On May 21, a surprise party was held to celebrate 77th birthday of Mr. Nobiyoshi Wakamatsu, beloved "superman" who still energetically works for Kyokuyo as technical adviser. The 77th birthday, or "Kiju", is a Japanese rite of passage which should be specially cerebrated.
Since joining Kyokuyo in 1971 from Hashihama Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. where he was director of its Oshima works, the engineer served as the company's plant director for long time. Having reached the mandatory retirement age in 1998, Mr. Wakamatsu, while supporting our ship repair division as adviser, conducts weekly study sessions for young colleagues.
The sessions, called "Wakamatsu-juku (i.e. Wakamatsu private school)" are held every Friday, from 17:00 hours. About 10 young mechanics gather together to inherit a wealth of expertises and experience ex-plant director gained during his nearly 60 years in shipbuilding industry. This way, skills and knowledge are transferred through generations. We hope a new "superman" will emerge from those young learners !
What made him so popular in our company and our industry, however, is his magnetic character. In order to warm his heart in return for his ever-warming smile, we decided to throw a surprise party. It turned out to be a big party, with no less than 85 people - shipowners, superintendents, mechanics, engineers, subcontractors, employees, ex-employees, young, old, male and female - in attendance.
The big secret of the big party seemed to be well kept, since, when arrived at party venue, Mr. Wakamatsu needed about 5 minutes to understand what was happening around him. The party started with president's speech, followed by a series of fun things and touching scenes, like hilarious slide show, bouquet presentation ceremony and DVD video letter from his young disciples. At the end, all the attendance chanted "I love Mr. Wakamatsu!" in unison !
It was impressive that the only guest, not good at speaking, had his charming smile on his face throughout the party where met Kyokuyo's past, present and future. I think I am not alone who saw his unspoken encouragement to all of us in his eyes ! [2010/06/14]
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