SHIGA KEN
(SHE GAH) (CANE)
DON DEVANEY PROVEST MARSHALL OF TRIPPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER. WAS THE KENOTE SPEAKER AT THE MEETING OF THE SHIGA KEN ASSOCIATION.
NOVEMBER 2007 FOLLOWING IS A OVERVIEW OF HIS SPEECH TO THE ASSOCIATION.
Japan Presentation

My speech was prepared text but I delivered it without reading and it came out perfect.  I was nervous but prepared and my delivery was at the right pitch that the English speaking people from UK; Brazil; Mexico; Australia; Los Angeles; Seattle; Canada; etc could follow along.  It was translated simultaneously like they do at the UN.  I was listed on the Program as the Keynote Speaker which added to my nervousness.

I compared the era of the opening of Japan to the United States by my distant cousin, Commodore Matthew Perry from Rhode Island as being similar.  The US had President Abraham Lincoln who was very unpopular and hated, facing the issue of freeing slaves.  He had the authority and signed the Emancipation Proclamation and as a result was assassinated.  Likewise in Japan the Lord Daimyo, equivalent to the Prime Minister faced a divided nation, to open up or remain closed.  He was hated and unpopular for signing the order to open the ports to the US and as a result like Lincoln was assassinated.  In the US we grew to love Lincoln and in Japan they only are now beginning to respect Lord Ii Naosuke.  (I met his descendant in a private office call while there).  Then I talked about the glorious Japanese Naval victory over Russia in 1903 and how Lord Ii Naosuke's wisdom caused that to happen.  They had never thought of that fact before.  I proceeded to discuss the aftermath of WWII and Japan was in ruins.  Unlike Europe which had the Marshall Plan for economic recovery; the United States had issued secret orders to General MacArthur not to rebuild Japan's economy.  It was in ruins because of their past bad behavior and the US said it was up to them to recover (and recover they did).  The audience loved it.  Then I closed by admonishing them to consider that "Good Intentions don't always mean Good Results".  I gave them two examples.  After the war the US Army went to private homes, banged on the doors and entered spraying DDT powder all over the place.  The US had good intentions, but the result was a terrible impression of Americans.  Likewise the Emperor who was in town during my speech received the Black Bass fish from America.  It was our intention to place the fish in the streams so the people could fish and have a supplement to their diet.  We never considered that the Black Bass is an aggressive carnivorous fish that invaded the hugest inland Lake in Japan and devoured all the native fish.  The intention was good, the results bad.  Then I finished praising Japan for its effort to clean the environment and suddenly some emotion came over me.  I intended to say it was an honor to be with you today and that was it; but what came out was I said "It was a high honor; and then I walked one step to the side; and repeated "an honor" and then another side step, bowed slightly and said "an honor" again for the 3rd time with a tear coming down my face.

The audience went over board; and I was called back to take another bow and this time I had tears running down both sides of my face and that was it.  But the impression went around the world and I became somewhat of an overnight celebrity, all unintentional.  

I met the former Prime Minister's wife and two daughters; untold celebrities from all over the world and when the Emperor and Empress arrived I was given a center seat in the auditorium to greet them and upon their departure was one of 25 in a group outside the door to bid them farewell.  The Governor of RI gave me a proclamation which I gave to the Governor of Shiga (a lady) and the Newport Black Ship Festival gave me a special letter which I presented.  I also carried an oil painting of the Tall Ships of the era and gave it to the Mayor of the City where the Lord Ii lived.  Next year they will celebrate the 150th year of opening the doors between Japan and US and I have been invited back.

