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Bill SHEEHAN in Japan from 22 April to 9 May 2004


22Apr04_122 April 2004: Bill SHEEHAN safely reached Japan and via the Kwansai Airport arrived at the Fukuoka Airport around 22 hrs JST, and met by Masatsugu MINAMI and Tadashi ASADA. They stayed the night at Hakata.

Bill SHEEHAN and Masatsugu MINAMI at the Fukuoka Airport

23Apr04_423 April: After visiting Mangyo-ji and the Kushida Shrine(ß) in Hakata, Bill moved to Nagasaki 25Apr04_1with Masatsugu, and made a 23Apr04_5courtesy call to the Nagasaki City Hall. They were also led to the Nagasaki City Science Museum by the Director KAKIMOTO, after visiting the Siebolt Museum of

Nagasaki (à)which is located at Narutaki where Philipp Franz von SIEBOLT opened a medical school. Reception of Bill SHEEHAN was held in a restaurant near the St Paul Street (named after the St Paul City in Minnesota)

TMatsumoto24 April: On the morning of 24 April, Bill met Tatsujiro MATSUMOTO who detected a glint Phenomenon on 15 August 2003.

The first day of the 2004 OAA Annual Convention was h\eld in the afternoon at the Nagasaki City Science Museum. Bill was commended and awarded an OAA Medal as Hasegawawell as Tom DOBBINS and Don PARKER on their distinguished work on Mars flares in 2001.

Bill and T MATSUMOTO  

OAA President Ichiro HASEGAWA and Bill

The following record three certificates of Commendation (originally in Japanese).


OAA Certificate of Commendation

@@@@@@@presented to

@@@William P Sheehan, Esq

We are pleased to honour your outstanding contribution to the observation of specular reflections on Mars. After studying long discarded observations made in the 1950s, you predicted with Thomas Dobbins that flares would be observable in Edom Promontorium in June 2001, and you Certificate2encouraged observers to monitor that area to test the prediction. Specular reflections were actually observed from the Florida Keys on 7 and 8 June 2001.


We would like now to acknowledge your shedding new light on some buried observations made by the OAA Mars Section members in the 1950s. On the occasion of the OAA Annual Convention, held on 24 April 2004, at Nagasaki, we highly commend you and honour you by presenting the OAA Medal for your distinguished role in the prediction of the Martian flare phenomena.


Dr. Ichiro Hasegawa,

President, the Oriental Astronomical Association, Japan





OAA Certificate of Commendation

@@@@@presented to

@@Thomas A. Dobbins, Esq

We are pleased to honour your outstanding contribution to the observation of specular reflections on Mars. After studying long discarded observations of flares observed in the 1950s, you predicted with William Sheehan that the flares would be observable in Edom Promontorium in June 2001, and you urged observers to monitor that region in order to test the prediction. You organised an expedition team with Don Parker and others, and you actually observed Martian flares on 7 June 2001.


We would like to acknowledge your shedding new light on the almost forgotten observations made by the OAA Mars Section members in the 1950s. On the occasion of the OAA Annual Convention, held on 24 April 2004, at Nagasaki, we highly commend you and honour you by presenting with the OAA Medal for your distinguished role in the prediction and detection of the Martian flare phenomena.

Dr. Ichiro Hasegawa,

President, the Oriental Astronomical Association, Japan



OAA Certificate of Commendation

@@@@presented to

@@Donald C. Parker, Esq

We are pleased to honour your outstanding leadership in the detection of specular reflections at Edom Promontorium on Mars on 7 and 8 June 2001. The flares were predicted by Thomas Dobbins and William Sheehan after they studied observations of flares made in the 1950s, which included observations made by members of the OAA Mars Section.


We would like to acknowledge your wisdom in noticing the prediction and in organising a capable observing team with Thomas Dobbins and others. On the occasion of the OAA Annual Convention, held on 24 April 2004, at Nagasaki, we hereby highly commend you for your detection of the Martian flares, and we award you, as a representative of your team, the OAA Medal.

Dr. Ichiro Hasegawa,

President, the Oriental Astronomical Association, Japan


24Apr04_4Late that afternoon, Bill, Tadashi, Masatsugu together with other OAA Members visited the Kompira-san where the French team led by Joules JANSSEN observed the Venus Transit in 1874. The pyramid monument was soon built after the team returned home. The small stone shrine might have been the same (at least its design) as the one on a photograph taken by Jules JANSSEN.


