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Pete 2007/8/7 06:04
I used to see WWII veterans in their uniforms hanging around street corners in Yokohama, but I didn't approach them as we were told to stay away from them. I went back to Kishine Barracks in 1971-72, but it was gone, only the baseball diamond remained, the rest was a park. There didn't seem to be any Americans still living in Hakaraku Mansion, my old apartment building. I worked with a Japanese gentleman in Okinawa, Mr. Goto, who was an ex-Kamikaze pilot, and an unsuccessful one. He was a super person and a good friend. Just think, a few years earlier we would have been trying to kill each other. I also worked with an Okinawan who was a small boy during WWII. He said that when the Americans invaded the Japanese military told the Okinawans that if they had to travel, do it at night because Americans couldn't see in the dark. So, his father and mother along with him and his siblings were walking down the road at night when they happened upon an American patrol. His father told them not to talk, just walk on by the patrol, that the Americans wouldn't see them. They were captured of course.
by Wally Cox rate this post as useful

thanks wally 2007/8/11 00:52
sorry,late reply,out of town.Thanks for your recolections. mr Goto must have been a wonderful person to know. I wish i had met someone like that. Interesting coincidence that we both should have met kamikaze pilots.I wonder how many were "left over" after the war. As we are now in the ist week of august I am reminded of a book that I read lasr year. It is called Wars End By Charles Sweeney. he was the Captain of the B29 Bocks Car that dropped the Nagasaki Bomb. Also he was the only pilot to fly both missions. his story is very interesting if you follow that type of history. Unlike the Hiroshoma mission the nagasaki one was fraught with problems. Nagasaki was not the primary target, that was Kokura, which was obscured with smoke. By the time they landed on Okinawa,they had only a minute left of fuel [ 6 gal ]. they had a fuel pump malfunction and had 600 gal of fuel that they couldn't use. Book also has much about the secrecy leading up to the mission. i never got to Okinawa but reciently ran into a marine who was stationed there. he wasn't too thrilled with it. Later he was stationed at Camp Fuji, now a marine base on the bottom on Fujisan. This was perhaps last year. He was only in Japan for one year and didn't seem to know much about the country, shame. He didn't knoe that he was in the hokone district. I asked him if he had climbed the mountain and he told me that the marine authorities would not let them, as a person had been killed the previous year. We both thought that was BS. What a frustration, Having fuji before you and not being able to climb it . Did you climb Fuji ? It was a highlight of my stay. I still have my "fuji pole". This is a wooden pole that you purchace and at stages up the mountain you can have it branded, and at the summit the shinto priests stamp it with a special brand. As i remember it was not such a bad climb. Just long. About eight hours. Object is to get to the top for sunrise. Ours was not that good but still had a ball. Cold on top.
by peter s rate this post as useful

Mt. Fuji 2007/8/11 02:53
My Cub Scout pack climbed Mt. Fuji and each of us got the poles you mentioned. It was summer but there was snow and cold as we got to the top.
My mom and a bunch of her friends visited another volcano in Japan that was "hot" and still smelled of sulfur.
It seems to me that part of the Mt. Fuji climb could be on horseback in those days. of course, we were all tough kids and walked it.
by Eric rate this post as useful

Mt Fuji hi Eric 2007/8/11 04:18
I often wondered about riding a horse up mt. Fuji. Might be tough on the last 1/8 th pretty steep. I did climb a hot volcanic mountain in hokkiado called showa shinzan I believe. There was a wonderful day trip that My wife and I would take from Yokohama. Train to the hokone district. bus around the mountains to lake hokone. Beautiful lake boat ride accross the lake then a cable car ride over the mountains with a stop in a sulfer springs area then a train on the back side of the mountains that switched-back, ending up back at the main train station to yokohama. trip took all day but was cheap and beautiful! Especially the boat ride in the shadow of Mt Fuji. We did this several times and was a perfect day outing. I wonder if the Japanese have considered to put a tramway up the mountain.
by peter s rate this post as useful

