Christmas・New Year correspondence
In 1951, six years after Japan’s complete defeat in the World War II,
they first came
to Japan as a protestant missionary and lived with us for just a month.
postwar rehabilitation, mentally and physically, was far from perfect.
We, including neighbors, sometime faced
difficulties in getting basic necessities of life. General shortage was not yet completely
eased. Proper goods were not always affordable for us common people.
The missionary family were very affable, though none of us had abilities
of English, hearing nor speaking, but Mr. and Mrs. Woollett had a good
command of Japanese. By watching different culture and life style, we led
pleasant daily lives. Kathie was three years younger than me. We two were soon on friendly terms with
After they left Japan, expiring the term as missionary, I missed Kathie badly. Mrs. Key Woollett sometime wrote to my mother in Japanese, not on every Christmas.
It was December, 22, 2004 that I got the first Christmas card from Kathie. From then on, every 24 December, I got a ‘Merry Christmas to Keiko’ card
My husband, retired English teacher, takes the
trouble to translate my answer to her into English, complaining that his
English vocabulary is getting more and more limited.
Kathie retired an elementary school teacher and married very late, now living
a happy life with her husband Peter.
May the quiet peace and gentle love
of the first Christmas
be yours today and always.
Peter and Kathie
the pain in your waist? Did the acupuncture treatments help?
on back twice in January, but the doctors found a more serious problem, so I’ve
had many trips to the Emergency doctors and
three hospitals as well as a month of
rehabilitation. Jesus has healed me of the
more serious problems!
December 26, 2017
for your Christmas card. I got it December 19, Japanese time, a little
amazed at its being earlier than usual. And I feel a lot of sympathy for you to
know that you’ve been in a severely bad situation for some months. At first I found myself at aloss for words of consolation to you and Peter. Finally, knowing you finished
your card by saying, “Jesus has healed me of the more serious problems!”,
I’m now greatly relieved and willingly give you my congratulations.
While reading your card, I thought it was the only bright spot that in the accident you did not hit your back of the head on a hard stone
or a concrete block, etc and also, what got me really worried about you
was, doctors discovered you’d been in serious health problems without knowing
of it. I don’t know what they were, but, seen from a different angle, you
didn’t become aware your problems were very serious until the accident:—falling
on your back twice in January. Without the accidents, your health would be still in a severely
Briefly, you and Peter could say ‘something unseen’ turned your misfortune into a blessing. Please stop and think, “what’s something unseen?” It’s not your Jesus, nor by chance. It’s in everyone on the earth, Christians like you, Buddhists
like me, people in the Islamic community, and so on. The answer is a simple
one; as for you, your own deep and wide thinking and positive attitude,
your courageous fight against your newly detected problems, and last but
not least, Peter’s whole-hearted support to you.
As the New Testament tells us, healing ofdiseases is the miraculous work of Jesus and God helps those who help themselves.
I believe you tried to do your utmost to get over them together with Peter and doctors, and successfully survived them with the help of God, and I’m sure, you’ll outlive your mother Key. I’m happy you’ve made a good precedent of “turning a misfortune into a blessing.” Your strenuous efforts and hearty religious daily living style and firm belief
in Jesus has created a good precedent, I fully believe.
me, I underwent a lens transmission operation for my senile cataract of both
eyes October 3, and 5. Both the treatments were given without a speck of
misstep. So I can now see the world very clearly. Luckily, there have been
amazing advances in the treatments of cataract. The operation took only ten or
fifteen minutes and during the time I felt little pain.
I thank you for your consideration to my husband. His pain in the waist
is step by step subsiding by the regular acupuncture treatments. But, sad to say, I’ve been feeling a pain in the waist. It was caused by a hard long-time cleaning of the window-panes of my house, climbing up and down the ladder. They were very dirty after the typhoon.
My husband kindly advised me to receive regular acupuncture treatments from his doctor. The treatments are effective but to prevent the pain
getting worse, I won’t trip anywhere, staying in Miyazaki City and he is
now in Hofu City in Yamaguchi Prefecture to spend the period before and
after New Year’s on his home island in order to worship at the grave in
his family temple.
The kind of separation is our first experience in marriage life.
We try to eat soybean, peanuts, chocolates after every meals every day
to get aged brain more and more active. They say, curry is good for the hippocampi. We believe in it, and we eat a chicken or a beef curry mixed with boiled
rice every day. In Japan the old saying goes, “those who believe shall
My older sister “Etsuko” has long been suffering from Parkinson’s disease, though
good memory, sound judgement and right recognition. She goes to day-service in
a nursing home for the aged once a week. Her daughter “Kuniko”,
a first class registered architect, is taking care of her. October 22, we
celebrated “Etsuko”s 90th birthday with
Japanese meal and wine, and she was presented a little gift and a tanka poem
and haiku created by my husband and I.
