Thursday, February 18, 2021

Tokyo Olympics Museum, sukiyaki, February projects

February half way over, how can that even be possible?   Yesterday in the absolutely beautiful crisp sunshine I walked with a group of ladies to the Tokyo Olympics Museum.   You sign up ahead of time and there are strict social distancing measures.   The cost was 500 yen (about $5) and I must say, the museum was excellent - interactive, beautifully done, even quite moving.   It's so sad, COVID forcing the cancellation of this huge event for the city and for the world. 

So many thoughtfully presented details, like this infographic showing the participating countries by years (notice the gaps for 1916, 1980) 

Some of the wood used within the exhibits was from timber from trees planted by seed in Northern Japan around the 1964 Olympics.  Seeds from 44 countries.  How cool is that.  

The would-be Japanese team uniforms for 2020: 

Will the games go on, this summer?  That's the plan.... I hope so, for Tokyo's sake. 

Tokyo is gorgeous this time of year, with the fragrant plum blossoms on full display: 

And, honestly, the lack of crowds is pretty wonderful. 

Refreshing bamboo: 

I think I walked 3 1/2 hours total, and I was thoroughly wiped out and icing a sore knee last night, and it's worse today.  My walks are usually about 30 minutes long.  I'd like to build more stamina for walking.  I have this and that "complaint" I guess you could say and sometimes they add up to me having to be more sedentary or home bound than I would like.   

Lucky for me, David had planned dinner.  On Saturday night we'd had a fairly significant earthquake which really got our attention and prompted David to supplement our modest emergency gear with this tabletop gas burner which uses canned gas.  It is meant for indoor use and perfect for making sukiyaki at the table, which he did, and it was delicious!   Cabbage, spinach, mushrooms, tofu, carrot, leak, harusame (cellophane noodles), and thinly sliced beef bought that way at the grocery store.  The cooking liquid sauce is a mix of soy sauce, mirin, and dashi (broth).  We both eat steamed rice with it, and David adds a raw egg to his dish.

If you look up the old song "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto - a huge hit in the U.S. in 1963 - it's about a lonely man walking along, looking up and whistling, so that his tears won't fall.   The song has zero to do with actual sukiyaki.  It would be like naming a sweet sad love song, "beef stew."  lol.   They just named it that for a foreign audience.  
 It's such a catchy sweet song, very soulful.  You will love it and actually you may find that you recognize it.  

Oh ya, quilting.  I've just been slow and steady, working on various blocks.  

Project #1:.  I just love the slow and steady pace of Poppy's Polka Dot Garden from Sentimental Stitches.  Around the first of each month, I download the free patterns, stroll on over to my local 7-11 where I print them out.  Here are the latest - with one of the blocks vastly simplified and sashiko added to another. 

Project #2:  Barbara Brackman's Hands All Around BOM on Civil War Quilts.  Second Wednesdays of each month.  

I'm using indigo and Japanese tenugui - and popping some red into many of the blocks.  I'm making two of each, 12" blocks.  I'm not being perfectionistic.  Here are my blocks so far, two of each:  

I will alternate the blocks with a whole variety of blue and white tenugui which I have been collecting for some time. 

Project #3:  This darn Liberty Hexies quilt.  One more row of eight random hexie flowers to piece and attach.  I wish I could wave a magic wand and rearrange some individual hexies,  add more darks, add more punch, but, at this point I just want to get it done.   I'm trusting that I will end up loving it once it's quilted, for practical use and folded up over a chair.  

Project #4:  one of the Christmas quilts, stay tuned. 

If you are experiencing extreme weather my heart goes out to you!  Our daughter Kaela's family in Texas have been dealing with this for days - days of no hot water (frozen pipes surely), grocery stores closed, leaking roof, etc.   But we are SO THANKFUL they haven't lost electricity.  Tommy and his girlfriend are visiting them and their flight back to Utah has been canceled twice.  All we can do is advise and encourage over FaceTime.  

Charlotte is none the wiser and so cute waking up!  Kaela: "look Mom, Charlotte is finally old enough to sleep with her quilt in the crib!"  Melt my heart! 

xo gratefully - 


p.s.  Tommy sent this shot of Charlotte (this quilt is one of my Stars in a Time Warp quilts, now being used/stored in "our" bedroom at Kaela's house).  Oh my goodness I just long to see her again. 


  1. Lovely tenugui prints--that will be such an interesting piece with those fabrics...
    Charlotte is so adorable--thankfully she is unaware of the horrible conditions there...our hearts go out to them ...
    hugs, Julierose

  2. There are so many things to admire and enjoy in your post today. Charlotte with her own quilt is so sweet. Your quilt blocks are intriguing, and I can't wait to see how they look with the beautiful dark blue fabrics.

  3. so glad that your family in Texas are doing ok and that you were ok from the earthquake. Such a cute baby! and like the quilt on the bed - the Japanese meal on the table looks so good

  4. I do remember the Sukiyaki song but I never had any idea what it was about--lol! Your sukiyaki looks delicious. Tokyo looks so beautiful right now--much nicer than our never ending snow!

  5. With snow falling nearly daily it was so nice to see your blooming trees and realize spring will come - eventually! I'm loving your indigo and tenegui star blocks, imagining the soft quilt they will become. Your "darn hexies" look softly muted and inviting, guessing they will go with almost any color chair you place the quilt on. Baby Charlotte, so adorable! Even many of us state-side are feeling the loss of precious time with grandchildren, my son and DIL don't want us to visit until at least late spring hoping the incidence of illness will subside by then. I can't even fathom the misery of those confined in nursing homes who haven't seen any of their kin since early last year. This enforced isolation "unsocial distancing" has been a most unnatural way of living.

