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Helene Yoshie...My Wife, Our Life: A Memoir

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Helene Yoshie

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  • Helene Yoshie - Back Cover

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What began as a tribute to his late wife, Helene, developed into a chronicle of George Hayakawa's life with her, and a family history recorded for posterity. A charming and honest portrait of married life and the Japanese-American immigrant experience.

In December 1951, Hayakawa enlisted in the US Air Force and in 1954 was stationed at Haneda Air Base, Tokyo, Japan. On his first visit to the popular Mimatsu Cabaret, he fortuitously met Yoshie Saito, a Denden Kosha clerical worker who was also a fabulous dancer. Despite being a terrible dancer himself and speaking almost no Japanese, Hayakawa convinced Yoshie to dance with him again...and again! At the close of the evening, she agreed to meet him for a date the next week. After two years of dating, the couple married, beginning their life of 59 years together. The decades brought them two children—Todd and Helen—multiple moves between Japan and Hawai‘i, and long careers for both in the travel industry. Along the way, the former Yoshie adopted the name “Helene” after gaining her American citizenship, the family experienced the sad loss of Todd in a swimming accident and welcomed the adoption of granddaughter Hannah by Helen and her husband, David. Hayakawa does not shy away from presenting a straightforward portrait of the couple’s life, their triumphs and joys, as well as his own shortcomings when it came to connecting emotionally with his family.

Helene Yoshie is a tribute to its namesake, as well as Hayakawa’s way of honoring her patience, strength and compassion. It was through Helene’s help that Hayakawa reconnected with his familial roots in Japan. As the last of his family’s line, this chronicle of the Hayakawa history is also his way of carrying on their legacy.

Softcover, 160 pp.
Author: George Hayakawa
Release Date: September 2019