April 30, 2008

Street Cones with Lights

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Is that what they are called? I have never seen them with lights. These lights will probably be put in cones in the evening.

April 29, 2008

Keiko Okamoto

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Big Sister and I went to Keiko Okamoto's exhibition today. It was in a nice location. The gallery and a coffee shop was in an old house. Her artwork was very nice and the story was interesting. It would be a great picture book!

Station Library

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I had never seen anything like this before! We saw this library of books in a train station. As you wait for your train, you can read a book. You can't take it with you. You have to put it back before you run to your train!

April 22, 2008

Every Day is Earth Day!

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There is always something blooming in our neighborhood. The dogwood is blooming now. This is the view from our roof garden.

April 21, 2008

HTJ's Anniversary And I Found a Pink Phone!!!

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Here and There Japan is two years old! I was hoping to have a new look before this anniversary, but maybe it will happen soon. There's much more to come.

My first post was about Ethel, our turtle. She passed away recently. After her funeral at Jindai pet cemetery near Jindaiji temple, Papa and I stopped into a coffee shop. There, on the counter, was a pink phone! I posted public telephones a long time ago. I haven't seen a pink phone for a long time and have never photographed one. I got permission to take this picture.

Pink phones are for local calls. They used to be found in restaurants, some shops, doctor's offices, etc. They are hard to find these days.

April 18, 2008

Keiko Okamoto's Exhibition "Let's Wear A Kimono"

“Let’s Wear a Kimono” – A Book from Twelve-year Holiday Cards by Keiko Okamoto, a member of SCBWI (Society of Children book Writers and Illustrators) Tokyo.

Keiko Okamoto wrote to me saying, "This is a story about the Japanese zodiac animals preparing their favorite kimonos for the coming New Year. The show will be held in English because the story was originally made for English-speaking people who showed interest in my illustrations."

The gallery is a renovated living room of a 77-year-old Japanese house standing in a traditional area of Ya-Ne-Sen (Yanaka, Nezu, & Sendagi.) The building and the neighborhood often appear in Kimono magazines. The visitors of the gallery can also enjoy the atmosphere of a retrospective Japanese town. Nezu Jinja Shrine will have the Tsutsuji Matsuri Festival and the shopping area will have the Furu Hon Antique Book Fair at the time of the exhibition.

Here's the information:

"Let's Wear a Kimono" - A Book from Twelve-year Holiday Cards
Date: Apr. 24, 2008 - Apr. 29, 2008
Time: 10:00-18:00 (Fir. 11:00-19:00)
At: Gallery Aizome
Map: www.d4.dion.ne.jp/~keiko_o
Direction: Ex. 2 at Nezu Station on Chiyoda line
Take a small path between two Dry Cleaners
Three blocks on the left,
A house with a black wall

Keiko Okamoto

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April 17, 2008

Ethel's Funeral

We took Ethel, our turtle, to the pet cemetery at Jindaiji Temple on the 17th. It was a rainy day. It was not a good day to take pictures. Anyway, Papa said we shouldn't take pictures--at a funeral!! I am posting this picture of azaleas because there is an azalea festival at the Jindai Botanical Gardens. There were lanterns and banners advertising it everywhere.

Little Brother and Big Sister were at school. Papa had the day off so we went by car. I held Ethel's coffin on my lap. I couldn't find a box at home, so I had gone to the 100 yen shop and bought a small cardboard box.

We parked the car and had to climb stone stairs to the pet cemetery. We stopped at a small office at the cemetery to pay the fee for the cremation. It was 9000 yen. We filled out a form with her name and age. It will be placed in a book and displayed for two years.

The attendant escorted us to the crematorium. I was asked to put Ethel's box on a table. The attendant there asked me to open the box. He asked about her. We had a nice short conversation about her. I told him she was 19 years old. He was impressed.

He then asked me to place the box on the small altar next to the table. He lit the two small candles there and stepped aside. Papa and I each lit incense in the flame of one of the candles and placed it in a holder. We then prayed for Ethel. The attendant thanked us. We thanked him. As we walked away, I turned to look. The attendant stood before the altar where Ethel lay. He bowed to her and prayed for her. I was impressed.

