Saturday, November 17, 2012

2012 Japanese Stamps

1,000 Year Anniversary of the Tale of Genji 

Waka poets and their poems, issued on Letter-Writing Day
I just returned from a family visit to Japan.  As usual, I was on the prowl for interesting mail-related items. It is sad that the country is devoid now of the elongated red mail boxes, though I found one painted over in a ghastly beige tone.  
Japan post often sets up pop-up post offices in surprising places, and this is where you can purchase gorgeous commemorative stamps. I found a postal van parked on the back footpath of Kyoto's Kiyomizu temple. Two earnest postal workers had a spread of gorgeous stamps on their folding table. No one seemed to notice or care, but I made a bee-line. I was delighted to find the Tale of Genji stamps, issued in 2008 to commemorate the 1,000-year anniversary of Lady Murasaki's novel. The equally fabulous hyakunin isshu stamp provides portraits of 12th century poets, the poems in script, and the text reproduced in standard Japanese.