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|• December 5, 2002
I gave a talk titled "When the stars shine" at a public lecture organized by University for Senior Citizens, Sagawa Town. I talked about the stars and my life. To my pleasant surprise, I found among the participants a student of mine whom I taught guitar at a hospital when I gave guitar lessons there 40 years ago. The fond memories of those days returned to me. I think it was a little before I discovered 1961f. And several years later I discovered Comet Ikeya-Seki, when I was coaching the music club at Sakawa High School. After the talk, I went to visit the birthplace of Mr. Masamitsu Yamasaki, a discoverer of Comet Crommelin, who had been one of the topics of our discussion today. His descendants had moved outside the prefecture and the house was vacant. In his later years Mr. Yamasaki had searched for comets in the field in front of his home.
Mr. Yamasaki was born at this two-story house at center.
|Then, I went to see Yamasaki Memorial Observatory at Mt.Kokuzo, 10 kilometers
to the south. The Observatory is located at an elevation of 700 meters
and equipped with a 25cm reflector. It looked deserted, perhaps because
it was daytime. The Observatory used to attract 1000 visitors every night
when Halley's Comet was visible in the sky. Now there would be few visitors
even at night. Leaves, turned red and yellow at the arrival of autumn,
were beautiful but with a tinge of sadness. "The country lying in
ruins after many wars, yet the mountains and rivers left untouched"
(A verse written by Tu Fu, an 18th Century Chinese poet) . This crossed
my mind without any particular reason. I climbed this Mt.Kokuzo when I
was 20 years old with a friend of mine. The amusement park has been expanded
since, leaving nothing that reminded us of old days. The blue expanse of
the Pacific Ocean we had looked over from under a pine tree at the hilltop
was seen through haze and looked distant.
Alas, these 50 years were no more than a fraction of a moment.
I reached the Observatory at last following
rather confusing pathways.
The building was dilapidated and only the dome
was shining reflecting the glory of the past
Copyright (C) 2002 Tsutomu Seki.