[Top: where EyeDoc's childhood home was located; and below: directly across the street was Mr H's house]
This is a story of dispersed Danshui-ren coming home to "尋根".
In the blog entry dated 9/26/2010, Mr H observed:
And on 9/28, internet friends Mr H (accompanied by his daughter), EyeDoc and Mr Kure"Go" finally met up in Danshui. All were born in this lovely town, not long before the end of the war, in the early 1940s; fate, however, has led each of them down unusually different paths. And today is the day for all to come back to the point of their origin.
As indicated in the pictures, Mr H was born in 1940 in the house directly across the street from EyeDoc's. His grandmother had been the manager of 公會堂 since the 1920s. And his father had taught at Danshui and 三芝San-zi elementary schools. In 1946, they were all repatriated back to Hiroshima.
Mr Kure's great grandfather was the mayor before the war and his grandfather (mother side) the principal of Danshui elementary school for many years after the war. His family had moved to Nakasaki immediately after the war when he was only 2-3 months old. He, as EyeDoc, still has relatives and family friends living in Danshui. Some came to help locate old sites - many stores on the now Chung Cheng Road were owned/operated by Japanese immigrants.
The office of the Mayor of Danshui has officially welcome them back home, followed by a reception at the 115-year-old Danshui Elementary School hosted by Principal Lin and two other past principals, one of them 80 years young. Everyone at this get-together is tied, in more ways than one, to the school. This is true not only for Mr H and Mr Kure, EyeDoc has attended this school and his second uncle was the principal at one time. The school was re-introduced by Principal Lin and, in return, graduation photos of the classes which Mr H's father had taught are shown. And a local TV station came to record this event.
After a sumptuous lunch hosted by Principal Lin, the 尋根 group moves on to 三芝 ES. And in the 4-month-old museum established to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of this school, the names of Mr H's father and Mr Kure's grandfather are found among the teachers' roster. Amazingly, history has come alive!! Despite whatever happened in the past during the Japanese colonial rule, ordinary Japanese immigrants did share part of the Danshui history. We see no reason why it should be denied.
All parties must come to an end. They have come specifically - Mr H and his daughter from Hiroshima and Mr Kure from Yokohama - for the Danshui meet-up and tomorrow, they will all return to Japan.
The true hometown? Why, Danshui of course!!