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 burnt amounted 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 ---

I am so glad to see the photos of your visiting the shrine and observing the birds. You look happy and healthy. The calligraphy by you and Rumiko-san is beautiful indeed the health is the most important thing in life. Now that the hustle and bustle of the Christmas and New Year season is over, it is the time for me to deal with my other problems which seem to pop up in my life endlessly: my jalopy is beyond repair; the roof of my guesthouse has developed leaks; heavy depressing  rain day after day........

 But my problems are dwarfed by the disasters that some of people are going through right this moment, like wild fire in Australia. I wish I could sent our cold rain to the hot dry country . In summer I wish I could send the cool sea breeze of 20°c to you who are suffering 40 °heat. I am certain that in the future science and technology make it possible to control nature and make it rain or shine , hot or cold. This would be the great invention, which will revolutionize the ways we live in every area of life. although I am not sure if it is a good thing to tamper with the nature.

 I hope you and Rumiko-san will have a wonderful year.                  

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 autum.

A Happy New Year of Ox/Ushi!

 I wondered if “ox” was an accurate translation from Japanese “ushi”. According to Internet, “both the ox and the bull are male cattle, while the cow is female. The difference between an ox and a bull is that the oxen are castrated but the bulls remain intact. And ushi is bull, ox, cow, calf. “

 So strictly speaking, ox and ushi are not quite same. But it really does not matter. They are just traditional names for Chinese Zodiac.

 I like your ox incense burner. Do you know its history?

 Inspired by the incense burner and your other photos of many memories, and to celebrate the beginning of New Year of Ox, I did a few drawings of ushi. (Drawing and painting are my favorite pastime.) and none of them turned out good. I threw them straight into the fire place. I remember well the time when I was a potter. I used to fill up the garbage can with my bad pots which were not good enough to sell. The garbage collectors must have wondered why my garbage cans were so heavy every week. A good thing about the hobby of painting and drawing is easy to get rid of bad works – just burn them. 

 Looking forward 2021 Home Page.

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

Thank you for thinking of us during this difficult year, 2020.

 First there is the one-year-old Virus pandemic which is still not under control.  Then there are the political situations in America, China and Europe (Brexit).  Also the national and inter-national travel restrictions (our travels to Japan became impossible.),  as well as the economic and environmental problems everywhere.   

It will take a long time before the world and its people will recover.

 Fortunately, we are all well and safe living in our small country town called Armidale, it is 500km north of Sydney, 500km south of Brisbane and 200km west of the Pacific Ocean.

 Our children and grandchildren are all well:  The eldest grandchild start work as a mining the second one is at university in Brisbane, the next three are at elementary school and the youngest will be 2 years one in February.

 We wish you and your family members a HEALTHY, HAPPY and SAFE year 2021.  

 -------Claus & Michiko Jehne, Armidale, Australia --------- -

 Pictures of Christmas Bells, an Australian Wildflower.


Thank you for your excellent work on keeping us in touch with your Homepage.  Kate and I enjoy reading them, and enjoy hearing from you both.    It is always interesting to see how the changes in season can make a difference to your lives.

It was great to read how, with cooler autumn temperatures, you were able to get to visit Rokko Mountains, and to see the return of some favourite plants, and to take a walk..   It was interesting for us to see the high school musical ensemble, which you would both have enjoyed.     

 Also, we were pleased that (with Rumi's assistance now), our old friend Tak could take a  walk on the mountain track, and along the Lane of Autumn Flowers.    That would bring back fond memories.

We are fine here in Christchurch, as life gets back to being more normal in NZ.  The main difference still is that, with our borders still closed, we don't get to see international tourists, and there are no overseas students coming to our universities, at this time.

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

Thank youThank you for your interesting views of the       Flowers on Rocco. Mountain. You did well to make that walk Tak.My garden is full of beautiful flowering  rhododendrons and camellias at the moment and keeps me very busy.Keep well and keep safe ,

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

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-------

Coffee Break


We usually visit Shinto shrine on the first day of January. However self-restraint is severly requeted so we visited Arima Shrine on the 4th. The shrine located in our community and it was built 1302 yeras ago, they say. It is good to visit the rural shrines at the beginning of the year.

. We prayed sincerely the infectious disease by corona virus will eradicated all over the world .

Oct 2007 in Stock farm,Mt Rokko, Kobe

Mar 2007 inTaketomi Island, Okinawa

This is the year of the Ox by the twelve zodiac signs.When we were young, the bull and cow were familiar animals, but we cannot see them these days.

So we show the pictures of the oxen we took long time ago in the places where we visited.

Ox-styled incense burner
handed down from our ancestors

May 2008 in Romanmotie,.Switsland

Aug 2005 in Tengu Hights, Shikoku

Oct 2004 in Southland,NewZealand

We wish to continue to edit our homepage in 2021.Please continue to support us.
Shogatsu is one of the most important and particular festive seasons for Japanese which originated in the religious observances performed by the ancients, who prayed at year’s beginning for the favor of their ancestral deities and for an abundant crop for the year.

However, the year 2021 has started at very warried, anxious situation because of the risk by corona virus .