Thursday, March 25, 1971

Darwin Wolford

I took this photo of Darwin Wolford and his wife Julie at the Gazebo Concert at Ricks College on 25 March 1971. I first met Darwin (composer and organist) in 1967-68 as a freshman at Ricks. He was still single. I recall going on a double date with him to see "Valley of the Dolls" at the movie theater in nearby Rigby. He was also the person who introduced me to P.D.Q. Bach. His compositions probably inspired me to dabble at composition myself. I still play his organ preludes frequently. I just googled and read that he retired in 2004. He was a good friend.

Friday, March 12, 1971

Japan, 1968-1971

On October 20, 1968, I set foot on Japanese soil, where I would server as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (末日聖徒イエスキリスト教会) for nearly 2 1/2 years. I'll try to give a flavor of those years through photographs.

Kobe, October 20, 1968–March 22, 1969

Early Sunday morning, October 20, our plane from Honolulu landed at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. (The Narita Airport wasn't around at the time.) Our flight to the old Osaka Airport must have arrived by 9:00 or 9:30 a.m. The Okazakis met our plane and drove us to Kobe, where we attended church at the Kobe Branch. I knew no Japanese; it was hard to imagine that everyone all around me spoke another language ... and understood each other.

After church, we all boarded a city bus and rode to downtown Sannomiya. We got off at the Daiei Department store and rode the escalator to the top (7th?) floor—a large restaurant—for lunch. I had my first ramen. The smells were so strange. The sound of the slurping of soup was everywhere.

After lunch we went to the Rokko Mansion, the apartment where we would stay for a week of focused Japanese study. I think our apartment must have been on the 5th floor? The apartment was a block or two from the Rokko Station of the Hankyū Densha (Railroad). We learned our first hiragana that afternoon.

Before bed they took us to the neighborhood sentō (public bath). The Japanese public baths were segregated by gender: males in one side and females in the other. (As one first entered the sentō, it was possible to glance into the other side of the bath, but I got used to it.)

We slept on futons on tatami mats. When I awoke Monday morning, I took the following photo out the window:

Looking south from the mission home elders' quarters in Kobe, Japan, October 21, 1968