May 31, 2007

Kateigaho, Japan's Arts & Culture Magazine

Our summer issue of the International Edition of Kateigaho, Japan's Arts & Culture magazine arrived today. It is not a children's magazine, but it is a great resource with wonderful photographs and articles. There is also a Japanese version of the magazine. The international edition is the same magazine translated into English. The summer issue has articles and photos of Japanese textiles, lilies, Kabuki, Tsukiji fish market, jewelry, World Heritage sites in China, arts and artists. Gregory Colbert's exhibition, Ashes and Snow, is in Tokyo. We want to go!

Check out the Kateigaho website . They sell individual issues or subscriptions. They have also posted some articles and photos on their website.


The silk worms' branch of mulberry leaves also had mulberries on it. Silk worms don't eat the fruit.

May 30, 2007

Grocery Delivery

There are companies that deliver groceries to homes. They prepare boxes of groceries for each order.

We order a week in advance. We look through a weekly catalog and choose the things we need for the following week's delivery.

We then mark a sheet like this one. We put the number of items we need in the little pink boxes. We hand it to the delivery man when he comes to deliver the groceries we ordered last week. If we're not going to be home, we can put the sheet in the blue plastic bag (pictured above) and hang it on the gate or door. It's very convenient especially to have heavy things like rice delivered.

May 29, 2007


These are Big Sister's silkworms. Her science teacher gave them to the class

along with some mulberry leaves.

Each one has these markings.

The top of one of the worm's head.

The end or tail of the silkworm. Click to enlarge to see its legs.

May 28, 2007

High School Project

Big Sister brought home this apple juice carton. In it is her tenth grade science project.

There are two silk worms among some leaves in the carton. Do you know what kind of leaves they are?

After the silk worms eat these leaves she will get more from the school. She will take care of the silk worms and watch them through their stages.

In elementary school, students raise morning glories, rice, and other vegetables.

Note the brand of juice it is. You've probably seen that brand.

May 27, 2007

On the School Playground

This is a sprinkler that is used when the school playground is too dry and dusty. There is a gutter behind it. See the metal grate over it? The gutter is probably for water to run off during the rainy season.

The label on the sprinkler says "spray gun" in katakana, the script for foreign words. I've never seen a sprinkler anywhere else in Japan. Lawns of grass are rare. Parks have lawns but I've never seen a sprinkler. Of course, we're usually gone in the hottest summer month (August).

I took these pictures yesterday on Sports Day. The night before the event there was water standing in the field. It was incredibly dried up and dusty during the event. It was also windy. They didn't spray the area, though.

May 26, 2007

Sports Day

Today was Sports Day at Little Brother's school. The official Sports Day is in October, but some schools have it in May.

This is the first time I have seen the national flag flown at the school, so I wanted to take a picture of it. Actually, it's a better picture of this old lady's hat. There was no way around her hat! She wouldn't move and I couldn't! Any way I moved I would've been blocking grandmothers on camp chairs.

They all could have been sitting here. Older guests could sit in padded chairs in the shade under a canopy.

All of the students had to sit in the sun. Little Brother was on the white team this year. Their hats are reversible. The other side is red. He was on the red team last year.

Here are the students' chairs. They carried them from their classrooms and carried them back afterwards.

By the way, the white team won this year.

Check the posts for May of last year to see more about Sports Day events.

Sports Day Events: The Rope and The Dance

Any idea what this was for?

These students are waiting to start their dance. Every year, each grade performs a dance. Except sixth grade. Sixth graders do a gymnastic routine. The students in the picture had to wear black clothes for their dance. One grade just had pompoms. Another wore gloves.

Check the posts for May of last year to see more about Sports Day events.

May 25, 2007

A New Old Fashioned Washing Machine

This is a new washing machine, but it is an old style. It is not automatic.

Clothes are washed in the tub on the left. After the machine washes the clothes, it beeps. Then someone has to come and take the very wet clothes out and put them in the tub on the right. Excess water is spun out of them. The tub on the right is the spin cycle. Automatic washing machines are available, but some people prefer this kind.

This is the lint bag. It catches lint and fuzz. These are on automatic machines, too. Click on the label below for more information about washing machines.

