WICHITA — What once was a hobby while they lived in Kansas has turned into something of a business pursuit for Tak and Aya Oda in their home country of Japan.
The Odas were in Wellington Thursday to tour and learn about the NDGA National Glass Museum in order to start their own museum in conjunction with an American-style restaurant they have in Komoro City, Japan. NDGA is the National Depression Glass Association.
“Ah, we are lucky coming here,” Aya Oda says she and her husband commented while driving from Kansas City to Wellington.
They flew more than a dozen hours to get to America.
“It’s just nothing to see this view,” Aya Oda says of Washington Avenue in downtown Wellington where the museum is.
The Odas lived in the United States for about 25 years, a decade of which was in Kansas when Tak Oda was president of Sokkia, a company that makes measurement instruments and at the time was in Overland Park.
While living in Kansas and Nebraska, they began frequenting antique malls for Depression glass, the sometimes clear and often colorful glass that businesses gave away or sold cheaply to attract shoppers during the Depression.
After Tak Oda retired, they returned home, though someone was living in their Tokyo house, so they bought a large home in the historic Komoro City.
“The house is so big, so we decided to do something,” Tak Oda says of opening the restaurant in their home.
“Doing nothing is very tiresome,” Aya Oda says.
The Odas have more than 300 pieces of Depression glass and began using it in their increasingly popular restaurant, Sun Hills Oda.
“We never thought about opening (a) museum at first,” Aya Oda says.
As she cooks, Tak Oda serves the food and often spends his time talking about Depression glass with guests.
“I want all Japanese people (to) see these pretty, historical glasses,” Aya Oda says.