Molly On The Beam!

Friday, March 22, 2013
Hi! Molly here! Yesterday I did my beam routine, and we thought we'd share it with you all today! :) Now I normally wear my gymnastic leotard, but today I was just practicing, not performing, so I stuck with my practice outfit.

Bam! I had just landed my back-handspring when I realized I was being photographed. 

Oh, hello there! Watch me do my glorious cartwheel!


Soon, I began getting kind of proud and uhh...well, did something NOT on my routine. That was jumping and then doing a split in the air, then landing. I wasn't supposed to be doing this, because it was too advanced for me. But I had done it on the flour routine, so how hard could it be on the beam? I wanted to show my awesomeness off, anyway.

Jump! Splits! Land! HA! I could do it perfectly!

 However, I landed kind of funny. Uh oh.

I landed to the ground with a thud. All of the sudden, I heard someone let out an air-piercing scream. Then, I realized it was me. Grasping my ankle, I let out a groan of agony. I could barely whisper for my mom. Luckily, she was in there the time I fell, and called 911 right away. 

As I laid in the ambulance, I began to regret showing off.....

Two hours later, I was back home again. I had a cast and crutches. It was kind of hard to walk in them, but I managed.

As I limped past the beam with my crutches, I knew I wouldn't be showing off for a long, long time. 

And I hope YOU never will! I learned my lesson, alright....6 weeks in a cast! I'm going to miss out on practice terribly. :(

NEVER show off, my fellow dollies and their mommies! You will regret it!


Chiune Sugihara Memorial Museum

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Chiune Sugihara Memorial Museum, located in the deep countryside of Yaotsu in Gifu Prefecture in central Japan, is a museum dedicated to the life and good deeds of this small town's most famous son.

Chiune Sugihara Memorial Museum, Yaotsu, Gifu

Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986) was born in Yaotsu and spent his early life at schools in Nagoya before studying languages in Tokyo at Waseda University. In 1919 Sugihara joined the Japanese Foreign Ministry and was posted to Harbin in China, becoming an expert in Russian.

Twenty years later Sugihara found himself as the vice-consul at the Japanese Consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania when the Second World War broke out in Europe with the German invasion of Poland.

Chiune Sugihara Memorial Museum, Gifu, Japan

It was here that thousands of European Jews besieged the Japanese Consulate begging for transit visas via Japan to escape Nazi persecution. Sugihara asked for advice from his superiors in Tokyo on how to deal with the escalating humanitarian crisis outside his consulate. Ignoring their orders not to issue visas, Sugihara followed his conscience and began hand-writing visas for the thousands of Jews pleading for an escape route.

Sugihara's actions of issuing valid transit visas are thought to have saved the lives of around 6,000 Jews, who fled across Russia to Vladivostok and then Japan to escape the concentration camps. Sugihara continued issuing visas even as his train was leaving the railway station Lithuania when the consulate was closed down in 1940 and he left for a new posting in Berlin.

Chiune Sugihara Memorial Museum

After the war Sugihara returned to Japan and was dismissed from his post. During the 1960s Sugihara used his Russian language skills working as a representative for Japanese companies in Moscow. It was in 1968 that he was contacted by people his actions had saved and he was honored by the Israeli government with the State Medal of Honor.

The Chiune Sugihara Memorial Museum presents the history of Sugihara's life using video (including English and Hebrew language versions), photographs, realia and a recreation of his office in Kaunas. Each visitor is given a blue "passport" on entry in remembrance of Sugihara's humanity.

The western-style museum is pleasantly built of cypress (hinoki) trees and close by is the Bells of Peace Monument representing the piles of visas issued by Suhihara, with the words "Love", "Courage" and "Heart" engraved on the bells.

Chiune Sugihara Memorial Museum
Yaotsu 1071

Hours: 9am-5pm; closed Monday
Admission: 300 yen

Access: there are irregular buses from Akechi Station on the Meitetsu Line to Yaotsu and then a bus to the museum (10 minutes) or a bus from Mino Ota Station to Yaotsu and then the same bus to the museum.
By car, the museum can be reached from the Toki and Tajimi ICs on the Chuo Expressway or from the Komaki IC on the Meishin Expressway and then National Highway 41.


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Inshu-Ikeda Residence

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Inshu-Ikeda Residence (aka Kuromon or "Black Gate") in Tokyo's Ueno Park district is the former residence of the daimyo (feudal lords) of Inaba Province, present day Tottori Prefecture.

Inshu-Ikeda Residence, Ueno Park, Tokyo

Originally located in the Marunouchi area of the Japanese capital near Tokyo Station, the gate was moved here in 1954.

The Kuromon has a hipped gable roof and twin sentry boxes. The gate is classified as an Important Cultural Property.

