Friday, August 23, 2013

gravel stones

Inspired by the following lines from Kodoku no Tonari (next door to loneliness) by the late, best-selling Japanese writer, Ayako Miura: Life is as full of material to learn from as a gravel road is full of stones. Not having gone to school is itself something to learn from. So is poverty, a weak constitution, failure, a broken heart, ignorance, prosperity, and adversity. If you have the will to learn from it, anything can be teaching material

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

the power of books

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back. Books can satisfy your curiosity. Great books can give you a new life.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Yes, even in Hokkaido, where we have snow for six months of the year, this summer has been hot and humid beyond enduring. It hasn't been as bad as the rest of Japan, I admit, but we are much less used to this sort of thing, so I'm convinced we're more miserable than they are. Besides, most of us in Hokkaido don't have air conditioning. Okay, enough complaining....  I painted this one for an etegami call on the topic "gratitude." Thanks to Hokkaido's abundant snow, we have never had a water shortage. I am so very, very grateful for that.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

etegami newsletter -september issue

If you are signed up to receive the Etegami Fun Club Newsletter, the September 2013 issue should soon be in your email box. Apart from the two-month break I took from it this summer, this issue completes the first year of the newsletter's publication. (This is where you cheer and break out the good champagne.)

The September issue discusses how Etegami Recipe Cards "evolved" from their beginnings, more answers to Questions from Readers, a new Koike Quote, an update on the etegami recipe card giveaway, and a simple index of the main articles in all past issues of the newsletter. I hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to your feedback.

If you haven't signed up for this free monthly newsletter and would like to do so, please send a request to dosankodebbie (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) jp

P.S. if your email address has changed, and you want to keep getting the newsletter, you'll have to sign up again with your new address. Reminder: Subscribing to the blog and getting my posts in your mailbox is not the same as signing up for the newsletter, which is not automatic. Sorry for the confusion!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

new etegami desk calendars

Please check out my new Etegami Cats and Etegami Dogs desk calendars. Each features 13 of my etegami, including the cover photo. If you'd like one, order before August 31 to get the best price.

Friday, August 9, 2013

donkey's years

I made this etegami for a dear sister who dreams of some day raising donkeys in Colorado, and whom I haven't seen in over ten years. The donkey blanket was added as an afterthought, but painting on a finished etegami doesn't work very well, so I glued bits of chiyogami (colorfully patterned washi) onto the card instead. The result is a little awkward, but awkward is allowed-- and even encouraged-- in etegami. So there.

By the way, I've made this etegami available on RedBubble as a greeting card. I can think of dozens of good uses for it already. How about as invitations for a class reunion!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

class reunion (3)

In recent weeks, I've been painting a lot of nostalgia-inducing etegami for an upcoming class reunion. Many of us were born and raised in Japan, while not being of Japanese roots. Nowadays they call us Third-Culture-Kids (TCKs), which has been defined by sociologists as:  people who spent a significant part of their developmental years outside the parents' culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.

I don't know if that's a helpful label or not. I feel it is totally inadequate to describe either my own experience or my relationship to the world. However, the label does conveniently tie in with this week's Illustration Friday challenge topic: Hybrid. And that's really the only reason I mention it. : )

The first etegami shows a girl at a summer festival, wearing a yukata with a fan at her back, tucked inside the bow of her obi sash. The second shows a taiyaki, which is a fish-shaped snack made from pancake batter and stuffed with sweetened azuki beans. It is cheap, sweet, filling, and a popular food stall item. The third etegami shows a bowl of the Japanese shaved ice dessert called Kakigoori, so indispensable to the Japanese summer. The writing on it says "(It takes me to) the Alps from the first mouthful."