Monday, March 18, 2013

May 13 - 14, 1954 Sewing, Baking, The Shrine in the Market, Out the Windows in a Rowboat and A May Letter

Diary Entry:  May 13, 1954

"Stayed home & sewed."

Diary Entry:  May 14, 1954

"Jane Teele and I spent a rainy day in Osaka.  Home in time for B to go to church supper.  Baked cake for bazaar.  Letter home."

May 14, 1954

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"It's a little late and a little early but I want to wish you a happy Mother's Day, Mother, and Daddy a happy Dad's Day for as B mentioned in his letter last week we have ordered you a tea set as a present for you. I think the pattern is lovely and will go nicely with your Haviland.  It is pink cherry blossoms with one blue bird which is a bluejay, I suppose. 

It is all hand painted to order and will take about a month to be done.  Then we go look at it to see that it is like I want.  It will come by sea so will get there about the time we arrive or shortly before.  It is good porcelain and will not break easily so I want you to use it and enjoy it. 

The children are asleep, B has gone to a men's fellowship meeting at the church, and I am baking a cake for the church bazaar tomorrow.  Although we don't go to church we seem to get roped into church affairs and contributions all of the time and that is all right for the missionaries have been so good to us.  The ones next door left for America on Tuesday so they were here for supper on Monday night.  They plan to come to see us next spring in Normal. Another family here expects to be in Chicago next year and hopes to see us.

We are really enjoying the huge strawberries we get here.  The little market where we buy them has a little shrine stuck in a far corner as many of the shops have.  It is always a noisy place with people all around and the usual noises of a busy market where there are many shops of all sorts. The other day when I was there I kept hearing a weird low noise and finally noticed an old woman standing before the little shrine singing her prayers. There was a fresh offering on the little tray-like affair that is part of the shrine, composed of bamboo shoots, which are creamy white with brown tips, green sugar peas, and small purple eggplants a little larger than eggs.  It was beautifully arranged and as she sang, the little lanterns swayed back and forth as if the gods were really listening to her.

The rainy season seems to have begun but when the sun does shine it is wonderful.  Bob has been wearing short pants and Ann has been wearing sun dresses. 

With the warm weather comes the bugs.  Japan has the biggest cockroaches in the world, I think and they aren't very particular about where they roam either--I mean the bugs aren't particular for they get in dresser drawers and everywhere.

Last Saturday I went to a meeting of the faculty wives of the University.  It was much like a church group meeting.  They opened with prayers and hymns but all in Japanese so I really didn't know what was going on.  The social part was nice and several of the women speak English.  

Teruko-san picked up the measles some place so was sick for almost a week.  I didn't realize how much I depended upon her until she was not around to do things.  Her mother is a maid down the hill from us so she took her down there and took care of her.  She is fine now and wasn't very sick but was really broken out. 

Many of the churches around here operate their own kindergartens and are approved by the board of education. The missionaries go and teach the little children and the teachers some English.  I went to one of these church schools and took some pictures.  The building is a small, old factory which a small group of Japanese Christians bought and made for their church.  It stands wall to wall with other old buildings just like it except for the white cross over a door.

Church services and school are conducted in the downstairs part and the young pastor and his wife and little girl live upstairs.  From their windows upstairs is a lovely view over the river but when Typhoon Tess came along last fall the river rose to these windows and they went out their windows in a rowboat.  There are 70 children enrolled--3,4 and 5 year olds.  The families are poor but they are working to pay for a new church which they are building on higher ground.  The women do work at home and donate their earnings to the church.  They make about 26 cents a day by doing lacquer work and such.  Some make buttonholes in shirts and earn about 1/2 yen or less than 1 cent for the whole shirt.  This sounds unbelievable but I questioned the pastor to see that I was understanding him right and it is right.  The missionary I was with taught the children singing games and is teaching them the English names of animals.  The children were so cute and very clean.

I haven't heard from Roger in a long time.  I wrote to him again not long ago for I'm afraid we aren't going to get to see him at all.  That would be disappointing.

Bob's collections are growing fast.  We are going to bring as many of them as we can but not the live ones.

Take care of yourselves and keep well."

        Lots of love,


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