Thursday, November 15, 2012

October 13 - 15, 1953 The Meeting at the Kobe Union Church, The Record Player and The Trip to Nara

Bonnie and the "old brown suit", 1953
Diary Entry:  Oct. 13, 1953

"Pressed clothes all morning & got  my old brown suit ready to wear to Women's Club.  Went with Winnie Harbin in her car.  About 200 women of all nationalities in room at Kobe Union Church.  Business meeting, then piano music and vocal solos--very nice.  Tea and informal social hour followed.  Met many people.  Home at 5:45.  Scout Maeda came to see us today.  Inquired about Fulbright.  Wants to go to Pasadena to school."

Kobe Union Church, now the Freundlieb German Bakery

Diary Entry:  Oct. 14, 1953

"Beautiful, warm sunny day but fire in fireplace feels good.  B went into Osaka for groceries and bought a Garrard record player.
Played our Japanese record that we bought in Tokyo for first time.  Francis Bray and children were here most of morning.  She took Bob and Jimmy to see "Shane" this afternoon.  Teruko-san and Harbin's maid dancing to our Japanese record this afternoon.  Got study curtains all up at last.  B is about sick with a cold but is going to prayer meeting anyway."

B's turntable, still going strong!

Diary Entry:  Oct. 15, 1953

"Up and on the train real early and on our way to Nara.  Had a seat to Osaka but stood rest of way.  Train was full of kindergarten children going  on excursions.  Mother of one told me she was American.  She spoke a little English.  Walked from Nara station to famous pond--turtles & biggest gold fish I ever saw.  Children fed fish--old woman clapped hands to call fish.  Walked on to see temples and pagoda.  School children everywhere.  Venders selling ice cream and souvenirs everywhere.  Sat on grass like others to eat lunch.  

Went on to see largest wooden building in world with big Buddha.  Some people worshiping.  B was invited to tea in the garden but didn't accept.  Little girls swarmed around Ann.  Kita-san heard them say she was more beautiful to see than deer.  Sacred deer everywhere.  People feeding them."

Hall of the Great Buddha, Nara


NOTES:  Special thanks to Kikuko, the office secretary at Kobe Union Church for information about the church.  She tells us that the old church building, preserved as much as possible, has been a well-known German bakery since 1993.  The owners were married in the church.  The first floor which was the fellowship hall is now the bakery, and the 2nd floor which used to be the sanctuary is now the cafe and restaurant.  Thank you, Kikuko!  For more information and photos:  For information on the church today:

I have very vivid memories of the Japanese record being played long after we returned to Illinois and can still hear the tune of "Tanko Bushi".   B would whistle and dance along, just being silly and enjoying every minute.  We still have the record player, and the record is packed away somewhere.  Fortunately, I found a video of both the record and the player on youtube as well as a video of the "Coal Miners Dance".


  1. Loved hearing Tanko Bushi again, and Ann, what a creative way to add it to your Blog!

  2. That photo of the two of you with the koi is gorgeous! So sharp and clear, you can even see the buds on the irises. The colors are spectacular.

  3. Lynne, thanks so much for writing and I'm delighted that you are up to the Japan year. I am amazed at the quality of these old slides and the intensity of the color as well. I have learned so much from the letters of '53. Thanks again!


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