December 23, 2012
Christmas is almost here. Kyoto celebrates the holiday by tying it with the previous Emperor's birthday. I do not know why. I suspect it is a coincidence, however. One could make something of this if they were of a combative mind, I suppose.
Anyway, for sure there are Christmas songs drifting into our ears from everywhere downtown. Department stores, smaller shops, covered sidewalks, everywhere Rudolph the Red is leading shoppers into purveyors of some nice and useful gifts. Tomorrow is my last chance to get Kimiko something. We will go out in the evening to eat our Christmas meal, which will be vegetarian for her, probably fish or chicken for me. No lamb in Japan. So I have to have some neat and useful gift by then. What will it be? Kimiko has just about everything she needs. Well, will have to see what Rudolph suggests.


New Year's cards

December 16, 2012
Today in Kyoto was almost spring like. No need to wear a jacket in the afternoon. The sun was bright, the air rather warm, I didn't feel like going into my studio, so I found some things to do outdoors, repositioning my bicycle parking place; attaching a small clock to my motorbike's windshield, etc. Any task to keep me in the sun. 
However, there was work to do inside, so up to the studio I eventually went. At this time of the year, most people are preparing for the year-end activities. Included in these is the making of the New Year's card. The blank card is issued by the post office. It has lottery numbers on the address side (the winners get stamps or a folding bicycle or some other postal things). Historically, everyone carved wooden blocks and printed their cards, the once-a-year woodblock printing endeavor. But with modern technology, the easy home-version silk-screen unit has become popular; few families now carve and print their cards, especially if their mailing list is in the hundreds. But, this family is a woodblock family, so we send out hand printed cards every year. Today's studio task was to complete the printing begun last week. 
We usually mail out a little over 300 New Year's cards. But this year we are limiting the number to 200 or so. For holiday greetings to be sent overseas. I print on hand-made paper, not the post office card stock. Three colors on three separate blocks so that I and two students can print at the same time, thereby saving a great deal of time. Today, I only needed to print about 8 sheets of paper to send overseas, so I did everything by myself. 

The snake in the Orient is not Eve's snake, tho they are related naturally. Next year's snake will bring in only goodness for us all, or so we all are thinking. 
The white space above the colors is for us to write personal messages. 
So, now, I will write a personal message for you and the 19,391,019 others who can read this blog on their PCs.