P.S. Ethel's remains will be placed in a box with other small animals. It is in a room full of shelves of small urns. (It costs a lot more to have an individual urn and shelf.) Ethel's remains will be with Poppy's remains, our golden hamster. Poppy passed away five years ago. She was two years old. Her funeral was similar to Ethel's, but Big Sister and Little Brother were there.

It is sad when a pet dies.
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April 15, 2008

In Memoriam

Ethel, our 19 year old turtle, passed away. We will take her to the temple on Thursday to be cremated.
I will write more about her then, but check the labels below.
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April 14, 2008

Four Kinds of Oranges

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Great Aunt (Baba's sister) from Nagasaki sent us four kinds of oranges. Baba wasn't sure of the names of the oranges so I'm not posting all of them. The biggest one is called natsumikan. The one on top that is peeled is a natsumikan. In my opinion, it's kinda tough. At least the ones I've eaten are tough and not juicy. They are not my favorite, but Little Brother and Big Sister love them!

April 12, 2008

Martha Hamilton & Mitch Weiss

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What's this all about? They're telling a story! Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss, Beauty and The Beast Storytellers, came to Japan to visit international schools. They travel around the world telling stories and teaching children and teachers how to tell stories. They were great! They have also written many books, too. Check the post below.

Books by Martha Hamilton & Mitch Weiss

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Sorry about the glare!

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Check out Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss's website Beauty and the Beast Storytellers and their publisher, August House. They have lots of stories to tell!

Holly Thompson & Mitch Weiss

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Here's our SCBWI Tokyo advisor, Holly Thompson, with Mitch Weiss. Holly Thompson does a great job for our SCBWI chapter. She travels all the way from Yokohama to Shibuya* with all this stuff! The bag on top has a projector in it. Mitch Weiss and Martha Hamilton had a documentary about their storytelling program to show us.

*that's where the Hachiko statue is

April 10, 2008

New Bakery in the Neighborhood

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When I was returning from the grocery store, I saw a man walking around with a long loaf of bread under his arm. Much later in the day, he rang our bell and gave us a loaf. It was much longer than this (on the left). Baba answered the door and took her share of the loaf first! I had already bought bread at the store. The loaf on the right is the usual size available in shops. Loaves of bread come in 6 or 8 slices. We now have a lot of bread!

Bakeries come and go in this neighborhood. I hope this one stays. I hope they sell smaller loaves, too. We're not used to eating bread everyday.

April 08, 2008

Jr. High Opening Ceremony

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Little Brother had his opening ceremony for junior high. It was a cold and rainy day so I wasn't able to get pictures outside. This is the stage. Each crane is made of origami cranes.

The 8th graders sang several songs. They were great! There were also speeches by the principal and PTA. There are five classes of seventh graders. Teachers read their class rosters and the students stood up one by one. The classes have about 30 students each.

April 06, 2008

Working in Tokyo Fields (Behind Our House)

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Click to enlarge.

April 04, 2008

Falling Blossoms

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Little Brother is going to a hanami, cherry blossoom viewing picnic, this weekend. The sakura trees in our neighborhood have already bloomed and the blossoms are now falling. The trees are not as full as they were, but there are still blossoms on the trees. Falling cherry blossoms are nice, too.

April 01, 2008

Graduation Present

Little Brother wanted to go to Disneyland for his graduation present. The school year doesn't start until the 7th. Papa has a day off during the week so we planned to go today. On April Fool's.

The parking lot was almost empty so we thought we had the park to ourselves. Closer to the entrance, we saw several big tour buses. The park was crowded! We were fooled!

We had a good time, though. Some of the rides had waiting lines for over two hours! We got to ride a lot during the last two hours before it closed. It closed at ten, but a lot of people left early. It did get a little cold!

As you can probably figure out by the ticket price (convert yen to your currency), it was expensive!
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