If you are wondering what someone with a German given name, an Anglicized Dutch family name, and an American passport is doing living in Japan, well, it's a long story. It involves travels across four continents and three oceans, with numerous pauses for sightseeing, employment, meditation, and just plain living. And if you are wondering why I have been in Japan for such a long time (41 years and counting), that's a long story too, one that includes teaching (mostly at university), marriage (to an American whom I met many years ago in Iran), gardening and cooking home-grown vegetables and fruit, visiting famous temple gardens, knitting, Zazen and Vipassana, hiking (I live in the hills northwest of Tokyo proper and can see Mount Fuji from a spot less than 30 meters from my house), reading and writing poetry, taking lessons in "shodo" (Japanese calligraphy), and collecting postage stamps.
The story of how I began to collect stamps is one that I hope you'll find interesting. When I was a child during the 1950's, I was lucky enough to have four aunts, two of whom worked outside the home. One of these working aunties was private secretary to the vice president for foreign branches and sales at the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.A. By the time I was 9 years old, my Aunt Julie's boss was receiving roughly 20 letters a week from foreign countries, mostly in Europe and South America. As a secretary, my aunt didn't like throwing such interesting stamps away when her boss was finished with the envelopes, so she began giving them to me. At first, she carefully cut the stamps from the envelopes, but later she would simply send me the whole cover (envelope). Now I wish that I had kept at least some of those covers, but at the time I didn't realize how fascinating they would have been. Guess I also felt a little frustrated that there was never a letter inside the envelope! Anyway, my father was as interested in the stamps as I was, and I have some really lovely memories of evenings spent in the kitchen with him, steaming stamps off envelopes and then flattening them out before they went into my album.
Maybe you can guess from this story that your country's stamp(s) and postmark will be as intriguing to me as the picture on the front of the postcard, so please write a little about yourself, your country, or whatever concerns or interests you at the moment, choose a really great stamp, and if you have time take the card to your local post office to see if you can get a nice clear cancellation (postmark). As for the picture, please just choose something that appeals to you. I like variety, surprises, and finding out more about the sender from the picture s/he selects.
Thank you for taking the time to read this lo-o-o-ong profile, and Happy Postcrossing!