Friday, September 30, 2011

Taipei International Flora Expo 2010

Taipei International Floral Expo

I don't have a lot to say about this card. It came as an official, obviously bought and sent from the Flora Expo. Apparently this "2010" expo lasted several months before coming to a close in April 2011, which is when this card was postmarked. The expo looked pretty cool - check out the website to see for yourself.

Speaking of postmarked... check this out. "Taipei International Flora Exposition - Taipei Temporary Post Office." They actually set up a special post office at the expo. How cool is that?? The stamp doesn't have a visible date of issue, but the flower is a vanda orchid.

Yoshkar-Ola, Russia

Jubilee Square, Yoshkar-Ola

This official is one of the first PC cards I ever received. Yoshkar-Ola is the capital city of the Mari El Republic, a federal subject of Russia, and this card shows Jubilee Square, where there is a 1975 sculpture of a man flying into space. According to wikipedia, the ethnic Mari people of this region are under heavy "Russification" and their language, culture, and faith have been under attack by the Russian government. :(

However, the image on the card is so bright and inviting... like a good place to take someone for a walk on a first date.

Polar bear definitives from 2008.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Texel, Netherlands


A card from the Suprise Me RR. The heart is actually a hole cut in the middle of the card, which I had never seen anything like before. I have to wonder why the designer chose the ugly picture to take up 2/3 of the card... but perhaps it's a blessing in disguise since the scuff marks left by the mail sorting machine are only defacing the ugly picture. :P (I think the card would be a lot nicer if the other five pictures, which are nice, made up the entire card.) Anyway, I still like it.

Texel is one of the Frisian Islands located in the Wadden Sea, although it is actually in the province of North Holland, not Friesland. Tourism is Texel's main economy, and it does look like a nice place for a vacation if you want to take it easy or go bicycle touring. About one third of the island is a nature preserve, complete with a visitor's center and wildlife museum, where you can watch the seals being fed twice a day. (I am not sure why they are feeding the wild animals at a nature preserve, though.)

More nice stamps. The one on the left reads "zomerpostzegels 1992, floriade nederland" Floriade is a flower festival held every 10 years in the Netherlands. In the middle is a stamp from 1995 showing the equation discovered by J. D. van der Waals, a Dutch Nobel Prize physicist. The stamp on the right is undated so I am guessing it is a definitive.

Polish Cats


Another one from the favorites tag. I've gotten so many nice cards from these tags. However, lately I've stopped doing tags and have been sending a lot more official cards. It's still soooo addictive to draw an address and pick a card for the person you get. I actually got the same person twice in a row this morning - once on each of his accounts! It's crazy that that happens despite there being nearly 250,000 accounts.

Anyway. These cats are an illustration by K. Majewska and A. Tylkowski, if I am not mistaken.

These stamps are a nice contrast to the stamps I normally get from Poland. First, on the left, is a stamp featuring mountain bike riding in a 1999 set of four on youth sports. Graffiti stamps: how awesome is that? On the right is a 2008 stamp depicting "drifting sand" (zamieć piaskowa) from a set of four on weather phenomena. On the bottom is a stamp of two species of rosella: crimson rosella (Platycercus elegans - the red and blue one) and eastern rosella (Platycercus eximius - the multicolored one). This is from a 2004 set of four exotic birds.

How do they pick what themes to make stamps out of, I wonder?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Western Highway

I am a driver on a western highway

from the mountains

Mt. Hood, Oregon, USA

and to the sea


And there's a song on the western highway saying I will be free.

The sky is fading to the color of the valley
Dust of angels and dust of dreams

Your city lights will shine until tomorrow

but I will not be here.

Your light is brighter than anything I've ever seen.
I hear your voice on every station, singing out of your dream.

By the roadside, the trees are shivering, black and silver in the cool night air

and under the moonlight I hear a song you're singing
saying I will meet you there.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Here I am on the road again


The song begins
and in the end
I'll be standing by the sea.


I am a driver on a western highway
from the mountains and to the sea
and there's a song on the western highway
saying I will be free.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lake Naroch, Belarus


BY-159003, which also happened to come from my favorites! :) I like forests *almost* as much as I like mountains, and this particular forest reminds me of those here at home. This is the river Stracha in Lake Naroch National Park in northwest Belarus (near Minsk). The park, established in 1999, is home to some 900 plant species and 243 animal species, including a herd of 50 royal stags.

