Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blue and white scraps

As I may have mentioned in earlier posts, I like to organize my scraps. When I have bits and pieces left over from other projects, I mark them and cut them into whatever size will comfortably fit on the scrap, and store them in a tin. I have a tin of 4x4" pieces, 3x3' pieces, 2x2" pieces and lots of one inch sorted into baggies by color.

When it comes to tenugui and yukata fabrics, I cut those scraps within an inch (not only squares but 4x2" or 3x2" and the like). Those I put together in a container with no plan in mind other than not to waste them.

Friday my quilt group met and I needed something to work on so I took out the little box and laid a bunch of those bits and pieces into five inch squares. One of my friends went off and returned with a few more yukata scraps she had been saving. I don't have so many of these scraps saved but I might end up with enough five-inch blocks to make a table runner. Here they are laid out on my design table. Some were made yesterday and some were done today while at the school's "Taisokai".

Every October, Jiyu Gakkuen, where I teach an English group, holds a gymnastics/sports day.

This Saturday started out cloudy with the prediction of rain but around the starting time, the sun came out.

There were races beginning with the pre-school and those have not changed at all in format since my eldest daughter was three ... over 40 years ago!

The Jr. and Sr. high students do Danish gymnastics and a May pole dance is always part of the program.

The campus buildings were all built by disciples of Frank Lloyd Wright, who built the first building on the then main campus in Mejiro, while in Tokyo building the Imperial Hotel. His hotel building has been partly moved to an architectural  village. It was used as headquarters during the Tokyo Olympics and later taken down to make a larger building. The school campus is in a beautiful setting and the buildings, though old, are very "Wrightish" or "Wrightesque"?.

The grass field is a bit greener than it appears in the picture. It was torn up in the spring to fix a channel for a stream that runs underneath,

All the buildings and grounds are maintained by the students. They weed this field and rake any leaves that fall. In autumn they pick up ginkgo nuts and clean them. They also have garden plots where they grow some produce that is used in meals.

This area has a history going back to Jomon days and there is a wonderful collection of pottery from this sight. In order to build any modern building, a certain amount of time has to be spent on a "dig". To some degree I believe the students get to take part and the school is allowed to display the items found.

Here are a few more gymnastics by ... I think, college boys.

This is part of the afternoon program. The sky clouded over and there were a very few sprinkles.

Because the rain was expected, the afternoon program was moved up by half an hour. I saw a bit of lightening far off to the west but before the program was over, the sun came back out.

The marching band that had led the parade of students on to the field at the start, played for the final march-by and the school flag was retired.

To some degree or other, this is a scene that plays out in every school throughout Japan during the first few weeks of October. These students practiced very hard and considering not every kid is an athlete or a dancer, the group effort was stunning.

My husband is a graduate of this school and my eldest daughter went to the pre-school here. I have had an association here through the College Women's Association of Japan, and teaching in the high school. This is a place that knows how to make people feel welcome and this crowd of over 2700 people had a fine day.


  1. Julie I have been pondering how to use the fabrics you sent me and I think a table runner made similar to this would be perfect for me. I have Blue Willow dishes in the china cabinet beside my table so these blues would set off the color of the dishes beautifully and what could be better than Japanese fabrics beside my Japanese dishes (mine were the ones made in Japan back in the 50s/60s. I loved seeing your pictures of the school activities. They brought back memories of my grammar school days when we had a spring festival with music and a may pole. blessings, marlene

  2. I love your tenugui and yukata scraps! Those are going to be lovely. But lovely also, no, actually fantastic, is the quilt you have entered in this week's Quilting Gallery. I voted for you.

  3. great pics, funny that they dance Danish may pole dance... I'm from Denmark and I think it's a really old tradition, I never did it though, I danced danish folk dance :-) now I'm in the US btw.
    your scraps look great too.

  4. Julie, you are always so busy. Those blue scraps will certainly make a beautiful "something." What fun activities are going on at that school.

  5. Oh the blues and whites of Japanese fabrics that capture the feel of a seasons. I can picture the beautiful yukata fabrics being sold on one the narrow street of Shimokitazawa. Your scraps of will make a very lovely table runner. Thank you for sharing the history of those buildings. I had no idea that Frank Lloyd Wright's disciples even designed any buildings in Tokyo.

  6. It sounds like you live in a wonderful community. You're lucky to have it, and they are lucky to have you!
    I love your idea about trimming your scraps to specific sizes---it's a good one. I'm going to put it on my list of good ideas to pursue in the future.

  7. I wish my scrap bucket held such beautiful fabric! Those blues and whites are simply amazing.

  8. Wow! Big school! I thought it was interesting how the girls were dancing all in white.

  9. Those blue and white scrappy blocks look lovely.

  10. Hi, Julie. I suppose the advantage of living in Japan is that you have access to all those neat blue fabrics...LUV your scraps! So fun to play with. Also really liked your cute hexagon quilt.
    best, nadia

  11. I love the tenugui and yukata fabrics. They will make a lovely table runner. Are the fabrics hard to find and buy? The blue and white reminds me of our first set of dinnerware.

    The school sounds wonderful. I love the idea of getting the students involved more with the upkeep of the school.

  12. Hi Julie, it is a great lesson: to be organized. Your tenugui and yukata fabrics are beautiful. The sport day must be lovely!!I love things like that. Wonderful post! Hugs!

  13. Oh those blue and white fabrics! I often think the using up more improvisational projects can be more fun AND often more successful than more considered efforts. On the subject of stacking fabric repeats, you can use a micro gun through reference points or a vertical pin then pin on either side. I love the insights into Japanese life and flowers on your blog.

  14. The tenugui are so pretty. Another wonderful quilt in progress.

  15. I always learn a lot from your blog posts. And I love those blue and white scraps!