"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blessed in unexpected ways: The 3 Ms (Part 3)

Niichi (Nick) Mikami's journals.
      Maybe the most bittersweet blessing of all was the discovery of our first mate Nick Mikami's journals. Just as I had, he kept a record of our four years aboard the Phoenix. He had taken pictures and had pictures taken of him and had recorded information meticulously (some in English) on the back of and below each one in multiple albums. He had included clippings written about himself and the other members of the crew. (More photos of these books at Reception after unveiling ceremony.)
     At the reception, when I was so busy greeting other people and answering questions Jerry had to bring me food or I would have had none, a man introduced himself as the grandson of someone Nick had known and spread all these albums out on a table. It took me awhile to realize their significance. Nick was an only child. He passed away soon after returning to Japan and his parents are long gone, too.
Toshinobu Omiya, who found the journals.
     Here were the works of Nick's hands, his memories, his thoughts, recorded to pass to posterity--and he had no posterity. I wanted to tell Mum--but she was gone. Skipper--gone. The man who had inherited them by default was a friend of the Mikami family who had discovered them only the day before!
     It brings tears to my eyes even now. This was a man's life. This man had used the clumsy canvas and thread and sewing machine with which he stitched sails together to make a carrying case for my own journal, for my birthday, knowing how much a part of me my journal was. (See PHOENIX: Childhood artifacts--Journal-carrying case). And here were his journals, spread out to be read, absorbed, enjoyed, pondered--with no time for anyone present to do more than leaf through a few pages and point at a picture here and there.

A man's life. . .
     The first Japanese man to sail around the world--in a wooden boat in the middle of the 20th century. They belong in a museum.


  1. I can't even imagine how you felt when you saw these....

  2. It must have been nice going through all those albums.