There isn't a lot of information in English, but one blog post I found expostulates, "Mother Nature had intended this picturesque place to become a resort area with high attendance." I doubt Mother Nature had any such plan in mind. I think Mother Nature intended it to remain just as it looks on this card... natural.

Of the stamps, only the rabbit in the middle is new to us. It's a hare (Lepus europaeus) from that same 2008 set of wild animals.

Turkish Baths

Turkish Baths

"This is a traditional Turkish bath :) Looks fun, right?" says the sender of this official card, TR-40319. Turkey used to seem like a really rare country, but there are several active Turkish users on the forum and I have several cards from there. This one really took a beating in the mail, as you can see it got all bent up.

This is a 2010 EUROPA stamp on the subject of children's books. Dede Korkut is a mythical tale from the nomadic Oghuz Turks. The character of Dede Korkut (Grandfather Korkut) is a soothsayer and bard who tells the twelve stories in the epic.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Erfurt, Germany


Erfurt is a city in central Germany in the state of Thuringia. It is most famous for the buildings shown on this card, Mariendom and the Severikirche. Martin Luther was ordained in Mariendom in 1507, ten years before posting his ninety-five theses. Mariendom also boasts a free-swinging bell (the largest of its kind when it was built in 1497), and the burial site of a bigamous 15th-century count and his two wives.

The stamp is Altstadt Regensburg, same as here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Old man of Manaslu region

From the back of the card...
An old man of Manaslu region still at work:
Age can wrinkle the face but can't sap the strength and spirit of the Himalayan hardy men.

This card is one in a set I got from a store in Portland selling Nepalese handicrafts. (Blank & unused.) It smells like the incense they were burning in the shop when I bought it.

Manaslu is the name of both a mountain and a region east of the Annapurna range. Most of the google hits (at least in English) are for tour companies that offer trekking packages.

Roscoff, France

Equinoctial Gales, Roscoff

This is from the big groups RR. I actually don't have that many cards from France, which explains why I haven't posted any cards from France on here. The picture on this card reminds me of the beach in other places - Alki here in Seattle, and the waterfront in Mazatlán, too. Tonight would be a nice night to take a walk along the water. Possibly not in the "equinoctial gale," although it did hit 80 degrees today.

Roscoff is located on the western coast of France, in the Bretagne (Brittany) region. I guess it makes sense, then, that it reminds me of the western coast of America. It is a ferry port with ferries running to Plymouth, U.K., and Cork, Ireland. According to a 2006 census, there are 3,705 Roscovites. They have bilingual primary education in place with 18% of children learning French and Breton simultaneously.

Not sure about the stamp. No date of issue.

Polish Horses


PL-136389 from Kaja

Only the stamp on the right is new, another of the Polish manor houses, this time from 2001.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Now back to your regularly scheduled "Cards I Love"!


This one is from the favorites tag. I have so many awesome cards from those tags. For a while I was doing mainly tagging instead of sending officials, but now I have gotten back into sending officials. The thrill of picking an address and not knowing where or what kind of person it's going to be is my favorite part of postcrossing. I love that even more than getting awesome cards (which comes in a close second :).


Made that much more awesome by these stamps:
Top left: Europa stamp issued in May 2011. I'm not sure what the image is of, though.
Top right: One in a set of three endangered animals from 2007: snow leopard (Uncia uncia)
Bottom left: From 1998, but I don't know what it is of.
Bottom right: Sixth definitives series from 2009 - Russian Kremlins. This is Kazan Kremlin. See other kremlins from this series here and here.

Eindhoven, Netherlands


For some reason, I decided I should post a card I don't like. Normally I only post cards that, if I don't love, there is at least something interesting about it. Is it too negative to say why I don't like this card? First of all, it is a multiview, and neither picture is that attractive, plus the way they are put together isn't at all artistic. If it were even symmetrical or the color scheme were matched, I think it would look nicer. I have a number of other cards that I don't like for the same reasons... maybe some people really like this type of card? Otherwise I don't even know why a company would print it. I can't discount the possibility that in some towns there are no nicer cards, and of course I still appreciate the sender's effort to write a nice message and send me a card. She writes that the top is the soccer stadium of Eindhoven, and the bottom is the market square, where she likes to sit in the market square and have a drink in the summer. It does look like a good place for that. :)

According to wikipedia, Eindhoven is unique in the number of modern art pieces in parks and around the city, including this one:

And a google image search shows many attractive pictures of the city that would also make good postcards.

