Archive for April, 2011

a boat on the rough sea / 荒波の小舟

April 26, 2011

15 December 1927, Belgium
design & engrave: Institut de Gravure, Paris

Charity stamps, known also as semi-postal, were a great invention to collect charitable funds to support people who need help.

Caritas, named after the Latin for ‘charity’ or ‘virtue’, was formed by Catholic members in 1897.  Their mission was to make a better world, especially for poor and oppressed people. I consulted the history of Belgium around 1927, but did not discover who Caritas were raising money for in this case.  Whoever the people in the boat are, the stamps are in impressive contrast between sad faces and the abstract lines of waves – appealing for help.



coastlines 2 / 海岸線 2

April 22, 2011

19 March 2002, UK
Photography: Richard Cooke

Another five stamps complete the set.  Again, a variety of coastlines are shown – characteristic chalk cliffs, sunbathing people on beach, beach huts lined up, sailing boats, and a coast road alongside old mining industry.

Although I am not a great fan of stamps with photography, I have to admit photoraphy has the power to stop a moment and show us documentary fact.



coastlines / 海岸線

April 17, 2011

19 March 2002, UK
Photography: Richard Cooke

Coastlines are cultural interfaces between ‘native’ and ‘overseas’.  This set of stamps with aerial photos around the British Isles are showing geographical fact and the lives of people, who protected their land from invaders, the ports for importers and fishermen to bring food, as well as the farmers working on flat land.

This series of satellite photos from the New York Times show us that the Tsunami has taken thousands of lives from the East coast of North Japan, and had destroyed history and culture alongside a long section of the coastline.



one year on / 火山の混乱から1年

April 16, 2011


3 December 1947, Iceland
Mt Hekla in Eruption
design: S. Jónsson

Just a year ago, people in Europe started to realise that an event of nature can cause great disorder to our modern society.  I was in Milano last year today, looking for an alternative route to get out from Milano – it took 25 hours to get back to London through Euro-tunnel.

This set of stamps are showing an eruption of Helka, one of Iceland’s main volcanoes, in 1947.  The close-up below shows great needle work by the engraver, signed SJ, depicting erupting volcanic ashes both near and far.

Iceland has been supplying most of its required electricity by renewable sources – geothermal and hydro power. And also they are developing hydrocarbon exploration, as they are aiming to be energy-independent by 2050.





energy saving / ドイツの省エネ

April 5, 2011


14 November 1979, Germany
‘Energy Saving’

The seven oldest nuclear power reactors are temporarily shut down in Germany after the Fukushima nuclear incident and discussions on the phase-out process is now dominating the debate in the country.

This stamp is from 32 years ago – the length of time that one nuclear power plant can produce energy under the current German law.

I am interested in energy policy from different countries since the Fukushima problem and recalling the landscape of places I have visited in relation to that. For example, you find a lot of solar panels on houses in Belgium, where the phase-out of nuclear power is in place already.

European cities are not keen to have bright adverts or bright lit vending machines in their towns, and appreciate moody candle light for romantic dinners – but a more radical shift is needed on the manufacturing front and everyday life in the nuclear free future.