OSAKA EXPO 1970 – submitted by Donna Russell, Class of ’71
OSAKA EXPO 1970 My memories are vivid of this tour and I still have my travel diary. I’ll try not to write a book, so I’ll highlight some of the memories… Over 200 teens and their chaperones from five Calgary area high schools being stranded FIVE HOURS at the old McCall Airport from 11:30 p.m. July 13th to around 4:30 a.m. July 14th. Our Trans International flight had been diverted to Chicago to pick up stranded passengers. All services shut down for the night in the airport and the only services open were the washrooms! Someone in our travel group had a guitar and so, for the duration of the lengthy wait, we were entertained with a continual repetition of ‘Four Strong Winds’. To this day, I HATE the song! Our stay at the Hotel Sakaguchi; dormlike rooms with bunk beds all in a row and the tiniest little bathrooms! A hotel extra – kimono housecoats, many of which went home as souvenirs. Steve Altilio’s clever stunt using two bunk bed ladders as stilts providing entertainment with his ‘demo’ in the hotel hallway. Being requested for our photos and even AUTOGRAPHS on the Expo grounds…and being photographed everywhere else we went! We felt like movie stars! My friend Colleen garnered plenty of attention everywhere she went…the Japanese were totally fascinated with her long red hair! Strange looking box lunches served to us on the Bullet Train…a real adventure in gourmet Japanese style! Our interesting stay at the (former) Olympic Dorms in Tokyo 5:00 a.m. risings (mandatory participation) to observe daily ‘reveille’ in the courtyard. Our morning routines consisted of performing strange physical exercises and then standing at attention for the raising of The Japanese Flag and The Japanese Anthem. One terrifying early morning rousing at 2:00 a.m. – someone setting off firecrackers outside our dormitory and the bedlam that ensued. It was like a shock to the system – no one knew what was going on and I certainly will not forget the experience! We never did find out who was responsible. The ‘highlight’ of my tour – being escorted on a tour of Tokyo by two pen pal friends, Hiroko and Hiromi, along with my two friends Colleen and Karen. We were taken to a concert hall where a top Japanese band was performing. Their band name was The Youngers. Partway through their performance, the spotlight suddenly was turned on our group of 5 and the audience started clapping! We were asked to introduce ourselves to the audience and the band leader asked us several questions in Japanese which our escorts had to interpret. I’ll never forget that moment! Following the performance, we dined on pizza six storeys above the famous Ginza shopping district, watching the lights turn on as dark descended. Then it was a wild taxi ride back to our dorms. …and some of our tour participants who made our Osaka ’70 tour memorable… Larry Albrecht Steve Altilio Barb Boyes Jacqueline Hofman Trudy Irving Kathy Macharinko Doreen McDowell Jackie Rubleski Laurie Smith Gerri & Judy Ward Sharon & Marlene Watts Barb Wright Mrs. (Thelma) Goddard Mr. (John) Watson Our Trans International flight arrived home on July 29th, 1970 Flying into Calgary from the north, we hit high air turbulence causing the plane to bounce around then it would drop when it hit an air pocket…the worst air turbulence I have ever experienced! One of the passengers starting ‘yahooing’ and soon we all joined in ‘yeehawing and yahooing’ WELCOME home to CALGARY!