The 'Tradition' Continues!


| September/October 1996



Potato Festival

Only two foreigners for the '94 festival.

1-724 Otaka, Tako-Machi, Katori-Gun, Chiba-Ken, Japan 289-23

Perhaps you may remember having read in GEM'S August '94 edition, the article titled 'The Beginning of a Tradition in Kurimoto, Chiba, Japan'. The story told of a single foreigner (this writer, an American) who, in 1993, took several old engines to a local sweet potato festival which is held every year in November. That saga is continued here.

In 1994 there was a 100% increase in participation: Chris Madeley (from England and a frequent contributor to engine magazines throughout the world) joined me with one of his Japanese restorations. Since he has lived in Japan a number of years and speaks the language fluently, there was considerable dialog with the local gentry. And again, there was an extraordinary interest in our display, particularly by the older farmers.

At this point in time, the only thing lacking was participation by local engine enthusiasts.

In 1995 that changed. Somehow, word had gotten out that the foreigner could revitalize the zap in tired magnetos and coax those old engines into song again. On several occasions, a complete stranger would show up at my place and want to know if I would help him get his engine running and how much would I charge to do so. The answer to the first question was a standard, 'Let's take a look.' The answer to the second was, 'I won't charge you anything, but you must help me locate and purchase an old engine or two.' The proposition was always eagerly accepted and I had found a way around my own language deficit. I now have between 30 and 40 engines.

These exchanges, plus Madeley's acquaintance with other Japanese collectors throughout Japan, brought about an explosive increase in participation during the '95 Imo Matsury.