Since I arrived that place a bit earlier than the promised time, I walked around the park. The cherry flowers were sure grandly beautiful. But it was too crowded. I might had been accoustomed with this crowd of people when I was living in Tokyo. I have been, however, spoiled by the countryside for now.
This was the restaurant where I was intending to go for lunch with them. This was the place where a reception party for Ralph Multon WB6BFR, an elmer for me those days, was held. It was in '60s. The beer garden on the roof was the place of the meeting. Tad JA1KFN, already SK, hosted that meeting. There were a number of old timers like the couple of JA1YL and JA1CO etc. I had the honor to be present there wearing a junior high school student's uniform. Maybe, the youngest among the attendees. Ralph used to be active on 40m early in the morning in their time. I have had more than 100 QSOs with him. He has been very patient to do with a beginner in Japan like me. I was very curious to know about anything in foreign countries like the US. He was, using the dash side of a bug, sending out beautiful codes in slow speed every time. I can't recall what I have talked at the meeting. But the scene of all attendees sitting around a long table and the breeze coming over the pond named Shinobazunoike still clearly came up in my mind.
It seemed, however, to be too crowded there and could be difficult for us to take lunch without reservation. I gave up taking lunch with Lee et al there.
Another shot of the crowd in the park. There was a kind of order among them. Maybe, characteristic for Japanese.
One example of the order in the grand feast was this separate collection of trash.
We successfully met at the exit despite of the mess. Lee looked quite the same as 20 years ago even though he has got a bit more grey thing on head. His wife was smiling at us as she used to be. Taka JA1KIH, another old friend of mine, has joined us there. We moved to Ochanomizu, the town where my med school is located. I knew an appropriate restaurant to have lunch with them. It was on the 22nd floor of a building, where we could enjoy grand view around there.
As the usual topics for us with the same age, we started talking about health issues. Three or 4 years ago, Lee had to cancel a trip to Tokyo with a hypertension episode. It seemed he and his wife have been doing well ever since. I was anxious to know what medical service they have in Korea. Public health insurance seemed to be available for everyone. But own expense medical care is also working for minority of rich people. Some medicines, treatments or lab exams are in the latter category. They should pay astronomically high cost at certain medical facilities as med school hospitals for those medical care. The birthrate is constantly decreasing because they could not have babies or they won't bring up children. It may make the social security less sustainable in Korea in the near future. That was what Lee told us.
He also complained there had been too many beginner class hams in Korea. The head of amateur radio league there owns only that class and knows little on communication on CW or with overseas. The authority seemed to be ignorant of the reality of ham radio as well. He has lost a bit of interests in radio recently. He just joins the net of two letter suffix stations there.
He has started ham radio in 1964, a year after I had done. His first equipment was crystal controlled 2E24 transmitter with Hallicrafter SX38; I am not sure of this model name. During the military service and early years in business, he went off the radio. In 1976, he came back on the air with the same suffix. I have come back on the air in 1980. We have lived in almost the same milestones.
It was a chinese food restaurant. We have had a course of chinese dishes. Peking duck.
Some sort of fish.
We have discussed on the economy and the companies he and Taka have worked for before retirement. Lee seemed to have worked as a CEO at a company related with LG, so far as I understood. He has worked there when the bubble ruptured in Japan and, later, Korean economy underwent the currency crisis intervened by IMF. He has been a real fighter in the business there.
The delicate relationship between our countries was also one of the topics. I have told him an idea which I had had in my mind for years. We, Japanese, are historically responsible for the tragic separation of his country into north/south. Most of the Japanese are indifferent to that historical fact or just ignorant of that. Some people of ultra right wing, even though they are just minority, in Japan won't hesitate showing prejudice against Korean people. A sad reality. He was just smiling at me without any comment on it. But he told me whenever a visitor from Japan came there, he or the staff of his company always took him to the Military Demarcation Line, which was only 20 or 30 minutes drive from Seoul.
His children, whom they have taken here in his visit to us, were both grown up and have already married. They were blessed with a couple of grandchildren.
Lee, his wife and Taka.
The same couple with me.
It was a nice meeting with them. Lee told me the same thing and invited us to visit Korea. It has been another promise for us to visit there. It takes us only 2 hours or so to fly to Korea. Hopefully, it will come true soon.