| Hello, Friends. How did you survive
the terrible heat of this August?
I wanted to go to the sea,
go into the sea-water, because
I live close
to the sea, but this summer it
that sharks were attacking Japanese
too. I think I am a very attractive
for them as I am fat and slow.
So I sat still
by the window, looking up at
the late summer
moon, in the hazy smoke of the
remembering good old days when
I was a little
The Nagai family lived next door, and
there were four pretty sisters. They were
like Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women".
Indeed, there was a contest of 'Four Pretty
Sisters', sponsored by a department store,
and the Nagai Sisters were the winners. The
American movie "Little Women" was
so popular in Japan early in the 1950's.
Did I imagine at that time, that Mayumi,
one of the Karatsu's Little Women, would
live in New England later?
A handsome American guy, Jim Spencer, met
Mayumi at Yoyokaku some 35 years ago, and
he took Mayumi away!
|Jim and Mayumi
So let me introduce Mayumi Spencer, now living
in Cape Cod. She is a cousin to my husband
Den Okochi. Here is her letter to the
readers of my web-page.
I hope you will enjoy meeting
her and family!
Harumi Okochi of Yoyokaku asked me, "How
would you like to write 'A Letter from Cape
Cod' on my web-page?" I told her it
was a lot easier for me to chitchat than
to write, but after thinking it over, I decided
|When my cousin Keiji Nagai visited us last
year, he brought the 100 year Karatsu High
School Alumni Association's yearbook to me.
That same summer three of my high school
classmates also came to visit, and I showed
it to them. Memories of our beloved Karatsu
came flooding back, as we talked the night
through about the good old days. They were
surprised to hear how good my Karatsu-ben (dialect) still is.
|Winter: On New Year's Day we would get up early
and take a hot bath. Then, after exchanging
seasonal greetings, we would eat the traditional
foods: o-zoni, seki-han, and the like. I still cook seki-han often, as it is my favorite dish. Here in
America Christmas more closely resembles
the Japanese New Years. It is a family holiday,
Spring: Springtime is filled with memories of the
cherry blossoms, wisteria, and azalea at
Maizuru Park. Spring is pleasant in Boston,
as well. The Public Gardens and the banks
of the Charles River surge back to life after
the long winter.
Summer: I grew up by the seashore and used to walk
along the beautiful beaches of Futago and
Nishinohama. We could see Maizuru Park from
our verandah. My sisters and I swam all day,
everyday, until we were tanned brown. My
father would laugh and say, "Nobody
will want to marry you, if you get so dark."
In Japan, fair skin is considered a sign
of beauty. I'll always remember the spectacular
fireworks at the Matsuura Bridge. Each year
the Fourth of July fireworks in Boston brings
it to mind. We live by the water on Cape
Cod so I guess I was meant to live near the
|Autumn: New England's most beautiful season is
the fall. The foliage is so colorful. Nevertheless,
for me the symbol of Autumn will always be
the Karatsu Kunchi. We hope to return someday
to see the fourteen floats drawn through
the streets by young men clad in happi jackets.
|Of course, my fondest memory of Karatsu is
of my mother. She was so cheerful, happy,
and well-loved. My father's business kept
him away from home a good deal, so we did
everything together with her. We were very
close. She passed away so young. Now my father
is gone, too. My older sister Matsuko and
my youngest sister Sumiko have joined them.
|Although I presently call Cape Cod home,
Karatsu will always be my furusato.
| Mayumi Spencer