Tag Archives: Japan

Gladys – September 2, 1970


The check is for both of you. Will try and get David’s card out before his birthday.

Have been quite busy since coming home, but did have a most enjoyable trip. Met a young girl who was coming to U.S. last year. She was on the staff of U. of I. last year – (Sept ’69 to June ’70) and is now returning to Japan. She couldn’t be back in Tokyo when we were there but her Mother and a sister and husband (Dr. Yamada – with Univ. of Tokyo) entertained us one day and evening. We attended Kabuki theatre together – 11 am to 4 pm – then went to a Japanese dinner. 10 courses. Quite an evening. We took pictures while in the restaurant. If I can think about them, will bring them along.

Love Mother

©2017 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2017/10/07/gladys-september-2-1970/

Gladys – July 28, 1970

Post card transcription:


Dad is attending a Rotary meeting here in the hotel & I am writing a few cards. This is a rest day. We start toward Nagasaki tomorrow, with several steps on the way. Plan one day at Expo but not more than one. We left the Purdue crowd at the airport and we are travelling alone. We had a most interesting weekend in Tokyo. Saw a Kabuki performance and went to a Japanese restaurant with a Japanese family we know. It was quite an evening. I even ate raw fish and liked it. The secret is the sauce one dips it in. Attended a Japanese church service with a Japanese girl we know. The minister preached his sermon from Job 21. wish I could have had a translation. We did follow the scripture reading in English bible.

Love, Mother

©2017 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2017/09/21/gladys-july-28-1970/

A Stray Postcard from Japan

Postcard transcription:

Dear David: We went walking in garden in hotel grounds this a.m. – rained all day yesterday so we had to stay in. While we were walking we met an English woman & daughter. They were very friendly and we conversed a while. They are on a long tour, so we gave them some tips on Hawaii. They were very glad to have information. They are going on to Canada, then down to Calif. and on a bus to New Orleans. I wasn’t very enthused about that part of their trip so they wanted to know about bus travel. I told them they may like it but I wouldn’t travel as far as Chicago from home by bus unless I had to. We exchanged addresses and we are invited to visit them in London if we ever visit there. No one here in Japan can comprehend how cold it gets in our area. It is cold here now and I go wrapped with several layers of clothing, but nothing freezes here in the valley except tourists. We hope to reach a little warmer climate in Hong Kong tomorrow. Tomorrow is our last day of sight seeing here.

Love Mother

Postmark: 2-11-64; likely written 2-1-64

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/12/11/a-stray-postcard-from-japan/

Leaving Japan

1964-02-02-gry-envelopeLetter transcription:

1964-02-02-gry-pFeb. 2, 1964

Dear David –

We are having a wait at Tokyo International Airport. Our plane was to leave at 6:30 – has been delayed 2 hrs. 15 mi., so we are waiting in lounge. It is very comfortable but we have had a long day. We did get to see Mt. Fuji several times while driving from Fuji hotel to Tokyo. After an unusual amount of rain – so we were told – this morning sky was clear. We had a chance to see the top of Fuji from several places not far from hotel, then the further we drove toward Tokyo we could see more. It is really a beautiful sight. We took several pictures. We stopped at Kamakura to see the large bronze Buddah which stands in open. Tidal waves in past have washed away temple, so the people decided Buddah didn’t want to be in a house. I asked our guide if it was solid – he said no we could enter at back. We went inside and climbed stairway to about the head. There was a little statue of Buddah inside head cavity facing us. That Buddah statue (large one) was cast two hundred years ago before Columbus discovered America. There are always crowds coming and going from shrines and temples. There are always concession stands and food. I think the people here eat as much as Americans do. We stopped at one place along the route and had a view of Fuji. We were by ocean and below us on beach artists were painting Fuji. Our guide said today was unusually clear. He wanted to take our picture with Fuji in background. In fact he had us pose in two different places, so if he clicked shutter right, we should have some good pictures. We stopped at New Grand Hotel in Yokohama and had lunch. Our guide hesitated about eating with us but we asked him to. He said the harbor we were looking at – dining room faces harbor – was the one Perry used to force Japanese to open door to world. He says there is still some question in the minds of some people if it was a wise thing to open door. I asked him if he worked for Travel Bureau all the time. He said he had studied law 3 years and is now studying to be a diplomat. He speaks English and Spanish. He gave us his card when he left us here at airport and we gave him our address. We told him if he ever gets into Chicago area to come see us. He was going to stay with us until our place comes in, but we told him that wouldn’t be necessary. This lounge is more comfortable and luxurious than any at O’Hare. There is a large fish bowl with some of the most exotic fish I have ever seen here in lounge. Music keeps playing all the time. All kinds of music. I am sitting where I can watch the TV that gives departures & arrivals and our Pan Am is still late. Dad has gone to ticket desk to get our seat assignments. While it was still daylight we sat by window and watched people come and go to and from observation platform. There people wear all types of clothing – Kimonos – modern – and some are real beatniks. A few women try to dye hair red but the most we have seen just wear it natural black.

