MAY 25, 1953
TOKYO—Here we are in Tokyo and I can hardly realize that I left New York City at midnight only 36 hours ago. The trip by Clipper from Los Angeles was most comfortable. In Honolulu though we arrived at 9:30 p.m. we were met by many kind people who hung leis around our necks until I could wear no more and had to beg to be allowed to carry them in my arm! We were driven to the delightful hotel on Waikiki beach where I had a bath and actually lay down for 15 minutes and then back to the plane and on our way.
Constantly setting your watch back does do queer things to you and 6 a.m. on Wake Island this morning was really 10 p.m. in New York.
It was a beautiful day and after breakfast the young engineer who is rebuilding the whole installation after the bad typhoon of last autumn drove us around to show us what war had done and what nature in the shape of the typhoon had done. We saw a delightful inner lagoon, which the reef keeps free of sharks where the 500 employees who live on the Island go swimming. There is no school but a few children of school age are taught by Calvert correspondence courses and the little children seem to thrive untaught.
When we looked at the shelter where 180 people stayed alive through the typhoon, we realized what they had been through and it was hard to believe that the station wagon we were driving around in had lived through the same storm, even though it had been blown over a number of times and been filled with water because the water came right up over the Island.
Now there will be buildings which should withstand a 180 mile wind.
The Japanese certainly fortified the Island well. There are still guns to be seen sticking out of the sand in various places.
At 12:30 we landed in Tokyo, coming in over the islands and circling the city. From the airport it is a long drive through drab streets, poor houses, poor shops. The type of approach you find in so many of our own cities in the US. Nowhere in the world do we seem to plan an attractive drive in from our airports.
Finally we reached downtown Tokyo and our hotel. A charming sitting room with a little balcony with green trees to shade us made me hope it may be possible to have breakfast on the balcony in the mornings.
I have already been over my schedule for the next few days with Dr. Takagi and Mr. Matsumoto. I also had the pleasure of seeing Mme. Saito and Mr. Asano.
On the plane I had a chance to talk with a very charming Japanese lady, Marchioness Hackisuka, who was returning from the U.S. where her daughter is in school and as I walked into the hotel the first person I saw was Miss Marian Anderson who has been touring Japan and they tell me she has had great success. She sings here tonight and we are going to hear her which for me is a great pleasure.
Two hours after my arrival I held a press conference and I should record that I never in the U.S. saw as many photographers as greeted the plane on our arrival here. I am told Mr. Stevenson said "This was a photographic dictatorship" and I think it probably is true, judging by their numbers!