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Please count on us for pension and tax refund

English diary


Japan’s late autumn is the season of scenes full of colorful tree leaves.
Not only in parks and mountains but also at famous temples and shrines you can enjoy beautiful autumn landscapes.
These images are taken at Enko-ji (圓光寺), a tiny and beautiful Zen temple in Ichijo-ji, northeastern area in Kyoto.

Enko-ji was opened by famous Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康), first Shogun in Edo era (1603-1868). He defeated ex-ruling Toyotomi family and seized his power in his hand to open Shogun government that lasted nearly 270 years. He was not only a skillful commander but also an uncanny strategist, who thought it essential to root ethical mind into Japanese society after its pacification by his hand. To open Enko-ji Ieyasu invited a Zen monk with deep knowledge in Chinese classics, and this new temple became a center of learning classics in early Edo era. On the top of a hill behind the temple there is a tombstone dedicated to Ieyasu.



On August 18 YouAT staff Sumida Masanori and his own attorney office held a party celebrating 5 year anniversary of his new office and 50 years old birthday of his own .

Other YouAT staff also gathered from western Japan to attend the party.

(Staff of YouAT LLC)


YouAT staff went to Manila in May to attend a business meeting.
While staying we also visited Intramuros, Bay area, Makati, Chinatown etc.
We had hot and sunny days there.
Grab (smartphone application) was very useful to pick up drivers who took us to where we wanted to visit.

(Staff of YouAT LLC)


Cherry blossoms are gone and followed by the early summer with full of young leaves.
They are as beautiful as flowers.

- taken at Okazaki Jinja (shrine), Kyoto


Sakura (さくら、桜) is undoubtedly the foremost national flower of Japan.
It rapidly blossoms when a temperature in spring goes up, and after one week’s gorgeous peak it goes away quickly.
In 2018 it opened earlier than usual years.

- taken at the riverbank of Kamo & Ginkaku-ji temple, Kyoto


In January Japan saw record-heavy snows.

February has come, and trees of Ume (梅) are starting to loosen their buds.
Ume flowers were imported from China to Japan in ancient times, and now they have taken their solid roots into the Japanese culture.

- Taken at the Imperial Palace -


Happy New Year 2018.
We have launched a business of supporting pension refunds for non-Japanese employees since 2009.
In year 2017 too we served so many customers for their pension refunds and tax refunds.
From 2017 we also opend a new business for supporting Japanese old age pension’s claiming.

We are sure to continue giving our customers our services of high quality, as we did so far.

(Oda Mitsuo, YouAT LLC)



(合同会社YouAT 小田光男)

- Images taken at Shimogamo Shrine on Jan 4, 2018 -


November in Japan is the season of koyo (紅葉), landscapes with tinted leaves.

Everywhere in cities and towns, mountains and riversides, and old temples and modern parks get filled with yellow and red colors.

- Images taken in Kyoto -

Sihinnyo-do, Sakyo-ku

Sihinnyo-do, Sakyo-ku

Imperial Palace, Kamigyo-ku

Imperial Palace, Kamigyo-ku

Eikan-do, Sakyo-ku


Name : Enomoto Takeaki (榎本武揚)
Life : 1836-1908. Final period of Edo Era (江戸時代, circa 1602-1868) to Meiji Era (明治時代, 1868-1912)
Birthplace : Edo (江戸), modern Tokyo

The life of Enomoto Takeaki has two stages: a young captain of old Tokugawa Shogun government’s navy, and a tactful diplomat and politician of new Meiji government.

Takeaki was born in a family of a hatamoto (旗本, middle-rank vassal of Tokugawa Shogun). His father Enbe-e (円兵衛) was said to be good at mathematics. Enbe-e was a disciple of famous land surveyor Ino Tadataka (伊能忠敬), and traveled northern Japan to make a total map of Japan. Takeaki also showed a talent of acquiring western sciences, that were rapidly imported to Japan in his younger days. In his teenage he learned both Chinese classics and English language at schools in Edo. At age 19 he was appointed to an attendant of the chief administrator of Ezo-chi (蝦夷地), modern Hokkaido and surrounding areas, that was still unsettled territories between Japan and Russia. At age 22 he joined Nagasaki Navy School (長崎海軍伝習所), the first navy school in Japanese history. There he learned mechanics of steam engines, navigation technique, and chemistry. Teachers of the school Van Kattendijke and Pompe van Meerdervoort, both of whom were of Netherlands (Netherlands were long the sole western country that had a tie with Edo Era’s Japan), appreciated Takeaki for his diligence.