Maybe I should go into the postcard design business. Actually I did design one postcard myself, and had it printed through Vistaprint (mainly because there are no commercial postcards of Sogenji and I wanted one). It must be nice enough because a lot of people on Postcrossing have put it on their favorites wall.

OK, now I am getting off my soapbox.

Seeing off platform


This is from vickietsai for the favorites tag. Can you see why it is one of my faves? It reminds me of taking the train in Japan. The back of the card:

The white butterfly is actually a cutout hole in the stamp! I've never seen something like that before. There's no year of issue printed on the stamp, but googling tells me it's from a set of four butterflies issued in 2011. And I just realized that this card was postmarked on my birthday! A lovely present. :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011



There is nothing on this card to indicate what it actually is of/from. But I love the colors and the expressions on the characters' faces. :)

Zaporizhia, Ukraine

Dnieper River, Zaporizhia
This is from the big groups RR. The city of Zaporizhia is located on the banks of the Dnieper River (shown on the card) in southeastern Ukraine. The area has been inhabited for around three thousand years, starting with Scythian nomads, who left behind anthropomorphic stelae - stone images carved to honor the dead. In the 16th-18th centuries, the island of Khortytsiya in the middle of the Dnieper provided a base for an "impenetrable fortress" for the Cossacks. Today, Zaporizhia is an important industrial city which houses a major auto manufacturing company and a large hydroelectric power plant.

The sender had almost no space to write as most of the back of the card was covered with stamps.

A definitive from 2007 showing a penny whistle.

The stamp in the bottom left corner is from 2005 and features Independence Square. Then there are two airplanes from a 2004 joint issue with Iran. The one on the top right is really cool: the 90th anniversary of the first postage stamps of Ukraine! Yes, it is a stamp depicting a stamp, in the denomination of 20 shahs. Issued in 2008.

Yungang Grottoes, Shanxi, China

Yungang Grottoes UNESCO site

I got this card from one of the favorites tags. I chose it to post because I am currently reading the book Zen Baggage, by Bill Porter. The book is the story of his pilgrimage to the sites connected with the six patriarchs of Zen in China. One of the people in my zazen group recommended it. One of the sites the author visits is Yungang Grottoes, and this is the only place from the book (at least the part I've read so far) that I have a postcard from.

The Yungang Grottoes are a series of caves housing giant Buddha statues built by emperor Wen-ch'eng starting in the 5th century. His plan was to carve five caves, each representing one of the five kinds of knowledge (reality, perfect reflection, equanimity, subtle discrimination, and what works, according to Porter); because the imperial family paid for the project, each buddha was carved in the likeness of one of the family members. Sixty-four years later construction was complete - fifty thousand statues in more than fifty caves. The grottoes were listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2001.

These giant statues were about the same size as the presidents' heads on Mt. Rushmore. "Some of the buddha statues at Yunkang were so big the carvers had to use attendant bodhisattvas as pillars to hold up the buddhas' outstretched hands."

Porter goes on to say, "This was not art for art's sake, nor was it about the Buddhist goal of liberation from suffering. This was about inspiring awe and submission to authority... It was great art on a great scale, and I felt honored to have seen it. But I couldn't help wondering if such representations helped people on the road to liberation from the world of red dust or if they only furthered their enslavement to the objects of sensation. I could hear Subhuti answering the Buddha [in the Diamond Sutra], telling him that the Buddha could not be seen by means of the attributes he had acquired. And I could hear the Buddha adding, 'Since the acquisition of attributes is an illusion, Subhuti, the non-acquisition of attributes is not an illusion. Hence, by means of attributes that are not attributes the Buddha can, indeed, be seen.' All I saw were buddhas with attributes. The attributes that were not attributes would have to wait for another day."

Great stamps! The green ones on the left are from the set "protecting the common homeland of mankind," this one depicting forest conservation and issued in 2002. The two in the middle are "ancient bells from China" from 2000. The one on the left is Su Chime Bell from the spring and autumn period, and the one on the right is Jingshu Bell from the Western Zhou Dynasty. Finally, on the right is a more recent stamp, from 2010, celebrating the opening of the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games. This one is "athletics." By the way, all this stamp info comes from this site.