Saturday, May 7, 2011

EXPO 70: Progress and Harmony for All Mankind

While most soldiers were heading to Australia for – essentially – sex, I was headed to Osaka, Japan to – essentially, enjoy the country and see the World’s Fair there.
Next day, I was on the bullet train heading for Osaka, Japan. It was a three hour train ride covering 450 miles. Back in those days, that was one hell of a fast train. Once I arrived at Osaka, I headed over to the Plaza International Hotel and booked my room for the next 5 days.
The World’s Fair wasn’t in or near the main parts of Osaka. Instead, it was in a town called New Sentri. To get there, you had to catch a train from the main train station and ride it for several miles before actually arriving at the World’s Fair area.
There was a huge amount of things to see and very visually pleasing attractions for everyone. Designs and expressions in architecture were unusual to say the least. 
As you waked into Fair, the first thing you noticed was the tall Japanese sculpture standing high in front of the entrance walkway.
It looked like a modern day handle for a hair dryer.  Round and wide at the bottom, narrower and bent forward at the top.  It was white with red stripes, and from this neck like top was a gold sculpture of the sun god.  The theme of the fair was “Progress and Harmony for All Mankind.”
I wasn’t quite sure if that theme actually meant anything to anyone considering where I just came from.
The most interesting sites to see were:
The US Pavilion which was designed to look like a Hawaii volcano. It had an air supported roof. So, you had to go in and out of the building through locks.   For the most part, the USA pavilion was a physical walk through Life Magazine.
The Canadian Pavilion which included a Canadian Mounty on his horse outside the Pavilion. Inside, there was Interesting art displays a very large bear who would occasionally come alive and scare everyone – including me. Dioramas showed how life in Canada was at that time.  There was also a movie covering the history of the country.
The Swiss Pavilion was actually a large glass and light structure which was pretty but made no sense.
I will never forget when a Japanese young man yelled out, “Ken tuckie fri ded ch ken.”
The walkways were roomy the place was very open and there was plenty for me to see and do for days on end.
The most significant moment was when I became friends with an employee from the Canadian Pavilion and he invited me to stay at his apartment the next time I would come to the Fair. That coupled with the fact that I wanted to see the 5th Dimension at the concert hall at the fair was enough for me to return to the Expo in September.
I left Osaka late on April 31st.  Got up to Tokyo before midnight, caught the train to my final destination and the trains stopped running. 
So I called the Navy MPs, told them my situation. They picked me up and called the Army MPs.  The Army MPs picked me up around 4:30 and proceeded to get lost.

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