Love Mother

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/12/07/leaving-japan/

Atami Japan

Letter transcription:

1964-01-30-gry-p-1Dear David –

We have just finished a train ride from Kyoto to Atami where we have had lunch at Atami Hotel. At 2:30 we go by car to Hakone to Fujiya Hotel. Our train ride was about 4 hrs. and 41 min. It is very beautiful here at Atami but cloudy. The mountains come right down to sea. We can see both from lounge. A TV set is on and several Japanese are listening to some Japanese girls sing a very swing. It is also a panel program. One of our guides – an older man – said he didn’t like to see the young girls wear western style clothes. I think his is a lost cause. We have walked thru several Dept. stores just to see what they are like and they have everything imaginable for sale. There are the traditional J. clothing but a lot of western style. We have seen modern appliances – even electric organs. Yesterday we were going thru music dept. and heard a funny record in English. I couldn’t see anyone around us but Japanese, so don’t know who was listening to it. It is about time for us to start on our car trip to Hakone, so must get this finished.

Love Mother

P.S. I think there is a great need here for Christian missionaries. We visited places show on this folder.


©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/12/05/atami-japan/

Miyako Hotel

Letter transcription:

1964-01-28-gry-p-1Tuesday January 28, 1964

Dear David: Still no stationary so will use this room service sheet. We took an all day tour of Kyoto yesterday with a stop back at hotel for lunch. The weather finally cleared but it is still awfully chilly. It can’t get much below freezing because there are so many green things and we saw several blooming shrubs yesterday. On the way to Nara today saw many green fields – rice, cabbage, peas, etc. I wore a synthetic dress – warm as wool – today and to insure more warmth wore 3 petticoats, my winter coat, fur cape & scarf. I wasn’t too well wrapped. After seeing a Shinto Shrine and the largest bronze Buddah in the world, we visited an old, old Buddah temple, then had lunch Japanese style sitting on cushions, on floor and eating typical Japanese food with chopsticks. It was all very good but I felt like I have been stuffed, and it is now 4:30. We came back to Kyoto at 2 p.m. and it is raining so we have decided just to relax and hope for sunshine tomorrow. Dad plans to attend Rotary at Kyoto Hotel tomorrow noon. We would like to just take a walk if the weather permits. Thurs. a.m. we leave for Atmi and that is by train. It will take us about 5 hours. Fri. & Sat. we have nothing planned but we will be in Fuji area so if weather is clear will be able to take more pictures. We can buy film here at this hotel, so may stock up before we leave. There is a Methodist University and Labor Center here in Kyoto and if I can find someone who can understand, will try to find the locations. I don’t think it would do us much good to look in telephone directory. We do get English newspapers, but there are no directories in rooms. We saw the King and Queen of Belgium yesterday. They spent Sunday night in this hotel and we were in the lobby when they left. We were too timid to ask one of the security men around them for permission to take a picture. We were standing where we could have had a perfect picture. The Queen is Spanish and is very lovely. She was dressed a turquoise suit and hat and light fur cape. Dad has been reading one of the books I brought along “My Life in Court,” and I have been writing so think I will take a little siesta. You would never recognize this room as my abode. It looks pretty untidy, but come tomorrow evening everything will have to be packed, so will get things in order then.

