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.