This home movie from 1971, filmed and narrated by Edward Schwartz, captures a business and pleasure trip to Japan and Taipei, Taiwan—part of a larger trip to Asia. Schwartz is accompanied by his wife Evelyn, both of El Paso. The couple leaves from Los Angeles in January 1971 and flies to Tokyo, Japan with a stop in Honolulu. While in Tokyo, the Schwartzes visit several area attractions, including the Ginza district, Yokohama, the Great Buddha of Kamakura, and Hakone Lake. Next, the couple travels to Taipei where they visit shrines and museums. The film records only tourist pursuits, not business activities.
Adolph Schwartz immigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1887. After working in the railroads, Schwartz started several dry goods concerns in El Paso and Juarez, Mexico. He anticipated the growth of El Paso and its importance to the region, and concentrated his efforts on his store there. The resulting store, Popular Dry Goods, opened in 1902 and remained in operation for 93 years. It shaped the economy and culture of El Paso and the border region. Known for its "New York style," The Popular became the region's purveyor of high-end items. The store offered fashions, accessories, fine jewelry, shoes, linens, household products, furniture, and services like photography and travel planning. The Popular was able to maintain its cultural and economic role in border communities, even as larger national chains moved into the area. At its height, The Popular had four stores in El Paso, as well as a distribution center. The department store closed in 1995, in part because of its reliance on the Mexican market, which was very unpredictable in the late eighties and early nineties. Throughout its history, The Popular was a family-run business. At the time of its closure, Edward Schwartz, a grandson of Adolph, was the chairman and CEO.