Chris and I spent two months in Japan in 1993 when he was twelve years old and I supervised an American high school summer program in Hammatsu. That summer we made a visit to Tokyo to see friends I had worked with or knew in college days and we returned together to Tokyo in 2012 when all of a sudden another nearly two decades had gone bye. We met once again with my Japanese host mother Fumiko Tanaka whose family hosted me during a year at Waseda University in the 1970s and other old college friends.
Here are a couple of photos of Fumiko Tanaka with Chris Mockford at Ueno Zoo in 1993 and again with Jim and Chris for lunch at a Chinese restaurant in 2012 below. I had stopped by to see her at her home a couple of years ago but she had not seen Chris since he was 12. After meeting her for lunch in Shinagawa Chris and I visited the famous Sengakuji Temple and returned to the Imperial Hotel to meet old friends, and enjoy the view from the 17th Floor Lounge.
I was awarded a three day stay at the Imperial Hotel as part of a charity auction benefit for the Tsunami disaster that was sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Oregon at their golf tournament in 2011. The Hotel is a perfect place to meet friends in Tokyo and it is located near the Ginza, Hibiya Park and the Imperial Palace. It is also close to Shimbashi Station and Yamanote Line and the Yurikamome Line which we used for our sightseeing trips in Tokyo.
The Imperial Hotel is a lengendary hotel in Tokyo that was originally built in 1890 but considered out of date by 1917 and a new hotel designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright was constructed that survived the Great Tokyo Earthquake of 1923 and made the architect famous as a result. After World War II it was taken over by US Occupation forces for awhile before being returned to the owers and resuming operations in a renovated version of its 1923 self until 1968 when the historic Frank Lloyd Wright structure was taken down for a new hotel. However, the old hotel lives on at the Museum Meiji Mura where it most famous architectural details the lobby entrance ad reflecting pool was resassembled and rebuilt at a Meiji period park for the public to enjoy.
The current hotel building is sometimes referred to by historians as the “Third Imperial Hotel” began to shape the downtown skyline in 1968 and my parents stayed at the Imperial Hotel in 1971 when it was regarded as the new hotel in Tokyo. It still seems new but with a touch of the old Tokyo style as a result of the great lobby and places such as the Imperial Lounge Aqua on the 17th Floor that 0verlooks neighboring Hibiya Park and beyond to the Imperial Palace. We had a great time meeting friends there during our stay in Tokyo.