Saturday, January 19, 2013

February 5, 1954 Painting, Flower Arranging, Entertaining and A Phone for the Row

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"The last time I wrote you we were getting ready for company.  The people are missionaries who served in China and are very interesting.  They have three children and Bob especially likes the little girl who is his age and the boy that is about 10,  I guess.  We didn't get to visit too long after supper because their children go to a Japanese Sunday School and a teacher comes to their house every Sat. night to go over the hymns and lesson for the next day.  The boy came back to play right after Sunday School and had his little song book and Bible all in Japanese.

One morning I went with a group of women to see a Japanese house that had been made over for Western living.  The woman who owns the house is part Chinese and her husband is English.  The house was lovely but not really unusual.  She had many lovely Japanese things--lamps of bamboo, lamp shades made of lanterns--and things like that but it was very much like any modern American home.  The colors were very bright--red carpets, and it was interesting that the Japanese women did not care for the house.  One of them told me her taste was Chinese but did not actually say she didn't like it.

My painting lessons are coming along fine.  It is certainly lots of fun.  Our last two lessons have been camellias and plum blossoms.  I have been invited to join a flower arrangement class and want to go very much.

Image from Flower Arrangements of the OHARA SCHOOL

The time is a little inconvenient but I think I'll try it and see how it works out.

Last Saturday we had more Fulbright people here all day.  One is an "old maid" from Washington state and then we had the family from Kobe College which is very near here.  We had a good time and almost talked ourselves down.  We all have about the same problems and it is interesting to talk about our experiences.  Miss Kessler, the single woman, lives with a wealthy Japanese family in a fine home.  She is supposed to eat with them but she says they don't eat much.  The woman dresses beautifully, takes all sorts of private lessons and belongs to all sorts of clubs.  Food is simply unimportant to them. 

Last Sunday we waited all day for Bob Shelton to come.  He is B's cousin, Marjorie's son.  He has been here in Japan for the Food and Drug Dept. to inspect the clam industry.  It seems that the U.S. would not import Japanese clams because they were not packed under proper conditions.  The exporters then asked for help from the U.S. to improve their standards.  Bob was part of the team the U.S. sent out here.  He works all over Japan and was going to be in Kyoto for two days.  He hoped to come to see us while he was there but didn't get here.  Every minute of his time was probably planned and he couldn't get away.

Image from a children's Book of Flowers

We have a telephone.  Our number is Nigawa 476.  The missionaries have tried for two years to get a phone in one of these ten houses.  Suddenly the phone company sends word they can have two and since our house is in the middle of the row it was selected to get one of them.  It took nine men to install it.  Don't ask me what they did but they swarmed like bees around here for a little while.  Lunchtime came and they all sat down in the sun with their little tin boxes of rice and asked for tea.  The workmen always ask for tea when they come to do anything.

I took cookies and went with the missionaries to the Rest & Recreation program at the church one night.  About 130 servicemen came and they enjoyed every minute of it.  They started out with a prayer and then sang songs the boys selected.  It was like a revival.  The songs they chose were the old favorites--Old Rugged Cross, Little Brown Church in the Dale and such.  This went on and on.  Then they had a short talk by a minister and a science movie put out by Moody Bible Institute.  After their cookies and coffee they played games.  Some of the boys were off a hospital ship that had just docked in Kobe, others are stationed near Kobe and others are on relief from Korea and have to go back.

The Women's Club had a good program this week.  It was about Japanese products that foreigners could use.  One of the Kobe department stores furnished articles to be shown.  They had a living room all furnished with Japanese furniture and it really was pretty.  Then they had food cooking utensils, knitting machines, fabrics and I don't remember what else.  It was interesting as well as helpful.

This has been our week for mail.  We've had a lot of letters.  I was just bragging about being caught up on my correspondence but we are always happy to have letters.  Bessie wrote that Roger was on his way to Sasebo.  That is near Nagasaki and a long way from here.  It is on another island so he will have to have a good leave before he can come to see us.  I hope we do get to see him.

More neighborhood laundry

Everyone that wrote recently has seemed to think we are deep in snow.  Tokyo and Kyoto are but the ground here has been covered very lightly only once and it was gone long before noon.  Bobby said there wasn't even enough to make a snowball.  We have a few flakes every few days but it is so slight that we still hang the wash out to dry and it gets dry.  We are protected by the mountains and the warm ocean currents.  It is very cold in Tokyo now but not very cold here.

The last day of winter, Setsubun

Yesterday was the first day of spring by the old Japanese calendar.  Plum blossoms are out down the street so maybe it won't be long till spring."

           Love to you all,


NOTE:  The letter included the paper below with Bonnie's notation. 

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