Don

SHIGA KEN FLAG
FRONT: JOE HISAO TATEBE (AGE 94) AND HIS WIFE JEAN HISAKO TATEBE (AGE 88).
BOTH LIVED IN BRITISH COLUMBIA AT THE START OF WWII AND WERE RELOCATED TO ALBERTA IN THE HYSTERIA OF THOSE DAYS. THEY LOST ALL OF THEIE PROPERTY (IT WAS SOLD AT AUCTION) AND STARTED LIFE ANEW AND ARE NOT BITTER. THEY ARE NEWLY WEDS AND NOW LIVE IN ALBERTA CANADA.
BACK: YASURIO UKAI KNOWN AS CLIFF. HE DRIVES A JAGUAR AND IS A GRAND PRIX RACE CAR DRIVE AMONG OTHER THINGS. HE OWNS A SUSHI BAR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GINZA.
PHOTO AND INFORMATION FURNISHED BY DON DEVANEY.
NOVEMBER 2007

 Japan Revisited

In 2005 I returned to Vietnam after an absence of 40 years and it was an exhilarating and wonderful experience.  Now just two years later I had a similar opportunity only this time to revisit Shiga Prefecture where I began my military police career in 1954.  It seems like 53 years is such a long time ago, but time plays tricks on our mind and it is like traveling in a time warp or we are fortunate to become a modern day Rip Van Winkle or Urashima Taro.

I graduated from Aldrich High School in June 1954 and immediately left for the Army along with my classmate Ralph Bodette.  We were both assigned to the “Fighting 69th” Irish Infantry Division at Fort Dix , New Jersey for basic training.  After that Ralph went to Airborne School and I went to Military Police School and we have never seen each other since, however I learned he had a successful civilian career as a Commander and top leader in the Warwick Police Department.  After Military Police training I went with a group of others  and flown to Fort Lewis, Washington directly from Bush Field in Augusta, Georgia on a two engine plane stopping about 5 times before landing in the rain at McChord Air Force Base.  At Fort Lewis nobody had the faintest idea where we would be sent but since the Korean War was on a shaky truce of about one year we just knew that is where we were headed.  Huddled in the gymnasium the Sergeant told us we would be given one of three IBM cards.  The Cards would have an A for Alaska a J for Japan or a K for Korea .  Most of the MPs received a J.  We then boarded a troop ship, the USNS Freeman that took 22 days to go from Seattle to Yokohama , but we made it.  Then to Camp Drake for another round of processing and of the entire group of 60 about 20 were selected for Southwestern Command.  Japan was divided by the US Military at the time into Northern Command ( Hokkaido ; Sendai ; etc); Central Command ( Tokyo , Yokohama ) and Southwestern Command (Shiga, Kyoto , Osaka , Hiroshima , Kyushu etc).  So we boarded the train around 10:00 AM at the Yamanouchi Station bound for the City of Otsu .  We arrived about 8:00 PM and were met by a Sergeant who read off 5 names, and I was one of them, to remain.  The rest reboarded the train for other destinations.  Thus my introduction to the City of Otsu .

Camp Otsu at the time was the headquarters for Southwestern Command, and the Commanding General was Ralph Zwicker who Senator Joe McCarthy tried unsuccessfully to slander at the famous hearings in 1954.  The Army had two camps in Otsu designated “A” and “B” camp.  The 561st Military Police Company (Service) was located in B Camp next to Lake Biwako .  And that is where I remained until 1955 when the dream ended and we were sent to Okinawa .

As an 18 year old everything makes an impression especially a new culture that has thousands of years of history.  I was educated in measuring time before or after Christ and it was hard living in the US a country that was 179 years old to imagine a country that was thousands of years old with families tracing their lineage 55 generations or more.  In those days our duty required the traditional services on a military installation but in addition we had town patrol most of the time and that was patrolling the Cities of Otsu, Nara and Kyoto .  Just imagine the heritage in those places that were spared the bombing of World War II and for that reason alone the Americans had a tremendous advantage in being accepted and making friendships.  

Otsu is an old City and was the capitol of Japan in ancient times.  The Tokaido Road runs next to the train station this very day and from my hotel, the world class new Biwako Hotel I met three traveling priests called Komusou. walking the road from Kyoto .  They were stopped briefly next to the lake for a rest and I would guess they were about 78 years of age.  One of them was playing a shakuhachi and the music simply serene and fantastic.  I approached them for permission to take pictures and they were obliging.  The leader then explained they had walked to Otsu and were continuing on to another city quite a distance away and would make the return trip on foot.  Two of them wore baskets over their head and maybe all 3 did, and that was a reminder of how things were in the old Japan .

