Upon arrival in Japan for my first assignment in 1956, I and others were met by the Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ed Pino. He inquired how we had enjoyed our thirty-six hour flight from San Francisco. I mention this because we flew in a four-engine prop plane, unlike the jets to be taken on flights to the U.S. just two years later.
We were taken to a Japanese restaurant where we consumed copious amounts of butterfly shrimp amongst other delicacies. It was a very tasty introduction to Japanese cuisine.
Later we were given our assignments, mine to Nagoya as a sixth grade teacher. Nagoya at that time was the site of Fifth Air Force Headquarters located at Komaki Air Force Base. The school was located in Nagoya within the military housing area.
The most memorable of many memorable experiences that first year was upon the occasion of my honeymoon to Kyoto. My wife and I stayed at the Miyako Hotel, one of the foremost hotels in the city, old and elegant.
After a comfortable night’s rest on the customary futon we adjourned to the hotel’s breakfast room. While eating breakfast a very handsome Japanese man in traditional dress entered the room and sat not far away. I said to my wife, Marion, He looks familiar. I don’t know how but somehow I know him.” “Ridiculous,” she said, “How could you possibly know him?” We continued to eat when suddenly it came to me, “That’s Ricardo Montalban,” I said. Again Marion said, “Ridiculous, but I’ll go ask him”, which she proceeded to do. She came back and excitedly proclaimed, “You’re right. That’s who it is and he’s invited us to his table.” We did join him and discovered that he was in the film, “Sayonara,” being shot in Nagoya that morning on the grounds of the hotel. He invited us to view the filming of the scene to be shot that morning, and the afternoon’s scene, which featured Marlon Brando and Mieko Tako.
There was more excitement to follow that school year, but suffice it to say it was to be anti-climatic.