Ko Olina looking toward Nanakuli Head, Oahu, HI, December 5, 2016

Ko Olina looking toward Nanakuli Head, Oahu, HI, December 5, 2016
Ko Olina looking toward Nanakuli Head, Oahu, HI, December 5, 2016

Thursday, February 9, 2017

TMMT - Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017

Sakichi Toyoda worked in Japan as an assistant in his father's carpenter trade. Being an ambitious young man who wanted to further his fortune, Sakichi tried to think up a new invention that would benefit society. 

Workers in local cotton mills were using hand looms to make fabric and he became interested in improving the efficiency of the looms. In a barn, he built and destroyed many looms. Local residents thought him quite odd, but he didn't care; he was immersed in his creations.

By 1892, Sakichi invented a hand loom that required only one hand to operate instead of two. Efficiency increased 40-50%. He opened his own factory. But he was obsessed by creating a power loom. 

In 1894 he developed the Toyoda winding machine, and in 1896, the first steel and wood power loom was built and perfected. This launched him on the road to building a loom manufacturing business, Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. He kept developing and improving his loom. 

Hi son, Kiichiro Toyoda, worked with his father for a while, but became interested in automobile manufacturing. He traveled to the United States in 1929 to investigate automobile production. The rest, as they say, is history. 

In 1934, the automobile division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works created its first Type A engine which was used in the Model A1 passenger car in 1935.

Toyota  Motor Company was established as an independent and separate company in 1937. The name was changed from Toyoda to Toyota based on Japanese characters. Toyota used eight strokes in the katakana Japanese language which would be considered indicative of prosperity in East Asian culture.

I tell you all this because today about 20 people from Travelers World RV Resort in San Antonio went to TMMT (Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas) for a plant tour. When we arrived, we had about 1/2 hour to look around the lobby museum area before watching a video about the manufacture of Toyotas. No cell phones, cameras, purses or bags of any kind were allowed inside the manufacturing plant.

After the introductory movie, we drove to the manufacturing facility where we boarded trams for a tour through the plant. 

The one photo I could take outside their property
Wow! Impressive tour. All around us were Toyota parts and vehicles in various stages of being built. The automation is insane. Toyota vehicles in production are moved around the building on conveyor belts or through the air on aerial chains. We saw the bodies of trucks on conveyor belts above us and the chassis next to us. A huge robot picked up the body of a truck from above and with great precision lowered it onto the conveyor below. After a bit, the body and chassis would be "married."

Later the dashboard, front and rear windows, and tires were all added. The plant is built to be ergonomically correct. No one had to lift anything heavy. Therefore, robots lift the dashboard into the vehicle, lift the windows up into position, and lift the tires up to the wheels. The whole plant runs like clockwork. 

At the end of the tour in the question and answer session, someone asked about wages. Our tour guide said high school graduates, age 18 and older, can be hired with no experience at a starting wage of $17 per hour. New workers are hired through a staffing company and must work a set number of months before they become full-fledged Toyota employees.

If you are in San Antonio, make an appointment to go on this tour. It was worth a couple of hours to see innovation in action!

Sorry I've been so lax in writing my blog. I want to make up some time on it because I left off some very major Hawaii blogs and I want to get caught up. 

Thanks for reading. Travel Bug out. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Supper with Friends - Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016

Around 9am, Bob went on a four-mile run, his first run since the Honolulu Marathon. He was very proud that he ran the whole way and felt great. He will now be training for the Austin Marathon on February 19.

Christmas morning, 11am: We packed up the wild rice stuffing, mashed yams, a bottle of Moscato, and a bottle of port wine. From the RV park to Susan and Darren's home is a half-hour drive. The weather outside was delightful (not frightful) at 79 degrees. 

When we arrived, after saying our "Merry Christmases" to Susan, Darren, and their son, Kyle, I helped Susan in the kitchen. Our main dish was Sole Thermidor. Susan was rolling up the sole, readying it for the oven. 

Once the fish was in the oven, I made the thermidor sauce, which is similar to a cheese sauce on macaroni and cheese. After the fish cooked for 25 minutes, the thermidor sauce was poured on top and then the pan was placed under the broiler for 1 minute.

Dinner was served. Besides the sole thermidor, we had wild rice stuffing, mashed yams, fresh red and green grapes, bread with honey butter, and wine or beer.

Kyle and Darren loading up their plates

Sole Thermidor (lower left), grapes,
mashed yams, wild rice stuffing, bread

Bob and Susan M. ready to eat

Darren and Bob
We had a lovely meal. The Sole Thermidor was excellent. The fish was cooked to perfection. The wild rice and yams blended perfectly with the fish. 

For dessert, Susan put out Pirouette wafers and homemade cinnamon cookies with icing. Very tasty. 
This was the first time in 20 years that Susan and Darren have been home for Christmas. Normally they go to see their family in Ohio. Thank you, Susan and Darren, for inviting us to your home for Christmas. We feel honored. 

After dinner, we sat on the couch and everyone watched sports, except me. I read a National Geographic magazine, napped, drank some port wine, and then read Entertainment Weekly. I love catching up on naps and reading while others are watching sports.

Games they watched included Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, and San Antonio Spurs vs. Chicago Bulls. Everyone was happy with the outcome of both games: The Spurs and the Cavaliers won.

Christmas Day was just right...time well spent socializing with friends.