I landed at Kansai International Airport that is about an hour outside of the city of Osaka but it is the major airport for that area (called Kansai as opposed to Tokyo located in Kanto).  The train service is in the heart of the airport so from baggage claim, walk a short hallway and one is at the train station.  I purchased a ticket for Kyoto where I was to meet the General Secretary of the Shiga Prefecture Association who would be the protocol officer for this visit as I was a guest of the Association.  In 2005 Shiga Prefecture (a prefecture is the equivalent of a state in the United States) was holding a world-wide anniversary celebration in Los Angeles and the steering committee invited people from its sister cities in Lansing, Michigan and Wurzburg, Germany to attend.  They were also looking for former US military personnel who were assigned to Camp Otsu in the 1950s and as a result I was contacted by the late Barry Palmer, Cambridge Graduate from UK who was a language instructor at the university in Kyoto , and a member of the Shiga Association Executive Committee.  My wife and I were invited but the trip to Vietnam was in conflict so we sent our regrets.

I thought that would be the end of it, but for 2007 the association is hosting a grand celebration in November that will include the presence of the Emperor and Empress and I have once again been honored with an invitation.  I explained that my wife and I usually go to Okinawa Prefecture in April of each year so I wasn’t certain about a second trip in November.  To my surprise and pleasure we were invited to spend a few days in Otsu during our April trip.  We also had our son George with us and he was making his first return visit to Okinawa since 1975 so we went directly to Okinawa but I made the solo sojourn of my lifetime with a trip to Shiga from 9 until 14 April.

As planned I was met at the Kyoto station taken downstairs for another train and the 10 minute trip to Otsu City .  At the train station I was greeted by Mr. Nakazawa and it was 9:00 PM in the evening but we went directly to an inner city park that was lighted to show the beautiful cherry blossoms that were in full bloom.  It was a scene from a movie.  After that we went to the Biwako Hotel a huge modern building on the waterfront of Lake Biwa the largest lake in Japan and one of 10 in its category world-wide.  My room was on the 9th floor fronting the lake and I was told that I could wear the Yukata robe and visit the hot spring Onsen on the 4th floor at anytime.  I went there twice a day, in the morning and before going to bed.  The Onsen is not only comforting and refreshing but it is an example of redirecting cultural instincts.  Middle aged women rush about picking up towels, straightening out buckets and in general cleaning as you go while there will be 6 to 7 men completely naked either washing or soaking in the pool.  You even say “Ohayao Gozaimus” without making eye contact.  Day one was designed for me to become reacquainted with the new Otsu city and walk the streets once again which I did.  Early in the morning it was evident that most workers used the bus, trains that are on trolley lines more than 100 years old and rapid trains with few automobiles.  The cars that are prevalent are small toy looking vehicles but amazingly roomy inside.  My car was nicknamed “Chotto Soko Made” a Japanese expression.  My old barracks in B Camp is still there, one of a few original buildings inside a modern Japanese Self Defense Force installation.  At 10:00 AM we were invited for a tour of the lake from the paddle ship Michigan replete with a small band (Australian and Japanese) and the weather was fantastic.  Lunch was at the beautiful old and famous restaurant, Uoi, next to a river and the Tokaido Road , owned by Mrs. Reiko Inoue.  I went to the 2nd floor and she showed me some of the art screens and her wedding umbrellas that were mounted on the ceiling.  Then to her Japanese version of a “hope chest” a trunk made for her by her parents as a wedding gift.  She opened it and it contained bedding and a wedding kimono.   I had eel for lunch and will attach a couple of pictures that are worth a thousand words in describing this delicious delicacy at the end of this report.

