Like many young married couples, Ryo and Juri Waguri couldn’t afford the honeymoon trip they dreamed of taking. But the dream wasn’t forgotten.
Not long ago the Waguris finally made it together to their honeymoon destination - Hannibal.
“When we got married 25 years ago, we were very poor graduate-course students, and I made a promise to my wife that I would take her anywhere she liked when I became a great scholar. I don’t know (if) I am a great scholar, but she chose Hannibal as our honeymoon destination,” wrote Ryo Waguri, a professor of American literature at a private university in Yokohama, Japan.
While Ryo is no stranger to Hannibal, referring to it as his “hometown,” it was the first trip to the banks of the Mississippi River for his wife.
“I’ve heard a lot from him about Hannibal. It’s an amazing place. So many good people. I’m so happy to be here,” said Juri, a historian of Venetian history of Renaissance and an associate professor at St. Andrews University in Osaka, Japan.
Like any good tourist, Juri spent lots of time taking history-related photos, adding with a laugh that she knew satisfying her thirst for all things historic might be a bit boring for her husband.
As a treat for Juri, Ryo arranged for her to spend the night at Rockcliffe Mansion.
“It’s very gorgeous and I’m interested in architecture. It’s beautiful,” she said. “The interior is very luxurious.”
Like countless visitors before them, the Waguris planned to tour the Mark Twain Cave before departing Hannibal.
“She likes that kind of cave,” said Ryo.
As she prepared to head home, Juri had come to the realization that there was more to see in America’s Hometown than she had time to take in in one trip.
“I’d like to be back here again and again,” she said.
Unlike his previous nine trips to Hannibal, Ryo said he wasn’t here to conduct any Mark Twain research. But that doesn’t mean it was a pure vacation. Before coming to Hannibal, Ryo attended the International Conference of Mark Twain Studies in Elmira, N.Y.
Ryo recently completed the translation of Mark Twain’s Autobiography, Volume 1, into Japanese.
“It’s over 800 pages,” he said, explaining the project took over three years.
Page 2 of 2 - In Japan, the book sells for approximately $170 U.S. dollars.
“It’s a little bit expensive. My publisher got good money through this publication,” laughed Ryo. “Most of the university libraries have already bought it.”
During his stay in Hannibal, Ryo was donating copies of the book to the city and First Presbyterian Church.
“This is one of my purposes for coming back here,” he said of the donations.
Ryo has already agreed to translate Volume II of Twain’s Autobiography.
“Perhaps after three or four years I will come back with a Japanese version of Volume II,” he said with a smile.