Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Japan and me and bit of fabric and 52 book challenge in 52 weeks

It's funny the childhood things that influence our adult lives, the twists and turns. My bestie friend, my book crossing friend, Liz won't I'm sure mind if I share something of her with you. Well, Liz if you do, email me and I'll edit and delete or xxxx out bits.

 Liz's dad, the lovely Mr W traveled a lot for his job. Not the way my dad traveled or my husband travels, but proper traveling. Mr W was a traveler and his favourite place was Japan. When he was home he tried enthusiastically to tell Liz, and me, as her tag a long friend, all about Japan. He wanted to show us photos, tell us about the buildings, the countryside, the culture, the lovely people and the technology. Yes, the technology. We were of course interested in the "not an original artist" LPs he brought home (long playing records in old money). Other than that we ran off to further discuss the delights of Edwin in the church choir and whether he smiled at us last week. We were good friends, we were happy to share Edwin.

Now of course, I find myself drawn to Japan and wish I had listened better, or even at all. I don't understand all the new technology but I get excited to see the apple watch, the new tiny lap top as much as the next non geeky geek. I am interested in the culture, the countryside, the architecture and the fabric.

Out of the blue, my son's partner got me a brilliant Christmas present, a gift that keeps on giving. A year's subscription to the Japanese swatch club from The Eternal Maker. Every month six 5" block fabric squares arrive on my doorstep. Over the year that's oh, 6 x 12 which is 72 squares, Some are intrinsically Japanese to me, the little animals, the architecture, the style and some just happen to be from Japan. So far I have stroked and petted and admired. At the end of the year I will sew.

Tomomi from Slaney Handcraft included a lovely little Japanese bag with her bee squares for me last year. It is a lovely bit of zakka, a household bag designed to be beautiful as well as functional. Rather like William Morris in thinking. Of course then I rushed to buy a book of Zakka sewing.

I took part in a private swap with Celine, of espiritpatchblog with couple of hand pieced book blocks. Celine preferred Japanese kokka fabric.  After googling it I decided I wanted kokka too. I need to make a few more, but these will make a lovely mini quilt. Some day.

So, I wasn't surprised when drawn to the translated Japanese novel, Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami. I don't generally read translated novels. That doesn't mean I read them in their original language either! I find the translations often clunky and that annoys me. I did like the picture on the front though.

 Tsukiko is in her mid 30s, single and lonely in Tokyo. One night she sits beside an elderly man, her former high school teacher. She refers to him as Sensei, Japanese for teacher. Thus begins a friendship, building slowly, around food and drink. It is a lovely story. Two lonely people who begin to find each other, to quote a cliche. But the books is not a cliche. Its just a lovely love story. Then of course, I thought of my own teachers. Strangely Sensei put me in mind of my German teacher. The same vulnerability and layer of loneliness behind the facade. I could see how we could have a meeting of minds as two adults, but a love affair? No. Never. I'll lend it you next week Liz, and see what you think.

Doesn't my book look sweet next to the little cup that was peeking out of the charity shop window in Oxford? It may be a present for a certain friend. I'm sure she won't mind me using it as a prop.

The new bloggers hop is taking a two week break. Chance for me to check out some of the other blogs. You should have a look too.

All the best

linking up with 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. By now I should have read 26 books. Weather is waaay too hot to count.


  1. The book blocks are really nice and seem to really encapsulate your love of reading and quilting! :)

  2. Lucky you getting all those lovely Japanese fabrics. In the town next to ours there is a business that imports Japanese fabrics. So many of the fabrics are really beautiful. It's quite tempting.

  3. I have completely forgotten what I did last year. Thank you for reminding me. That novel is so Japanese. Fantasised love story. I used to read foreigne novels in Japanes. I never liked Japanese novels I don't know why...

  4. Of course I don't mind! Just a bit worried that a) Edwin or b) Mr F might have taken up quilting and read your blog! Look forward to the book xx

  5. Thank you for sharing your unusual fabrics and books - it's very interesting reading about your cross cultural experiences.

  6. Beautiful Japanese fabrics...such a lovely gift.

  7. What a cool and thoughtful gift. I've now added this book to my never-ending list of books to read, which is about as long as my quilts to make list. I've read several translations and loved them, let's see...The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo series, the Kurt Wallander series, and my latest love, the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbø.

  8. The book blocks are very cute. I think they are unofficially on my quilting "bucket list". I have the pattern copied, but there are a lot of things ahead in the queue. :-)


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