Saturday, August 16, 2008


It is HOT and HUMID! I don't want to gross you out too much but you can't believe the mold that is growing on everything. I encounter this every year when I come back from the States but I thought it was the result of a month of a closed up house and not much cleaning going on from Tetsu. Not so! Mold grows in barely no time at all and though I wipe things, less than a week later there is a white-green fuzz on everything. I can understand food, but my leather belt and shoes? Wooden furniture and paneled walls? Canvas camera case? Believe me, you don't want to see it all!

I try to avoid using the air-conditioner until just before Tetsu comes home but the electric fan goes full blast and my handheld fans come in handy. Many years ago some friends gave me some very nice expensive fans called Uchiwa. These are one piece rounded fans and they are carried around during festivals and used by people working outdoors. We always have a couple of plastic ones around and when we barbecued out in the yard (when the kids were little) uchiwa came in handy for fanning the fire. Women will also use them to fan the rice when making sushi or other dishes that need to be cooled quickly.

My very nice uchiwa are made from a thin bamboo stalk that has been split evenly over 60 times and then the spokes have been carefully arranged to allow fabric and paper application to both sides. The workmanship in these fans is just beautiful though very easily overlooked when one is just grabbing it in order to find relief from the heat.

The other fan I use is called a Sensu and it is a traditional folding fan. You can find these everywhere in the department stores (even in the One Dollar shops!) and they are covered with paper or fabric depending on the price. Women especially tend to carry around sensu and they often come with a cloth fan holder. My sensu is made of sandalwood and it may even be Chinese, I'm not sure exactly. Instead of being covered, each slat has been carved (or press cut) and it is very attractive when spread out. It also had a wonderful sandalwood fragrance that has since died away but I occasionally put a drop of aroma oil on it and whenever I fan myself I'm enveloped in fragrance. Anything to forget the heat!


mabrule said...

I understand about the mold! When I was stationed over there we had to get rid of some of my husbands suits because of the mold that grew on them!

artfilstitch said...

The fans are so beautiful, such intricate designs. The fabric covering the bamboo is a real work of art. Thanks for are a living history book for us .
Hoping that the mold will soon leave your property and move south..:>)

Amanda said...

Yuk, that mould! It must drive you mad having to keep cleaning it off. Love the fans. I have several folding fans which I use when it's really hot - they've not had any use this year though.

Marilyn R said...

That mold would drive me crazy! Ugh! Love the fans - at least the beauty is a small distraction from the horrible heat!

The Calico Quilter said...

Amost everywhere I go here in the Southeast is air conditioned any more - you really can't stand it indoors if there isn't air conditioning. I haven't thought of fans for ages. The ones everybody had lying around when I was a kid were cardboard mounted on a flat stick about the width of the tongue depressor but longer. The fans were a rounded-corner rectangle with straight top and bottom edges and the sides curved inward. And the strange thing was, almost everyone's came from the local funeral home and had advertising printed on them. It was very common then for funeral homes to have lots of fans for the bereaved to fan themselves while sitting at the funeral home (no a/c) and everybody brought them home. The funeral homes also passed them out for advertising at outdoor venues such as ball games or parades. No one was queasy about the subject being advertised on the fans and the shape was very effective!

Of course you got advertising on such unusual but useful things back then - the funniest one that was common during an election was printing your name and the office you were running for on a potholder which you left with the "lady of the house" (!) when you went door to door campaigning. I guess they just expected that if they rang a doorbell at 2 p.m. the only person at home would be the wife.

I know about the mold issue. When my neighbor died, they closed up her house for a month while the family sorted things out and all the furniture was covered with white fuzzy mold. The whole house was like a petri dish. Yuck!!! You have my sympathies on that one!

Rose Marie said...

When you wipe down your items, do you put vinegar or bleach in your water? I find that holds off the mold for a while. For my furniture and panelling, the mold attacks varnish but not varethane. We use a dehumidifier in our basement during the summer months and that really helps with my mold problem. Unfortunately, it does soak up electricity along with the humidity.