‚VDDetour

Tonda, Steel Casting Division Manager, has a slim and tall body but is not weak.
Now if he were regarded as Don Quixote, holding a spear against a huge windmill, the blocking gate before HSA planning to open in May would be the closed gate for him absolutely never opened even crying "Open sesame!" many times.
He naturally did not have any power to capture the gate and there could have been no persuasive possibility with tears. But Tonda knew inside that his division could hardly continue business any further unless he forced to open the sturdy gate blocking "the dispatch of a resident representative."

Dim light of hope was the presence of Udono, Representative and Executive Director with influential power.
Let's make a detour a little bit.
-----

All businesses other than steel rollings were within the duty of Udono, rumored to be the next president of Hayatama Steel.
He had belonged to Kiho Steel until it was merged into Hayatama Steel. During the time, Tonda was his staff. Based on this background, Tonda admits to be his right-hand man.
Besides, Udono was said to be equally interested in the lesser divisions like Steel Casting Division. It was unique among the executives.

Tonda seemed to think a plan himself.
After obtaining approval from the two major trading companies, Tanabe Trading and Ichie Trading, he suggested an inspection tour around the United States to Udono, saying "Isn't it good for you to make sure the latest situation there by your own eyes?"

Tonda had a strong impression in the United States and remembered it well, so his suggestion was quite eager.
The president and the other executives backed up Tonda's idea as the inspection of the surrounding circumstances of soon-opening HSA. In the result, Udono felt like to make a trip.

Miwasaki had some slight connection with Udono, now Executive Director, too. Both of them graduated from H University in Kunitachi City, Tokyo.
When Miwasaki entered Hayatama Steel, 3 graduates welcomed him at some Japanese restaurant. Udono was Director at that time. Miwasaki noticed Minabe, Production Process Manager of Hoshizaki Plant then.

When it came to the talk about golf during the dinner, Udono flattered Minabe, saying "I am not poor, but you are a single player." Then looking at Miwasaki, he added "Minabe is a good drinker, too. More than that, he is surely the top ten in mahjong in the company. He is not only such a man, though."
It seemed the two of them had more intimate connection in the work than the graduates.

Ten-odd years had passed since then.
It was in late winter 1980 that the Udono's inspection trip around New York for one week was easily realized by the board's decision. The official purpose was "The inspection of the surrounding circumstances of HSA planning to open in New York City the next May, and the courtesy visit to the close companies there."
His trip included the meeting with the people of Chessie System, the main customer of steel casting frogs in the United States.

It was decided that Inami, Manager of New York Office, would attend him everywhere, and that Miwasaki and Wabuka would attend to the customers related to steel castings.
For that reason, the next business trip of Miwasaki and Wabuka including this job was accepted in a hurry by Division Manager Tonda. Tonda uknew well Miwasaki was the same graduate with Udono.

If the two had accompanied Udono, Executive Director, from Narita Airport, this kind of tragedy would not have happened.
They had arrived in the United States several days ahead of Udono, and after finishing some of their own job, planned to see him at Kennedy Airport, New York. That was based on the collaboration with Inami, Manager of New York Office, by telex and telephone.

The two, Miwasaki and Wabuka, after doing other jobs there around, met Inami the previous day at the office in PanAm building, and made sure that Executive Director Udono would arrive as planned on the following day. Inami seemed busy of detailed work for the opening of the new company.

On Sunday, April 1st, Inami and the two headed for the arrival lobby of Kennedy Airport with enough time for the landing of Udono's plane. Thinking of Udono's entry procedure time, they had planned to stand by nearly 1 hour there until he would appear.
Why? Executive Director Udono was already there in the lounge, waving his hand! Two people of the trading companies stood by him. Both of them were working in New York, according to Inami.
It was impossible for the plane to have arrived 1 hour earlier than planned. Why, why??
Udono looked smiling seemingly with something at heart. The three apologized a lot, not knowing why.

Udono said to them, still smiling.
"Did you know the summer time began from today?"
Yes, terribly! April 1st was the starting day of Daylight Saving Time.

Inami immediately apologized to him, saying: "Sorry, not in my heart by chance."
The two bowed their heads behind Inami, admitting their mistake, too. They commited the same sin with Inami, even if he took all the responsibility. Inami must have been too busy unusually to think of it.
The Executive Director did not talk about it any more since then.

Udono's teaching attitude to Miwasaki was severe during his stay there. He warned Miwasaki about any trivious matters and did not give him a usual smile until leaving from Kennedy Airport.
Wabuka, the partner, afterward, told Miwasaki, "I envy you. You are lovable to him at heart"
Miwasaki noticed it somehow, but did not want to recall that experience for a while.

