Dec 25, 2012

Incoming letters/届いたお手紙

Are you enjoying Christmas weekend?  Christmas isn't a holiday in Japan, so today Dec. 25th is just an ordinary working day for me...By the way, did you know that KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) is one of the most popular places to buy Christmas chickens in Japan?  When I was little, KFC was a big treat because we can have a large box with full of chickens! :)  When I was living in Canada, I was surprised that on Christmas Eve, I found almost no one at KFC.  I was worried that chickens were all sold out and that's why it was so empty! lol  In Canada where I lived, people ate turkey or ham for Christmas.  How about in your culture?  Do you eat anything special for Christmas?
I have lots of mails to share with you.  This is from my dear penpal in The Netherlands.  She sent me so many tea bags and all the other lovely stationery for my birthday!  I can't wait to try all the different tea flavors!
These are from UK, USA and Indonesia.  I love all the beautiful stamps!
Lovely Chrismas card from Finland.  I wonder what's written on the card.  Anyone can help me?
Lovely stamp!!
Lovely Christmas card from UK.  I love the classic Santa!
And I love the stamps!!  I love this Santa. :)
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas!  To those who don't celebrate Christmas, I wish you a happy day! :D

Dec 24, 2012

Incoming letters届いたお手紙

Seapking of my 4th Fumi no hi project which was supposed to happen on Dec. 23rd, I decided not to have it this month but instead have 6 winners on Jan. 23rd next year.  I'm living at my friends' apartment to look after their dog till they come back from Australia, so I wouldn't be able to pack my packages for the winners till early next year.  I hope it's OK with everyone who made entry to my project!  Thanks for understanding!

I went back to my place today to pick up my mails, and my mailbox was full!  Yei!! :D  I received many cards, so I would love to share them with you.  I love this time of the season not only because I receive Christmas cards but also I receive birthday cards (my birthday is December 31st) and the New Year's greeting cards.  LOTS of mail in my mailbox! :D

This lovely card is from my pal in the States.  Cute! :D
She used lovely Christmas stamps!  So pretty!!
This is a birthday card from my pal in the UK.  I don't like having many candles on my birthday cake (32 candles will just destroy the cake! lol), but I love receiving many birthday cards! :D
She also sent me a lovely Christmas card.  Just perfect for a penpaller! :D
This yummy yummy Christmas card is from Australia.  My mouth was watering!
These are from my friend in Romania.  She sent me a beautiful birthday card and a Christmas card with the post office picture in it.  Really cute! :D 
I have many other cards that I would love to share with you, but I will do that for tomorrow. :)  Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!!! :D





Dec 21, 2012

Incoming letter/届いたお手紙

Yesterday I got a lovely mail from my pal in Canada.  We've been penpalling for years, so she knows me so well by now...candies!!!  Lovely Christmas themed candies which didn't last too long as I ate them all so fast. :D
Santa's mustache was torn off!  It seems like he had a rough flight in the storm on the way to Japan. :p
What's your plan for the Christmas weekend?  In Japan, December 24th and 25th are normal working day as they are not holidays here, but this year Dec. 23rd which is the Emperor's birthday (holiday) falls on Sunday that makes the following Monday off!  Nice!!  I will pick up a Christmas cake at my favorite cake shop. :)  Can't wait!
Have a fun Christmas weekend!! :D

Dec 14, 2012

Outgoing letter/お手紙発送

In Japan, December is one of these months when you see lots of drunken people on the street because many of us have Bonenkai or a year-end party literally meaning "Forget the year party".  Often people have Bonenkai with colleagues, but some have with friends.  Yesterday I went to Bonenkai with my friends and had heaps of fun. :)  It's more fun to party with your friends rather than with your boss. :D  Do you have anything like our Bonenkai in your country?  Maybe Christmas party for December??
Here are my outgoing mails that I sent out last few weeks.  These first two traveled to France and Croatia.
These went to Indonesia, Finland and Lithuania.
These were for my pals in UK and USA.
And these were for those winners of my 3rd Fumi no hi give-away project in Belgium and USA.  Hope they will like what I enclosed. :)
By the way, Andra, I'm ready to send out your package, so hopefully you can email me your sent letter for the project soon! :)
One question to those who made your entry to my Fumi no hi project.  Do you think it's better to skip the project for December and start again from January?  I'm wondering if you will be busy with all the Christmas and New Year's celebration in the late December and won't have much time to write a letter to someone.  What do you think?
Have a nice weekend!!