25 April: On the morning of the second OAA day, Bill gave an invited talk on the Transits of Venus25Apr04_6to the City audience as well as to the OAA Members (interpreted by Ms Michiko DOI).



Sato_MatsumotoAfternoon, Bill, Tadashi and Masatsugu were led to Hoshitori-yama (formerly called Ohira-yama when the US team camped in 1874) by the members of the Nagasaki Astronomical Society. Fortunately everybody could see every quarter from the rooftop of a newer building.


25Apr04_2Toshio SATO, Bill, and N MATSUMOTO




Refractor the US team used (same background)

In the evening, Bill, Tadashi and Masatsugu left Nagasaki, and droved and reached Munakata City where Tadashi and his family live.



26Apr04_326Apr04_226 April: Here are photos taken at Munakata City where Tadashi ASADA lives: One is with Tadashi at his observing site (30cm Meade) and the other is Bill with Koi-nobori (Carp streamers in May).

Bill, Tadashi and Masatsugu crossed the Kanmon channel at 26Apr04_5noon and 26Apr04_Koinoboriarrived at the Saji Astro-Park at the Tottori prefecture in the evening, but unfortunately 26Apr04_4the sky was totally cloudy.


Here Bill posed at a 103 cm telescope of the Saji Observatory (at Tottori Prefecture)



As to the Koi-nobori, P LOWELL wrote as follows in gNotoh Chap II. Off and On: On all sides

superb paper carp floated to the breeze, tugging at the strings that held them to the pole quite

after the manner of the real fish. One felt as though, by accident, he had stepped into some

mammoth globe of goldfish. The whole sky was alive with them. Eighty square miles of finny

folk inside the city, and an untold company without. The counterfeit presentments were from

five to ten feet long, and painted to mimic life. The breeze entered at the mouth and passed

out somewhat less freely at the tail, thus keeping them well bellied and constantly in motion.

The way they rose and dove and turned and wriggled was worthy of free will. Indeed, they

had every look of spontaneity, and lacked only the thing itself to turn the sky into an ocean,

and Tokyo into a sea bottom with a rockery of roof. Each fish commemorates the birth of a boy

during the year. It would thus be possible to take a census of the increase of the male

population yearly, at the trifling cost of scaling a housetop,---- a set of statistics not without

an eventual value.



27Aug04_127Apr04_127 April: Bill, Tadashi, and Masatsugu drove up and finally reached Mikuni where Masatsugu lives, and met Takeshi NAKAJIMA. Bill cannot sit in a Japanese way as Tadashi, but well tastes the powdered tea.                              At Mikuni




28 April: Bill, Tadashi, and Masatsugu started from Mikuni, and went to the ruined area of the Toyama castle where from we traced the route of LOWELL via Kamidaki up to Tateyama. On the way we dropped in the Tateyama Museum where Mitsuru FUKUÉ showed us an explicit evidence that the inn where LOWELL stayed a night on the way back from Ryuzanshita was the Hosen-bo at Ashikura, and the gGenial Inkyoh (Chap XVIII) was no other person than Sanai SAHEKI (or Taion SAHEKI). We are also shown a portrait of the Inkyo. Here shows FUKUÉ and Bill discussing the inn book of the Hosen-bo recorded on 13 May 1889 on the 28Apr04_3occasion.



We then detoured to the Hida Observatory, Kyoto University located at the summit of a 1,336 metre-high mountain. Here shows Bill and the big dome as well as the 65 cm Zeiss refractor of the Hida Observatory. The sky became clear but with bad images and it became cold. Bill, Tadashi and Masatsugu stayed the night at a rural lodging house.


29Apr04_129 April: Here is shown Tadashi and Bill with our caravan car in front of the lodging house near the Hida Observatory when we set out the 29 Apr schedule. After touching at Takayama 29Apr04_2(where we saw a jinrikisha), we detoured to see Mt Ontaké (magnificent as shown hereß), and finally reached Shiwojiri to see the ruin of the Waki-honjin where LOWELL lodged on the way back 29Apr04_5from Noto. From the Waki-honjin we traced the Lowell route via Shiwojiri Pass to Shimo-no-Suwa, and further down along the Tenriugawa river.

Shiwojiri Waki-Honjin

On the top of the Shiwojiri Toge we met Shigemi OKUMURA. Four 29Apr04_6then visited the Kikyoya at Shimo-no-Suwa (where MINAMI met again Mdm MOROZUMI), and then went along the Ina Valley down to Iijima tracing the Lowell route. At Iijima, it became dusky. 29Apr04_8Here shows Bill at Iijima, our hoped-for goal.

