Wednesday, December 23, 2009

After last night's nickels, tonight's pennies were a bit of a let down, but I didn't do too badly. 3,450 pennies turned up eighteen Wheats, twenty-seven Canadians, five US dimes, one UK penny and one Trinidad and Tobago 1¢. The Wheats were:

1914, 1919S, 1937D, 1939, 1940(2), 1945(2), 1946, 1949, 1950, 1951S, 1953, 1953D, 1956D(3), 1957D

A few days ago I finished reading Kaempfer's Japan: Tokugawa Culture Observed by Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716), translated, edited and annotated by Beatrice Bodart-Bailey. The book was originally posthumously published under the title The History of Japan in 1727. Kaempfer did his research for the book while working for the Dutch East India Company as a doctor. Most of his notes were compiled while he and the other members of the factory were sequestered in Nagasaki, but a significant portion was gleamed from his two land and sea journeys to Edo. Like other lords the Dutch were required to make an annual pilgrimage to Edo to have an audience with the Shogun. Kaempfer's work was extremely popular and remains one of the most valuable sources for information about the Tokugawa period. His writing is very personable, but is very detailed and really fascinating. I particularly liked reading about his meeting the shogun.

To help with my visualizing the scenes within the book I rented Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire, a PBS documentary. The documentary is great. It is done in three volumes. It has lots of good visuals (I wish I had seen it on Blu-Ray) and covers a lot in as much detail as one can given it is just under three hours. Furthermore, the first half of the third episode concerns Kaempfer and features many interview snippets with Bodart-Bailey!

Found: 4 pennies (at the mall), 1 quarter (at the mall)