On the West side of Otsu and Shiga Prefecture is a mountain range and the most famous of them is Mt. Hiei home of the Enryakuji Temples.  The General Secretary and I took a trolley train to the indescribably beautiful sub-town of Sakamoto home of the Tendai priests and many schools and laden with Cherry trees in full bloom.  Parking our car is always a problem because of space and all cars in Japan are required to park off the road.  The lot was a long walk for me to the Cable Car station, all uphill.  Then the cable car ride to the top of Mt. Hiei and once again a foot trek to the summit.  The scenery fantastic and the shrines along the way beautiful.  At the top were temples built 1600 years ago and you cannot help but appreciating the religious connection.  People talk in a whisper and remove footwear before entering the temples.  On the way back to the Cable car, a walk of about 12 minutes, we were pleasantly surprised with the Gagaku sound of Shakuhachi playing and sat on a bench along the path contemplating the scenery and beautiful music before making it back to the cable car and being dropped off at the Biwako Hotel (for another splash in the hot bath).

After a wonderful and healthy breakfast of soft scrambled eggs, OJ, corn flakes and oatmeal I was ready for day number 3.  In the morning I had a 9:00 AM appointment with the Chief of Police, Mr. Kenji Nagano.  Prior to that I had an office call with Mr. Masakiyo Ogura, Superintendent and Chief of Community Safety Planning Division for the Shiga Prefectural Police Headquarters.  He had been a Rotary International Group Study exchange student in Minnesota and served in Paris and New York .  He was summoned to New York from France when terrorists first hit the World Trade Center in the 1990s.  My visit with the Chief was excellent and they had prepared for me the history books reflecting the 1950 era of Otsu and Shiga with pictures of the military police and my former camps.  In addition Chief Nagano explained the Japanese police model which essentially is a nation wide state police centralized in each Prefecture.  He presented me with a beautiful police lapel pin and medallion and the key to the city so to speak.  After leaving the government complex around noon we boarded the train for the 12 minute ride to Kyoto .  Our first stop was an unscheduled look at the Okura Hotel lobby that was at the train station.  Amazingly Mrs. Ukai-Palmer who was my escort spotted a kimono dressed lady in the lobby that looked familiar.  It turned out to be her elementary school classmate who she had not seen in 30 years or more.  That was a good omen.  We were headed for Miyagawa cho near the Gion District of Kyoto to see the 58th annual “Kyoodori” stage show with original Gagaku music and cast.  This was no ordinary show as tickets cannot be bought but are issued by lottery to the “mothers” of the Kyoto Geisha houses.  It is arduous and they line up and wait and then get 2 tickets and if they want different seats they go to the end of the line and start the process over again.  The house mother of the Sakura Geisha House had two tickets and she gave them to Mrs. Kazuko Hattori, President of the Kazuko Hattori Kimono Institute and known throughout Japan .  She is a friend of Mrs. Ukai-Palmer thus the two tickets were given to her and I therefore was the only foreigner to be able to see the production that was absolutely beautiful to watch and listen to.  The stage show was finished late in the afternoon and we walked throughout Gion taking pictures and I was being lead to a “surprise” party at a secret location.

The Ashiya Steak House is probably the most well known restaurant in Kyoto and Japan itself.  The owners are Tokiko and Bob Strickland and it is a refurbished residence at the end of an alley.  The clientele are the elite of the world including George Bush, 41 and Bill Clinton, 42.  I saw Tom Cruise’s autographed picture on the wall along with the tragic pre-Challenger picture of Ellison Onizuka and his family who had dinner there.  There were 5 in our party and the owner was cordial and wonderful as was the Kobe steak.  It was the atmosphere that grabs you in a place like that but I also know the prices are astronomical.  After dinner we bid Mrs. Hattori farewell in her taxi and the rest of us jumped in a cab for the return trip to Otsu .  Hard to imagine a better day than this but there are more coming.