Fuji Ironman 2007/8/12 23:40
I read in this morning's news that a Japanese guy hiked to the top of Fujiyama with an ironing board and a 50 pound generator in an Asian version of "Ironman" contest.
Where did this come from?
by Eric rate this post as useful

fuji climb 2007/8/13 03:14
you've got to get stuff to the top somehow. There is a you tube vidio showing many fuji climbs and one showing a "sandboarder" surfing down. pretty cool. While we are at it. Did you ever see the two lion statues at the tori gate at the summit ? These things are massive perhaps a ton or two. How did they get those up there ?
When we were doing our climb on the 20th of july 69 we were perhaps 3/4 of the way up and panting along. Behind us came this "pack train" of japanese men humping supplies to the top. They were not waiting for anyone and steamed right by us, I was very impressed. They were like running to the top.
I have wondered if a helicopter could land on the top in an emergency or whatever. Being a sacred mountain what are the laws governing that. Eric I am gald that your troop made the climb. Keep that pole! I treasure mine. its funny how life is. When we were in gotemba at the start of our trip we were walking from the train station to the bus for the ride to the 5th station. The street was lined with vendors selling all kinds of stuff to hikers. We saw these poles and didn't think much about it until a nice japanese man selling them came out of his shop with two of them. One blank and the other that had made the climb and had those brands on them from the stations up the mountain. He was so cute, but a little pushy, blocked our way and said "you need poles..climb mt fuji..before..after..neh? We were not really inclined until he said the magic words that are irrestable to all americans.. good souvenier.. keep always..very special. We were hooked. They were cheap like 200 yen each. Now i wouldn't sell mine for a million dollars. I saw pictures from that trip and the pole looks so clean and new. mine is now darkened with the petina of age. Japanese street vendors have a special nack of knowing what country your from .in our case it was not very difficult. I was in Isezaki-cho in Yokohama and watched the shopkeepers standing in frone of there stores greeting the passersby in there correct native language, English, german, swiss, russian. probably was the clothes or shoes. Come to think of it might not have been too difficult. Strange thing, my parents visited us once and we were on the street and one shopkeeper correctly "guessed" that my dad would be interested in sextants. Went like.. "hellow sir.. we have nice sextants..very reasonable..good quality.. you like.. please see.. He did but did not buy one. Later at the Peanuts bar he asked me how the japanese man knew that he would be interested in sextants. Still no idea, what a skill!. We read up on the fuji climb ahead of time and made the climb according to the recommended way. Start at the 5th station about one in the afternoon and climb in the cool shadow of the mountain until about 10 pm avoiding the heat of the day on the lower slopes. Then rest at the 8th station in one of the huts until about 2:30 am and make the final dash to the summit by dawn. Which we did, worked like a charm. we brought flashlights and extra batteries but didn't need them as the trail had so many people with flashlights that ours were not necessary. Magic experience. One regret. we didn't bring enough warm clothes and as a result we were pretty cold on top. some snow patches. We had planned to do the summit walk which we were told would take about an hour but scrubbed that as we were concerned about the cold. The guidebook advised us to travel light and move fast which we did. I don't remember even bringing food or water. We asked a vendor on top if he had any chocolate to sell [in our logic was sugar boost] he reamed us out in japanese something to the effect that if we wanted chocolate we should have carried it up ourselves from Gotemba. Oops, we really got chewed out good. deserved perhaps. Spent about two hours on the top listening to the account of the moon landing on a transistor radio that some other americans had. Tranqulity base here, the eagle has landed. We all gave a big whoop. The japanese looked at us as we had two heads, but of course we were americans, and therefore subject to totally unexplainable behaviour. I got out my dictionary and looked up man and moon. Didn't know the word for "on"
so used "walk" instead. I told the others crowded in the little hut on the top and lots of "ah so desu ka's"
and bows and handshakings followed. One man thanked us in english for this accomplishment as if we were responsible. The men really hadn't walked yet, just had landed . it would be about 5 hours later that that would happen. We decided that we would head back down the way we came up was the safe choice. Taking a shortcut I got lost and found what we were on the 12 league boots decent . Which was not a trail but a long incline. We had read about this so we went with it,little choice anyway. trick was to set up a motion like cross country skiing. made great strides and was a lot of fun. Tough on shoes. Came down the mountain in about 2 1/2 hrs I guess. passed through a very strange forrest of trees that I would have wanted to study. Found a trail which led us to a bus stop. The line for the only bus was about 4 hours wait, but somehow the japanese took pity on us and let us ahead. they may have thought that we had a plane to catch, which we did nothing to correct. Got to the train station in Gotemba and back to our little apartment in Yokohama about 2 in the afternoon, just in time to see the first steps by Neil Armstrong. Live from the moon ! What a Kick. As this was japanese television we had to try and figure out what was happening in japanese except for the under-lying english from mission control. From what we gathered the japanese had a little trouble with part of the translation and they were trying to figure it out. We were talking to the screen laughing.. its..Giant Leap.. not.. giant-Reap.. Maybe they thought that the americans were "harvesting" the moon for mankind. It was a sweet monent for all. As I recall even mission control had a problem exactly figuring out what was said. The joy of the moment passed and I was struck with the concern. I hope they can get back. What if they are trapped there with only a few days of oxygen. I calmed myself with the thought that the planners hopefully would have that figured out. Another thought. We planted the flag. What about international law. Does this mean that we claim the moon ? Another thought came that night as we were celebrating on top of our apartment building. If one had a telescope powerful enough could you see the lander or flag? I wonder if the Hubble could see it? Next day I was at my duty station on center pier excited beyond description about my celestial experience and tried to share it with some of my buddies. I liked these guys a lot and still do. seems they spent the weekend drinking and trying to get laid and were only vaguely familiar with the moon landing and i told them about Mt Fuji one of them said What! you climbed a stupid mountain. what a waste of time, why would anyone want to do that, and similar statements. i felt badly for them as they not only missed out on a wonderful experience but failed to appreciate how super this was for someone else. Some of us got the very most of our stay in japan and others moped around mostly sleeping it off. Ran into a women who ran the one of the schools there. had been in Japan for about 12 years perhaps more.Told her how wonderful it was and that she must be able to speak the language and travel everywhere. She said that in her stay there she had taken a tour to Nikko and one to Kamakura but mainly stayed on base. In 12 years ! What a huge waste. just points out the difference in people. Such is life.
by peter rate this post as useful

