the Ginkgo, the male and female flowers are on different trees.

In spring the leaves come out looking like pink hearts.

Only a few leaves were on the ground and these among the azalea bushes along the curb-side.

There were a few golden leaves, the most common fall color hiding among the branches.

A number of years ago, the local train tracks were raised above the main road and the place underneath was made into a parking area (where we park our car as well). The south side of the former tracks were planted with a line of Katsura trees. It is not a tree often found along streets but since it has no power lines to deal with, it looks it's very best here.

In another few weeks, we will be treated with a row of golden trees.

Being a woodcarver, this is one of my favorite woods. It is a reddish color, fine grained and easy to work. It is widely used here for cabinet making, veneer, and implements.

In 1990, the Scouts offered a course in Commissioner Science. The first year.a Scouter takes the course for a bachelors degree. The next year, teaches the course for a Masters. The final degree was a PHD (in commissioner science) and I decided to give it a try.

I gave three proposals of year-long projects and the one that was selected was a book to use for identification of woody plants (mostly trees). Scouts in the States have plenty  of resources to use in identifying poisonous plants and trees but in Japan there was nothing written in English. My plan was a guide to assist scouts in meeting many of the nature requirements.

These days you might be able to go on line and search for information but in those days there was nothing. Even today, a field guide in English is a far-off dream. I took one year to research common trees in the Kanto area (around Tokyo) and make drawings. The book was assembled on a word processor with the help of my husband. The pages were in the A4 size, printed and folded in half with the blank side inside. I stapled the open edges and added a cover. In February '91 I put together a book for each troop and pack in the area to use and one for each library in the international schools at that time. Since then, it has been scanned and added to the Troop 15 Far East Council downloads.

Recently I have passed the drawings and original prints to a Scouter who is planning to make an up-dated download in the future. At the back of the book, I put maps of areas with numbers where trees in the book were located. That way, a leader who had no knowledge of plants and trees, could go to the spot and read the description and let the scouts use their observation skills to locate the tree being described. Now many of those trees are gone and there are a few new ones to add. I am not very handy with a computer but the Leader says the newer version will be easier to add to or up-date.

I am just happy that my efforts so long ago were and are being put to use. I love to take scouts and leaders on nature walks and help them to get to know both plants and animals. We protect the things we love ... but the first step is getting to know nature ...  so that day will come.

On that walk to look at the Katsura, I was surprised to see a number of Japanese dogwood (Yama hoshi, or mountain star) in bloom.

These flowers usually open in the spring ... a bit later than American dogwood, and after the leaves come out.
I had never seen them bloom again in the fall.

We have had second blooms of Magnolia the last few years and my Gardenia usually blooms a second time when night temperatures fall.

These flowers come out light pink, then turn white and do make the trees look as if they are full of stars.

 The four-inch blocks are gradually getting done.

Today I finished the sashing on the blue ones and have 9 purple and six blocks left to do. Then I will be able to put this rainbow together.

Good project for a rainy day, huh?

I finally dug out the flannel sheet to arrange them on. This weekend we will have a choir retreat at the foot of Mt Fuji. I do not have to drive so I am hoping I will have blocks to assemble as take-along work. I am beginning to wonder the best way to keep them from getting turned or mixed up once I have them arranged. I am hoping to separate those with the same fabrics. Ideas and suggestions are always welcome.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Design bed progress

 I just happened to recall,I have a very large flannel sheet that was sent me by my son. Maybe it is time to dig it out and lay it over the bed to make arranging easier.

Clearly this is not going to end up as a small quilt for my semi-single futon.

The blocks made so far are laid out overlapping more than half an inch and this is a double bed. I am definitely planning to add some kind of a border to tie it all together ...
once I get it arranged and assembled.

Typhoon winds and rain provided plenty of indoor time to hunt through stash and cut the sashing pieces. Actually, by the time it arrived in Tokyo, it was just a tropical storm. The next day we were greeted by bright blue skies and still a lot  of wind. There was no damage due to the wind, even on the roof outside my greenhouse with many plants.

Actually the only damage was caused by feral cats, knocking flower boxes off the wall. I heard a crash in the middle of the night before the typhoon. It sounded like it came from the front garden and involved the birdbath. Sure enough, in the morning light the flower box was upside down with some of the hostas hanging from the birdbath and the box and soil on the ground at the foot of the wall.

(Our "birdbath" is a large ceramic dish, resting on top of a ceramic umbrella stand). Luckily the dish was not damaged. Someone in the area has been dumping cat food outside in our street late at night. The feral cats use that as a battleground. I posted a sign asking that they not feed cats there, but do it outside their own home but there is the food, less than a foot from the sign. The culprit seems to be someone living on the block, but I have yet to discover who. My daily sweeping and weeding has put me in touch with many of the immediate neighbors and I am beginning to hear the local gossip including who it is that does not pick up after their I suspected. What I don't understand he how many people can watch it happening and not speak up. I think if the owner knew they had been seen, they would change tactics (or sites) . There is such a thing as SHAME. Come on, if you can bend over and pick up three or four rocks to cover the poop,why not just pick it up?!?