Dec 11, 2012

Incoming letter/届いたお手紙

I can't believe it's already in the middle of December...Have you done Christmas shopping?  I haven't even started yet!  Maybe this weekend. :)

Here are only some of the lovely incoming letters I received over the last few weeks.  These are lovely long letters from France and Croatia.  I replied to both of them already and am already looking forward to their next letters! :)
Beautiful French stamp.  It must be a famous painting, I assume?
On my envelope, I usually write the name of the country in both English and Japanese, and this time my French pal tried to write “France” in Japanese by copying what I wrote on my envelope. :D  France in Japanese looks like フランス, and she did a great job writing that!
These are beautiful Croatian stamps.  I always love flower-motif stamps so much!
This is from my friend in the US.  She sent me all these goodies along with her letter. :)  I love them so much!
These cards are made for her daughter’s school project.  They surely encourage me to write letters!  I will use these for special occasions. :D
This lovely lovely card is from my friend in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  This is my first letter from there!  So excited!!!
My first stamps from Bosnia and Herzegovina! :D
By the way, there is something I want to share with you.  I'm engaged and getting married next year! :D  The proposal was 100% a surprise for me, so my answer to him was "What are you talking about?"  Romantic, hey? lol  My married friends all tell me that planning the wedding is like a typhoon, and that sounds scary...Well, my next year's resolution will be "No fight with my fiance over the wedding stuff". :D
Have a nice day!

Dec 1, 2012

Advent Calender Swap!/アドベントカレンダースワップ

In my previous posting, I told you that I joined a swap called Advent Calender Swap where you send 24 little gifts to your partner and reveive the same from someone, and you open one gift per day till Christmas Eve!  I sent my package to Germany and I got mine from the States!  Emily (I think it's her name), thank you sooooo much for your nice package!!!  Thank you!!! :D
Lots of gifts!
I picked up this one for Day 1.
I kind of knew that this was exactly what I wanted by touching it.  Before I opened it, I made a cup of coffee to go with the gift hoping it's what I think.  And...
Ta-da!!!  I knew it was a chocolate!!! :D  Mmm...looks so delicious!  It's a milk chocolate with caramel filling.  Mmm...looks so delicious!  (Did I just said that twice? lol)  One third of it was gone sooner after I opened it, and then I found it on the back of the package saying...
"Take time to slow down and feel yourself melt with each bite"??  Sorry it didn't happen.  It didn't take time with me at all as I was so fast eating it! lol  Oh, but I felt myself melt with each bite though. ;)  With the rest of the chocolate, I will try to take time. :D

My December started wonderfully!  I hope you had a nice start of December, too! :D  Have a nice weekend!





Nov 29, 2012

Outgoing letters/お手紙発送

I have lots of incoming and outgoing letters in November, but I'm so behind with posting about them. :(  I can't believe that it's the last week of November! Well, here are my outgoing letters sent early November.  The first letter was to my pal in Poland.  I think I sent this letter very late October, and that's why you see Halloween KitKat chocolates (pumpkin pudding taste) in the picture.  I was crazy about this chocolates for the whole month of October.  It was only for Halloween season. :)
This one was for my Canadian pal.  Halloween candies and KitKat were sent along.
These traveled to my pals in Germany, Croatia and USA.
This one traveled to Indonesia.
I have more pictures of my outgoing letters as well as lovely incoming letters so will post them soon. :)  Have you been writing letters?