People often talk of global warming but winter
is winter. Let’s take care not to get flu.I heartily wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please live 2018 safe and sound, taking care of yourself and tripping
to places far and wide, including particularly where you expected to have
done early in 2017.
give Peter my best regards.
should meet a sad thing, or something unpleasant befall you, please let me know
as soon as possible by e-mail.
Keiko’s: firstname.lastname@example.org huband’s: email@example.com
<curry and rice>from Wikipedia>
|| E-mail to Kathie and Peter 2016
15 December, 2016
Dear Kathie and Peter
What a rare crossing coincidence! Yesterday, on December 14, I posted you Christmas card with some sweets
as a Christmas present, and on getting home, to my great surprise, I found I had received your air mail Christmas Card during
that short time absence.
My husband and I are much relieved you both
have survived your serious surgeries. Especially for Peter, the sooner
treatment, the safer return to usual daily lives. I believe it’s all because you
are a deeply religious couple.
You have enjoyed short trips, one after another in spite
of your respective therapies, and you are planning to try many more in 2017. We hope they will lead you to live a happier
life than last year.
May the bliss to the World!
bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day
the city of David a Savour,
which is Christ the Lord.
glorious birth of Jesus
and wishing you a Christmas
filled with His goodness.
Thank you for explaining all about chirashizushi!
The synopsis of the
report by Peter and Kathie in 2015,16：
August 17 in 2015, Kathie’s left knee replacement surgery went well.
February 6 in 2016, Peter had a precursory to a heart attack.
March 8 in 2016, a triple heart bypass operation went well.
I wonder if you’re still trying to do daily exercise, though you’re busy with housekeeping. I’ll be very happy to know you’ve
been in niceconditions throughout 2016.
Somehow or other, thanks to our health check, my husband and I are well
since January first,
As for me, at the end of March this year, I
retired from the work to help mentally disabled people in a facility do
job-training or elementary study. I was engaged in it for 15 years. Thinking
back to those years, I realize I lived a full life and very happy owing to that
meaningful job, where staffs, disabled people and myself all had a good time
trusting each other completely.
To my big delight
and a little loneliness as well, 12 October 2016 was my eightieth birthday. Here
in Japan it is celebrated as 傘寿(san-jyu)
family and friend.
PC, walking in the pool and haiku poems
(making and reading) are tasks which I do nearly every day as a matter of
routine. But a pity my husband and I feel pain in waist because of poor forward
bending posture while weeding; my husband in his garden in Hofu city,
Yamaguchi, while I in my garden in Miyazaki city. We both are receiving acupuncture
treatments in Miyazaki City from the same acupuncture doctor. We’re afraid it’ll
take us time to get rid of it. It comes home to my heart that we are so aged we
can’t be careful enough of our movements whether in driving, weeding, cooking,
cleaning, washing etc.
Tasteful newcomers of this year presents are ‘cookies’
made of buckwheat flour and ‘kon-pei-to’ of Portuguese origin (made from iced
sugars and wheat flour). I hope you will enjoy them with Peter.
and New Year are just round the corner; May you spend happy year-end and
hopeful New Year!
No Christmas card, nor
tidings on 2015 from Peter and Kathie.
I’m convinced you both are in good health. Kathie, your left knee works
well, doesn’t it? I feel a little anxious about it.
and I are fine, too. I know well that thanks are all due to our careful health
On December 2, together with the people in a
facility for the mentally disabled, I
a Christmas tree decorated with origami paper. They took a lot time to fold respective
origami paper of their own choice. But thanks to your white Angel at the top of our tree, we are very happy to see
the whole looks very nice. Every December your white Angel plays us the starring role. Fondly thinking
of you, I took its picture, which I send you.
More than 14 years I have helped people in a facility do job-training or
study, and we are on friendly terms with each other; now they speak to
me frankly, without any hesitation. Surely, good human relationships bring
us real happiness.
As for me, instead of swimming, usually I take an afternoon walk in the
pool and once a week I learn how to use my PC in a more efficient manner
than the one that I did last, and try to make haikus, worthy of reading,
but to my bitter disappointment PC and haiku as well are an unavoidable
kind of enemies.
This year I went sightseeing in three different places with my old friends:
Sendai City in the Tohoku Districts, Sado Island, and Oki Island in the
Now I send you five articles. I’m so happy that
you were much pleased with my latest presents. ①A picture of my Christmas
tree with your Angel on it including those delighted at it. ②Happy New Year
③some sweets, sembei (thin sweet bars). ④Tea leaves, which flavor, as you know, varies from planting place to place.
(羊羹),which is a thick, jellied dessert made of
red bean paste, agar, and sugar. It is usually sold in a block form, and eaten
give my best regards to Peter. I hope you
both may have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
A summary of the Christmas letter from Kathie as it follows.
