A familiar face flew in with the Nenpou Shinkyo Buddhist Denomination a couple of weeks back when former Saipan residents Ayako and Willie Matsumoto returned to their second home.
Ayako Matsumoto said it was really nice to be back in the Commonwealth, albeit for just a short stint to chaperone the Nenpou Shinkyo group.
The group was on Saipan for their annual pilgrimage to honor World War II dead and pray for peace at the Banzai Cliff and Japanese Peace Memorial in Marpi.
Group members Akiko Kakibayashi, Takako Tamashiro, Mariko Nagata, Miyuki Shinjyo, and Sachiko Yamamto also performed Ryukyu cultural dances at the second week of the Taste of Marianas.
Save for the heavy rain, Matsumoto said the Nenpou Shinkyo members enjoyed their stay in the CNMI.
As for their business interests on island, she said that Pacific Eagle Ent., Inc. continues to exist on Saipan even though she and her husband have relocated to Japan.
Ayako Matsumoto said her husband comes to Saipan once every two to three months to check on their business.
“One of our business is supplying Japanese parts to hotel and companies and import auto parts. Once we receive email, we send an estimate and send it out from Japan. We are also working as a consultant for Japanese groups who want to make a relationship with CNMI,” she said.
In Japan, Ayako Matsumoto takes care of her mother and manages a small café and restaurant in her hometown of Himeji City in Hyogo.
Even though she’s already in Japan, she doesn’t forget Saipan and even encourages customers to come and visit the island.
“We try to spread Saipan information to customers. There are some hotel brochures, Saipan, Tinian, Rota map, free magazine, and Leslie Ware’s beautiful photo book in my shop, and also, of course, with island music and promotional DVD from the [Marianas Visitors Authority],” she said.
Ayako Matsumoto hopes to return to Saipan in September or October for the annual Japanese Festival.
Eventually, she hopes to one day return permanently and open a short- or middle-term rehabilitation and healing facility.
“This is my dream. I’m interested in it because Saipan has a wonderful climate and beautiful nature, sunset, and ocean view. I would also need a dietitian to make a menu to control calories. I also need the help of local businesses as I need a gym to help maintain clients’ body balance and relax through massages. And they [clients] can also plant vegetables or flowers, orchids, and fish on Saipan. I would like to open this kind of healing business for various ages, young and old, from Japan.”