Yokohama Yankee: My Family's Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan by Leslie Helm

Leslie Helm signs his newly published family history at the LA Times Book Festival. Leslie wears our Panama Fedora.

Some of you know of Stefan's family's long connection to Japan. Captain A.Schinzinger, Stefan's great-grand uncle, lived in Meiji-era Japan. He wrote about Japanese falconry and weapons and served as Japan's Consul General to Germany. His nephew, Stefan's grandfather Robert Schinzinger, was a poet, philosopher and professor who lived in Japan for 65 years, writing and translating many works including an academic Japanese-German dictionary. Robert's daughter, Stefan's Aunt Barbara, married Don Helm, a Californian of Japanese German heritage.

Stefan's cousin Leslie Helm's new book, Yokohama Yankee: My Family’s Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan explores his Helm family history. It’s the tale of how Leslie and his wife Marie's decision to adopt two Japanese children while he was on assignment in Tokyo for the Los Angeles Times set Leslie on an emotional journey that took him as far back as his great grandfather’s arrival in Japan in 1869.

Yokohama Yankee is getting great reviews!
James Fallows of The Atlantic - “a marvelous and eloquent work of family history (that) sheds light on the political, economic, cultural, and racial interactions and tensions between Japan and the United States for more than a century and a half …and will be read many years from now.” 
Sheldon Garon, professor of history at Princeton University - “A riveting story of a multinational, biracial merchant family (that is) at the heart of Japan's long modern history.”
Alex Beam of the Boston Globe -“This is a fascinating book, skillfully told, about a family's search for identity over three turbulent centuries.Leslie Helm mines the many treasures of his family's past, and the multicultural futures of his adopted, Japanese children, to investigate the mysteries of identity that are locked away inside all of us.”

One Snowy Night in Tokyo

Stefan Schinzinger of San Francisco Hat attends cozy Tokyo dinner hosted by Be-Pal magazine.

Stefan just rediscovered this photo collage he made of a cozy dinner hosted by Be-Pal magazine during a Jetro trade show in Tokyo. As well as showing San Francisco Hat Company, Stefan exhibited Teva sandals and Acorn slippers for the first time in Japan.  Stefan is at the lower right.  Third from the right is Pierre Andre Senizergues, a pro skate boarder who went on to found Etnies and built what's gotta be one of the coolest prototype houses in the world, a house he can skate board inKevin Karr, on the far left, ran the State of California booth and now owns an international marketing company.