Graceful greeting
"Happy Monkey Year!"

This page is written monthly by Harumi Okochi,
and sometimes Harumi's friends join.
We'd be happy if you look at ou
r previous issues.


January, 2004

A Year of Monkey

Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!

Hello, friends. Are you having a nice vacation?
You know that Japanese lunar calendar has its origin in ancient China.
There, 12 kinds of animals, real and imaginary, rule the years.
This is a year of monkey.
So, shall we talk about monkeys?

I was born in a year of monkey.
A person of monkey-year is said to be smart and thoughtful !
Hum.........I guess it is true. My friends of the same age are mostly smart, including me !

Well. I will introduce some of my favorite monkeys, and also a folk story.
Please enjoy !

New Year Card
Painted by my friend
Monkey wears a special cap
and holds a special bell.
He is going to dance
to celebrate New Year.
Ai is a genius chimpanzee.
Her son Ayumu is also amazing.

Ai''s web-site
Chinese Mask of Monkey
Peking (Beijing) Opera
Stone Monkeys at Shrine
Three monkeys
"See nothing"
"Hear nothing"
"Say nothing"
are among them.
Kimekomi-doll Monkey
wears Kimono made with
fabric from old Kimono for ladies.
Two Origami monkeys
The Monkey Millionaire
Let me tell you an old folk story about how monkeys got their buttocks red. It is a story of long, long time ago.
On the last day of a year, a very rich man and his wife were preparing gorgeous feast of the New Year. Then, they heard a knock on the door. The millionaire opened the door, and there stood a Buddhist monk who looked so miserable. He was covered with snow and shivering. The monk asked the millionaire.
"I lost my way. It's dark and cold outside. Will you kindly let me in for the night?
"We won't put up a poor monk like you. Go away!" answered the rich man and closed the door with a slam.
The monk went to the next house, where a very poor man and his wife lived.
"I lost my way. It's so dark outside. Will you kindly let me in for the night?"
"We are so honored to have a monk on the last day of the year. Please come in. But we are poor, and we have nothing to donate." said the poor man and his wife.
"Your kindness is enough." He said quietly to them, "Put a pan on the fire in this hearth and put three potatoes in it."
The monk knelt down and prayed with his palm to palm and his eyes closed.
Before long, to their surprise, the pan was full with rice, rice-cakes, vegetables, fish, meat and fruits.
"Reverend, thank you for giving us so much food for the New Year. We wonder if this is real!"
The next morning, on the first day of New Year, when the monk left the poor man's house, he said to them,
"I would like to give you a present. What would you like to have?"
"You have given us enough, thank you."
But the monk insisted so hard, and the two accepted.
"Now we are so old that we can't work hard. We wish we were young again to work hard."
The monk said to them, taking out some powder.
"Put this yellow powder in the tub when you have a bath."
Red-buttock Monkey
Japanese folk art clay bell

On the night they had a bath of the yellow powder. The old couple really returned to the young couple.
Noticing this change, the rich man found out the secret, and he searched for the monk. He forced him to come to his house, and demanded for the magic powder.
The monk gave him red powder, instead of the yellow one. Driving the monk out, the millionaire and his wife dived into a hot tub with red powder in.
The two changed into monkeys whose buttocks were red.
This is the end of the story.


Did you like this story?
I wish you a truly safe and peaceful one year!
Please don't use red powder in your bath!

Oh, by the way, can you guess how old I will be this year?
I am a monkey, so I will be, come birthday in June, 12 ? 24 ? 36 ? 48 ? 60 ?
72 ? 84 ? 96 ? or 108 ?

You might say it is not fair if I do not show you how I look.
OK then, here you are.
This is my portrait.

(rollover images)

So good-bye now, with love from Zira and Harumi !

Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi

Proprietress of Ryokan Yoyokaku

  Mail to Harumi Okochi