Love Mother


©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/12/04/miyako-hotel/

Cold in Kyoto

1964-01-26-gry-envelopeLetter transcription:

Sunday Jan. 26 – 19641964-01-26-gry-p-2

Dear David: For lack of something better to write on will use this napkin from our last J.A.L. flight. The supplier of stationary must have forgotten this room. We had such a quantity in room at Okura. You will notice envelope is from that hotel. We are now in Kyoto. We came as far as Osaka by plane and then by super highway on to hotel in Kyoto. After the balmy weather in Hawaii this winter weather which is very penetrating isn’t quite to my taste. I hope it will be warmer when we go to Hong Kong next Sunday. I am sure it will be in Bali and Malacca. We are resting after our traveling to this city. Dad has been following Japanese wrestling “Sumo” and couldn’t get the TV in our room to work so he called desk. A maid came in to see if she could fix it. I was sitting close to TV set by a coffee table writing and she was down on floor trying to adjust TV when she notice my house slippers Sharon Howe gave me. My feet were so cold when we came I had put on wool sox and wool house slippers. I took one off and let her look at it. She was quite intrigued. She doesn’t speak very good English and I can’t speak any Japanese but we managed to converse about my slippers. She went out of the room and came back with a sack of booties she is making. She looked at my shoes and decided she could make a pair. I had my leper bandage knitting so showed that to her. I think I helped to create a sort of understanding between us. Our guides have explained all Japanese (however I think not all) learn to read and write English but not speak it. They do not have a th, l, or r in their language and have difficulty making those sounds. We have noticed that with even the most fluent we have talked to. They will say lice for rice. When we first came into the room here the heat started to pour in and it felt so good, then for some reason it turned off and I wasn’t warm enough. I told the maid we needed more heat. She went to the telephone and gave out a stream of Japanese. In a little while she came back with an electric heater and plugged it in by my chair. I think I have a friend. She also apologized for our inconvenience. We have a beautiful view from our window – you probably wouldn’t think so – mountains as far as we can see. Kyoto is a large city and covers quite an area. Tomorrow we are booked for tours in a.m. & p.m. Next day a tour to old capital Nara. Wed. is a day for relaxation then on Thurs. we begin traveling again. We saw the peak of Fugi this a.m. on our flight but we couldn’t see all of it because of clouds. I am hoping we have fair weather when we drive back to Tokyo for flight to Hong Kong, so we will be able to take Fugi from ground. We have been having our slides developed as we travel and so far think we have done pretty well for amateur photographers. We have used 9 rolls in 2 weeks – have 13 left so if we keep on at this rate will have to buy more film in Hong Kong. When we were in Tokyo the King & Queen of Belgium were there. They are here in Kyoto now – we didn’t plan it this way. D. Rusk also arrived in Tokyo yesterday. We saw a lot in papers about R. Kennedy’s visits to this part of the world. The man from embassy assured us it would be safe for us to travel into Cambodia. He said, “Your friends will love you for the pictures you take there.” We went shopping yesterday for pearls. Bought two strands – I think they are very beautiful – not white but with pink cast. The Travel Bureau made a mistake about one part of our return from Nikko to our hotel in Tokyo. According to our itinerary we were to be escorted back to hotel. We were left at Palace Hotel and had to take a taxi – fortunately the taxi drivers all understand Okura – that is all that we had to say and arrived back at hotel without incident but since we supposed to be transported by J.T.B. Dad lodged a complaint next a.m. We not only received an apology but a refund for taxi fare and I received a pearl studded pin and Dad received a pearl tie pin. The man who came to our room was very apologetic and said Japanese do not like to make mistakes. So far that is the only error that has been made on our arrangements this far. While traveling in Japan we are guest of Japanese Travel Bureau.

Love Mother

1964-01-26-gry-p-1While we were driving on super highway from airport to Kyoto our driver seemed to like to drive fast. He kept passing every car on highway. Everyone along the way seemed to be following the traffic regulations but one car stayed in passing lane. Our driver honked horn, flashed light, but other car wouldn’t get out of passing land. Our driver had to stay behind because he wouldn’t pass in wrong lane. We left the toll road and as soon as our driver paid toll fee he gave out with a conversation to toll collector. I couldn’t understand what he was saying but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was reporting a certain driver on toll way.

