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The Story of a Comet Hunter's Life

My 50 years with Comets

Part 30: A planetarium and a submarine 3

     "Could you come to the pier of Kochi port tomorrow morning?" I don't know why, but the voice of Mr. S made me a little nervous. As Mr. S was very good at surprising people, it must be something bizarre, I thought, and headed for Kochi Port as he wanted me to. Then, I found the whole area around the pier crowded with people mixed with news reporters holding cameras and television equipment. More surprising was the presence of the then mayor of the city. That's right! Kochi-born Mr. S will proudly enter the port on his home-built submarine, which was headlined in the Kochi Shinbun Newspapers.
     A long time ago, when airplanes were still uncommon, an American flier Frank Champion stunned people with various acrobatics over Yanagihara. Also, in 1935, one of the woman aviators, rather rare in those days, dived with a parachute from the sky over Asakura parade ground in Kochi and amazed onlookers. The spacious parade ground was filled with a sea of people. Mr. S's performance that day was big enough to bring back the memories of these rare events.
     A stir was heard among the waiting crowed on the pier. At 10 am that day, as if led by M newspaper company's helicopter, a white body of a submarine partly under water appeared and quietly proceeded toward the pier. Mr. S donning the old navy uniform stood on the deck with a flying navy flag and saluted navy-style to the applauding welcome. Mr. S's youthful smiles was no different from the youthful and hopeful smiles he showed when he succeeded in building a planetarium and projecting the stars for the first time.
     Ten years later, I visited Ryoma Museum at Katsurahama. There was that submarine in the corner of the spacious garden like a tourist attraction and appeared as if forgotten. The ocean was seen in the distance. Ryoma's statue on the little hill was overlooking the garden. The color of the infinitely large ocean symbolizing the Ryoma's philosophy and the mindset of Mr. S who attempted to venture into that ocean. The aims for these two people may be different, but I feel the Tosa (Koch) spirit is present in both men. A young couple was looking at the submarine curiously and reading the information panel. How does Mr S's philosophy look to today's young people? The purpose of his submarine is said to be the exploration of the ocean beds and marine rescue. The late Mr. S must be nurturing dreams to venture into the distant places. The crushing waves on the beach sounded like "Well done, Mr. S!" in Ryoma's voice.

Copyright (C) 2019 Tsutomu Seki.