We dined at a tempura restaurant where OKUMURA showed us an evidence that LOWELL and AGASSIZ went down thru the Tenriugawa river in 1891 (LOWELL second time) on the occasion they tried to climb the Ontaké.

Bill, Tadashi and Masatsugu stayed the night at the same hotel at Ina that we had previously held the Meeting of the CMO Mars Observers in 2002.


As to Ontaké, LOWELL wrote as follows (in gOccult Japanh): In the heart of Japan, withdrawn alike by distance and by height from commonplaces of the every-day world, rises a mountain known as Ontaké or the Honorable Peak. It is a fine volcanic mass, sundered by deep valley-clefts from the great Hida-Shinshiu range, amidst which it stands dignifiedly aloof. c..


30 April: Bill, Tadashi and Masatsugu started from Ina, and dropped at the Matsumoto Castle whose photo was found in LOWELLfs collection. Then they visited the Zenkoji Temple at MatsumotoCastle30April04_2Nagano.








LOWELL focused on the pigeons that were maybe ancestors of

the pigeons Bill saw in front of the Zenkoji-Temple


30April04_3From Muré to Takada, while Tadashi drove alone, Bill and Masatsugu took a local train just like Percival LOWELL from whose window they saw three mountains including the volcanic Myoko as described by LOWELL. At Takada, they saw an old arcade system once described by LOWELL interestingly in a different place (Itoigawa) that was well preserved here. After passing thru Naoyetsu, Noh and Itoigawa, Bill, Tadashi and Masatsugu reached Oyashiradzu-Koshiradzu in the evening.


As to Myoko, LOWELL wrote as follows (in gNotoh): Three mountains flanked the farther side in file, the last and highest of the three, Myokosan, an extinct volcano; indeed, hardly more than the ruins of one. Time has so changed its shape, and the snow whitens its head so reverently, it would be possible to pass it by without a suspicion of its wild youth. From the plateau it rose proudly in one long sweep from moor to shoulder, from shoulder to crag, from crag to snow, up into the leaden sky, high into its second mile of air. Subtly the curve carried fancy with it, and I found myself in mind slowly picking my way upward, threading an arete here and scaling a slope there, with all the feelings of a genuine climb. While I was still ascending in this insubstantial manner, clouds fell upon the summit from the sky, and from the summit tumbled down the ravines into the valley, and met me at Naoyetsu in a drizzling rain.



01 May: At Oyashiradzu, Bill stood in the morning in front of the rock-wall on which the huge four Chinese characters gTo no gotoku, ya no gotoshih were engraved just six years before LOWELL saw in 1889 (à).

Bill, Tadashi and Masatsugu then went down to the Etchiu plain, and visited the place where LOWELL lodged at 01May04_2Mikkaichi. Passing by Toyama City thru the high-way, they then arrived at Himi from which they started finally to enter into Noto! Bill thus reached the 01may04_4Arayama Pass. He also investigated some stones which must have been related with one of the two teahouses at the time of LOWELL. This is based on a recent suggestion of Kanehiro OSA (OSA will talk about his theory in the Lowell Conference).

01May04_1They then took a rest at Wakura, and finally reached Anamidzu after a long caravan. At the Conference Hall (Kanazawa Institute of Technology) of Anamidzu, some CMO members gathered and met Bill (from left to right, ASADA, AKUTSU, Bill, MURAKAMI, MORITA, NAKAJIMA and NISHITA in the Conference House, KIT; photo by MINAMI).


02 May: Bill strolled around the Conference House in the morning, and after noon he was on the sea going on a 02May04_1cruising boat; He thus experienced, with other participants, the sea-route of LOWELL in the Anamidzu bay.


From 16:00, the Lowell Conference started. After the Evening Party, Bill gave a lecture on LOWELL and Mars by the use of the Power Point. Otherwise, MURAKAMI, NAKAJIMA, OBI, and SATO gave talks on the day.


03 May: The Second Day of the Lowell Conference: Under the chairmanship of ASADA, Bill talked about BARNARD 03May04_3and LOWELL; the former drawings remind him of gHira-ganah 03May04_2written in a cursive way, and the latter of gKata-kanah written in a linear way. MINAMI also talked twice the day about LOWELLfs Mars, the first (morning) being related with general metaphysics, and the second (afternoon) for the 1894 Mars of LOWELL.

