There was one last stop to make before heading home: The Family History Center in Hiroo. We decided to go there without an appointment, a cold call, so to speak. We knew the address and the hours (M-F, 9-5). Addresses in Japan are interesting; buildings aren’t numbered in order the way western addresses are done. Instead, buildings are numbered in the order they were built. It’s virtually impossibly to find a location based on the address alone, at least in the traditional manner. Hint: be sure to check google maps before venturing out. We rode a taxi to the vicinity, then walked a block to the LDS office where we were greeted by a receptionist who walked us to the Family History Center. This was really just a small office with two volunteers, but the woman who met us was helpful, informative and bilingual. Our goal was twofold. First, to find out if we could get any outbound shipping records for Sasanji Okazaki in 1898, and second, to see what kind of resources they could provide for people doing Japanese genealogy. Regarding shipping records, she explained that they are in the process of being indexed by volunteers but that will take time. I suppose we could hire someone in Japan to look through these records, but that would likely be cost prohibitive. In terms of general research, she explained that the office could help with obtaining koseki records for people, either in Japan or in the United States. I asked if other Family History Centers within Japan should be contacted based on proximity to city offices, but was told that such requests would be redirected to the Tokyo LDS office.
The next step in this learning process will be to give that a try, perhaps asking them to help with one of the many maternal lines that I haven’t yet researched. In the meantime, it’s time to head home.