Re: Looking back over my life and business in the United States(1)  February 25, 2022

 I heard that reprinted edition of American movie ‘West Side Story’ (making into a movie in 1961) which I saw in the middle of my youth 60 years ago has put on the screen, and I saw the movie the other day. This work is made into a movie of Broadway musical (the first performance in August 1957). The story is ‘forbidden love’ under the conflict of wrongdoing young group between Polish descent and Puerto Rican descent. I am not familiar with the performers of this new film, but stars of previous work were Natalie Wood and Richard Baker. However, things which left an impression on me were personality, song and dance performed by the supporting actor George Chakiris (leader of Puerto Rican group). I knew the outline and ending, but sweet scenery of Manhattan and various memories were recalled, and I enjoyed 2 hours 40 minutes running time of the movie without losing interest.

My first visit to the United States was in September 1971 when I was 28 years old. At that time, I was dispatched to Institute for International Studies and Training (located in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture) from Ube Industries, Ltd. as a trainee, and had lived under the same roof with 120 members coming from various types of industry and companies. And our graduation trip was an inspection tour in the United States. After that I visited the United States on business several times, and my long-cherished dream had come true and in June 1978 I was sent on loan to the subsidiary in New York. And I worked in New York for 5 years and 4 months until September 1983. After that, I joined Konoike Transport Co., Ltd. and opened an office in Los Angeles as a part of international logistics business in 1985. And in August 1988, I decided the development of cold storage business in Los Angeles and started the business in the United States in earnest.

When I saw reprinted edition of ‘West Side Story’, I felt nostalgia for life and business in the United States once again, and I would like to describe my experience and learning in the United States according to my memories serially from now. Of course, both life and business environment have changed significantly between the days I spent and present. Therefore, there is a smack of ‘anachronism’, but I think there are the basics and unchanged things.

Looking back over ‘why I have an interest in the United States’ anyway, what comes to my mind is that there was ‘graphic magazine’ in the United States named ‘LIFE’ near me since I was an elementary school student, because my father worked at a trading company. In order to write this Blog, I searched for by internet, and it seems that the said magazine was founded as a weekly magazine in New York in November 1936 and was discontinued in May 2000. As it was called as ‘photo essay’, it was filled mostly with photographs, and I remember that it was a magazine in which children like me had an interest.

In addition, when I departed from ‘New Tokyo International Airport’ (currently ‘Narita International Airport’) as an employee assigned to the New York office was on June 1, 1978. The said airport opened on May 20, 1978, 11 days before my departure. Originally, the opening date was March 20, 1978, but 4 days before the opening date radical guerillas rushed into the airport and destroyed equipment at the control tower and thus the opening was delayed two months.

Under such noisy times, entering into the airport is limited only to the departing person. Furthermore, from the entrance to the terminal of the airport my belongings were checked three times amid strict guard by the riot police. In those days, in case of overseas posting different from now, there is a custom that many people concerned in the company and friends gathered and gave transferee a good send-off by ‘giving three cheers’ for transferee. I lead a cheer many times, but in my case, it was a lonely alone departure. However, I was filled with the feeling ‘Alright, Let’s do it’.
And two months later, my wife together with my three-year-old daughter and two-year-old son arrived in New York, and my work and life in New York started in earnest.

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