golden eyes / 黄金の眼

September 26, 2020

11 December 1971, Belgium
Solidarity – Insects: Green tiger beetle / Cicindela campestris
design: Marc Séverin / JMalvaux

You cannot guess its size from this stamp – it is 1.2-1.5 cm when adult and that means these golden eyes are not easy to find. Even in that size, you are in pain if it bites you! Well, in fact it has a bit of a nasty face!


hypnotizable / ほとんど催眠術

September 25, 2020

11 December 1971, Belgium
Solidarity – Insects: Horsefly / Tabanus bromius
design: Marc Séverin / JMalvaux

What an impact if you received a letter with this stamp on!

Since I was stung by a wasp about 2 weeks ago, I started to learn about insects and realised that I know very little about them… many of them have large compound eyes consisting of a lots of lens, sometimes quite colourful.



tilted globe / 傾いた地球

April 13, 2020

25 August 1921, Argentina
Pan-American Postal Congress

The centre is “an allegorical figure of Pan-America, wearing a mail bag and holding letter envelopes“.  She is celebrating the first gathering of the Pan-American Postal Congress.

What most caught my eye is the tilted globe.  Well, the designer wanted to show the connection of the two continents and to place their country in view – but this tilted globe looks symbolic for the pandemic we are experiencing right now.  It’s not going to be turned upside down and the globe will recover…





Our Spaceship Earth -2 / 宇宙船地球号-その2

April 7, 2020

29 December 1956, Italy
First Anniversary of Italy joining United Nations
design: C. Donati

It is two and a half weeks since I last featured an Italian stamp.  Since then the corona virus has spread a lot more on our globe – and in Italy, it is clear that the peak has passed.  It is tough to think about the vast numbers of families who have lost their loved ones, but Italy is showing the rest of the world that people are still living with positive and supportive minds.


Our Spaceship Earth / 宇宙船地球号

March 21, 2020

29 December 1956, Italy
First Anniversary of Italy to United Nations
design: C. Donati

We are facing a global pandemic – all commercial and cultural gatherings are restricted here in the UK, too.  It is heavy and sad to see and hear news from Italy, where a lot of friends of mine and their families live.  People from Italy are telling us what to prepare, what to expect, and how people are supporting each other – this reminds me that we are living on one and only Spaceship Earth

This is one of the early examples of the globe on a stamp design – and if you compare this to other stamps from a similar era, you would notice how modern and avant-garde this design was.  If you have 3D glasses with red and cyan color filters – please try.



typography and Marianne / 書体とマリアンヌ

March 8, 2020

3 March 1986, France
design: Raymond Gid / engrave: Claude Andréotto

This is a stamp on typography, and depicting “Marianne,” the national personification of the French Republic.  I wonder how many countries have a woman as an icon?

Today is the International Women’s Day – so, I decided to feature this stamp although in the context of typography – the design focus is “a”.



Love / バレンタイン

February 15, 2020

26 January 1973, USA
Love Issue
design: Robert Indiana

I saw many people had a bunch of flowers on their way home from work yesterday.  Tons of energy was used to prepare roses to be ready and transported.  Then many florists raise their price up to three times on 14 February, which I did not know.

How can you do an environmentally friendly St. Valentine’s Day?

It is easy that you can express your love everyday and not make the day so special!  Or use this stamp and send a heart warming card.

I am sure the overlap of red and green ink is designed by the artist, to express his sculptural works in a two dimensional composition, without extra cost.

According to this postage archive, this stamp was sold very well but some people thought it was too hippy, and the next stamp featuring the word ‘love’ did not appear on US stamps until 1984.






g & section sign? / gと節記号?

February 12, 2020

2 June 1999, Denmark
150th Anniversary of Danish Constitution
design: Camilla Jorgensen

“g” is an initial letter of “grundlov” – the Danish word for constitution.  Then what is §?  My stamp catalogue says it is Paragraph sign, but wikipedia says it is Section sign.  What it really means is ambiguous… but nice and clean stamp!

「g」は規約という意味のデンマーク語 grundlov の頭文字。では「§」は?切手カタログには「段落記号」と出ているのですが、調べると「節記号」が正しいようです。ここまで分かっても、この記号が何を象徴しているのか未だ?ですが、すっきりしたデザインが好きです。

offset printing / オフセット印刷

February 2, 2020

1 October 1982, Norway
Centenary of Graphical Union of Norway
design: L. F. Anisdahl

I thought this was a letter ‘g’, but it is in fact a side view of a series of rollers for offset lithography printing.  The only thing I can read in the background is the name David.



font of the age / 時代とフォント

January 26, 2020

9 September 1983, USA
Century of Federal Civil Service
designer: Kathleen Wilmes

This design uses fonts to reflect the atmosphere of the time – comparing 2 fonts from a century apart.

1983 – Blade Runner was a film from 1982 and although the story was set in 2019 ( yes, we have just passed that ), their ‘future’ font was based on that time.  I revisited the film recently ( RIP for the industrial and film set designer Syd Mead ) and thought the CI on the police car was similar to this 1983 font – well, not too far apart but different.  This lego model has the original logo on its body!


