#231 New Year, 2023

This page is written
by Harumi Okochi.
This will be updated irregularly.
Sometimes Harumi's friends join.
We'd be happy if you look at
our previous issues.


Munakata Taisha Shrine in Fukuoka Prefecture
World Heritage Site
I hope this finds you safe and happy.
Three terrible years have passed since our Good Earth started to suffer from the invisible enemy COVID.
Are we now seeing the vague light at the end of this long tunnel? I really wish that.
As the greeting of the new year, I would like to tell you how we passed the days of 2022.
During the Corona period, which still continues, we had only few guests. No e-mail came. No telephone call. No visitors. Friends could not visit each other.
Only flowers come and go with the passing of the seasons.
We were not flying, jumping, nor running any more. We were walking slowly. I know I will soon start toddling.
Before that, we wanted to have small trips in near districts.
We wanted to see our old friends again before it gets too late.
So, we stepped out.

 Mrs. Yamaguchi Taishoya-Shiiba-Sanso (center)

In January to Ureshino hot spring district. Stayed at Shiiba Sanso. Saw Mr. and Mrs. Yamaguchi, the owners. Their deceased mother was our good friend.

In April to Saga City. Met Mr. and Mrs. Otonari, long friends of us. We had a happy time with them, laughing so much because Mr.Otonari was a professional Pun talker. Who would imagine that Mr. Otonari would die suddenly only one week after our reunion.
 Mr. Otonari, my husband, me, Mrs. Otonari

April. We visited Aso, Uchinomaki. Stayed at Sozankyo.
 Mr. and Mrs. Nagata       Sozankyo

Very gorgeous ryokan. Mr. and Mrs. Nagata are old friends of us.
Their building was heavily damaged by the flood and the earthquake. But it was renovated beautifully.
Their son is now doing the business very successfully.

 Mr. and Mrs. Kawazu , Komeya Bessou, Tsuetate

Then went to Tsuetate and stayed with Komeya Bessou. The young owner is also
our friend.

Saw Kumamoto Castle. The terrible earthquake, April 2016, damaged National treasure castle heavily, and now it is on the long way of reconstruction.

 Mrs. Satomi Horio      Hitoyoshi Ryokan
May, we went to Hitoyoshi and stayed at Hitoyoshi Ryokan. The River Kuma violated this old traditional ryokan in July, 2020. They have almost repaired the ryokan and now it is re-opened. We went there to cheer up Mr. and Mrs. Horio who are struggling to stand up again.

We crossed the bay and visited Amakusa Islands. I have long wanted to come here. These islands are the place where the underground Christians kept their religious faith during the long period of Prohibition in the feudal time of Japan.

 Masaomi, Shoshiro, Akihiko, Harumi, Sanae
In July, five of us made a two-day trip to Sasebo district. My husband Akihiko, age 88, younger brother Shoshiro, 82, youngest brother Masaomi 81, youngest brother's wife Sanae 73, and me Harumi, 78.
Five young-at-hearts made a noisy travel, talking, laughing, quarreling. This is the first trip for the brothers to go together. How I wish we could go again before it gets too late.

October. We invited our friends to go together to Yufuin to see "Gramophone Bunraku" held in Tsukanoma.
Two same sets of old SP records of Joruri were played incessantly on two 100 year-old gramophones. And to this accompaniment, Joruri puppets were moved by the players. It was a fabulous performance. We stayed at Tsukanoma, a unique, artistic accommodation with a super-luxurious hot spring of pale-blue water!
 Tsukanoma owner Mr. Yoichiro Horie

November. We visited the suburbs of our own city. The Kodomo Beach of Yobuko town. We have never been there before. In June every year, there is a festival here on this small beach. Men carry the festival floats on their shoulders and step into the water. They go round the shallow bay. Audience see the parade from the beach. Maybe this June, we can see it (hopefully).

We spend the last day of year 2022 in a hotel near the Munakata Shrine in Fukuoka Prefecture. We enjoyed our 2022 though there were many restrictions.
Good bye, Tiger, and welcome Rabbit
We wish you a very carrot-ful Rabbit Year of 2023.

Thank you for visiting this page.
I hope you will return.

Harumi Okochi
mail to: info@yoyokaku.com