Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kokeshi and Farmer Boy

Wooden Dolls
I have to buy a kokeshi wooden doll set for my son. It seems they are so kawaii that he can't live without them. The Moose thinks everything under the sun is cute. He sleeps with a penguin named Suica because it's "too kawaii." He sleeps with a flying squirrel named Kitaca which he forced-march the entire family to run down at the train station in Hokkaido because it is so kawaii. He asks me to take photos of things that he considers too cute. Some how my boy has the kawaii disease. His sister the Mule is more pragmatic. She told him, "Just go to the shop and take a picture. You don't need those dolls."
Hinamatsuri Kokeshi Set
The thing is these dolls are for Hinamatsuri the Doll's Day Festival here in Japan. It occurs in March just before the Moose's birthday and so he has come to associate the doll displays with his birthday. The shops are displaying them now; it's like a countdown reminder for him who keeps no time. He is also studying the Lego catalog daily like I used to study the Sear's Christmas catalog. His selections change daily.

As our time in Japan comes nearer to the end, we are thinking of souvenirs we want to have back at home. Doll displays are elaborate but the kokeshi set is small, easy to clean and store, and they are cute. With a Moose with a birthday so near, I don't think it's so strange for a boy to want them. I had bought the Moose a manly monk kokeshi, but he brought it into my room saying, "The Monk should be with the singing bowl and the candles Mama." And so now it is. The Mule reminded the Moose that with the doll's day set, "They have to be put away or you won't get married!" The Moose wasn't sure what to make of this thought but finally responded, "I know that!"
Monk kokeshi
A Book
At bedtime, the Mule asked me, "Can we buy some popcorn?" I laughed. We've been plodding not very steadily through the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. We get distracted with other story books and playing with Legos from time to time. After many months we are on the third book in the series, Farmer Boy. It introduces Laura's future husband Almanzo. The third chapter, "Winter Night," details a family evening and the popping of popcorn.

I was mesmerized by the endless supply of doughnuts and apple cider and that breakfast included apple pie as well as the chores done by a nine year old boy such as getting up at five in the morning to attend to the animals. If my kids got up at five in the morning to attend to farm work, we might have apple pie for breakfast too. Families were so self sufficient in making things then- bullets, ice houses, door frames, sleds, fabric, etc.

Ripping Stitches
I spent a fair amount of time ripping out stitches from my first bag. My limited visual spacial skills make piecing together lining and outside fabrics difficult. I sewed the fabric backwards, then I sewed the handle inside, and then I got it right. There is a reason I'm not an engineer, but I have willpower and this project was about staying with it. I still have to hand stitch up the hole where I flipped and pulled the fabric through, but having it done thus far is light years ahead of anything I've sewn on my own before. Give me a couple of sewing lessons and I think I'm some kind of couture seamstress, but don't look at my stitches!


  1. I'm sure you have sources - but you can get dried corn for popping at the Three Beans health food stall on the road parallel and east of Wakamiyaooji. We eat it regularly with movies...

  2. I know the shop, but I didn't notice the popcorn kernels. I got oranges for marmalade there, very good! Thank you!


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