P.S. The wrestling matches are over so Dad is back with a Hitchcock story. We noticed in lobby this afternoon something about a movie for hotel guests at 8:30. It is about Kyoto. I think we will go. We had a late lunch so probably won’t eat dinner until 8 o’clock.

Love Mother

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/12/03/cold-in-kyoto/



1964-01-25-gry-envelope1964-01-25-gry-p-1Letter transcription:

Sat. Jan. 25, 1963 [sic 1964]

Dear David,

We took a trip – left here Thurs. afternoon and went by express train to Nikko. Spent the night at a Resort Hotel, then Friday took a tour of the area. We visited a Shinto Shrine and had to take our shoes of to enter a certain part of shine. Our guide had some sox to put on. I thought my feet would freeze because we were up in the mountains and it was cold. After our tour was over and we returned to hotel to wait to get train back to Tokyo I found a nice warm radiator and toasted my feet and legs and by the time we were on the train I felt thawed. The train was nice and warm so did some more toasting – there was a radiator under each seat. The trains here are very punctual and if they are supposed to start at 5 o’clock – they do that. We came back to Okura Hotel and after a little relaxation in our room went to the Emerald Room and had dinner – we are eating in the various restaurants here in the hotel and hadn’t visited Emerald Room yet. There was an orchestra – something none of the other restaurants here in the hotel have. We sat by window and could look out on swimming pool area and Japanese Garden. Very picturesque. We are going shopping this morning to buy me some pearls and a few other things. This p.m. we are taking a tour of city. Tomorrow a.m. we will fly to Kyoto. We will spend a week there, then fly to Hong Kong. When we get that far I will try to make contact with Bonnie’s parents. We talked to Chief Officers of U.S.I.S. here in Tokyo. He assured us it is safe to go into Cambodia – in fact, he said, your friends will love you if you take a lot of pictures. He said we should plan to stay longer than one day. I think I mentioned the American Embassy is just around a curve from this hotel. I hope you are not feeling too disappointed about not being accepted at Yale. You know there is still Northwestern. I think you would find, if you could investigate all Theological schools, one just as good for you as Yale. Also remember what I wrote before, it evidently wasn’t God’s will that you go there this year. Let us know what you are doing – if you have made application to Drew or some other. Where is Drew? When I looked out this morning I saw a fine snow. We are seeing a lot of interesting things here but it isn’t warm enough for my taste. I will be glad to get into a warmer climate. I hope it will be a little warmer in Kyoto. We have received several letters since we have been here. We left several mailing itineraries around Kentland, so people know where to send mail. I have just washed my hair and am under dryer while I write this. Our guide told us yesterday that this is a very unreligious nation. Many people are both Shinto & Buddah flowers. Many places have shrines to both side by side. We explained (or tried) the differences between our religion & Catholic. She seemed surprised when I told here we didn’t use sign of cross (that is cross ourselves) or confession. We saw a Catholic church yesterday. At the resort where we ate lunch I saw a contribution box with a Catholic name – I think it was St. Anthony’s church. Dad has been carrying the yen and I didn’t have anything to put in the box. I doubt that I would have made a contribution. Our church has a great challenge in this country. There is only about a 3 or 5% following here, that is Christian and Methodist isn’t the only denomination. Of course we have a challenge all over the world. I think my hair is dry and Dad is getting ready to go to breakfast, so I will have to finish this so I can go with him.

Love Mother

Tell Bonnie this is for her also.

Some of the surviving photographs from Nikko, Japan:

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/12/02/nikko/

American Embassy and UNICEF

1964-01-23-gyr-envelopeLetter transcription:

1964-01-23-gry-p-1Thurs. Jan. 23, 1964

Dear David,

This is a free morning and we are packed ready to leave at 12:20 from hotel to get train to Nikko. We will have a sight-seeing trip tomorrow morning and return here to Okura Hotel tomorrow evening. We will travel by train to and from Nikko.