Inshu-Ikeda Residence, Ueno Park, Japan


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A Walk Around Kyushu Day 1

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
December 25th, 2012

I leave my hotel near Hakata Station and walk towards the temple that marks the start of the pilgrimage route that I am going to follow around the island of Kyushu.

It's Christmas Day, but that means little in Japan where it is just another workday and already the roads and sidewalks are busy with cars, buses, taxis, cyclists, and pedestrians on their way to work. Its dark and raining heavily, not an auspicious beginning, the only bright point being that today I don't have to carry a heavy pack as my walk will circle around the city so I can hop a train back to the hotel this evening.

Tochoji, Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan

Tochoji is a large undistinguished concrete complex. According to legend it was founded by Kobo Daishi in the early 9th century after he returned here from China. A couple of years ago a new, vermillion pagoda was built. In the main hall a solitary woman is praying.

From here I head towards the Naka River which I will follow south towards the next temple in the suburbs. I stop in briefly at the Kushida Shrine, the most famous of Fukuoka city's shrines. The main hall has a collection of very long nosed tengu masks that I hope to photograph but without a tripod its still too dark and overcast to get any shots.

I follow the river as far as Takamiya and then head up into some low hills to find the second temple. Navigating Japanese streets is rarely easy at the best of times, and when meandering over hills the lanes and alleys can be well nigh on impenetrable.

Several times I ask passers-by for help but, as is common when asking directions in Japan, nobody knew where the temple was. I find it on top of the hill with a view over a great sea of concrete and roofs that is Japanese urban sprawl. The temple itself is also concrete and featureless. Inside a solitary woman sits as the shaven-headed priest drums and chants. Outside a brightly painted statue of Fudo Myo add a splash of color to the drab, monotone environment.

The rain eases.

Back down the hill and for a few kilometers I follow the Nishitetsu rail line. At Zasshonokuna I veer off and head directly east towards a line of low hills.

Mikasa River, Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan

Crossing the Mikasa River the rain has stopped and to the north the sky is brightening. I remember reading that a major battle took place here many centuries ago but no sign of it now exists. The road heads up through a narrow valley and at the top, passing under the expressway, I can see the mountains across the valley where I expect to be walking tomorrow. Now draped with cloud and rain, I hope that the weather will be nicer tomorrow.

I find the next temple easily, and like the second there is little to distinguish it. Most of the temples on this pilgrimage route are minor, but as any walking pilgrim will tell you, its not the temples themselves which are important but the journey between them.

I start my way north up the valley. On my left the hills that separate it from the airport and downtown Fukuoka, on my right the much higher group of mountains I will be climbing up tomorrow, and then I have my first surprise of the walk...

Umi Hachimangu. The shrine is fairly big, but it is dwarfed by and enclosed within a grove of massive, gnarly trees. Kada's Forest, as it is known, is a grove of giant camphor trees, and the shrine marks the site of a major story from Japan's ancient founding myths, the story of Empress Jingu who, after carrying him in her womb for three years, gave birth here to the man who would be known as Emperor Ojin.

When I was researching my planned route I saw no mention of Umi or Umi Hachimangu so I found it energizing to have "discovered" it. I carried on north for another hour or so to Sue before catching a train back into Hakata.

Jake Davies


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Happy Birthday, Josefina!

We made a birthday video for Josefina today! We love her so much, she totally deserves this big birthday bash and MORE!

Movie description: It's Josefina's birthday today! Celebrating by cinnamon rolls for breakfast, parties, presents and presentations, candy, cupcakes and cuteness, we make Josefina's birthday a day to remember! Music: "We Are" by Kari Jobe. :)

Happy birthday, all you Josefinas out there!!


Molly and Josefina
(with Madison and Cecile :))

Homeless in Ueno Park

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ueno Park in Tokyo has a sizeable homeless population. The problem of homelessness has not gone away since it first came to public attention amidst the economic slow-down of the "Lost Decade" of the 1990s.

Homeless in Ueno Park, Tokyo

However other problems, such as the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Japan's territorial spats with its neighbors have pushed the problem of homelessness in Japan to the back burner.

Various NGOs struggle to help the victims, mostly older men in their 50s and 60s, regain employment and get them off the streets.

Homeless in Ueno Park, Tokyo, Japan

The reality is, however, that there is a lack of political will and a public apathy to the homeless and their blue tarpaulin tents in Tokyo's major and minor parks, though doubtless they would all be rounded up and shipped out of the capital, should Tokyo ever get the Olympics.

Homeless, Ueno Park, Tokyo, Japan

Figures vary for the number of homeless people in Japan, though Tokyo has the most of any city in the country with a conservative estimate of around 5,000.


