#11 February 2001

The guest-books of 40 years

 Memories are so vivid when we turn the pages of our treasure books. They are the guest-books of almost 40 years. Yoyokaku is only a small, old-fashioned Ryokan in Karatsu, but in these pages, filled with friendly words of the foreign guests who stayed with us, we feel as if our ryokan were a most extravagant hotel. Friends' words have encouraged us all the time, even when we were down feeling so small.

 Bankers, doctors, soldiers, journalists, designers, photographers, scholars, authors, students, housewives, architects, historians, musicians, dancers,......
 Famous people whom we knew famous, other famous people whom we hadn't known famous till later, ordinary people who were not specially famous but were very very special to us, all these people's cherished memories come back to us. We are so proud of these guest books, though we have no valuable things to boast of.

 Here are some of our treasures in our guest-books.
The latest guest-book
Adolf Muschg
German man of  letters
Kim Yong-Ok
Korean philosopher
Jean-Jacques Annaud
French film director
Bob Shane
The Kingston Trio
agnes b.
French designer
Michael Ondaatje
Canadian poet
Jacques Mayol
French diver
American garden architect

 There have been some people who returned to see what they wrote many years ago. Sometimes their children came and saw their parents' writings.
 Our guest-books are so famous in Japan, because some writer wrote in a magazine about them, and later NHK TV made a program on them.
 Isn't it wonderful that memories can reunite family and friends? It is very heart-warming to think of old friends. Reminiscence is always sweet and healing. When we retire from Yoyokaku, on an easy-chair, looking at these notes, I will say,"Ha! I remember this handsome gentleman." And my husband will say,"I remember his beautiful wife."
 I hope you will come to Yoyokaku someday and leave a line in our treasure book.

                                          Thank you,

                                                  Mail to Harumi Okochi