At age 27 Takeaki and his colleagues were sent to Netherlands to learn western sciences more. It was in year 1862. Japan was in turmoil inside by battles between Shogun government and anti-Shogun government groups, and outside by western powers’ demands to open the country more. In Netherlands Takeaki learned international laws along with technologies. He and his colleagues got back to Japan in 1867 boarding on Kaiyomaru (開陽丸), a battleship that was just built in Netherlands for Shogun government. He was designated as the captain of this new battleship.

But as soon as he returned home Shogun government collapsed. Meiji Restroration began, and Shogun government lost battles against new Meiji government with the Emperor of Japan as its head. Last Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu (徳川慶喜) loathed to make himself an enemy of the Emperor, and rejected to continue fighting. Shogun government surrendered, and Edo, the capital of Shogun government, was ceded to the Meiji government. But Takeaki decided not to obey the order. In 1868 he drove Kaiyomaru and ran away from Edo to the northern Japan with his followers (by then he had been raised further to vice-president of Shogun’s navy). He occupied Hokkaido and set a de-fact government in Hakodate (函館). He was elected as the president of it, and told Meiji government in Tokyo (renamed from Edo in 1868) that his intention was to give Shogun government’s vassals a new frontier to live. But Meiji government didn’t hear him and dispatched army and navy to Hokkaido. Takeaki resisted against them, but finally Hakodate fell in 1869. Before he decided to kill himself, Takeaki asked one of his men to hand a book to Meiji government. It was a textbook for international laws written in French language and commented by Takeaki’s teacher in his days in Netherlands, that he brought back to Japan. He thought it must be crucially important knowledge for Japan because there was almost no one in Japan who knew international laws fully. But this book spared his life.

Kuroda Kiyotaka (黒田清隆) was in charge of the staff officer in Meiji government’s army when it fell Hakodate. When he was handed Takeaki’s book, he realized that his knowledge was necessary for Japan’s future. Takeaki failed to commit suicide and surrendered to Meiji government. Kiyotaka made a full effort to spare Takeaki’s life while he was in prison. Fukuzawa Yukichi (福沢諭吉), famous enlightment philosopher in Meiji Era, was said to also acknowledge that Takeaki’s knowledge was necessary when he was forwarded Takeaki’s book from Kiyotaka. Takeaki was released in 1872. After that time Takeaki and Kiyotaka got close friends for life.

Kiyotaka was of State of Satsuma, modern Kagoshima Prefecture, from where many politicians and officials occupied Meiji government. Kiyotaka became one of the most important figures of Satsuma-born politicians. He used Takeaki in the government for a variety of tasks such as an official to pioneer Hokkaido and so on, but in his appointed tasks the most important was diplomatic ones. In 1874 Takeaki was appointed to an envoy (ambassador plenipotentiary) to Russia. His main task was to make a treaty to settle the border between Japan and its northern counterpart. He went to St. Petersburg and got a hard negotiation there. But in a letter he wrote to his wife in Japan, he told her about his business in Russia as:

(English translation: "The deals of that I’m in charge are quite big, but I think them not difficult, contrary to commoners’ belief, because they are all done by human beings.")

Finally he could conclude a treaty with Russia about the border. It was in 1875. He knew international laws deeply and understood how power, justice, and negotiation could work in international society. Even after he ended his negotiation, he didn’t think his task was over. He went back to Japan through traveling Siberia in a long way in order to take out as much information of Russia as possible for his home country, that he thought was also a task for an ambassador. He is now respected as one of the best diplomats in Japanese modern history.