My friend, Pat, of Bird Nest on the Ground, seems to think sleeping in a greenhouse on the roof is romantic. Therefore, I took a picture of what I see in my nest in the air.

If you look carefully, you might even see the plants. There is a step-tansu on the left. (That is a chest/cupboard that can be used as stairs) It contains orchids and cacti and a palm.

The table on the right has cuttings  and other stuff rests on the floor or small stands around the edges.

There is a balcony about a foot deep outside and I  use the railing to air my futon or dry large laundry such as tablecloths. You can see what this room is basically used for ... hanging laundry.

That is a gull kite flying in from the top right. The stairs are directly behind the camera with my futon on the right under the eaves. This romantic spot gets a lot of very hot sun during the summer. One also has to watch the weather to keep out rain. There is a large hole in the floor at the front right corner where rain has rotted out the floor. It was suspected that there was a leak in the roof area but since I have been at home this summer, even through typhoons, and no rain has come in, I suspect that those keeping house in my absence are less likely to think of shutting the windows ... or even notice that it is raining.

Last night it was actually rather cold ... going down to 9c and turning on the automatic heater a few times. I will have to make a few changes in bedding tonight. Time for a quilt or two?
It reminds me of a poem my dad used to quote ...

When it comes to weather, mans a fool.
When it's hot, he wants it cool.
When it's cool. he wants it hot.
What it is, he wants it not!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Waiting out another storm

I have a feeling that, like the last typhoon, this one is going to just amount to rain and hype. The weekly schedule goes on, rain or shine and the homeless will get their onigiri tomorrow morning, rain or shine ... well, not much shine at four am.

My sewing group met Friday and I had prepared these four blocks to pass to a member with a project in mind.

I still have not passed them on because Friday was my Cub Pack meeting and timing is everything when one does not live in the area.

Maybe next week I can pass them on. I could have made all four blocks the same but I liked the challenge of trying different lay-outs for the focus fabric and the three others I selected to go with it.

Saturday was the school's "Taisokai". Many schools hold sports days or athletic meets this time of year and Jiyu Gakkuen has a gymnastics day. I especially like the Danish gymnastics done by the boy's or girl's departments, all synchronized to music. As I watched the pre-school go through their simple race ... run to the hats, find their hat and put it on, run to the next station and pick up their notebook, then to the next station where they found their school bag, put the notebook inside and buttoned the bag, putting it over their shoulder, and raced to the finish line, I couldn't help thinking back forty some years to when my little daughter did the very same thing ... only in a very "big sister" way, as she helped all the kids who needed help and was last across the finish line.

The last part of the event is to release pigeons from their cages. The pigeons return to their school ground and an announcement is made upon the complete return.

This year the pigeons were released from the front of the field rather than the end, but otherwise very little has changed in all these years.

I have showed pictures of the athletics in the past but thought this time I might show a part of the campus that I love ...
the nature.

The Akebono-sugi, Dawn Redwood, or Metasequoia Glyptostroboides, was thought to be extinct and found only in fossils until it was discovered growing in China in 1941.

This tall pointed tree in the background must have been one of the first samples to be brought to Japan.
It is particularly nice that it was planted with enough space to grow naturally. Often these trees have to be pruned to keep them under control so this is a particularly fine sample.

In the late fall, the needles turn reddish brown and fall.

The Ginkgo, another "fossil tree" is also found growing on campus.

The Japanese Red Pine, Pinus densiflora is dying out in many places because of a pine blight carried by a beetle.

It is nice to see many large trees surviving on the campus.

Another huge tree is the Himalayan Cedar,  Cedrus deodar, The only "true cedar" in Japan, though many evergreens are referred to by  the name "cedar"

This specimen has probably undergone trimming at various times but it still is a very large tree.

Pyracantha, sometimes called "Fire Thorn", was planted long ago outside the office where the money was kept, the idea being it would protect the building from someone trying to enter through the windows.

I don't know if it ever did that job but it certainly likes the chosen spot and those bushes are very tall and thick and covered with berries (which will certainly please the local birds over the winter).

Most of the bushes looked so full of berries that one could hardly make out the leaves and thorns.

And the last piece of fall I always admire are the "Hototogisu".
The name comes from the spotted little cuckoo, a bird with a pattern similar to that of the flower's spotted corolla.

Interesting that by now the bird has left to its winter quarters. I have these in my garden at home ... rescued from a bulldozer that was turning a garden into a parking lot.

The family is Tricytis and it is often known as "Toad Lily". ... or hairy toad lily.

I hope you had or are having a pleasant weekend. I have been working on more four inch blocks, having decided to make the quilt into a standard size that might be more useful in the future to one of my kids. Maybe if it rains tomorrow......?