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Ebisu Station

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Statue of Ebisu, Ebisu Station, Tokyo

Ebisu Station in Tokyo is named after Yebisu Beer, which had a large brewery in this area in the early 20th century. A freight station was built in 1901 to serve the brewery and was called Yebisu Station. In 1906 a passenger station was opened nearer to Shinjuku and was called Ebisu Station -  a case of a place name evolving from a brand.

Ebisu Station, Tokyo, Japan

Nearby attractions include Yebisu Garden Place, which includes the Yebisu Beer Museum, the Mitsukoshi department store, a open air market, cafes including a Starbucks, a number of restaurants, the Beer Station beer hall, the Westin Tokyo hotel and a recreation of a French chateau housing the Michelin-starred La Table de Joel Robuchon. There is a covered passageway linking Ebisu Station with Yebisu Garden Place called Yebisu Sky Walk.

Ebisu Station has a European style cafe, Rail, serving, yes, Yebisu beer and coffee.

Ebisu Station, Tokyo, Japan

Ebisu Station is served by three JR lines: the Yamanote Line, the Saikyo Line and the Shonan-Shinjuku Line as well as the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line.


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Molly's Bad Grade Day... :(

Hello, girlies! One post followed by another...LOL! Last night, mom took some awesome pictures for a movie we made and it's ready to share with ya'll today!

Movie description: Molly had a great day at school. Yet there was the hardest spelling test! Yikes! When Molly get's into the car, she checks her grade, and with sinking hopes for Six Flags, she realizes it's an F. Her mom promised her she'd take her to Six Flags if she got good grades. Tears streaming down her cheeks, she sits and feel sorry for herself. Finally realizing she can get extra credit by studying harder for the next test, she cheers up and remembers to shine by doing her best! The music is "We Are" by Kari Jobe.

~Lot's of Saint Patrick's Day love from,

Molly and Madison, with Josefina and Cecile :)

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Hi, girls! It's me Molly here, saying Happy Saint Patrick's Day! :) I hope you're wearing green, Josefina and Cecile aren't, because I'm wearing the only green things we have! LOL! You know what that means...pinches for them! ;)

See my pretty outfit? You might notice it from when mom's Aunt Annette made it for her, On Christmas.

Here's a four-leaf good luck clover just for you! ;)

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone! :)

I hope you're all wearing green, it's such a pretty color! :) Plus, that's Delightful World of Doll's color! Green! :) :) :)

~Lots of Saint Patrick's Day love from,

Molly and Madison, with Josefina and Cecile! :)

Molly-Anne Has A Leotard!

Saturday, March 16, 2013
Molly-Anne (a re-named mini Molly) here! Yep, if you read the title, that's right: I got a leotard! Now I can do gymnastics!!!! :D

Here are some picture of Madison making it for me and me modeling it.

First, it started out as a dress made out of shiny legging material. 

The messy stitches :p

Then, we cut leg holes.....

And now here I am!

I'm going to try a back handspring on the beam. 

I did it! I really did it! A BACK HANDSPRING! Woo-hoo!! :D I love my new leotard, except it's kinda falling off in the last picture. LOL 

I hope you're inspired to try gymnastics or get your owner/human/mom to make you a leotard! 


Molly-Anne :)

Japan News This Week 17 March 2013


Japan News.Nuclear Neighbors for North Korea?

New York Times

Japan seeks to join TPP free trade talks


Japan becomes first nation to extract 'frozen gas' from seabed


Abe purges energy board of antinuclear experts

Japan Times

Tohoku Has Been Rent Asunder for Future Generations

Japan Focus

Two years after Japan's nuclear meltdown, what happened to Fukushima's orphans?

Christian Science Monitor

Last Week's Japan News


Rank by country of GDP - per capita in US$ as of July 2012.

1 Liechtenstein 141,100
2 Qatar 104,300
3 Luxembourg 81,100
4 Bermuda 69,900
5 Monaco 63,400
6 Singapore 60,500
7 Jersey 57,000
8 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) 55,400
9 Norway 54,200
10 Brunei 50,000
11 Hong Kong 49,800
12 United States 49,000
13 United Arab Emirates 48,800
14 Guernsey 44,600
15 Switzerland 43,900
16 Cayman Islands 43,800
17 Gibraltar 43,000
18 Netherlands 42,700
19 Austria 42,400
20 Kuwait 42,200
21 Canada 41,100
22 Sweden 40,900
23 Australia 40,800
24 Ireland 40,100
25 Iceland 38,500
26 British Virgin Islands 38,500
27 Germany 38,400
28 Belgium 38,200
29 Taiwan 38,200
30 Denmark 37,600
31 Greenland 37,400
32 Andorra 37,200
33 Finland 36,700
34 United Kingdom 36,600
35 San Marino 36,200
36 France 35,600
37 Japan 35,200
38 Isle of Man 35,000
39 Macau 33,000
40 Korea, South 32,100

Source: CIA World Factbook

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Premium Yebisu Joel Robuchon

Friday, March 15, 2013

It is always a pleasure to add to our series of reviews of Japanese beers. Today is the turn of Yebisu's Premium Yebisu Joel Robuchon.