Nov 28, 2012

Hiking in Tochigi / 栃木でハイキング

Last Friday in Japan (November 23rd) was our public holiday called Kinro Kansha no Hi or Labor Thanksgiving Day, so it was a long weekend!  I went hiking to Tochigi prefecture, one of our most popular tourist attractions with the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the historic town of Nikko, and I had lots of fun!
Well, before I go further, I want to say thank you here to Non san who helped us a lot with planning.  We didn’t know much about hiking spots in Tochigi, so without your help we could not have such a nice experience.  Thank you!!!
She recommended hiking trails in Shiobara Hot Spring Village.  I’m not sure, but I think it’s somewhere around 200km from Tokyo (We took trains to get there).  Here are some of the beautiful views we enjoyed while hiking.  We were little late for the colorful autumn leaves, but we enjoyed the leaving autumn and felt the arrival of winter in the air. :)
Beautiful waterfall called Mikaeri no taki.
A suspension-bridge called Mikaeri no tsuribashi.
A beautiful view from the bridge.
As it’s called Shiobara “Hot Spring Village”, Shiobara area is known for nice relaxing hot springs, and you can find them almost every corner of the area.  What made us really happy was that they had free ashiyu or footbath in the hiking trail!!!  I jumped when I found it! :D  This is us having our foot in nice ashiyu.  It made us forget the time, and it took us more than 30min. to finally pull our foot out from the hot water! :D
In Japan, hot springs are very popular, and it's common that we go in there being naked with strangers (men and females are separated).  I had some penpals visiting Japan from different countries, but so far my Finnish pal is the only person who went in there and others didn't go.  I took sauna with her being naked when I visited her in Finland, so I guess for her being naked in front of other women wasn't a surprise.  Anyway, if you are not comfortable taking a hot springs being naked, you might want to try Ashiyu. :)  It's really relaxing!
Has the winter arrived in your area?  Maybe summer for those who live in the southern hemisphere?  I hope you are having a nice season!

Nov 22, 2012

Starbucks Card/スターバックスカード

Do you remember what 23rd of every month means?  Yes, it's Fumi no hi! :D  Tomorrow the Friday is 23rd, so I'm supposed to have a posting about the winners from the previous month's applicants for my third Fumi no hi Give-away project, but as November 23rd is a public holiday in Japan that means we're having a long weekend, I'll be gone for a weekend trip so have to postpone the posting to 26th.  Sorry about this! :(  I hope those who made entry in my last month's Fumi no hi project will come back on 26th to see if your name is on the posting! :D  Oh, if you want to remove your name from the applicants, please message me here ( or you can just leave a comment here.  Thanks! :)
Yesterday I sent my friend a birthday card and as a present a prepaid Starbucks card.  You can use this card to buy coffee etc. at Starbucks cafe. :)

I found this prepaid Starbucks card where you donate 100yen (about $1.3US/1 Euro) when you make the first charge on this card, and then till this Christmas every time you use this card, Starbucks donates 1% from your paying cost to Michinoku-Mirai Foundation which was established by the private companies Kagome Co., Ltd. , Calbee Inc. and Rohto Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. to grant scholarship to these children who lost both or one of their parents in the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11 2011.  Here is the card.  It came with nice package where you can write a little message inside.
It explains inside that what this project is for and how you participate in it.
I sent her the card together with a lovely birthday card. Hope she will like them.
This card was sold from September 3rd till October 31st this year, so I bought some with some money prepaid to make them a nice birthday present, and the one I sent yesterday was the last one I bought.  I hope my friends have been enjoying their coffee and maybe some sweets at Starbucks. :)  Some of them told me that they also gave this card for their friends' birthday.  That's so nice!  I love the idea that we can help children by having a cup of coffee.  I know 1% is very small, but I think "action" is what counts, right?

I must admit that my attention for the quake-damaged areas has been fading out day by day, but I try to pause every once in a while and think of those people who have been going through tough time and see if there is anything I can do.  I know it's always not much I can do with my small hands, but there is always something that I can do. :)  I'm glad that I found this Starbucks Cards and could participate in this project.  By the way, according to Starbucks, from September 3rd till October 31st, the donation through this project reached 19,426,400yen (about $236,907US/185,013Euro).  This project will be continued till Christmas, so the donation will become bigger! :D

Like the message of the Michinoku-Mirai Foundation says, I hope that every single child grow up without giving up their dreams!! :)






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