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Thread: Who was your first Japanese?

  1. #1
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    Default Who was your first Japanese?

    Can you remember who was the first Japanese person you met? For myself, I was raised in the 60’s and can’t recall seeing many Orientals. I have faint memory of a Japanese war bride of a friend of my Fathers, but that memory is a bit too cloudy.

    The first time I can recall meeting a true Japanese citizen was at the Boy Scout National Jamboree back around 1972. There were some Japanese Boy Scouts in attendance. Boy Scouts love to trade patches, and they had set aside a building for just that purpose. I met one Japanese boy scout who did not speak very good English, but that did not stop us from trading. I was 12 years old at the time and wondered if he was a karate master like all Japanese were supposed to be! I also wondered if he Father had fought in the war like mine had. I still have the patches he traded me, and if I find time I will try and scan a few…
    John Lindsey

    Oderint, dum metuant-Let them hate, so long as they fear.

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    We had Japanese visiting sensei, etc. at my Wado-Ryu dojo in South Africa every so often, however, I was too young to remember these men now.

    The first Japanese I really got to know was the proprietor of a bar by the name of 'New Manhattan', which was frequented by businessmen and thus quieter and more low key than the others normally patronized by us rowdy jarheads in Iwakuni. I don't know what his real name was, but he was known as 'Jimmy' to the few of us gaijin that went there. He was very friendly, and provided me my first introduction to some basic principles of ikebana, which he practiced. He also would cut whatever song was playing at the time and play Bon Jovi's 'Dead or Alive' when I strolled in

    At the time, tie-bars (which go through the collar tips and under the tie) were in fashion, but I had a rough time finding these. Since he was a really sharp dresser I asked him if he knew where these could be bought. He gave me directions to the place, which I found without too much trouble, and bought one. A couple nights later when I came in the bar he handed me a hankerchief...inside, a silver tie bar with octagonal ends, each with a tiny diamond at the tips. I still have it around here somewhere, maybe one day they'll come back into style
    David F. Craik

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    hello !
    i was not raised in the 60ies but time seems to stand still in the little village in northern germany where i was raised. i did judo for some years, done bujinkan now or 9 years but the first japanese i personally met was my japanese teacher at university.

    karsten
    _______________________
    karsten helmholz
    bujinkan shinden dojo buchholz/hamburg

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    Talking Who was your first Japanese?

    My first Japanese was Neil Yamamoto and it was so special.....
    Doug Walker
    Completely cut off both heads,
    Let a single sword stand against the cold sky!

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    Dougie,

    As soon as you get back from Frog land, I'm going to f'n kill you.

    Have a good vacation, it's your last.

    OK you got me, I cracked up good on this one, except I wasn't drinking root beer when I read it.

    My first encounter with Japanese was my mom and dad. I'm still scared.

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    Sophomore year in high-school. Japanese exchange student sat next to me in chemistry class. Didn't speak much English, but could read some. I can remember like it was yesterday, him frantically holding his dictionary in his left hand, scribbling the English on the chalk board in English then furiously flipping through that little dictionary of his and jotting down the most bizarre characters I had ever seen. I befriended him because I started aikido when I was twelve and had a mild familiarity with Japanese stuff and was less intimidated, because all the other students thought he was weird, because they thought I was weird, and because I felt bad for him (working so hard all the time and being a nice guy but always eating lunch by himself). Unfortunately I transferred schools the next semester.
    Greg Ellis
    I like autumn best of all, because its tone is mellower, its colors are richer and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and it is content.

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    The first for me, was my teacher's, "Peter Urban's," wife Meiko Ito Urban "deceased." I met her in 65.

    Yes, when Sensei brought GoJu Ryu to the USA, he also brought a peice of Japans beauty with him, in the form of his wonderful wife.

    Growing up in NYC, there was always a good mix of most cultures to experience.
    Steven L. Malanoski

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    I can only remember him as Uchida-san. He was our agent who brought my family and our misfit animals to Japan in 1981. Now "agent" has heavy negative connotations in the circus business, and deservedly so. The most deceitful and cutthroat among them were invariably former performers, and that surprised us, though it shouldn't have.

    Uchida-san broke the mold. He was not only our agent, but our introduction to and ongoing buffer with Japanese society. He remains one of the most refined, elegant and perceptive men we ever met. The old rednecks always told us: "Never take your animals anywhere you can't drive home from," and that always made perfect sense. We fought off the overtures for that Japan gig, but it kept resurfacing with more sugar on it until they made us the proverbial "offer we couldn't refuse."

    It turned out to be 6 months on the slopes of Mt Fuji at Fuji Safari Park. Uchida-san and his associates flew to rural Florida to watch us practice our acts (bears and golden retrievers) at a ramshackle broken down winter quarters. What an eye opener that must have been for his entourage! That gig changed my entire family forever. We never got over having to leave. Seven years later my girlfriend from Japan came to visit us and I married her and didn't let her go home.

