Scuba, shipping and 'Tachi' base memories

Scuba source

In reply to the inquiry about scuba diving (Lifelines, Oct. 6), Matt writes on behalf of Mar Scuba, the oldest foreigner-run dive operation in Tokyo ( ).

“Mar Scuba serves the foreign community by providing education and instruction in English, PADI scuba diving courses from beginner Open Water to Instructor level, local dive tours to Izu and overseas, as well as sales and rental of scuba diving equipment in Western sizes, which is what reader Tim was searching for.” (A.J.)

Shipping news

In response to the reader returning home who was seeking recommendations for shipping belongings, M.R. offers what he knows will be redundant advice for her, but may help others in the future.

“My wife and I moved our entire life back to Australia from Japan about seven years ago. We packed it all ourselves and hired one of the contractors who advertise in English-language media.”

Everything at this end went OK, apparently, and they thought the fee reasonable for what turned out to be quite a lot: a quarter container load.

One thing M.R. and his wife were not told about at the time of the quote were the additional port charges they found they had to pay in Sydney.

“These were substantial, around $1,000 as I recall, and this was even though we picked the stuff up as soon as it arrived (no storage charges, just customs/quarantine clearance).” So beware, he warns. (A.J.)

Lifelines to ‘Tachi’ Mike Skidmore of Broken Arrow, Okla., whose Web site concerning the old Tachikawa Air Base was mentioned in the search for an old friend (Lifelines lead back to World War II, Sept. 22), has posted our entire article in the hope it helps find the person the reader was looking for.

“My father, Charles E. Skidmore Jr., was stationed at Tachi with the air force from 1958 to 1962 as editor of the Tachikawa AB newspaper, and again as a civil service employee from April 1967 to Dec. 1969 as the base historian for the 6100th Support Wing HQ.”

Mike started the Tachikawa Air Base site in December 2002, and now has 970 people listed, including military and civil service employees that worked at Tachi, and their dependents.

He has collected over 5,000 photos of Tachikawa Air Base taken between 1945 and 1977, when it was closed down, and has posted many videos on You Tube.

“I have had over 10,000 messages posted at my site in six years, and there is one common thread: Being stationed or growing up at Tachikawa was the best of times, for sure.”

Mike is a graduate of Yamato High School — Home of the Warriors, Class of 1969.

“In October we had a Yamato High all-school reunion in Las Vegas for anyone that graduated or attended Yamato H.S. during the years of 1960 to 1973, when the school was closed down, and the next years’ students who were transferred to Yokota High School at Yokota Air Base.

“A lot of the Tachi group members would love to find a way to contact their old friends. Maybe some day there will be a Web site for former employees with the cooperation of the City of Tachikawa, so we might connect with old friends.” (A.J.)

Calling an old flame

Bob Friedland, a barrister and solicitor based in Richmond, British Columbia, writes on behalf of his father, David H. Friedland, who was a sergeant in the U.S. Army in Tokyo from 1945 to 1946.

“My father was involved with a wonderful Japanese woman whose name was either Chiriko or Chiyoko. She had a son whom he supported into the 1950s, at least.”

Bob wonders if it is possible to locate Chiriko/Chiyoko or her son. He knows the chance is slim, but . . . (A.J.)

Wartime documents

John Coyle has recently come across some Japanese documents that must have been written close to the end of the war.

“They are from a retired driver that I worked with. He tells me he received these documents from his brother-in-law following his death from a training exercise after the war.”

John just had one of them finally translated. The writer’s name is Tatsushi Nakayama, and he was an ensign in the Japanese navy.

“I am hoping he is still alive and would like a copy of his letter back.”

John has other letters that he will have translated soon, but he’s not sure if they are relevant to Nakayama-san.

“I have scans that I can e-mail to anyone interested,” he adds. (A.J.)

Angela Jeffs is a freelance writer and writing guide ( Ken Joseph directs the Japan Helpline at and (03) 000-911. Send queries, problems and posers to

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