"Being different" is a key to his success, John Delp believes. When he founded his travel business, he made a significant policy decision "to concentrate on serving the foreign community." A third factor lay in his applying the company motto, "the executive touch," to the comfort and well-being of his staff as well as his clients. For nearly 27 years, he has attended to every detail needed by his own company to provide "exotic travel destinations" in Asia and the Pacific. Mutsuko Miki, widow of the late Prime Minister Takeo Miki, believes that John's business has thrived "due to his patience and independent spirit."

John was born in Connecticut in 1943. In his book "East is West" he wrote, "I was a farm boy who rode a horse to school, helped harness the horse to the one-horse open sleigh, and was taught to use the crank phone with 12 homes on the party line." He remembers getting up before 5 a.m. to milk the cows -- "winter mornings were 20 degrees below zero" -- and having no indoor plumbing. Whilst he was a student at the University of Puget Sound, he worked part time in a travel agency. "That gave me my initial experience in the travel field," he said. At university he was a classmate of Kiseko, Miki's daughter.

John came to Japan in 1963 on a Rotary Club exchange program to study at Kita Kyushu University. He was met at the old international airport of Haneda by Kiseko and her brother, who took him home with them for his first night in Japan.