1983年 – すでに37年前ですが – は、あの衝撃的な映画『ブレードランナー』が公開された翌年。映画の設定だった2019年11月が過去になったというニュースと、シド・ミードの訃報を知って観なおした時に、この切手の1983と、あの空飛ぶパトカーのボディーにあったPoliceロゴが似てない?と思ったのですが、かなり違っていました、、。日本製のプラモデルではいいかげんなフォントですが、レゴのモデルにはオリジナルのフォントが使われています。

construction of letters / フォントの作り方、その2

January 23, 2020

13 July 1982, USA
America’s Libraries
Font design by Geofroy Tory in 1523
stamp design: Bradbury Thompson

“A” on this stamp looks similar to the font on my previous post, but the construction lines are slightly different. I wonder what those six different circles are doing for “C”?

There is an archive of the Bulletin about this stamp, tells us the French typographer and his student who cut the letter for printing.  I thank them for building and keeping this archive – at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum!




construction of letter A / フォントの作り方

January 21, 2020

1 October 1982, Norway
Centenary of Graphical Union of Norway
design: L. F. Anisdahl

Since the innovation of letter press by Gutenberg in 15th century, font design has developed and reflected its time.  A is a nice one to begin with and the test comes later if you can keep those construction lines coherent throughout, or not.


A Happy New Year! 新年おめでとうございます

January 1, 2020

25 January 1996, United Kingdom
Robert Burns – The Immortal Memory
design / Tayburn McIllroy Coates

A very happy New Year to you!  It’s the year of the mouse in Eastern zodiac – well, wikipedia says this is the rat year…  but I like smaller ones of that kind, so I call it the mouse year!

This is the first line of the poem To a Mouse written by Robert Burns, a Scottish poet, in the 18th century. I read the English translation, as I didn’t know what Wee or fleeket meant. If you hear the poem read by a Scotsman, this is how it sounds

I wish that 2020 will be a joyful, healthy and peaceful year for you all – I would learn from a mouse, being very small, but surviving and making a tiny difference to the world.




Face Painting-4 / 臉譜-4

March 25, 2019

15 February 1966, Taiwan
Face Paintings of Chinese Opera
design: Pi Ta-chun / 邳大椿
printer: Couvoisier S.A., Switzerland

The forth and the last face painting from Taiwan – and only this stamp, I did not find the role of this face in Chinese traditional opera.  A lots of spots, though – anyone know?


Face Painting-3 / 臉譜-3

February 8, 2019

15 February 1966, Taiwan
Face Paintings of Chinese Opera
design: Pi Ta-chun / 邳大椿
printer: Couvoisier S.A., Switzerland

The third face painting from Taiwan – this is the role of Xiang Yu.  He was a commander in the 2nd century B.C. and being a model of a Chinese opera “Farewell My Concubine”.  No, not looking like a monkey, but an expression of agony.


Face Painting-2 / 臉譜-2

February 7, 2019

15 February 1966, Taiwan
Face Paintings of Chinese Opera
design: Pi Ta-chun / 邳大椿
printer: Couvoisier S.A., Switzerland

The Second face painting from Taiwan – this is the role of Guan Yu.  The red colour evokes his loyalty to the monarch.  An actor attaches a large beard to play this role.


Happy New Year, again / 新年快樂

February 6, 2019

15 February 1966, Taiwan
Face Paintings of Chinese Opera
design: Pi Ta-chun / 邳大椿
printer: Couvoisier S.A., Switzerland

Yesterday was Chinese new year and people make a week long celebration.  Theatrical make-up of Chinese Opera is often used for festive decorations.  This is a particular make-up of a role of Zhang Fei,  a military general in the 3rd century A.D. and a popular role in the Records of the Three Kingdoms.

A very strong face to stick on an envelope – a talisman of a letter.

昨日は中国の新年でした。お祝いは1週間続くそうで、ロンドンのチャイナタウン界隈も飾り付けがたくさん見られます。臉譜(れんぷ)と呼ばれる京劇の隈取もよく使われるアイテムです。このぱっきりした顔は3世紀の将軍だった張飛(ヂャン フェイ)三国志にも出てくる人物です。


turbine / タービン

January 23, 2019

15 September 1961, Austria
15th Anniversary of Nationalized Industries: Turbine
design: A. Pilch / engraver: Georg Wimmer

Another stamp depicting a factory interior with a large rotor of a generator.  Looks like a massive and heavy machine, diagonally hung from a gantry – and somehow it evokes lightness.  Beautiful intaglio work.


Steelworks / 製鉄所

January 9, 2019

15 September 1961, Austria
15th Anniversary of Nationalized Industries: Steelworks, Linz
design: A. Pilch / engraver: Georg Wimmer

A modest mono colour, but with elaborate engraving makes this stamp very powerful.


A very happy New Year / 新年おめでとうございます

January 2, 2019

20 May 1959, Austria
design: A. Pilch / engraver: Georg Wimmer

A very happy New Year to you!  It’s the year of wild boar in Eastern zodiac.  They were the gods of the forest in ancient animism in Japan and this is my favourite stamp which shows the animal’s sacredness.

I wish 2019 will be a joyful and healthy year for you all.  Well, here in the UK, we don’t know what is going to happen towards the end of March…  But life is going on, we have to be creative to find the best happiness out of it!

After I featured this stamp, I bought a stamp catalogue of Austria and discovered that this stamp is not admiring the wild animal but is titled ‘International Hunting Congress, Vienna’…