Monday, January 26, 2009

My first cover from Japan

Wishing everybody a properous Ox year! May you have abundance of good health, good wealth and good things to come!For today, I would like to share with you a neat cover from Japan that i received recently. I did a study on the stamps and to my surprise, the 5 stamps used on the cover are at least 34 years old!
The top 3 stamps are: 1975 National Athletic games, 100th anniversary of Police Force, issued in 1974 & 1975 International Women Year respectively. These are the single issues. The bottom 2 stamps belong to the Fairy Tales - One-Inch Boy (一寸法師) series, issued on Jun 1974.
Here is the complete stamps set... And the story goes... an old, childless couple who live alone wishes for a child, despite thier old age, "Please, please let us have a child, no matter how small." Eventually, a son was born to them. But small indeed was the child--no larger than a grown man's fingertip. They name the miniature child Issun-bōshi (Issun is a measure of approximately 3 centimeters. Bōshi means son). The child, despite being incredibly small, is treated well by his parents. One day, the boy realizes he will never grow, so he goes on a trip to seek his place in the world. Fancying himself a miniature samurai, Issun-bōshi is given a sewing needle for a sword, a soup bowl for a boat, and chopsticks for oars.
He sails down river to the city, where he petitions for a job with the government and goes to the home of a wealthy daimyo (lord), whose daughter is an attractive princess. He is scorned for his height, but nevertheless given the job of accompanying the princess as her playmate. While they travel together, they are suddenly attacked by an Oni (or an ogre in some translations), who deals with the pesky boy by swallowing him. The boy defeats the Oni by pricking him from within with his needle/sword. The Oni spits out Issun-boshi and drops a magical Uchide's Mallet as he runs away. As a reward for his bravery, the princess uses the power of the mallet to grow him to full size. Issun-bōshi and the princess eventually wed and they live happily ever after. (I simply love the ending!)

This cover took 9 days to travel a distance of approximately 5,334 km or 3,314 miles from Ichikawa, Chiba in Japan to reach me.

Pls enjoy this nice cover on this special day!

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