Saturday, June 18, 2011

Takeyuki Maruyama has an aunt

Today started out like a typical Saturday...rolled out of bed, stumbled around the house for a little while and then commenced the running of errands. After a good workout at the gym, I headed home and hoped to find a package on the doorstep from Google with some good techno-toys, but instead, I found another letter from Japan in the mailbox.  The letter was different than the previous three - it was much thicker. I could hardly wait to get inside out of the rain and open it up, anxious to read the results of the agency's investigation.

The contents of the envelope did not disappoint.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Another family found

Summer is upon us and the hustle and bustle of traveling, yard work and a number of other projects have unfortunately delayed the most recent news and development with my search for families in Japan. Almost a month ago, on May 11, I received another letter from Japan, letting me know they had located the surviving family members of Lance Corporal Toyosaku Karatsu, seen in the photo after the break. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In need of some help

As everyone following this blog knows, one of the driving forces behind my research is the desire to return the photos, flags, and personal memories home to the families of the Japanese soldiers who carried them into battle during the war. So far, I have been able to return two items - the prayer flag and a photo. There are still about 13 individual items left and I think I need some help.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A second letter, a second son

Just twenty four days after the first letter arrived from Japan, notifying me that the son of Shinzo Furuya had been located, a second letter was waiting for me in the mailbox today after work.

Another son has been located.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Letter from Beatrice to Mike West

Today's post is just a quick update to the one from the weekend - scans of the original letter from Beatrice Givan to Mike West are now available after the break.

Thank you again Mike for saving this letter for so many years, this was truly a wonderful present.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A present from California

Earlier in the week I received a wonderful email from my good friend Mike West who lives with his wife out in Camarillo, California. As I have written in previous posts, Mike (as seen below in all of his hula glory!) was a good friend of Grandpa's from the war.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Final delivery

The flag has made it to Japan!

I just hope and pray that it is in one piece...I was distracted during the packaging of the flag and did not wrap it in anything or protect it inside the envelope, so I hope the mail system did not damage it. But, it made it to Japan at 3:01PM today, Japan time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The flag is heading home

Saturday was a bittersweet day. It was the day that the silk Japanese prayer flag, belonging to Shinzo Furuya, began the 6500 mile journey from Muncie, Indiana to Tokyo, Japan and then on to Yamanashi Prefecture.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Updates, home and abroad

Over the past week, there have been a few minor updates in my research efforts. I have found another amazing resource and ran into a delay in returning the prayer flag to Mr. Furuya's son.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Success! A son has been found...

A little over four months ago, I started a search for families that I had never met, with faces I had never seen and from places I have never visited. The only information I had to go on were characters that I could not decipher or read, scrawled in pencil and ink on the backs of faded wallet-sized photographs, a tattered silk flag, and a delicate paper fan. With the help of Fumiko Kishi Chiuini, a very patient and generous instructor of Japanese at the Indiana Academy for Sciences, Mathematics, and Humanities, we reviewed all of the mementos my grandfather had collected during the war and she did her best at translating a language that was even a little foreign to her.