Tuesday, August 15, 2006

On Air

TakushokukanIn the photo above is a building in Nakajima Park that I've never seen. It played a prominent part, though, in today's TV broadcast by HBC (Hokkaido Broadcasting Company) that "starred" one of my private students, Haruhisa Shirahama, and an American vet, Pat Olski.

The whole program started when Pat first came across photos of Nakajima Park on my website. He had been looking for information on the park because he was stationed there right at the end of World War II. He emailed me with a photo of the building in which the engineers had stayed, asking if it still existed. Because Haru, only 3 or 4 years younger than Pat, was a teenager at the time, I showed it to him. He not only recognized it but also knew what had become of it. Thus began a long and rewarding correspondence between our class and Pat, as well as many private emails between Haru and Pat.

The broadcast was scheduled today, August 15th, in order to coincide with shusen kinenbi, or the ending of World War II. Since the 6-minute segment followed a report on Prime Minister Koizumi's controversial visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, it might have been watched by a large number of people in Hokkaidoi (in addition to my friends, that is).

Because of the TV broadcast, I learned that the building, called Takushoku-kan, was in the park from 1918 to 1979. Below is a view of almost the same place in the park taken this spring. It's hard to believe such a large building stood there for so many years and now no longer exists. The rowboats are still around, though.

Rowboats on Nakajima Lake in the Spring

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