Thinking of it differently, Udono might have had the will to support the following long-cherished wish of Steel Casting Division in his mind.
He might have observed Miwasaki from the eyes "Whether would he be suitable for the increased personnel in charge of sales of HSA or not?"

It is innevitable to let someone to be stationed at the place near the local customers in order to realize the advance of their steel-casting frogs into North America.
The capable person is no other than Miwasaki.

Back to Udono's trip.
Inami, New York Office Manager, accompanied him all the way to visit trading companies and related organizations. Miwasaki and Wabuka accompanied him only to Tanabe Trading in New York and Purchase Dept. of Chessie System in Baltimore.

It was famous in Hayatama Steel that Udono was good at golf. As a matter of fact, Tanabe Trading was preparing for playing golf at a distinguished cource on the suburbs of New York. Ichigi, Director of Tanabe, and Miwasaki went there with him.
The best score was Udono, as expected. He was really in a good mood because he also got two birdies, the balls of which were kept by Ichigi.

Sequel to the story, Udono died of stomach cancer one and a half years after the trip. Minabe, General Manager of Investigation Dept. and Miwasaki visited him in St. Luke Hospital in Tokyo a couple of days before his death.

Miwasaki visited Udono's house after a while of his funeral.
Two golf balls were put on the family Buddhist alter. Miwasaki noticed what were them at once. He also found the picture on the wall in which Udono was holding a ball on the green.
His wife told him in an intimate look.
"Udono has always talked about that trip. It was his first time to play golf overseas."
-----

Let's detour a little more.

Following Udono's death, Kinokawa, Executive Director, was responsible for the divisions other than Steel Rolling Division. Steel Casting Division was not an exception, and Tonda accepted it in the situation that he was aiming at the promotion to Managing Director.
In the division, needless to say, Tonda was practically the top and was called "Emperor" there inside. Though he had been transferred from Chita Plant of steel rollings, he was the first Director with strong leadership in Steel Casting Division.
Therefore, everybody knew Kinokawa was a puppet of the "Emperor", and it was not every time that he attended the Division's monthly meetings.

However, Kinokawa had been Vice President of Kamikura Steel when the 3 companies, Hayatama Steel, Nanki Special Steel and Kamikura Steel, merged to form the new Hayatama Steel in 1976. It showed he was still an important person on a broad perspective.

Just before the merger, Yuasa Trading brought a large-scale inquiry from Polish National Railway to Hayatama Steel. It was said the order would be decided by an international bid.
The volume of the steel-casting frogs was over 700 tons, when the production capacity of Tsukiji Plant was 250 tons per month. Surely an unprecedented major inquiry.
The shapes of frogs were simple with several kinds, which meant efficient for production.

The steel-casting frogs seemed to be one of the small items for the nation-wide railway constructions both with additions and repairs, and Yuasa Trading did not bid only for the frogs.
The requested delivery dates Hayatama Steel was concerned about were confirmed to be well enough to cope with by its production capacity of Tsukiji Plant.

"We wouldn't be worse off for trying."
The 8 samurais jumped at the inquiry, thinking of,
"If by any chance we could receive the order, it would also include another significant meaning, not only a huge-scale order."
"The name Hayatama Steel would be well known all over the international stages. If the frogs' quality were evaluated well, we would not need to put extra emphasis on self-advertisement."
"Above all, it would shoot a hole through the solid gate tightly blocking against the dispatch of our keyman to HSA."
They finally decided to give it the best try under the command of Emperor Tonda.

They delivered 4 frogs for a sample test at the customer's site. Then they were accepted to join the bid.
They entered the bid in a reasonable price and the suitable delivery dates without interrupting the present production circumstances.

Wouldn't it be like this when everything went well?
Three months after the bid, General Manager Suzushima of Yuasa Trading with a staff visited Division Manager Tonda.
He says, "We received the informal decision from Polish National Railway. Spain was our rival, but the sample test seemed to show our advantage."

Shaking hands with Tonda, and after a while, he added looking a little worried.
"They insist to have the signing of the contract at their head office in Katowice, Poland. Would you please accept it?"
He bowed his head, not at all showing his idea that Tonda could not refuse it.
On the other hand, somehow, Tonda avoided giving an immediate answer, not hiding his joy, saying,
"I understand. I will answer you soon."
Would it be absolutely necessary for the representative of the producer to have to attend the contract ceremony in Poland all the way? The truth was unknown, and Yuasa Trading might have made a story thoughtfully. At least however, this suggestion was above all to Hayatama Steel.

Everybody expected Emperor Tonda would go, and several days passed.
Tonda called Miwasaki to the directors' office and said with a suppressed smile, "Executive Director Kinokawa accepted it. It is nice, because this work belongs to the representative director." He added then, "You are going with him."
Miwasaki imagined this happening would surely bring the post of "Managing Director" to Tonda.