yokohama exchange 2007/8/13 08:53
Yes, Brian Nickerson is right. There was a shopping center of sorts there.... movie theatre, bowling alley and several stores. The school there.... Nile C. Kinnick was a kindergarten through 12th grade when I was there 1960 through 1963. I lived in area 1.... the housing next to the beach. There was a large pool next to the japanese school on the south side of the housing area. across the street was area 2 and the bluff. I had a great time living there, awesome memories!
by Tom Gillis rate this post as useful

Living in Negishi housing now. 2007/8/13 18:50
Wow, this is like a trip to the past and it is great. I love reading about the old days in Japan. I have been living in Japan for a number of years but to hear from the 50's, 60's, and 70's is wonderful. I live in Negishi housing now and you can tell there is a lot of history on the base still. In the community center there are trophies on the 2nd deck dated from the early 60's and on. If your one of the people who come back to visit and go to the base in Negishi - you must go to the 2nd floor - there is some history up there. I am so lucky to be here in Japan, best place I have ever lived and I am staying too! Hope to read more from the past, thank you very much for sharing all the memories.
by Chris rate this post as useful

chris 2007/8/14 01:19
I love this site too and have been learning a lot. Go to the web site yohi devils.net and you will find a very cool site. its quite extensive. sorry I don't know how to bookmark that for you. Am learning. You might want to go back over the earlier posts, there is a lot of interesting stuff there. I lived in a japanese apartment building not far from Negishi, it was/is on a hill to the east of you next to a japanese school called medori gaoka koko [high school?] I wonder if it is still there? This is a great forum
by peter s rate this post as useful

Hey Tom, Chris 2007/8/14 01:21
The big pool at the south end of Area 1 was where I spent almost every summer, taking Red Cross swimming lessons year after year. I remember it was Olympic sized pool with two low diving boards and one middle board that seemed like it was 15 feet off the water.
The mark of a real pool rat was doing a perfect 1 and a half off this board while not killing yourself.