He was appointed to a number of ambassadors and ministers in Meiji government after then, and died in 1908. When he got an important figure in Meiji government later, Fukuzawa Yukichi criticized Takeaki saying he once fought for Shogun’s government and drove many of his men dead, but now he was happy to enjoy a high profile in his enemy’s government, whose morality wasn’t worth to get respected. Old Takeaki didn’t seem to send a clear rebuttal against his criticism.

Japanese Wikipedia


Name : Ishida Mitsunari (石田三成)
Life : 1560-1600. Azuchi Momoyama Era (安土桃山時代, circa 1568-1600)
Birthplace : State of Omi (近江国), modern Shiga Prefecture

Ishida Mitsunari is now regarded as the most competent vassal of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉), Japan’s ruler in Azuchi Momoyama Era.
But in Edo Era (江戸時代), 270 years that followed Azuchi Momoyama Era ruled by Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康) and his successors, who took over the Japanese government after Hideyoshi’s death, he had been looked down as an uncanny henchman of Hideyoshi, a narrow-hearted official who disliked and was disliked by brave Samurais like Kato Kiyomasa (加藤清正), or a petty plotter who tried defeating great Ieyasu in vain. Edo Era was the time of Samurai class, who put bravery as the supreme value. Add to that Mitsunari was a man who tried to kill Ieyasu in the Battle of Sekigahara (関ケ原の戦い, 1600) after Hideyoshi’s death, but was crushed down. Even after Meiji Restoration, that toppled Tokugawa’s government, Mitsunari’s reputation had been lower than another Hideyoshi’s vassal Kiyomasa.
It is the recent 50 years that saw Mitsunari’s rapid re-evaluation. Japanese people got to evaluate cleverness than bravery, and add to that got to realize what should be regarded as sincere when a person was in charge of business. Now Mitsunari is praised as the cleverest administrator in his era, a loyal vassal of Hideyoshi with no selfishness, and a tragic hero who was defeated by strong and cunning Ieyasu. Recent historical movies and TV programs often describe Mitsunari as heroic and tragic, but on the other hand Kiyomasa, whose popularity was high 100 years ago as a brave and noble-hearted Samurai, is now seen as no more than a second-grade figure who had more force but much less insight than Mitsunari.

Mitsunari was born in an inconspicuous family. He was picked up by Hideyoshi in his young days. Hideyoshi was also picked up by Oda Nobunaga (織田信長), the warlord who proceeded the unification of Japan, from a lower class peasant to one of the highest commanders in Nobunaga’s army. Due to his lower origin Hideyoshi didn’t have inherited vassals, so he was eager to raise his own youngsters like Kiyomasa or Mitsunari. After Nobunaga was assassinated by his commander Akechi Mitsuhide (明智光秀), Hideyoshi defeated Mitsuhide swiftly and took over Nobunaga’s power. In 8 years after then he completed the unification of Japan in his hand. In Hideyoshi’s government Mitsunari accomplished important tasks such as unified taxation system or disarmament of peasant class. He surely made a crucial role to change Japan from Sengoku Era (戦国時代)’s strife-torn state to Edo Era’s pacified society.

Hideyoshi died in 1598, leaving his infant successor. Then Ieyasu was the most powerful daimyo (大名, regional lords) and soon reached his influences to the government and became the de fact top-figure in it. Mitsunari saw Ieyasu as an usurper. So he tried to gather anti-Ieyasu daimyos and make a battle. But he was thought much less by other daimyos than Ieyasu, so he couldn’t gather enough allies (many of his colleagues such as Kiyomasa ran to Ieyasu). Worse than it in the battle of Sekigahara many daimyos in his allied force deceived Mitsunari and fought for Ieyasu. Mitsunari was decisively defeated, and killed by Ieyasu. 15 years after the battle of Sekigahara, Ieyasu destroyed Hideyoshi’s successor by the siege of Osaka Castle (大坂の陣).

Mitsunari had been neglected by Tokugawa government in Edo Era, and even so in Meiji Era (Meiji government didn’t grant him any posthumous titles). Only contemporary people have a deep sympathy with this tragic and loyal Samurai.

Japanese Wikipedia


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A Zen temple in late autumn
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