The following day was a scheduled trip down memory lane and to re-visit the places I worked or walked or played in 1954 and 55.  The Midera Shrine and canal was a special stop as again the Cherry trees gave it a fairy land appearance and the Canal over 100 years old goes to Kyoto .  Mrs. Ukai-Palmer then explained some of her family history that goes back 45 generations.  At one time the Ukai’s were boat builders for the lake and issued seals that indicated payment of a certain tax and those boats were allowed to leave the lake and go to Kyoto to enter into commerce.  We then drove to the original Biwako Hotel which was kept as a Prefectural Shrine and reconditioned by the city.  Many famous people stayed at the old Biwako including John Wayne when filming The Barbarian and the Geisha.  We enjoyed an Italian style lunch and I was mentally preparing for the honor of having an office call with the Governor of the Prefecture, Mrs. Yukiko Kada at 4:30 PM.  The time arrived and I was whisked into her office.  She was an impressive lady who had served in Kenya and was fluent in the English Language.  Recently elected she impressed me in many ways and most particularly was her concern for the environment.  I presented her some Kona Coffee and a paper weight from Governor Linda Lingle of Hawaii and she in turn gave me a hand-made spinning top that is exquisite and after 25 minutes I departed.  The evening was extra special as I was invited to dinner with the Headmaster of the Tendai High School in the Sakamoto Township .  Dr. Somon Horisawa and his wife hosted us at a lakeside hotel Biwako KRR and it was also a world class hotel.  There was a private dining room on the 2nd floor and one table with four place settings.  His wife joined Ukai-Palmer and me for an evening of Japanese dishes and lots of talk and beer drinking.  After dinner we were invited to his home on the mountain.  You enter a gate like you would in the 1500s; it is so low you have to bend over.  The home sits on the side of the mountain splendid in simplicity.  It is actually a compound with three buildings that I saw.  The main home had 3 front rooms and the prayer room with altar that was temple like beautiful.  You sit on the Tatami on pillows and a modern hibachi with blanket to keep your feet warm.  It was so comfortable and Mrs. Horisawa served tea in a special chrysanthemum cup and a cake.  After that we went next door to the music hall where she played the piano and sang opera style songs.  She is going to hold a concert in Honolulu maybe in 2008 and it will be to a packed house.  Around 10:00 PM it was back to the hotel.

Friday the 13th proved to be a lucky day for me.  In the morning it was a trip to another mountain and more temples and shrines with outstanding views of the lake, rivers and city below.  Ishiyama Shrine is beautiful especially during spring with many flowers in bloom.  At this temple is enshrined Murasaki Shikibu, a lady who wrote the Tales of Kenji 源氏物語 in (1021) or the 11th century.  One of the police officers, Mr. Ogura, can trace his ancestry 55 generations to the time of Genji and in fact cares for the family home that is more than 500 years old on weekends.  Friday being the last day my hosts took me to a lakeside German Restaurant (as Wurzburg is a sister city).  It was authentic in every way imaginable.  A couple days earlier I was taken to an Irish Pub in Kyoto but unfortunately or I should say fortunately it was closed.  In the afternoon I returned to Sakamoto and had a 1:00 PM appointment with the school headmaster, Dr. Somon Horisawa who is from Niigata , Japan but has lived on the mountain for 55 years.  He is 77.  I told him after 53 years of being in and out of Japan and married to a Japanese lady for 47 years I should have a Japanese name.  It was a big deal and we had to meditate for the right name to come to mind.  Mrs. Ukai-Palmer was the interpreter and taking notes as I expressed the thoughts I was having and at first I was not having any.  Then some ideas floated by like birds flying, water falling, wind blowing and then the Sensei said that is it and he retired to his office desk behind a cubicle.  After 5 minutes he reappeared with my new name written on rice paper.  Two Kanji (Chinese) Characters “So fu.”  It means universal wind and thus I am a born windbag.  Everybody said it is a beautiful name and when I returned to Okinawa all there were in approval.  So now I can be called in addition to other things Sofu.  It is a great name.

Otsu is about an hour and half from the Kansai Airport in Osaka and I thought I would be put on the express train and bid everyone farewell, but it was not to be.  The Japanese think of everything and Mrs. Ukai-Palmer escorted me to the Kansai Airport with a quick change of trains in Kyoto .  We went to the railway Soba shop and I ordered a bowl of noodles, the kind I like and then boarded an express train for Kansai where we bid farewell at the airport.

Thomas Wolfe said we can not go home again, but still we try; return is the child of departure.  I was not trying to go back in time but wanted to gauge how time changes everything to some degree, yet a lot remains the same.  So if we can’t go back to someplace we love then what are memories for?  So all we do is look and see invisible things and what remains is the self we have become.