My best buddy was a Navy brat named Chris who lived in Area 2. Chris and I were big time comic book scavengers. One of the relly important secrets that Chris and I shared was the source of very high quality and old comics--a book store we named the Ten Yen Store. This was a dirt floor place between Sannotani and Area 1 that had stacks of American comics we'd never seen and in perfect condition. We never knew how they got these, week after week. It was like some Twilight Zone story where comics would just materialize out of thin air. The owner priced them at 10 Yen because there was a $.10 printed on the cover.
In 1961, when we were packing up big steamer trunks with our stuff to return stateside, I filled the bottom of two of these with my highly valuable comic book collection. Only when we got back to Iowa did I discover that my mom had thrown them all out to make space for "occupied Japan" china or some such mementos of our stay in Asia...
by Eric rate this post as useful

eric comix and ironman 2007/8/15 01:35
what a sad story about your comic book collection. I'm sure you would like to know what they were worth on todays market. I hope superman #1 was not in it. that one goes for a fortune. certainly more than occupied japan china. i cringe for your loss. what a shame but a "good" story, RE Ironman, Ok I went to a english version of the manichi newspaper that covered the story,just google it, Seems this is a fad that started in Australia and is.. a take-off on the ironman competitions. play on words, iron means to iron like as in he ironed his clothes. so people cary ironing boards and stuff to remote locations to iron there clothes. no i didn't make this up. the generator was to make electricity to power the iron. photo in the manichi shows this japanese man on top of fuji ironing his clothes...ok..? seems like i remember a couple of guys in america hauled around a ugly pink couch and took photos of it all over the country Mr rushmore ect..
Want a laugh? go to youtube and search for japanese game shows, some of this stuff is pretty funny and weird .
by peter s rate this post as useful

game shows 2007/8/15 03:38
There was a game show that featured young people eating bowl after bowl of soba noodles. One young girl was swaying back and forth, "to make room for more noodles," she said.
by Eric rate this post as useful

game shows 2007/8/16 11:56
did you see the one where a hapless person uses a seaside toilet and it takes off on the water with skis?
by peter rate this post as useful

Clubbing in Japan 2007/8/17 12:32
Tokyo's Club Mugen, Yokoham's
La Moon, Circus, Yokohama, The Que and Temps Nite club. The best time were in the 1980's. Thoroughly enjoyed meeting and greeting all.......
by Rayster rate this post as useful

Nagai Heights 2007/8/24 10:23
Since the original thread question has turned into a "Nostalgia-fest", I was curious if anyone lived at Nagai Heights?
I lived there in '76-78', while attending Sullivan's school on the Yokosuka base. I found the area using google maps; but looks like it has been razed...the only things really left in the satellite photo are the runways that ran beside our house. I can remember every weekend people flying remote control airplanes on them. Also, we briefly lived on the "economy" when we first moved there and I have been trying to locate the area that would contain "Hyashi Circle" (spelling?)
by John G. rate this post as useful

were alive.. 2007/8/26 00:47
Thanks john for keeping the "nostilgia-fest" alive. Sorry i personally don't have any info for you. I have only been with this a little while but have had a wonderful time recalling the exotic experiences we had living and working in Japan. We lived on the economy too and it turned out to be the preferred way for us. Came to Japan as a PFC and didn't qualify for base housing. Much later when I made sp 5 i had the offer to move into the base but by that time we had gone so "native" that we didn't want to move [also I had only about 4 mons left]Lived in Yokohama on a little hill overlooking the bay at a distance.Was in a tiny japanese style apartment that was designed beautifully. I walked to bayside courts to catch the transport to center pier to inspect vegetables and such. Had a great time. I was so very fortunate given the times 67-69.
by peter s rate this post as useful

Question for Chris 2007/9/5 00:20
Do you, by any chance, attend church at the Chapel of the Rising Sun located in the Negishi Heights Housing Area? When I lived there in the '80's, I attended church there and participated in the music (played flute and sang in the choir). There was a wonderful lady there who played piano and organ; her name was Mrs. Matsudaira. I am trying to find out if she is still there. Any info would be most appreciated. Thank you in advance.
by Lori rate this post as useful

Chapel in Negishi 2007/9/11 08:30
Lori, I currently live on the Negish base but I do not attend services there, I could go by and see if she still plays piano there. Feel free to email me at xxxx@ddg54.navy.mil

Chris
by chris rate this post as useful

Hayashi circle 2007/9/11 09:20
Hayashi circle - I know where that is but could not locate a map, that is not far from Yokosuka where I work.
by Chris rate this post as useful

Fishing in the pool? 2007/9/11 18:47
I remember on at least one occasion where my dad took me fishing for trout in a swimming pool. This was around '77 or '78 when we lived in Area 2, and I'm pretty sure the pool was close by. Can someone point out this pool by using this map? http://www.yohidevils.net/kanto/maps/moremaps.htm
Some stuff might not be listed since it's a map from 1948. :)

Thanks.
by Ivan R. rate this post as useful

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