My long time dream accomplished
It's certainly my day!
Found among my old storage is a 100 page booklet "Collection of memories of Imachu Classmates", published around the early 1990's in commemoration of the 40th year graduation. As I read the book acknowledgment, the book was actually published a few years after the 40th year, which was 1988 when 80 classmates met for the reunion in Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture and resolved to issue the booklet in minimum time and at as little cost as possible. There were 200 graduates, but I counted 63 contributors (excluding teachers), corresponding to 30% of total graduates. Here is my contribution translated into English.
San Diego Report
I'm surprised to receive your request to report how I'm faring after leaving 40 years from Imachu (abbreviation of Imabari Middle School). I must apologize to all for not writing for so long. Let me redeem myself by reporting on and from San Diego, in Southern California where I currently live and work. These days of globalization, you may abhor or be tired of hearing rampant accounts of overseas trips of travelers. However, there are some places that should be seen by globetrotting travelers. I'll try to focus on such places that would be of interest.
San Diego used to be overshadowed by Los Angeles, a more popular gateway to Southern California. However, thanks to the Maquiladoras, San Diego stood in the spotlight of trilateral trade (U.S., Mexico, and Japan). San Diego is located between Los Angeles and Tijuana. L.A. is reachable by air in 30 minutes and 2 - 3 hours by car. Tijuana is a 30 minute drive away. San Diego is a Navy town and tourist spot. It is now also the TV capital of the U.S. with the arrival of Sony, Sanyo, Matsushita, Fujitsu and Samsung. Kyocera, my employer, came in 1969 as a pioneering manufacturer from Japan. I joined Kyocera in 1973. There were only a few Japanese restaurants then but today many Sushi and Karaoke bars have opened as the number of Japanese expatriates and their families increased.
Kyocera has taken initiatives to contribute to San Diego. Every summer we send two dozen boys and girls to Japan for home-stay experience; sponsor a local women's pro golf tournament, donate part of the proceeds to a local hospital and non-profit organizations; participate in planning and building activities of the Japanese Friendship Garden; and help introduce Japanese music and artworks as well as theatrical plays.
San Diego is situated at the same latitude as Kagoshima in Kyushu. The weather is nice and mild and not much rain falls throughout the year. We are south of hot L.A, but no air-conditioning is needed because of the off-shore wind. We sometimes go fishing and my friend caught a salmon. There are many ocean activities and sports. Whale watching is popular around the New Year. Scuba diving flourishes along La Jolla Shores. Dennis Connor of the San Diego Yacht Club just won the America's Cup from Australia. OTL (over the line) is a popular beach ball game with 3 players, particularly women's teams with colorful swimsuits. You may have heard about Sea World in Mission Bay and about the famous splash of Killer Whales. The Victorian styled Hotel Del Coronado, built in 1888, is one of the largest wooden buildings here that was cherished starting in the 19th Century by Prince of Wales Edward and Wallis Simpson.
Lastly, let me tell you my favorite story. In 1975 Emperor and Empress Showa visited San Diego on the last leg of their official U.S. visit. It was a hasty day trip. Emperor Showa visited two places - the San Diego Zoo to see "Koala, Okapi and Humming Birds" and then to Scripps Institute of Oceanography. As a biologist, his visit to Scripps (and Woods Hole, Massachusetts), was on his bucket list. The imperial request reached Kyocera for the service of one person to assist the entourage. I was chosen and accompanied the men and women chamberlain from the airport to the Sea Lodge in La Jolla, close to Scripps Marine Lab, and the Zoo visit. When the Emperor left for Scripps, the Empress had short walks along the beach. All the press corp followed and snapped pictures. When I was at the poolside, I noticed Vice Premier Takeo Fukuda (1905-1995) who then headed the imperial mission and was sitting alone. I asked him if he would mind me sitting besides him to talk. He agreed and we had a pleasant chat about San Diego.
All photos with the exception of the photo of the Emperor at the SD Zoo were provided courtesy of Haruo Toda, my friend in Hachioji. He visits SD often to visit his daughter's family.