Sagicho, or tondo is the traditional fire festival held at the end of New Year season., .to make a bonfire of the New Year's decorations such as pine branches, bamboos and straw festoons.This event had been held at the precinct of shrine or the playground of primary school. It has become difficult to have the event at the urban district.because of danger of fire.

In the City of Kobe, the events are held at the shrines and the school grounds. The biggest one is tondo held at Municipal Arboretum in Mt Rokko, where we visited and joined the event on the morning of the 12th of January.


Thanks you for your report and pictures of the TONDO festival. It is good to see that the old festivals and traditions are still reenacted.

I remember well the ‘firemen’s festival’  in Tokyo on the 6th January 1965,a few days after arriving Japan by ship for my first visit as a student.

  I am happy to report that we have had a lot of rain in the meantime

and our garden is recovering well.  As is much of the the bushland after the fires.   


Below is the story (photo report) of the area around BINABURRA where the 

85 year old iconic resort was destroyed by fire  last yer,-blue-mountains/11916742

 With our best wishes to you and your family and your avid readership.

 -------Claus & Michiko Jehne (Armidale, NSW, Australia)------


 Your photos of Tondo are spectacular - the spectators of the fire must have been experiencing a spiritual cleanse.

 Michiko and Claus, my sincere sympathy to you, your family and everybody who have been living through the wildfire. Last month, here in the north west of Canada, we had over 270mm of rain and some sections of my regular walking trail went under 5 feet of water. I only wish I could send our rain to you. I also wish I could store it for our summer. Right now my backyard is a rain forest completely saturated, but In July and August it becomes a “dry rain forest”. A couple years ago I experienced a real fear of the wildfire when it started on an old logging site only a few miles from my house.

 Is Stephen Hawking's final book “Brief Answers to the big Questions” translated into Japanese? In one of the chapters entitled “ Will we survive on Earth?” Hawking predicts that “..... either a nuclear confrontation or environmental catastrophe will cripple the Earth at some point in the next 1000 years”. Sobering thoughts.......

-------Haruyo Konishi Hazelton, BC, Canada ---------

Thank you for your concern about the fire situation and ourselves.  Many fires are still burning, causing death and loss of property.

We are doing our best to fight the fires (in all ways possible) and are also waiting for rain.We and our extended family are safe and well. 

In November the fire attacked my son’s property (near Glen Innes) and they lost a number of buildings and some animals on his farm.  He saved their house. The local school where my grandson goes was burnt down but is being rebuilt.  (The picture I sent on the 26 November was my son fighting the fire)

Then in December the house of my daughter (Blackheath, Blue Mountains) was threatened by fire but the fire brigade managed to stop the fire at the fence line.(I attach some recent photos from my daughter)   With rain, the Eucalyptus trees will regenerate, but the total areas that were burntamounted to millions of hectares.  The loss of wildlife was enormous

Burnt area, Gross Valley, in the Blue Mountains 

Burnt Eucalyptus sprouting new leaves, branches

---------Claus & Michiko Jehne (Armidale, NSW, Australia)-------

I again enjoyed your Homepage and was very pleased to see you both out and following your traditions around Shogatsu .  It was so good to see the Professor at the traditional rural shrine, and looking very well

Also kite-flying used to be a very popular activity for children when I was MUCH younger - often helped by their fathers too.

 We hope you have a good year in 2020

----Tom and Kate Gregg, Christchurch, New Zealand ---

Thank you for your letter .New Year Greetings to you both. I have just received a letter from Niaomi and she tells me she and her friends were meeting with you on Christmas Day for a party .Wasthat your birthday? today is fine but very windy.I have been watering the garden especially the vegetables. I have lettuce and tomatoes and spring onions doing well but the beans veryslow.I am fine.

---------Jocelyn Fifield, Christchurch, New Zealand--------

I am pleased you are now feeling better. The cooler weather of autumn will hopefully be more comfortable for you.

We do enjoy your home-page. Thank you for the August edition. It brings back many memories of you and of Japan.

Best wishes to Rumi and yourself.

  --Robin Mann, Christchurch,New Zealand---


Coffee Break
People kindled the big pole with the memorial fire of Hanshin Earthquake.The fire sprang into a blaze and flames shot up. It was really a gorgeous sight and people were watching the scene in silence.

The fire went out. Some people brought ash with them in order to purify their residence by scattering ash around houses.They enjoyed the event eating zenzai, thick sweet bean soup or zoni, rice-cake soup, and pounding the rice-cake

In spite of severe cold of the mountain, about 4,000 people with decorations gathered at the ground. Young students brought the first calligraphy of the year. It is believed that the paper with good written letters flies high in fire. It is Tak's bitter memory that his calligraphy never flew up at the tondo festival of his childhood, and he has suffered from poor handwriting since then.