Saturday, June 5—Yokohama
As Advertised: Breakfast at Novotel. Chie is busy at school until the end of Commencement, but I have a more flexible schedule and am free all morning.
Morning: Daytime Option D (or come visit our apartment)
This was a long and busy day, and it started early.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of our trip to Japan (for me at least) was the early daylight that got us up and at ’em early in the day. Our room at the Novotel faced northeast, so we got plenty of morning light, and our location on the tenth floor gave us a further advantage. This particular morning I woke up before dawn, about 4:20 a.m., and took the photo below, followed by another just as the sun was rising, about 4:30. (Then I went back to bed and slept another couple of hours!)
We went to Denny’s for breakfast again. When we got there, we found Tom and Joan just leaving, and Sam and Debby arrived just as we were finishing up. It was turning into a popular place for the Scoggins family!
It was a bright and sunny day, so we
returned to the hotel for hats before attacking the other end of the
Promenade (Harbor View Park). On our way back to the hotel, I took this picture
of Barney standing by a gigantic “sextant” sculpture at the foot of the Marine
We returned to the hotel about 10:40 to freshen up and change clothes for the Commencement ceremonies at Saint Maur International School, preceded by a visit to Glenn’s apartment, about which he had written:
Barney, Matthew, and I were the last group of three to visit. Glenn had called just as we were leaving for breakfast, and we had arranged to visit before Commencement. He had also provided clear instructions for getting there:
This worked very well, and Glenn was
standing in front of the church (or college) to meet us when we arrived about
11:15. It was a clear day, and I was
even able to capture a glimpse of snow-capped Mount Fuji from the balcony
outside the apartment (left).
Commencement was to start at 2:30, and we had been instructed to be in the auditorium by 2 at the latest, but our visit to the apartment was brief (just long enough to look around, skipping refreshment since Chie was already at school preparing for her star turn as MC), so we had time for a whirlwind tour of Yamate before heading to the school. About Yamate, Glenn had written:
a complete rundown of all the things we could have seen if we had had time, see
Yamate Walk—A Tour of Yokohama’s European-Style Buildings.”
We did get a glimpse of the Foreign Cemetery (Gaijin Bochi), as well as
the inside of a couple of restored residences, one of which
was probably the
Residence (left). This house, originally located at 127 Yamate-cho in
1925, was built for Fritz Ehrismann, a Swiss merchant, the branch manager
of Sieber Hegner, Yokohama, which was one of largest silk trading companies
before World War II. It was designed by the Czech architect Antonin Raymond and took
one year to complete. Raymond came to Japan as the assistant of Frank Lloyd Wright, the
architect of the old Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Wright’s influence can be seen in details that make the Ehrismann
Residence quite distinctive among Western-style houses in Japan. The residence was later demolished to make way for a
condominium, but in 1990 it was restored in its present location in Motomachi
Another house we toured was Berrick Hall (left). Designed by American architect J. H. Morgan, this unusually large residence was built for Bertram Robert Berrick, a British merchant, in the 1930s. Berrick later donated the home to St. Joseph College (now St. Joseph International School), which used it as a dormitory. It was restored to its former glory in 2002.
In the living room, we saw a young woman who at first
appeared to be singing, with gestures, but after watching her for a while I realized
she was actually playing the theremin, an instrument I had heard but never
before seen. She was evidently rehearsing for a later performance.
Presently it was time to make our way to the auditorium of the Saint Maur Fine Arts Center and claim the seats that Glenn had arranged to save for us “towards the rear of the ground floor, on the left-hand side (with the best view of Chie, who will be in her glory as the MC).” Chie had been the homeroom teacher of the senior class, which Glenn had described as “22 girls and 3 very quiet boys.” He offered the following further description of the event:
Chie gave a polished and professional performance as MC, keeping the program moving. Both Mr. Ghosn and his daughter gave outstanding speeches that I wish I had been able to record. His was very thought-provoking and inspiring, and hers was clever, whimsical, and entertaining. Neither was too long. There was also an amusing musical presentation by the graduating class. The entire ceremony lasted only about an hour and a quarter (as predicted).
After the promised tour of the school, Barney, Matthew, and I left to walk back to the hotel. This was a comedy of errors, as we took numerous wrong turns (and we were not really dressed for walking), but we eventually made it.
We had been invited to the Bar Mermaid for cocktails at 5:00 before the 6:00 “banquet” in Restaurant Paradiso, but before we could gather for those, Dad peremptorily summoned Tom, Sam, and me to his room for a conference about which he was very mysterious. It turned out that he wanted to arrange for all three of us to participate in presenting Paul Harris Fellow Recognition to Glenn at the banquet. I had been a PHF since 1997 (awarded by my Rotary club), but I did not realize that Dad, a Multiple PHF, had recently conferred the honor on Tom and Sam as well; Glenn’s award would be the last. For the presentation to Glenn, Dad had divvied up the RI-recommended verbiage among me, Tom, and himself, leaving Sam to present the pin, medallion, and certificate while I took pictures and Dad beamed with pride. This went well. Glenn was appropriately surprised and gratified, and it was especially meaningful to have the honor conferred in front of his wife and closest friends.
Throughout the party, Glenn and especially Chie were most gracious hosts. The meal itself is described elsewhere, but the company deserves mention. Glenn had written:
party (left side, from left): Christopher, Dick, Barney, [my place], Chie,
Matthew, and Joan (Kazu sent his regrets at the last minute, being detained in
After a couple of cocktails and several courses accompanied by numerous glasses of wine, Barney and I staggered back to the room about 9:30. We digested the meal and processed the events of the day in our characteristic ways: while I wrote and read till about 11, Barney went out and walked around Yamashita Park till midnight or so.