Yesterday a.m. we took a tour around city and the traffic here is the wildest. We stopped at the American Embassy, which is just around a curve from this hotel. I wanted to make some inquiries about UNICEF. We met the Chief Information Officer for USIS and he told us the taxi drivers are called by the same name we gave to the Japanese pilots during the war – which means suicide. We haven’t seen any accidents, but our guide told us yesterday there are a number of accidents every day and I think she said 2 people are killed and many more injured every day. The British system of driving is used and it is hard to get used to the driver being on the right side of car or bus. Our tour included the Tokyo TV tower and it is supposed to be the tallest structure of its kind in the world. We went up to observation tower, but there was so much smog we couldn’t see very far. Our tour also included a tea ceremony. To conclude ceremonial drinking tea for tea bowl one to be polite must make a sucking sound to get all the foam from bottom of bowl. There was a beautiful garden where we saw tea ceremony so took some pictures. We are having film developed as we travel. So far we have some very good pictures – taken in Hawaii. We stopped at silk gallery and one woman in group bought 2 kimonos but I thought prices a little high. I want to get some things made in H.K. so have to hold the spending down or pay duty. We rode around (one side) Royal Palace moat. That is as close as you can get – just look at the place from street – no visitors allowed. The King and Queen of Belgium are here and guide told us the extra police we saw all along the way were for security measures. Any policeman with yellow band on arm can speak English.

In the afternoon we went to a Dept. store and saw a lot of interesting things Japanese but also saw Hoover sweepers and other items from U.S. One thing that intrigues me is the way they dwarf plants. We took a picture in Dept. store of a counter full of plants. We saw Flowing Quince in bloom – You remember those enormous bushes you used to growl about just south of our terrace – they were Flowering Quince – but large. These little things we saw in bloom were the same thing only on a very small scale.

1964-01-23-gry-p-2Tuesday night we went

[page 2] Kabuki Theatre. John had said to see it. It is the old traditional play. All the actors are men – but some dressed like women. I wished we could have understood what they were saying. For some reason we didn’t get a program. We met a man from U.S. who was on plane across the isle from us. He is either Japanese or Chinese and is staying in this hotel. He lives in U.S. but is traveling here on business. We have talked to him several times. We have seen a few people who are not Japanese but when we were in store yesterday we, as far as I could see, were the only non-residents present. We leave here Sun. a.m. for Kyoto.

Love Mother

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/12/01/american-embassy-and-unicef/

Okura Hotel

1964-01-21-gyr-envelopeLetter transcription:

1964-01-21-gry-p-1Jan. 21 – 1964

Dear David – Your cable was waiting for us when we arrived at Okura Hotel in Tokyo. I hope you aren’t too disappointed. The only reason I would be is because you would be, but there are so many good theological schools I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. You can never tell what opportunity may be awaiting you elsewhere, and since they said no it must be the Lord’s will that you go elsewhere. Don’t forget that factor in your plans.

We left Honolulu at 5:30 p.m. Sunday and as soon as we were airborne told Tokyo time which was a little past 12:30. When we crossed the International Date Line we lost a day in the time it takes a jet to cross the line. We must have had strong head winds because it was 10 p.m. when we arrived in Tokyo. We had to go thru customs and then what we thought a wild ride to Hotel. It is the British system here and traffic is terrible. I kept thinking we couldn’t get thru without accident but we did. We got to bed at midnight which we figured would have been about 5 a.m. if we were back in Honolulu, so we had a long day. I was awake early this a.m. but have just been writing in bed. Dad is stirring around so I think we will go for breakfast

1964-01-21-gry-p-2[page 2] soon and get some $1’s changed to yen. I gathered those yen & sen John brought home last summer and we had something to use for a tip when we came in last night.

We are to see travel agent at 10 a.m. so I think I am going to have to get up soon. Today is a free day so I think I will buy pearls. Tomorrow we take a 3 hour tour of city and the next day go to Nikko by express train. We have a nice room looking out over city. Let us know how you come out on application to Drew. Remember there are other schools, even Northwestern.

Love Mother

[Editor’s note: The Okura Hotel is where James Bond stays when he goes to Tokyo.]

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/11/30/okura-hotel/