Tuesday, January 7, 2020
The rat race has begun
A few of these blocks were made on the train into the city and back from the huge amount of rescue fabric I was sorting.
My youngest daughter went through the pack of finished blocks and arranged some into a small table runner ... not finished yet but packed as take-along work and the first stitches of the new year.
The feedsack quilt waits patiently for the dust to settle.
We enjoyed part of one day at Toshimaen, an amusement park near our home. Of course Irene had to try out a few of the rides.
When my first daughter arrived just after Christmas with her daughter, they made another trip to the park for more of the exciting rides and displays.
Just outside the back entrance is a ToysR us, and of course that had to be checked out too.
The holiday seemed to race by. Kimie and Irene went off to meet up with long-time friends.
Julie Jr. and Naomi planned a date with an uncle and his family, and I got so distracted that I forgot I had to return for my english class... Oops!
Sunday after church, members gathered to prepare the special New Years food for the New Years homeless meal.
There was a good turnout of helping hands, and besides 8 members of my family, many of my scouts came to help.
With the count of 19 people, we got service hours for my cub pack.
The scouts can count these hours toward advancement requirements. It was a great way to end the year.
from left to right, Julie, Kimie, me, Norie, and my "daughter-on-loan", Renske.
Granddaughters were busy working in the kitchen.
Church family, Scout family and my family ... a great way to begin the year!
My daughter was interested in all these pine trees with belly bands made of straw.
Years ago, red pines began dying off because of pine blight carried by the pne-bark beetle.
These bands are tied loosely at the top and tightly at the base. The insects come down as the weather cools and get caught in the straw band. In the spring, these bands will be removed and burned.
It was refreshing to see so many large red pines in good health.
These techniques have made this old garden a wonderful place to enjoy lots of mature trees.
Note a small Mt. Fujii and the olympic rings on display.
Another New Years outing was to the Hakone Open Air Museum.
We enjoyed a meal and a walk through to hills,
Lots of new sculptures ...
A hot foot bath ...
The newly renovated Picasso museum ...
Naomi tried out swinging on those hanging balls.
It was a fun adventure and at the end, we stopped at the Tenzan Onsen in Hakone Yumoto where we had dinner and a wonderful dunk in the bath.
I'm sure the girls will have a lot to share with friends upon their return.
Kimie and Irene lefton the weekend and Julie and Naomi left Monday after getting up at 4:am to deliver Onigiri with me ... the first delivery of the new year.
The house has become suddenly quiet.
The genkan now has a few mice on display to celebrate the year and the boar was packed up to rest for the next 12 years.
The mouse on the left, sitting among some cats, was made by my sister-in-law. She made an animal for display for each of the 12 zodiac years. The brown mouse is a bell and the little mouse is sitting on rice cakes among traditional new year's items. The brown owl holds my hankos as they are often needed to sigh delivery slips and the like.
The mouse or rat (same word in Japanese) is the first in line of the 12 zodiac animals. According to ancient Chinese lore, the rat had only a slim chance in the race to determine the zodiac order, Yet it's intelligence, agility, and quick thinking enabled it to win, as it hitched a ride on the ox to cross a fast flowing river and then jumped off over its head to cross the finish line first.
Those born in the rat year, (1924,36,48,60,72,84,96, or 2008 are in for a lucky 12 months. The rat is associated with family and fertility so expect a year of hanging out with parents, siblings, or kids)
Well, it sure did start that way!
The rat, as a highly perceptive animal, can sense its environment and know when to act. I will be looking forward to a very productive and successful year ahead.
And ... on my door is the first quilt I made after coming to Japan years ago. It is a simple New Years decoration with items used to celebrate the new year. Games children play, a mallet of good fortune, pine, plum and bamboo, and maybe a sip of sake in that gourd.
Here's wishing all my wonderful blogging friends a very happy new year!