Premium Yebisu Joel Robuchon beer

I must admit I was a bit disappointed with the slightly chemical first taste on opening the can but I had just spent two weeks drinking real ales in the UK, so I suppose that is normal.

As the beer settled in the glass it had a light pleasant taste and a lighter, thinner color than standard Japanese lagers. The beer is a tie up with renown French chef Joel Robuchon and is produced with malt from France's Champagne region and New Zealand hops.

The ABV is the Japan standard 5%.

Joel Robuchon owns a number of restaurants in Japan, where the beer will be served. These include La Table de Joel Robuchon in Ebisu and a restaurant of the same name in Nagoya.

Premium Yebisu Joel Robuchon lager

We have previously reviewed craft beer in Japan, Sapporo Classic and Sapporo Kaitakushi.


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Molly Goes To Granddad's!

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Today, I went to mommy's granddad's house. They weren't the ones in Houston. Mimi and Papa were the ones in Houston: like the ones in The Adventure To and At Houston, Part 1!

Time to go! See my messy hair? That gets fixed later on ;)

Sitting pretty!

We're leaving the parking lot. (We live in the parsonage at our church (where my Mom's Daddy is the pastor) so that explains the big parking lot.) 

My newly braided hair against the messy hair we mentioned above. ;)

Watching the scenery go flying by!

Oh! We're here, after the long, 40-minute drive.

I can't wait to see inside! I haven't been here since March of 2012! And it's already 2013!

Once again, sitting pretty!

 FEROCIOUS DOG!!!! Mom's grandparents have a DOG!!!! (Madison: Molly, it's just a beagle! It isn't ferocious. Well, to you, since you're a doll, I guess it is.)

Isn't Daisy cute? She doesn't seem too ferocious when she wants you to pat her tummy! I wish we had a sweet dog like her. Too bad mommy's mom is allergic to some types of dogs. But she isn't allergic to Daisy..and she's a beagle mix......a possibility! 

Woohoo! LOOK AT MY PIANO SKILLS! hehe! Mom knew how to play "Mary Had A Little Lamb" and "Here Comes The Bride" on the piano, so she taught me those.

Mary had a li-ttle lamb, li-ttle lamd, li-ttle lamb! Mary had a li-ttle lamb, whose fleece was white as snow!

Here, comes, the bride, all dressed in white!

Look at the pretty plants! (that black mark is not a mark on my arm. That's actually part of the plant, if you look closely enough.) 

Daisy the dog: "Ouch! Those fleas! Scritch, scratch, scritch. HA! That got rid of THEM!" Well, actually I don't know why Daisy was itching. She doesn't have fleas, I guess it's just what dogs do! LOL 


What's up?

Here I am in the pretty backyard!

IT'S. SO. HOT. FOR. MARCH! I'm stayin' in the SHADE!

Aww man! Why does mom go make me see the pretty plants in the garden before going back in the cool indoors? (if you look closely enough, this is actually a bush or something. Not the ground) 

Because of the outdoor grill, mom got worried that the smoke smell would linger on me, and I would smell like smoke, so she took me inside. 

I sat on the chair with mom's big sisters purse, and some cake we're going to take home.

I kind of dozed off while the others were eating, playing baseball, talking and then eating desert....


Oh! I awoke with a start. We were getting ready to leave! Had I really slept for that long?

I patiently waited for mom, her little brother, her older sister and her mom to get their things together. (their dad was staying home.)

La la la la la.....

Hey hey hey, well whaddya say?! It's time to leave! I'll sure miss Daisy, my mom's grandparents (technically, they would be my great-grandparents) and the pretty scenery and garden. I enjoyed coming here....Josefina and Cecile will have a hard time deciding who will go with mom when she goes to her grandparents again for an Easter celebration! 

 I took a deep breath,

and stepped out into the warm sunshine. What a pretty day, I thought to myself. 

I tried to open the handle, but it was stuck or something! Mom opened it just-like-that. Humans are MUCH stronger than dolls, it seems!

 I'm sitting down here, my head band falling off. LOL!

Tired again, I dazed off some more....

Driving fast...

I woke up again. I slept through the long, 40-minute trip and made it home!! 

So we were home....


Wow! I loved going to my grandparents and getting to ride in the car and spend time with my mom and her family. I couldn't wait to share this with you guys and Josefina and Cecile! :) 

Hope you're having a very blessed day now,

Molly and Madison
(with Josefina and Cecile!)