Saturday, September 23, 2017

Centenarians in Japan

Monday was a national holiday in Japan - Respect for the Aged Day.  I love the holidays celebrated in Japan!  

There are now a record 67,824 centenarians in Japan, up by 2,132 from a year ago.  The Japanese welfare ministry says the growing numbers are due to greater health consciousness and medical advances.  When information on the number of centenarians in Japan was first collected in 1963, there were only 153.

Women now account for 87.9 percent of the total. Japan's oldest woman is Nabi Tajima, 117, living in Kagoshima Prefecture. Now she is also the oldest person in the world.  The oldest man in Japan is Masazo Nonaka, 112, living in Hokkaido Prefecture. Currently life expectancy for women in Japan is 87.14 years and 80.98 years for men.  

Previously, 100 year olds in Japan were given cups of pure silver by the Prime Minister, but last year the government decided to switch to silver-plated cups in order to save money. 

Is there a national holiday for the elderly where you live?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Nagasaki - Dejima

Dejima is the former Dutch trading post and now a nationally designated historical site.  I thought it was going to be a cheesy touristy place, but it was amazing. It was totally professional and historical and well worth the 510 yen admission price. When I'm on vacation (and all the time really) I try to get the most out of my day, so I was happy to find out this place opened at 8:00 am.  I was extremely pleased that all of the signage was in English as well as Japanese.  

In 1636, Dejima was contructed under the orders of the Tokugawa Shogunate.  The Portugese living in Nagasaki were originally housed there, but in 1639 Portugese ships were banned.  The Dutch trading post was moved to Dejima and it became the only trading port between Japan and Europe. In 1859, other ports in Japan opened to foreign trade and The Dutch East India Company Trading Post at Dejima closed. Restoration and reconstruction is continuing.

I especially liked seeing the second floor living quarters, an interesting mix of Japanese and non-Japanese.  I'm happy to learn more about the history of Japan.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2017

Amy at Amy's Creative Side, is once again hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Check out the link to see all the beautiful quilts!  My entry is my blue hexagon epp flower quilt.

It measures 72 inches by 81 inches, is hand pieced and hand quilted, and is my all time favorite quilt.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Work In Progress Wednesday - Midnight Mystery Quilt Progress

In 2015, the Midnight Mystery Quilt was offered by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs.  I kept up with the monthly instructions until November, when life got in the way, and I didn't finish the last three months.  This is one of my 17 in 2017 projects, so I got it out again to start working on, and hopefully finish.  

This was offered as a mystery quilt, so I didn't know what the finished quilt looked like. If I had it to do over again, I would not have mixed the fabrics. I asked Cheryl about making it a scrappy quilt so I could use fabrics I had.  She gave me advice about prints and directions to make it work.  Still, I think it would be better not to mix it up, now that I see some of the finished quilts.  

Too late now!  I have finished the November instructions and have the pieces stacked up and ready to go on to the December instructions.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Shimabara Castle

The day I left Kumamoto and took the ferry across to Shimabara was a dark rainy day.  My raincoat was getting a lot of use on this trip!  

Shimabara Castle was built by Matsukura Bungo-no-kami Shigemasa.  It took seven years to build and was completed in 1624.  The reconstructed five level castle is a local history museum and costs 540 yen to enter. There is an additional fee for parking, but you don't need to drive because it is just a five minute walk from the train station.  

At the top level is an observation area.  As I said, it was a dark rainy day.

In addition to the five level castle, there are two out buildings, one is a type of art museum and the other has old tools and machines, including an old sewing machine.  

It was an interesting place.