In summer, 1982, the four people made a luxury travel to Poland for 10 days. They were Kinokawa, Miwasaki, Suzushima of Yuasa Trading and his staff.
On the way there, they stopped by at Paris to visit Palace of Versailles and Louvre Museum, and at Vienna to visit Belvedere Palace and to see the operetta "Merry Widow" at Theater an der Wien.

They then got to the head office of Polish National Railway at Katowice, Poland, driving from Warsaw, the capital.
The information from Yuasa Trading was true because the solemn signing ceremony was held there among Polish National Railway, Hayatama Steel and Yuasa Trading.
What happened at the ceremony is vague now in Miwasaki's memory, but the happening after that is clear in his mind.

When Miwasaki came back to the hotel in Katowice staying from the previous day, the front staff handed out something to him, saying "From Mr. ??? of National Railway."
The inside of the package contained several LP records of Chopin's piano music played by the famous Polish pianists, Arthur Rubinstein and Witold Matcuzynski.

They must have received the information of his hobby. Now, what about the presents to them? Everything was done by Yuasa Trading.

-----
The 4 people spent a nice day in the ancient city Krakow with Yuasa's local staff as a guide.
It is the city dated back to the 7th century, and was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1569.
Among the historical sightseeing spots of World Heritage in the city, Wawel Royal Castle, famous for the castle of the former kings of Poland, was their purpose.

Its view from outside had solid and heavy beauty, and going under the gate, they saw Cathedral just on the left and Old Royal Palace before them. Both of them were solemn and graceful.
The inside of Old Royal Palace was a museum, which they were going to look around thoroughly. Getting carried away, Miwasaki and the staff of Yuasa went their separate ways from others, and looked around each of the three floors freely out of their own interests.
When Miwasaki got out to the patio, other people were tired of waiting for him.

-----
One anecdote about Kinokawa's unique personality.

On the way to the destination, the four people stayed one night in Paris, where something sad happened.
The couple of the president of Yuasa France invited them to dinner at a French restaurant of ancient traditions. On the right wall of the narrow steps up to the 2nd floor, they noticed the memorial picture of Showa Emperor and Empress of Japan when they had visited this restaurant.

The president was said a famous sommelier in the field.
He looked at the wine list briefly, but he had already decided his choice. It was the aged one the taste of which lessens by moving place to place.
Nodding with his wife, he called the sommelier of the restaurant to him. He whispered the brand, and the sommelier made all smiles and left.
After a while the sommelier appeared respectfully with a red full bottle, putting the candle fire up to the bottom. Confirming the old label, the president smiled to the sommelier.

The president swayed the glass carefully and tasted the wine slowly, then gave a satisfactory smile to the sommelier and his wife.
The sommelier poured the wine for the people around efficiently.
The lady's comfortable face and the admiring smile of Suzushima.
After toasting the wonderful meeting, each person drank happily.
The lady talked to Executive Director Kinokawa slowly in a graceful smile,
"How do you like it?"
Kinokawa tilted his head a couple of times with his glass in hand, and after a while, answered her in a blank look.
"I tasted the wine in the Air-France plane well, but this is a little bit ....."
The president's disappointed profile for a moment was imprinted on Miwasaki's mind.

-----
When Hayatama Steel finished the delivery of the whole frogs to Polish National Railway in one year, Yuasa Trading won the international bid of parrarel-cross-type steel-casting frogs for Toronto City Streetcar, Canada.
The volume was about 100 tons, and the success of bidding was mostly based on the good evaluation of the quality, thanks to the case of Polish National Railway.

These orders in a row must have been instrumental to shout "Open sesame!" against the strong gate preventing Steel Casting Division from the dispatch of a resident staff to HSA, which was an inevitable concrete measure for their frogs to enter North-American market.
The people involved confirmed a slight light to realize it.
It goes without saying the silent support of the late Executive Director Udono who had been favorable to the project.

These happenings must also have been God's blessing to Tonda, Division Manager. He was promoted to Managing Director among the new executive appointments, following the Udono's death. Executve Director Kinokawa backed him up, as a matter of fact.

Part 7-1 Reading: 13' 13"

Part 7-2 Reading: 16' 03"

< Part 6 Part 8 >
Preface, Main Characters
1. Becomes a Member of Society
2. Work and Private Matter
3. At Penn State
4. Realizes the Limit
5. New World
6. Road to Export
7. Detour
8. Infighting
9. Whereabout of the Tie-up
10. As a Resident Staff
11. Family and Health Condition
12. Falls Down
13. Then
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