Tag Archives: Japanese stamps

切手

7 Jun

I’m not a 切手収集家 (stamp collector) but sometimes the post office offers 切手 (postage stamps) that I can’t refuse…so I have a few collectors’ sheets of stamps from the Japan Post Office.

One of them is the 「スター・ウォーズ切手」 (“Star Wars” stamps). These stamps came in a nice, hard-cover protective binder illustrated with Star Wars artwork.

Japanese "Star Wars" stamps

Japanese "Star Wars" stamps

And here is the protective binder:

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Another series of stamps that the post office in Japan offered a few years ago was what they called 「科学技術とアニメ・ヒーロー・ヒロインシリーズ」 (“Science & Technology and Anime Heros & Heroines Series“)…which included such anime as 「鉄腕アトム」 (“Astro Boy“) and 「名探偵コナン」 (“Detective Conan“)…but the one I got was Series Four: 「科学忍者隊ガッチャマン」 (“Science Ninjas: Gacchaman” (known overseas as: “Battle Of The Planets“)).

I used to watch this cartoon in America when I was a kid.

gacchaman-stamps01

gacchaman-stamps02

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Manhole Covers

5 Jan

I have always noticed the decorated manhole covers in the streets of Japan.

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Have you ever noticed them before?
They have raised designs on them. Most are really intricate and detailed.

There is a practical reason for this. When the first manhole covers were made in Japan, they were plain and smooth…and in wet weather, slippery and dangerous! So the government demanded that all manhole covers have raised, cross-pattern designs to prevent people from slipping on them…kinda like tread on a tire or the bottom of shoes.

So, local governments began having their manhole covers made with designs and pictures that depict unique aspects of their town. So, walking around the streets of Japan, you can see many interesting manhole covers.

I’ve only taken photos of a few of them…when they really impressed me.

Here are a couple of photos I took of manhole covers with  消火栓 (fire hydrant) underneath:

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Of course, it’s illegal to park your car over manhole covers that have fire plugs under them…so there’s always a sign above them alerting drivers (and firefighters) to the presence of the hydrant:

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But there are people who travel around the country trying to take photos of as many manhole covers as they can. It’s their hobby.

I just discovered a website where people can upload photos of manhole covers in Japan…and vote on the photos, by clicking on a button below the photo that says 「すげぇ!」 (Wow!).

Click here to visit the website (日本語 (Japanese) only).

There are also hand-made souvenir 記念スタンプ (ink stamps) and many train stations, zoos, museums, etc around Japan.

Here’s one for 上野駅 (Ueno train station):

ueno-stamp

When we go somewhere that has a hand-made souvenir 記念スタンプ (ink stamp), I sometimes get one as a memento…but not always.

But, as with the manhole cover photos, there are people who collect these as a hobby. And, of course, there are websites with photos of them.

Click here to visit one of these sites (also in 日本語 (Japanese) only).