On the 30th of March my classmates of Tsurusawa Elementary School(*) got together for reunion after some 3 decades. We met in downtown Tokyo as our teacher gave an exhibition in a small gallery near Asakusabashi JR station.
(*) Tsurusawa Elementary School is a municipal school of Chiba city, Chiba prefecture.
Mr. Tetsuya Matsumoto (We call him "Matsumoto-sensei" = "sensei" means teacher) was still in his twenties and a bachelor, when he was our home room teacher. After he graduated from a university he first worked for a TV station as art staff but soon gave up and became teacher of an elementary school. At the class reunion, we talked a lot about our school days, but nobody remembered what he taught us in his lessons.
(Top; Mr. Matsumoto telling his favourite jokes.)

As far as we remember Mr. Matsumoto only told jokes and incredible stories in our class room.

A son of a forwarding agent recalls the tale of fart of Emperor, which Mr. Matsumoto once told us. Mr. Matsumoto explained that special words must be used describing the noble fart of Emperor. Our friend was very much impressed and thought that was true till about 10 years ago, when he was made fool of by a friend as there exists in reality no such word.

Another man, now professor of an university, could not forget what Mr. Matsumoto described about an accident at Mt. Tanigawadake. In front of Mr. Matsumoto a man was involved in a snowslide and fell from a high cliff down on the rock far below. As the man crashed badly on the rock, his corpse came to stuck to it and could be taken off only by using a saw. The professor doubted whether that was true, but dreamed many times about sawing a man from a rock.
Mr. Matsumoto used to propose to us to take paper and crayon whenever the whether was fine. We then went out of the classroom to draw pictures of landscape, building, blacksmith, telegraph pole, harbour and so on.

A businessman of a construction company remembers many works of Mr. Matsumoto which were stocked here and there in the classroom. They were mostly abstract paintings and bizzare reliefs, which resembled moon craters or mysterious fishes such as coelacanths.

Matsumoto-sensei also enjoyed watching us fighting sumo matches. In the 5th or 6th grade of the elementary school ... children are 10 to 12 years old ... girls are averagely bigger than boys. Our biggest and heaviest sumo wrestler was a girl. She easily crashed down us boys. She was really invincible. This time we were very curious how she came out to be. Unfortunately she could not come up but sent us a message card instead, in which she wrote that she was busy baking cakes and making paper flowers. We did not expect that she has become such a feminine housewife. We all regretted very much her absense from the reunion.

Mr. Matsumoto, as a home room teacher, regularly paid visits to the families of his class children. Then, whenever he had a good partner to drink with, he became drunk so that he spent a night in that family.
One of us, now manager of an interior decoration company, confessed that Matsumoto-sensei often drank with his father.

One day, he happened to paint a very genius picture of a telegraph pole and won many prizes at the municipal and prefectural contests. He then got the note "A" for art in that semester. However, his father, despite of his promise to buy a bicycle for him if there is at least one "A" in his report card, did not fulfill his promise saying that such a good mark must be just a sort of mistake. Hearing this, Matsumoto-sensei went to his house to discuss the matter with his father over sake (rice wine). He drunk a lot and stayed overnight.

However, our friend did not get a bicycle. His mother explained to him "Matsumoto-sensei drank your bicycle !!!". This time, Matsumoto-sensei objected that remark and said he had "not drunk a whole bicycle but at most only a wheel".

Anyhow, all of those who participated in the class reunion, in total 18, wanted to see Mr. Matsumoto again, listen to his joke and his dream about his work (^^).

What impressed us most was the success of Mr. Matsumoto as an artist (^^)/. He just laid down his career as a teacher. His last post was the principal of Inage Junior High School and then became Director of Inage branch of Chiba municipal museum.
In the meanwhile, he didn't give up creation (left; one of his latest works) and succeeded to make bigger works and some of them are displayed in public spaces, such as the front square of Kameido JR station (HANEKAME' 92 = three turtles with wings), Nishi-Fukagawa bridge (GOMBESSA = a big coelacanth) and Nankai bridge (PERSONA).

We are very pleased, because he continued making coelacanths and craters and those mysterious old friends of us are now recognized by many people. Mr. Matsumoto is now 61 years old, but he is still very energetic and continuously tells nonsense jokes..