Christ, there would be no Christmas as we know it. But because God loved the
world so much, He sent His only Son to the world to provide a way of salvation.
was a good year for us in many ways. We’ve been basically healthy and enjoying
our friends and neighbors.
At the end of July, our sons visited us. We
took them to Ten Mile Creek to try their hands at trout fishing. Each caught a
trout, while Peter enjoyed snoozing in the sunshine.
Early that month, we were able to camp at
south Lake Tahoe with our trailer (British
caravan) for ten days. While there we met a new gas buddy friend. (a person who
makes you laugh a lot as friend?)
Near the end of October, we had almost ten
days’ camping with our trailer at two different campgrounds at Pismo Beach,
13 December 2014
Both you and Peter are in good health, aren’t you?
My husband and I are very fine, too. Reading your last year Christmas card, I
knew that you were given a cortisone injection in the left knee three times.
You said you had a left knee trouble about 11 months. I express you my deep
sympathy. Around me in Japan, quite a few aged people have challenges in their
knees or waists. Some have helpful shots, others need an operation on their
knees. I believe with you that God is always so kind to you, who have been very
Sembei is easy to smash. If it was tough enough not to be broken into
pieces, you couldn’t chew and enjoy it to you heart’s content.
Please give your eldest niece my congratulations
on her two children getting married. I hope they will have a happy married life.
This year I had a car accident. Just a little before I tried to park my
car in the spot of my garden, carelessly I drove into the opposite line.
The car running opposite already stopped noticing me.Full absent-minded,
I did not even hear his horn blowing, then my car crashed into the other
face to face. Both cars got badly damaged but luckily he and I escaped
serious injury, getting bruise on the breast. Bones have turned out safe.
My husband said there might be some rapid aging in my head, adding that
in driving your car you can’t be too careful.
Now I’ll send you some few articles: green tea leaves, sembei (thin sweet bars, easily
smashed), Origami paper, some few paper goldfish, (which were no easy to fold)
cards with a picture of Mt. Fuji, Cultural Heritage Site, some sweets, and a
picture of my Christmas tree, (which was, as usual, made in the facility for the mentally disabled). Alas! Thanks to my weak memory, the Christmas tree doesn’t have on it that white Angel of your own making. I
feel so sorry for you! I just wish your fresh making two white Angels will be
welcomed by your oldest niece’s two children and their newly married spouses.
My husband and I carry out a memorial service
for his dead mother on January 29 next year, the annual return of the date of
her death. She has been dead two years.
Please give Peter my regards. I wish both of you
may have Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I hope both you and Peter are in good health.
I’m very well, too.
made an origami Christmas tree with your last year present at the top,
your own making. The tree looks so nice the people in a facility for the
disabled are very pleased to see it. The picture of the tree and me lets me
if you and me are together in it. I feel very happy, every time I look at the
This year I’ve had a little change in my life
style. My husband is suffering his long-
term sciatica pain
(zakotsu shinkeitsu). He comes back to Miyazaki City to take
treatments and stays with me about two weeks every month, but it will
long time to get rid of it. Owing to it, I visit Hofu City in Yamaguchi
him cultivate vegetables. I myself raised kidney beans and Japanese giant
radish (daikon), coco-yam (satoimo) from seed and got a good harvest of them.
happily says “You’re far skilled than me.” Cabbages and broccolis were
me, too. I’m looking forward to greeting them on the 14th of this month.
swimming, attending a cooking class, creating haiku poems ━ these
done as usual. My friends say I look younger than I am.
At Aoshimain Miyazaki City, where I think you still remember visiting once, I watched
the harvestmoon rising from the Pacific Ocean. The ascending scene of the full moon
was amazing and a moonlight stream floating on the surface was too beautiful to
In October I went up to Tokyo to take part in
a reunion of my college mates and saw
a pair of
Pandas eating bamboo grass at Ueno Zoo. It was a very interesting scene.
I send you some articles. A bead ring, a bead
bracelet made by the people in a facility,
papers, pictures, and chopsticks for New Year dishes and some sweets.
your Christmas holidays? Maybe beyond description! I’m going to enjoy
Year holidays at my husband’s mother’s. Though mentally much weaker than
she, 104, is in good conditions, reading newspapers, magazines and dogs or
pictorials. Every day she talks of a dog, which had long been out of her sight.
Here in Japan, it’s getting colder and colder
towards the end of the year, occasionally
with a cold
wave. I‘m afraid so is US.
I just pray
you may have a happy New Year!
<the harvest moon>
24 December 2011
Thank you very much for a white Angel doll handmade by you, ‘stars’ and
card telling me that you both enjoyed the Westmont choirs and orchestras playing forJesus.
I’ll cherish the Angel long as one of my
treasure possessions. The make is excellent.
you are a wonder.