  6. I love the glimpses into your life there in Japan. I hope the Olympics can happen, as well.
    You have great projects to keep you busy. I saw your stars on Barbara's Facebook group. :)
    Oh, Charlotte melts my heart, and she isn't even mine!

  7. It is so wonderful to see how your life is in Japan and how you have integrated it into your daily lives and especially your quilts.

  8. What a lovely post! Some day I want to see Japan in the spring- lucky you!! I'm really missing flowering plants as it's still the dead of winter here. Your projects are looking great; I especially like the blue stars - great fabrics!! I miss my grandkids too but am hopeful the vaccine will allow visiting soon.

  9. Wonderful, happy, inspiring post..xo

  10. Wow! So much has happened there is no surprise time has flown.
    The museum looks great, I wish the OS will be held and all the people who have put so much work into things that go around the games.
    Every time there is a larger earth tremor we restock our emergency food supply, check on batteries - and I will suggest cooking sukiyaki, too!
    Your quilts show how versatile you are. You make good use of the prints of tenugi, the hexagons' pastel colours give the new quilt an instant 'faded and much loved' look - people will think it has been in the family for ages.
    My heart goes out to Texas and other areas where winter has hit hard. It is lucky your daughter has her own Sunshine at home. Charlotte's sunny smile might fade the quilts, though!

  11. Beautiful trees in bloom, sorry they didn't get to have the Olympics there last year. I started humming that song once you mentioned it. Thank you for the "translation" of its meaning. Love the indigo fabrics you have, especially the little fishies!

  12. Oh yes Cynthia, I remember that song, so heartfelt and emotional. The singer had such a beautiful, expressive voice. Of course he could have singing about changing the car oil, for all we knew, lol! David’s sukiyaki looks delicious, so fresh and healthy. My heart goes out to your kids and everyone else suffering through this winter (including Julie K). Your star quilt is looking amazing, and so uniquely you. A suggestion about the hexie quilt (which I think is lovely) when you’re finished, put it away for a year. When you finally pull it out again and look at it with fresh eyes, you will love it.

  13. What an interesting museum, Cynthia. The circular infographic reminds me of a tree trunk, though I admit, I wasn't sure how to read it.
    The plum blossoms are beautiful. Japan's spring must come earlier than Ohio's. I love how they've created support for the bamboo along the walkway. What great shade it creates. One of my treasured memories is the sound of bamboo canes clacking together when the wind blew when we were living in El Salvador.
    Interesting info about sukiyaki. Oh, to have had Google Translate in the 1970s.
    You've got some great quilts in progress.
    Charlotte certainly is a cutie!

  14. My heart aches for you when I see such adorable photos of sweet Charlotte. We are so lucky to have our babies nearby. I feel so sorry for all the people in Texas and the rest of the south who are not prepared for these crazy weather conditions. Spring will be here soon!!! I am usually sleep deprived for 2 weeks in February when it is an Olympic year. So sad and such a huge loss for Tokyo. I do hope the summer games will be held, but again, I'm sure with so many restrictions it will not look the same. I'm glad you are able to get out for walks (perhaps more moderate next time- wink) and I am happy to see you have so many projects to keep you busy. You may have inspired me to start Poppy's Polka Dot Garden. I love your blocks. I have printed them out but haven't made one yet. I'm having trouble keeping up with what I have going right not. So sweet to see Charlotte with her quilt. Funny how we didn't know about keeping quilts and blankets away from babies. How lucky we were that nothing went wrong. And, I for one just love the way the hexie quilt is looking right now. It reminds me of all those gorgeous soft quilts being made in Australia. such a sweet look.

  15. The plum tree pictures make me wish for "smell-o-vision"! Sukiyaki looks delicious - lucky you to have a meal waiting after a long day! We've been following all the craziness in Texas, as our youngest son lives in Dallas. He's been fortunate to not lose power, but pipes burst in his apartment building and created havoc. Your tenugui fabrics are amazing - great idea to include them in the BOM. Take care and be good to yourself!

  16. You have really been keeping busy! Yes... what is going to happen with the Olympics this year? There have been so many problems with it even from the start...

    Charlotte is beautiful! I know how you feel! We really do miss out not holding our loved ones... I never dreamed there would be a day when I couldn't just jump on an airplane and visit or help or just pour out love...

    Tokyo's plum trees are way ahead of ours! No buds yet here!

  17. What a wonderful post today! I feel as if we have had a visit. I am a big Olympic fan. I have made 3 Olympic quilts. Thank you for sharing your visit to the museum i love the year display of participating countries.
    The plum blossoms are so delicate and pretty.
    Your meal looks delicious and right out of a restaurant.
    Charlotte is so sweet! I love seeing her with your quilts. Joy.
    I highly recommend Salonpas for your knee.

  18. Thanks for taking us with you to the Olympic Park and museum. There are so many thing that have happened during this Covid 19 time that have caused people to spend a lot of money for naught. I really hope things will be safe enough for the Olympics to really happen next summer. The Sukiyaki is so pretty with the stars cut into the mushrooms. I love the fabrics you have chosen for the Hands All Around blocks. They are just so classy. Little Charlotte is adorable.


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