Coffee Break



Happy New Year .Thank goodness the recent earthquake didnt cause as much damage as the last one .Your trip to the city of Mikl sounded really interesting, loved the red faced demons,and all the little birds, we call them silver eyed.They come into my garden and eat the green fly on the roses.I have just spent four days on the West Coast, at Lake Brunner with Glen and family.Their cottage is in the bush where I saw two large woodpidgeons and heard the lovely bell birds,but  no tuis.Covid is still causing problems but we are hoping next week sees the first of the injections given to the Border people and health workers.Keep safe keep wel.

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

Thank you for another welcomed report of the winter season in Japan.

Yesterday we received a Calendar (日本の名城)from a friend in Japan and we wondered when it may be possible to visit her and some of the castles?

Here in Armidale everything is safe and well, however travel plans to other states have to be carefully made

----------Claus & Michiko Jhene,Amidale, Australia-----------

Thank you again for your fine Homepage update, and for bringing us the information and photos from your Setsubun Festival for early February.   Always good to get such fine photos and information.

Here in Christchurch, we are fine and life is almost returning to "normal".   Within NZ, we can travel again, and Kate and I took the chance to visit Kate's brother and family in Tauranga for the New Year celebrations with her siblings, and then to visit areas we knew well near Auckland, from our time when we lived there.   

Of course, we still can't travel internationally, and New Zealand's borders remain closed for most too.   However, most of our immediate family are in NZ, and we regularly "chat" to our son and his wife and their son in Ireland, via the convenience of on-line video calls.

We hope that you two are also keeping well and happy, and the we may all soon have the worst of this pandemic behind us.

 ------- Tom and Kate, Christchurch, NZ----------

 Yes! We need a kind and strong Oni who would eradicate Covit-19. In Canada average daily Covit death is about 150 for the last few days.

 When the rest of Canada is suffering from the extreme cold temperature, we have had a very mild weather here in the Pacific north west . Through the winter I have enjoyed many flowers, jasmines, hellebores, prim roses,,,,, Some of hardy fuchsias have stayed beautiful and have kept feeding hummingbird. For the last few days beautiful colorful skies have entertained me – sure sign of spring. The photos I am sending you are my watercolor. I have been trying to capture the constantly changing color of clouds and water .

 This Christmas I received a Rubik cube and murder-mystery books (Stieg Larsson). Both are perfect gifts for my rainy day.( I still love murder-mystery. Your fault! Many , many years ago at high school you introduced me to Agatha Chrisie.) I came across a couple interesting things in his books – The heroin of the book Lisbeth Salander is an odd girl but has super brain, especially in math and computer.

 1;Lisbeth solved Rubik cube in 45 minutes. ( It took me about ten days. )

 2: Lisbeth solved Fermat's Last Theorem after a few days. ( I could not get even a long, elementary proof . ) Do you remember your “Last lesson” which you and Mrs Kanda gave to us old Fukiai students of 60-70 years old? ? Mrs Kanda's topic was Fermat's Last Theory - The equation x^3+Y^3=z^3 has no integer solution. I think about Mrs Kanda often.

 I am looking forward to March Home Page


--------- Haruyo Konishi HazeltonBC, Canada------------

A Happy New Year Tak sensei and everyone in the family!

Thank you for bringing me wonderful pieces of pictures and essays, and poems last year and keep it this year! 

And also I have found your smiles with that happy masks ?? That really suites both of you and matches your atmospheres

 I enjoyed this article because the Prince Arima is the most favorite author in Manyo-syu.I met his song in my junior high school hood. I went to Miyagi gakuin, located in Sendai city and spent in the boarding house. I really sympathized his feeling towards his parents and home. Because that I had been serious home-sick through all six years. However, I never know the deep relation between the Arima shrine and Prince Arima. I would like to ask Toshi and Yoshi to visit there when I will go Kobe.

 By the way, Ill be 48 years old this November, well, the Ox is my guardian animal! In my impression, Ushi means the cow, especially, Its Holstein?? I love a fresh milk. Im very glad to hear in this coffee room how various the peoples opinions are!

 Im looking forward to enjoying your article and fantastic pictures this year.

----Liebe, Yokohama, Japan---------

  The attached is  Mt Fuji over suruga galf,last autumn

How are you both?  I hope all is well and you are coping with the virus situation.

 NZ is almost back to normal, although the borders are still closed. I am fine, enjoying crisp winter days working in the garden.

-------Noela Knight, Christchurch, New Zealand-------

At the middle of January, before Setsubun, Yakuyoke-sai, the festival protecting against misfortune is held at some local Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. You can see oni dancing on the stage or the ground. Oni you see at Yakuyoke-sai is quite different from the dreadful devil or goblin but obedient servant of the Gods or Buddha, gentle friend of the children.

One day we went to the City of Miki, lies in north-west of Kobe and to watch "Oni-oi Shiki" (the purifying ceremony by demons). The ceremony is held with the cooperation of the Getsurin-ji Temple and the Omiya Hachiman Shrine.

At the temple the young men chosen among the patron families made up as the demons, children as the imps.

Setsubun is one of the time-honored festivals held on February 1 or 2. People drive away the oni from the household by throwing roasted beans at them. These beans have been used as a charm against demons since ancient times.Grilled sardine heads are stuck on the end of a holly branch and put at the entrance of the house to repel incoming bad fortune, because demons hate bad smell and thorns.

The most commonly-found image of oni, demon or ogre, is a human-like figure with a horned head and  an ugly red face. A loincloth of a tiger’s skin covers its naked body. The oni are rather familiar beings in the life of Japanese people, and often appear in folktales, legends and proverbs as a symbol of evil with violent and cruel natures and of Herculean strength. Parents often tell children that if they misbehave, oni will come and eat them.
However, sometimes oni has been thought like a being of somehow ridiculous and melancholic.

This year, corona virus has spreaded all over the world and so many people have suffered and died by the virus. Event of driving away the oni have special meaning.

The photos bellow show the event held at the Shrine Ohmiya Hachimangu in Miki City in January 2009.