Monday, December 3, 2012

November 13, 1953 The Letter, The Flowers, The Culture Day, The Rice Harvest and The Beautiful Moon

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"The last few days have given us our first taste of winter weather.  Actually it isn't terribly cold but with no central heating the house seems awfully cold.  We have kept our heaters on and the fireplace going and stay quite comfortable.  The halls are cold, though.  In spite of the cold we have crocuses and camellias blooming in the yard.

The river is just down the hill and now it is dry so it is just a big bed of sand.  The children love to go there and dig in the sand so we have been taking them there to play on pretty days.  The Japanese children always come to play with them.  They love to play in the sand too and you see them all up and down the river no matter how cold it is.  Before the water dried up they played in that too.  They stop on their way home from school.  One day we watched some little boys wading around.  It had been raining that morning and one boy had worn rubber boots.  He had taken them off and was using them for buckets to fill a hole he had dug in the sand.  The children play just like American kids.  Remember how Charlotte used to buzz her little cars so much?  The Japanese children play like their shoes are cars and buzz them along as if they had wheels.

November 3 is a national holiday known as Culture Day.  There are celebrations everywhere.  We spent almost all day at school seeing the athletic events.  It was sort of a school carnival affair with stands selling things.  Then there were all sorts of races and games--even a parade.

B took a lot of pictures and we had our picture taken all day.  Cameras clicked wherever we went.  Every Japanese family has a camera and they use them.  I've never seen so many cameras and so much picture taking.

The weekly prayer meeting met at our house last week and B talked on schools in America.  We had a big crowd and they seemed interested.

My friend next door took me to Kyoto in her car to a silk mill.  They were having a sale so we went and had the best time.  You can see so much more from a car than from the train that when we get in a car we wish we had one here too.

I didn't buy much silk and have been sorry for it was real cheap.  I got enough for a blouse and a piece of pink for Ann and me a dress alike.  We went to the Damascene factory and saw the men working in a tiny little workroom.  Damascene is gold and silver designs inlaid in a black steel background and is used for jewelry, compacts and trinkets.  Then we saw men doing block prints--making pictures and greeting cards.  This is all hand work and such delicate work.

The farmers are still harvesting rice.  Sometimes they lay bundles of it on the highway for the cars to drive over and that threshes out the grain.  Those fields that were flooded by the typhoon are ruined.  The rice is being piled up and burned.  It is useless after all the hard work.

Bobby and Jimmy are back in school and today both seem as happy as can be.  Jimmy's arm was completely well and not even stiff when they took the cast off.  The doctor couldn't believe it.

Teruko-san is a graduate of a sewing school and all my neighbors keep telling me what a wonderful seamstress she is.  So I got a piece of material for a silk suit and she is working on that for me.  I picked out a picture and showed it to her.  She measured me and then drew the pattern out on newspaper.  I'm anxious to see how it turns out.

Some army people came to see us last Sunday.  The woman is a sister of one of my friends in Normal.  We met at Women's Club and she was so nice but the army is sending them home now.

B and Bobby have put on their long underwear.  We had a lot of fun about it but they sure look good and warm.  The schools have no heat in them so the students and teachers just put on more clothes.

We had our neighbors next door here for supper last night and had a nice time.  We haven't been doing so much lately.  I guess we're getting ready for next week.  A Fulbright family we know in Tokyo is coming Monday to stay until Thurs. and then we go to Shikoku on Friday.  Next week will be a busy one.

We are hoping for nice weather this week-end.  Sunday is a festival day for children and we want to get some pictures if we can.  Then we want to see a mum show.  There are two famous ones near here but it is hard to get there by train and it's our only way.  The mum is Japan's national flower and they have developed some beautiful ones. 

I am so happy you could go back to church.  Don't do too much at once. I want you both to be fit as fiddles when we come home.

I wonder if your moon in Richland is as beautiful as the one here tonight?  The Japanese have moon viewing parties--just looking at the moon and eating.  The nights are beautiful here.  It is getting late so I must say goodnight.

Tell Charlotte and Mabel Ann Happy Birthday.  They both have Nov. birthdays.  Would you send me the list of ingredients and amounts for chiffon cake?  I can remember how to mix it but am not sure of the amounts.

You can write on both sides of those forms.  It tells you on them where you can write.  (B says they don't tell but you can write on the flaps.)"

                         Love to you both,


Camellias in the yard
NOTE:  Rice cultivation was a very labor intensive process, almost every small farm grew rice and each farmer harvested his own field.  At harvest time the rice was hung to dry in rows, winnowed (removal of the chaff) by hand, raked and dried in the farmyard and then hulled at a mill.


  1. Aren't the Camellias just beautiful especially the stripey pink one in the first photo.

  2. Hi Merryl! Nice to hear from you! Yes, they are lovely. Where I live, almost nothing blooms in November! Mom loved all of the flowers from the most humble wildflower to the magnificent camellias and azaleas.

  3. An excellent history and great photos too.

    1. Thank you, windmill! I'm delighted that you enjoyed the post and hope you found something of interest. Thanks again, much appreciated!

  4. Really like the photos Ms. Ann... Seeing the Japanese gentlemen playing baseball was unique for me... Just don't think about any other countries having any interest in playing it.
    Seems to me we should be having Moon parties here... I already watch the skies and the moon at night... Really don't think folks are that laid back anymore just too busy. Bet your boyfriends a few years back were real interested in watching the Moon... LoL Ahhh those were the days... Well that is Nuff time travel for me today...
    Thanks again for sharing your families treasures. Keep smiling ...

    1. Hi Thex! I'm so glad that you liked the pictures from so long ago! The Japanese love baseball and have produced some great players. It's a big deal there like it is here! The moon is an amazing thing isn't it, and you are so right that we don't take enough time to enjoy such things nearly enough. I like your idea and agree that another reason to have a party is a good thing to keep everyone smiling! Thanks so much for writing. I appreciate it more than you know.

  5. Amazing photos Ann and a great read, thank you!

    1. Thank you, Pam! I'm amazed at the staying power of Kodachrome.

  6. I have to agree, Amazing photo's and a great read. So pleased that you are sharing them with us.
    And just want to say, that not only did my hometown "Little League" baseball team win the national title, they lost the world title to ...The Japanese. So yes, over there it is still quite a big deal. : )
    Guess we can teach that old dog Thex Dar new Tricks. : )

    1. Hi Margaret and thank you so much for writing! I noticed the share in the Conversation community but couldn't comment for some reason, but I thank you for that as well. The letters from Japan are my favorites so I hope people will search and find them. I only wish it wasn't such a cumbersome task to do so!

      Maybe your Little League will rise again and maybe we will teach our old dog Thex a new trick or two!


I welcome your comments!