Toshiba-- brief history of Japanese-made washing machines

May 24, 2007

Three Vehicles


Click to enlarge to see a food delivery motorbike, a gardener's truck with ladders on the back, and one of the biggest cars on the road here.

May 23, 2007

A Shell of a Moth

We saw this on a chair in the garden. I ran to get the camera.

It hadn't flown away,

so I took pictures from every angle.

The dark spot on the top of its back was really a hole. It was a shell of a moth. We looked through our bug books but couldn't find its name.

May 22, 2007

Our Garden Gate

This is the garden gate we have now. It has a combination lock. This is not a typical gate. In the past, delivery people used to come into our gate, open up the front door, stand in the entry hall, and shout for us to come to the door. We have lot of deliveries, but other salespeople whom we don't know come, too. I miss the old way, but this gate provides more privacy.

When we want to enter the gate, we have to push on this little door at the top right hand corner of the gate.

The door opens to reveal buttons. We have a combination of numbers that we have to push. Then we have to push the bottom button that says "endo" or "end".

When a visitor or a delivery person comes, he has to ring the doorbell to talk to us. There are two doorbells (on the right). The top one has a 2F sticker on it. The other has 1F sticker. We live on the second floor. Baba and Aunt live on the first floor.

There is an intercom and camera on the doorbells, too. We can see and talk to a visitor or delivery person from the first floor and from the second floor. We can open the gate from both floors. We can also talk to the first floor from the second floor using the intercom.

The long slot under the name plate is the mailbox.

This is the mailbox on the inside of the gate. We lift the door to get the mail. The button next to the mailbox opens the gate from the inside. There is also a latch on the inside of the gate.

A Gate in the Neighborhood

Here is a wooden gate in our neighborhood. On the left is a gate for their driveway. Click on the picture to see the detail of the wall. It looks like a temple wall.

May 20, 2007

Our Old Wooden Gate

Now you can see why we got a new gate. It was rotting and it was hard to slide open. Sometimes it wouldn't slide. That was confusing for delivery people. There was no doorbell on it so they had to shout at us to come open it. Sometimes it wouldn't open so packages had to be delivered over the top. Once, it even fell off its runner when the postman tried to open it. The gate door fell off the frame into the garden. That was more than confusing!

Our old gate was nothing fancy, but it had a nice sound when you could slide it open. The door itself sounded nice and then Jiji bought a bell to put on it so we knew when someone entered. It took a while to get used to the bell, but then we missed it when it was gone. We miss the old gate. We miss Jiji, too.

May 19, 2007

Wrapped Tree

This is an old tatami mat wrapped around a tree. Tatami or woven straw mats are used for flooring. The green silk "ribbon" was the border around the mat when it was on the floor. Straw mats are sold for garden purposes, but this farmer is recycling an old tatami mat.

I posted a picture last year of another tree with a garden mat around it. The farmers are trying to catch bugs. They will dispose of or burn the mat.

May 18, 2007

What Will This Be?

It's blooming. But, what kind of plant is it?

There is a field of them behind our house.


This is our new rose bush. Its name is Majorika. It is a hybrid rose from Germany. We bought it in the fall at Jindai Botanical Garden, but have not planted it in the ground yet. So far, there have only been three blooms.

This is honeysuckle. It is growing in a pot with a frame. When I was growing up in Texas, we had this growing on our chain link fence all around our backyard. Grandaddy, my dad, also has this memory from his childhood. Its name is Japanese honeysuckle.

This rose rambles all across the corner of our wall.

Corn Protection

This season, the farmer has tried something new. He put a net over the plastic so it wouldn't blow off. It worked.

He then had to take it off so he could punch holes for the corn to grow through. Check the labels below or do a blog search to see what he did in the past and why he changed it.

May 17, 2007

Charcoal Air Freshener

This air freshener has a liquid made of charcoal in the bottom. A wick absorbs the liquid and emits a scent through the top. There was also an unscented one available.

The instructions are written on the back. There are also pictures to show you what to do to set it up. Many products and manuals have pictures to show you what to do and what not to do.

There were also pictures to show that you can put it in the living room, entry hall, and bedroom. Note the kind of bed that is pictured. It's what Big Sister and Little Brother used to call an "up bed".