Many of my books have been translated into Japanese, and I have participated in several television documentaries there. Years ago I met Yumiko Taniguchi, a well-known translator of American books into Japanese. She suggested that I do three books for Kyruyudo Publishing Company in Tokyo. She planned and designed LAURA INGALLS WILDER COUNTRY, THE WORLD OF LOUISA MAY ALCOTT, and THE WORLD OF THE TRAPP FAMILY. My job was to collect historical photos for these books, research and write the texts. Photographers David Wade and Les Kelly took the amazing contemporary photos which appear in the books.
It was Yumiko who arranged my speaking tour of Japan—six cities. She was my translator on the stage. What a leisurely way to give a speech: rattle off a few sentences, have them translated, and start again. Much planning time right on the stage.
Highlights: a day of touring Hiroshima, significant to me as a teacher of American History…the majestic Kyoto…bullet trains…a German restaurant in Tokyo…meeting Adachi-san, my Japanese publisher…staying in a traditional Japanese hotel/spa…and getting to know so many friendly people.
I Become a Tour Director
After the Japanese tour, Yumiko asked me if I would arrange for a tour of Laura Ingalls Wilder sites for a group of Japanese readers and admirers of “Little House.” It sounded fun. Parts were, others were a bit complicated.
My job was to arrange logistics for a group of fifteen traveling through Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri. Where to eat, sleep, tour, and fly in-and-out, were my jobs. As well as explain the sites we were seeing.
Everything was like clockwork. We toured Walnut Grove, Minnesota, Brookings and De Smet, South Dakota. The Japanese were so impressed by the open spaces of the prairies. And then we flew to Springfield, Missouri, to visit the Wilder home on Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield. When the tour completed, the Japanese left the hotel at 4 a.m., headed for San Francisco. One of the travelers told me: “Now we have seen the sky the Wilders knew, the air they felt, and the land they were close to.”