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Mail order marriage knot to be tied in Japan

HOPE, Alaska -- A woman who journeyed to Alaska to answer a miner's plea for mail order brides will marry her mountain man on the other side of the Pacific, thanks to a Christmas present from a Japanese businessman.

Tom Williams, 40, and Jill Bandock, 22, of Tumwater, Wash., will be married Jan. 21 in Hoshino Hot Springs Resort in Karuizawa, Japan, about two hours from Tokyo, in a traditional Japanese ceremony, a friend said Monday.

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Williams placed a seven-line classified ad in the Anchorage Daily News in September seeking mail order brides for his workmen to boost their morale. Bandock learned of Williams' ad through news accounts and, after more than a few long distance calls to Alaska, packed her bags and arrived Nov. 7.

But the couple is living without electricity or running water and there is no church in which to get married at the 19th century-style mining camp Williams is building.

Akira 'David' Hoshino, 52,read about the couple's plight and telephoned an Anchorage friend, Jack Kimm, to check whether the story is true.

Kimm said he confirmed the story and Hoshino said he wanted to give the couple the amenities they did not enjoy at the Paystreke mining camp 5 miles from the tiny hamlet of Hope and 90 miles from Anchorage.

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Hoshino's Christmas present to the couple is a round trip ticket to Tokyo and a one week honeymoon at Hoshino's posh hot springs resort, Kimm said Monday.

Kimm described his friend Hoshino as 'an old Cornell (University) boy' with an affection for Americans, who wanted to do something memorable for the couple.

'They won't need a penny,' said Kimm, who, from his Anchorage fur store, is acting as an intermediary between Hoshino in Karuizawa and Williams in Hope. Kimm also took the couple's measurements at his store so Japanese garments could be waiting for them.

None of Williams' workmen has gotten hitched, but one man was reunited, also by long distance telephone connection, with his long lost family, and Williams said some 3,000 letters of interest have poured in from all over the world.

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