So spurred on by your craftsmanship that I made a Christmas tree decorated
origami paper. Yours is far better than mine. But to my joy, with your white Angel at
the top of my tree made of a Japanese fir, the whole looks very nice.
a facility for the mentally disabled were very pleased to see my Christmas
your White angel at the top. A few of their impressions and feedback on it go:
Angel from US has made me happy. It’s very pretty and bright.
paper Santa Claus has a range of expression, which pleased me much and
I had a
By the way, this year in Japan, as you know, March11, the devastating earthquake
unimaginable tsunami triggered by it and, what is worse, a manmade monster ━
radioactive pollution have made us full disheartened. It needs overwhelming
length of time to restore the stricken areas and let the sufferers have
dream and hope
for future. All of us heartily wish our next year will be a good year,
As for me, during New Year holidays l call on
my husband’s mother, 103, in Hofu City,
Yamaguchi Prefecture. She is well,
though mentally a bit weak.
Now I send you four articles. A picture of my
Christmas tree with your Angel on it
those delighted at it. Christmas card. Some sweets, sembei (thin sweet
I hope you both may have a good Christmas and
a happy New Year.
<disastrous scenes as they were in the Tohoku areas, March 11, 2011>
<The Emperor and the Empress visited the disaster areas of the Tohoku earth-quake and tsunami
and prayed for the souls of the departed. Having an active role in mentally
healing the victims, they both encouraged them to be alive and well.>
14 December 2010
you so much for your Christmas letter and nice photos. I’m very happy to
know both of you had a three-week cruise
sailing across the Atlantic Ocean and around islands in the Mediterranean Sea.
Moreover, the time was April. Probably you had a substantial experience through
It’s beyond my imagination how much
you refreshed yourselves with the sightseeing voyage. Cities, fields, hills, or
islands etc, faraway or near, seen from the sea, must have been superb pictures.
Venice, Greece, Spain and other memorable places where you reached by ship this
spring, I visited some years ago by plane. If I am blessed with a good chance,
time and money to go there again, I’d love to get there by sea.
sometimes call on my husband’s mother, 102, who lives in Hofu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
She can still read newspapers and sew her own trousers, skirts, etc and knit
sweaters very well. She presented me with a sweater of her own knitting.
My job is reading books for normal
children at a nursery school and I help grown-ups suffering from mental
retardation get simple ‘job trainings’ suitable for each of them.
I enjoy swimming for health maintenance and losing weight as well. I compose
poems, some of which are praised by the leader or members of the haiku gathering.
Some are on my husband’s web site as 圭子の俳句 (Keiko’s haiku). Sorry that all are written in Japanese. Probably you
can’t read them at all.
Now I send you some sweets. I hope you will enjoy them. Please give Peter
my regards. I hope you both may have Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The following is my husband’s paper-mail to you. It goes:
How are you getting along? Keiko and I are very fine. This year in Japan, global warming has got us very
irritated. In summer it was far hotter than ever and with very few autumnal
days we suddenly went into hard winter. Our new government has been wandering
out of course, leaving us their voters behind.
How about your country? Large numbers of Japanese people are expecting
Obama to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sorry to say, the President or the Prime Minister is always required
to be responsible for what was done years ago by other politicians.
Now I heartily thank you for coming to my web sites. But I feel very sorry
it caused you deep disappointment. [Buson](蕪村), the second most famous haiku poet in Japan, is only intended for native
speakers of English and Japanese readers are absent from my mind. [Original] and [Guidance] are for Japanese readers and especially the latter for high school students in Japan. I think it’s not your fault but the
lack of my ability and skill to make it possible for English speaking people to appreciate [Buson], even if they have no knowledge of kanji(漢字), Chinese characters. If I have any time for improvement of [Buson], I will try my
best and when finished, I will email it to you. I hope my life will be
prolonged much longer.
Yours truly Shoji Kumano (hokuto77)
<scenes from a cruising ship in the Mediterranean Sea>
December 14, 2009
My husband and I are getting along very well. My
job is supporting children with early infantile autism and reading books for normal
children at a nursery school and I help grown-ups suffering from mental
retardation get simple job trainings suitable for each of them.
told you before, I enjoy swimming, producing haiku and learning how to use a PC,
which is very pleasant but no easy for me to master.
mother is 101, staying in Yamaguchi Prefecture with him. I visit and cheer them
up every other month. My husband is very sensitive to her sudden illness and on
detecting it, he takes her to the hospital. A bit of worrying, lately he sometimes
complains of her care.
Now I send
you Japanese style ‘origami’ paper which can be folded into various figures,
like ‘origami cranes’, paper bags for ‘waribashi’, or dispensable chopsticks
and some sweets. I hope you will enjoy them.
give Peter my regards. I heartily wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New