Don Devaney


FRONT ROW: MR. JOE HISAO TATEBE (AGE 94) AND HIS NEW WIFE JEAN HISAKO TATEBE (AGE 88) FROM ALBERTA, CANADA.
BACK ROW: UNKNOWN, UNKNOWN AND DON DEVANEY AND  HIROKO UKAI-PALMER, GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE SHIGA PRIFECTURE ASSN. 
PHOTO FURNISHED BY DON DEVANEY.
NOVEMBER 2007
FROUNT ROW: HIROKO UKAI-PALMER AND MRS. OHARA BACK ROW: MR. OHARA AND DON DEVANEY.
PHOTO FURNISHED BY DON DEVANEY NOVEMBER 2007
HIROKO UKAI-PALMER, MRS. KOUMYO HORISAWA WIFE OF FAMOUS BUDDHIST PRIEST, THE VERY REV. SOMON HORISAWA OF THE ENRAKUJI TEMPLE ON MOUNT HIEI AND DON DEVANEY.
PHOTO FURNISHED BY DON DEVANEY NOVEMBER 2007.
A CHRISTMAS CARD DON DEVANEY RECEIVED FROM THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF HIKONE. 
SUNRISE ON BIWAKO TAKEN FROM THE HUNTING LODGE ON BIWAKO 1953
 PHOTO BY LORIN E. GREGORY
PRIEST AT WORSHIP HIEIZAN 1956 PHOTO BOB PROCTOR
KADA, YUKIKO SAN GOVERNOR OF SHIGA KEN
PHOTO BY PHILBERT ONO 2007
OTAKA TOKIO CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF SHIGH KENJINKAI
PHOTO BY PHILBERT ONO 2007
MEKATA MAKOT, CHAIRMAN OF THE SHIGA PREFECTURE CITY MAYORS' ASSOCIATION AND ALSO THE MAYOR OF OTSU
PHOTO BY PHILBERT ONO 2007 
NATSUHARA SATORU, CHAIRMAN OF THE SHIGA PREFECTURE TOWN MAYORS' ASSOCIATION AND ALSO MAYOR OF TAGA TOWN.
PHOTO BY PHILBERT ONO 2007
DEHARA ITSUZO SHIGA PREFECTURAL ASSEMBLY CHAIRMAN.
PHOTO PHILBERT ONO 2007
OTAKA TOKIO THE GENTLEMAN IS RECEIVING THE CERTIFICATION FROM MR. OTAKA IS MR. SHIGEO YAMZAKI FROM FUKUOKA SHIGAKENJINKAI IN FUKUOKA PREFECTURE IN KYUSHU. THE NEXT GENTMAN WAITING IS MR. AKIO WAKAYAMA FROM ESASHI SHIGAKEN JINKAI IN HOKKAIDO. THE LADY IS MRS. REIKO UEMOTO IN IWATE  SHIGAKENJINKAI IN IWATE PREFECTURE. THE HAVE BEEN CONTRIBUTING FOR THE ASSOCIATION OF SHIGA-PREFECTURE FOR A LONG TIME.
2007 PHOTO PHILBERT ONO
UNITED STATES FLAG IN FRONT OF HIKONE CITY HALL IN HONOR OF DON DEVANEY NOVEMBER 2008
PHOTO DON DEVANEY
DON DEVANEY PRESENTING THE RHODE ISLAND FLAG TO MAYOR OF HIKONE AND THE 18TH LORD OF HIKONE NOVEMBER 2008
PHOTO HIROKO UKAI-PALMER
THANKS TO PHILBERT ONO, HIROKO UKAI-PALMER AND DON DEVANEY FOR MAKING THIS PAGE POSSIBLE
MR. DEVANEY AT HIKONE CITY HALL WITH PROCLAMATION DISPLAY NOVEMBER 2008 
PHOTO HIROKO UKAI-PALMER
THE PROCLAMATION FROM THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND NOVEMBER 2008
PHOTO HIROKO UKAI-PALMER
THE HOME OF MRS. PALMER NOVEMBER 2008
PHOTO DON DEVANEY