    All my subsequent Japanese experiences trace back to Uchida-san. We've lost contact with him, and its one of my family's few real regrets.

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    Even though I started out studying Judo at age twelve I only remember seeing Japanese in books. Later in High School I joined the diving team. The only facilities available that were local to us was the Woodlands athletic center. Home of the world famous olympic diving coach, Dick Smith. He was supposed to be our coach but was busy coaching the then #2 world ranked woman diver. Instead our coach was a member of the Japanese Diving team, Takuya Naguchi. Takuya spoke broken english but had a good way of communicating using body language and by demonstration. He was an excellent diver that none of us hoped to match. Takuya was very serious but not stern and always polite. He seemed to have a lot of composure. Nothing seemed to ever surprise him or ruffle his feathers..
    ..that is until one day...
    Mark was a member of our team who liked to horse around a lot. He was also a big smart aleck. There was a pretty life gaurd named Kathy that Takuya was friendly with but not even in a remotely sexual way. This did not go unnoticed by Mark. On this particular day Mark suggested that he should say something nice to Kathy. "Tell her you want to 'Jump her bones', Mark said. "What does mean, 'Jump your bones'?" Takuya replied. "Oh, it just means 'you look nice today'" Mark answered with a devilish smile. "Oh, OK, Shrank you!" said Takuya. a few moments later we saw him walk over to the other side of the pool and speak to Kathy. Suddenly we heard a very loud "TAKUYA!!"
    After Kathy explained to him his mistake he came walking back with a certain look in his eye that I will never forget. Up till now I had never seen him even show any displeasure much less anger. He was red in the face as he came up to mark "DOAN EBA DO DAT AGAIN!" "NOBODY EBA DO DAT, UNASTAN?!!" "DIS BERY BAD MANNAS" he shouted. This scared the snot out of all of us. Luckily Mark had the where with all to apologize to Takuya. Takuya looked at him still mad and said "You no pologize me, you pologize Kathy!". The next day it was business as usual as if the whole thing never happened. I think this one incident made a big impact on my perception of a Japanese. I felt like I got a peek behind the social mask that the Japanese present to the outside world and the inherit 'goodness' of a japanese person.
    Last edited by Onmitsu; 3rd October 2002 at 19:45.
    Greg Caplinger
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    Soulend,

    Your post was many years ago, so I doubt you will see this but...

    "New Manhattan Club"? I remember it well. I was stationed in Iwakuni in 1966 and used to go there often. Yes, I remember "Jimmy" also.

    I had an occasion to revisit Iwakuni a couple of years ago. Guess what? The club is still there. It was the only club that I used to frequent, that was still in operation. I took a photo of it.

    Click image for larger view

    Mike Davis

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    This nurse I knew in Tokyo.

    ...

    Oh wait, you mean the first I ever met? That would be Eriko Ishida, my Japanese teacher at the University of Minnesota.
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, ţonne he ćt guđe gengan ţenceđ longsumne lof, na ymb his lif cearađ. - The Beowulf Poet

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    There were a number in a the college towns I grew up in, but the one that held the biggest interest to me was the doctor on my paper route. I mowed his lawn when he was out of town. I don't recall the name, he was always "Doctor" or "Sir."

    I was fortunate in that he apparently took an interest to me. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but in looking back, I eventually realized that there was more to him then was first apparent. He taught me quite a number of things, some of which I still use today. He normally did it by asking a simple question or two.

    Most of the questions were related to being aware of what was going on, directions and observation. (Sort of like the dad in Psych.) I have no idea what his background was, but there had to be some martial discipline in his past, or even then.
    Respectfully
    Mark W. Swarthout, Shodan

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    Hello all,

    First Japanese nationals I met was the entire kendo team from a visiting Maritime JSDF ship at a kendo seminar/tournament held in Sydney NSW, back in 1985. Very interesting day.

    Cheers,
    Paul Steadman

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    The first Japanese national I remember meeting was shortly after I moved to Houston. He moved to our apartment complex, and my dad gave him a jump one morning to get his battery going. The next day, he brought us a Japanese paper lantern in an ornate box, decorated and with a handwritten letter of thanks in kanji. I was quite surprised at the level of courtesy.
    Kevin Geaslin
    Genbukan Ninpo & Kokusai Jujutsu

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    Japanese as in "Real Nihonjin", right? not Nisei? OK.

    When I was a kid, my mom was a receptionist supervisor in Hotel Sari Pan Pacific. There was a Japanese who became a regular guest at the hotel, his name was Mr. Matsuda Hiroshi, a resident of Ikoma-Shi, Nara-Ken, Japan. He was the first Japanese I talked with.

    After I started doing Budo, the Nihonjin I spent most time with is my sensei's wife, Madame Chiyoko Matsumoto-Taman. She's a very nice lady. Her sons trained with their father, so they were/still are my training partners. But I guess half-Japanese doesn't count
    Ben Haryo (This guy has low IQ and uses a dialect which vaguely resembles Bad English).

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