Bill talked with T NAKAJIMA in the dining room


04May04_504 May: The Third Day of the Lowell Conference: After the talk by OSA on the new 04May04_6interpretation of the Arayama Pass, we moved to another place to participate in the Lowell Festival of the Anamidzu Town, where Bill listened to a song in praise of LOWELL, and he answered questions put by the audience.

T Nakajima took a chair

Song in praise of LOWELL

Bill gave talks twice at the Conference House in the afternoon and in the evening. The evening meeting was the first part of the 12th Meeting of the CMO Planetary Observers.

Tadashi ASADA left Anamidzu to drive since he was bound to teach from the next Thursday (6 May) at the Kyushu International University.


05 May: At noon, the Mars/Lowell Conference (and the Second Day of the 12th Meeting of the CMO Planetary 05May04_4Observers) was closed. Bill said good-bye to CMO members, AKUTSU, MURAKAMI and NARITA at the JR Wakura-Onsen Station, and then Bill with MINAMI, NAKAJIMA and NISHITA went to follow LOWELLfs Noto Highway via Amada Togé down to Ima-Isurugi (guided by OSAfs route). 05May04_605May04_2They then went a real highway to finally drop in MINAMIfs home at Mikuni, and further in the evening NAKAJIMA and MINAMI led Bill to the Fukui City Observatory since the sky became quite clear. Bill enjoyed visually a nicer image of Jupiter at meridian by our favourite 20cm Refractor (right photo: Bill with Takashi NAKAJIMA).




06May04_106 May: Bill and Masatsugu visited the Takidanji Temple at Mikuni where the 06May04_4oldest Star Map made in the 16th Century in Japan was exhibited (à).

ßHere is shown Bill tasting a Tohu lunch at Mikuni.

Then they moved to Kyoto by train with a good view of the Biwa Lake. At Kyoto, Bill lodged in a Temple (Chishaku-in, belonging to the same sect as the Takidanji).



07 May: At Kyoto, Bill visited the Ryoanji, Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji 07May04_8Temples, as well as the Kiyomidzu-dera Temple where LOWELL must have 07May04_5visited.






Bill and Masatsugu then went down to Amagasaki where they were met by Tatsujiro MATSUMOTO and M OHNISHI, and MATSUMOTO led us to SAHEKIfs house at Itami.

07May04_7Bill was there received cordially by the SAHEKI family, especially Tsuneo SAHEKIfs wife and son with his wife and grandsons/daughter. The famous 20cm Telescope (here shown with SAHEKI in 1956) was at hand as well as several Saheki1956_1drawings and documents made by T SAHEKI (scanned by MINAMI, and will be used by Bill). Incidentally we were informed that SAHEKIfs wife had come from the Kyozo-bo at Ashikura, Tateyama where LOWELL visited.

Saheki Family and the 20cm telescope SAHEKI used T SAHEKI in 1956


08May_508 May: In the morning, Bill and Masatsugu visited the observing site of the second 08May04_12French 1874 team (Delacroix and Chimizou) at the Suwa-yama, Kobé, where a monument stood.

Bill at Suwa-yam, Kobé

Then they moved to Yokohama by getting on board the Shinkansen Nozomi. On the way they caught Tenriugawa while Mt Fuji was unseen because of haze.

Masami, Masatsugu, Bill and Toshio SATO at Nogéyama, Yokohama


At 08May04_7Yokohama, 08May04_8they were met by Toshio SATO and M MURAKAMI, and visited the observing sites of the Mexican 1874 teams at Nogéyama and Yamaté. As well, they saw the Monument for the success of the Mexican team built in 1974 on the occasion of the centenary of the 1874 Venus Transit. In the evening, they dined at the Yokohama China Town.


Yokohama monument of the Mexican team in 1874




09May04_309 May and the last: Bill spent the last night at Yokohama, and, after moving by the JR Narita Express, departed 09May04_4from Narita at 15:00 JST to Minneapolis by the Northwest Airline as scheduled. We hope he is having a good flight. Bill dashed down the following note at a waiting room. Minami-san, who has been my guide and friend, and I complete today our astronomical tour of Japan. We have visited all the major sites of the Transit of Venus expeditions of 1874, and paid our respects to the memory of those observers; followed Percival LOWELLfs work in Noto; and viewed historic drawings of Mars by Saheki-san. It is a great success! Many thanks, Arigato, Bill.


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