Japan Postcard Book

29 11 2009

Nowadays I’m always on the lookout for a nice postcard book. I prefer them to the single postcards available in my local shops, which have obviously been there since the 70s! Dusty, curling at the edges, bit of an odour… Not the spirit of generosity Postcrossing intends, I feel. It’s not like there’s a glut of postcard books for sale though. There’s all the boring art ones, like Turner and all that, comedy ones, Harry Potter ones and, um, then it gets a bit thin on the ground. Anyway, one did catch my eye: A Year In Japan. Now, I love Japan, and Japanese art. Hmmm, what could it possibly be about a small, overcrowded island nation that appeals to a British girl like me? But I digress. The postcards look really cool and quirky, and I’m sorely tempted to order up right away. But then again, it would be a bit weird to get a Japanese card from a Britgirl. You wouldn’t want to get Postcrossed by a Brazilian only to find the card’s Belarussian! Or some other ridiculous pairing. Anyway, I’ll keep these cards in mind.

This is the book in question:

Two postcards from the collection:

A Year In Japan is available from Amazon for £5.02 [about $10].


A profound postcard message

28 11 2009


This card is special because it came from someone very dear to my family. The man’s trousers are embroidered with thick thread so the postcard feels lovely and heavy.

Did I mention that I’m a Francophile? Well, it’s true! When I was fourteen or so, a family friend who comes from Frejus [too much alliteration?] sent me a postcard with a poem on the back. It has a very beautiful meaning and I’ve always remembered it. This is what she wrote:

Un noir parle à un blanc

Quand je suis né, j’étais noir Quand j’ai grandi, j’étais noir Quand je suis malade, je suis noir Quand je vais au soleil, je suis noir Quand j’ai froid, je suis noir Quand je mourrai, je serai noir…


Quand tu es né, tu était rose Quand tu as grandi, tu était blanc Quand tu es malade, tu est vert Quand tu vas au soleil, tu es rouge Quand tu as froid, tu es bleu Quand tu mourras, tu sera violet

Et tu oses me dire que je suis un homme de couleur???

En anglais it means:

A black talks to a white

When I was born, I was black When I grew up, I was black When I am ill, I am black When I go in the sun, I am black When I am cold, I am black When I die, I will be black


When you were born, you were pink When you grew up, you were white When you are ill, you are green When you go in the sun, you are red When you are cold, you are blue When you die, you will be purple

And you dare to tell me that I am a man of colour???

A postcard

27 11 2009

This is a postcard I sent to a Postcrosser in Finland – when she uploaded it, it reminded how much I love it! It’s part of  the Earth From The Air postcard book I’m always banging on about. I think it’s a beautiful, joyous image and makes an unusual postcard.

Semi off-topic: Damascus

27 11 2009

My other big love is travel writing. I only discovered the genre about two years ago and now I love it so much, I rarely read anything else. My favourite is the wonderful Bill Bryson with Notes On A Small Island, but I’m equally crazy for more exotic travel books. Another favourite is Annie Hawes and her books on Italy. A Handful Of Honey, written about her journey through Morrocco and Algeria – two countries that fascinate me – is totally mesmerising and everything you could look for in a travel book. Another place that fascinates me greatly is the city of Damascus. I would love to visit one day but armchair travel will have to do for now. With that in mind, a few months ago I found an amazing little book on Amazon: Damascus: Taste of a City, by Marie Fadel and Rafik Schami. Description couldn’t do it justice! Without doubt, it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen – inside and out. Rafik Schami – a well known storyteller of Damascene origin writing in German – puts together a narative from phone conversations with his sister in Damascus, in which she travels through the old city, chatting about neighbours and neighbourhoods and bringing in wonderful recipes linked to the person or place. Recommended!

It’s available on Amazon and Play.com quite reasonably, although sadly there is now a long wait while it ships.You might get it just in time for Christmas if you hurry!

Under The Spotlight: me!

25 11 2009

I really love reading the Under The Spotlight blogisodes featured on the official Postcrossing blog. They are fun to read and some teeny-tiny narcissistic part of me would quite like to be the focus of one. But, in competition with 140,000-odd other users – probably much more highly prolific ones at that – my chances aren’t good. So – whilst hoping that no legally-barricaded copyright is being infringed – I thought I would just interview myself. For fun. Enjoy.

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

Well, Paulo, that’s easy: Twitter! Some fairly insane woman I was “following” [I trust you understand this technical parlance] registered a Postcrossing postcard which made an update to her Twitter account. Intrigued, I clicked the link and the Postcrossing magic enchanted me instantly. I heart all things post, writing and culture. In the words of my family, I haven’t stopped harping on about it since!

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

Violin, short-story writing, YouTube… Not really.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!
Pretty, isn’t it? I happen to live in one of those villages like in Midsomer Murders.
Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.
It came from China and is a very striking image. The back is just as beautiful with amazing stamps and writing.

A postcard

23 11 2009

This lovely vintage-style card came from America, specifically Pittsburgh, PA. The sender tells me of a slang language spoken there called Pittsburghese. For example: “Dahntahn” = Downtown / “Jeetjet?” = Did you eat yet? There’s more at Pittsburghese.com. I love finding this stuff out through Postcrossing!

How to say thanks!

22 11 2009

There’s a couple of things I like to say when I’m registering a postcard. I would never just say “YOU BEEN POSTCROSSED, BITCH!” I like to thank the person profusely, say how much I like the card and comment on what they wrote. That’s just good manners in my book. It’s really nice when someone else takes the time to say thank you nicely and the good feeling it gives you is the whole point of the project for me. One or two people have just said “oh, thanks” for my postcard which makes me feel a little hard done by. It’s nicer when you can connect a bit more. Anyway, I’m not whinging. Just sayin’!