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Peter 2009/1/3 09:39
New Year's Eve we rented a couple of rooms at the Silk Hotel and invited our Japanese girlfriends. We had a great party and at midnight all of the ships in Yokohama harbor blew their horns and whistles, and there were fireworks. And, I think I barfed in your canal. No, wait a minute, I"m having a flashback!
by Wally rate this post as useful

Wally 2009/1/3 23:53
In what part of the country are you in, having this interesting flashback?
by Steffi rate this post as useful

Steffi 2009/1/5 00:42
I'm having my flashbacks in a small town in Missouri, in a farming area (corn and soy beans), but we also have a factory that employs around 500 people. I go to coffee at the local cafe every morning at 6:30 a.m., with 10-15 other men, mostly farmers, but the group also includes a sitting judge, real estate broker, grocer, retired factory workers, a mayor, and an optometrist. So far, no fights have broken out.
by Wally rate this post as useful

War in the Gaza strip 2009/1/5 01:17
I hope you all don't mind if I offer the following statement about Israel invading the Gaza strip: "55" (say it in Japanese)!
by Wally rate this post as useful

Ah ha 2009/1/5 01:55
Well finally, we get to know a little more about Wally! The Silk center [ and Hotel ] was right around the corner from The Zebra Club, and had a museum of sourts about the silk trade. Just before I left I went there and bought a wicked cheesy tourist jacket for a friend. It was the kind that looked like a football jacket with silk armes of a different color and Yokohama on the back with Mt Fuji, Tori gates ect embroidered. Put it im my duffle bag and zoom got me right through customs. Now Wally you know that Eric also lives in Missouri, near a lake in the Ozarks. perhaps you guys could team up and come to New England next summer for our reunion. We have lobster!
Janets favorite is Lobster Mac&Cheese. She grew up in Porthmouth NH where there was so much lobster that they got sick of it. Ever had lobster benedict? Never had a Japanese girlfriend, oh well. You can tell me all about it. No fibbing. Hope your flashbacks get better.
by peter rate this post as useful

55 2009/1/5 02:02
Wally.. you are precious ! I am on the FLOOR.!!
by peter rate this post as useful

55 2009/1/5 06:03
Even I got it - very funny. Glad we're on the same page here. And this coming from the sole military man in our thread, I think. Portsmouth - one of my cousins partly grew up there also - the rest of the time she moved around as an army brat. I know that Portsmouth is part of the small Atlantic coastline that NH has - didn't some important historical military things happen there - something having to do enemy subs or ships or something? I can't rememember. Glad to hear about the lobsters.
by Steffi rate this post as useful

Portsmouth 2009/1/5 07:05
NH has only 16 miles of coastline. Portsmouth is the main harbor, and has a long history. The subs.. there is a navy sub base here and is known for three main occasions. The Threasher sank with all lost and the Squalus went down and was rescued. Perhaps the best known event is the incident of the German U-Boat that surrendered [captured ?] after W2 and was brought into Portsmouth. I believe it had uranium on it that went to Oak Ridge and the boat itself wound up in Chicago at a museum. There is an old fort there which is now a coast Guard Base. It is thought that the American Revolution began at Porthmouth when English forces tried to take the gunpowder from the fort. Paul Revere road from Boston to warn the population. This was before the famous "Midnight Ride".
Where did Wally come up with 55. This guys out there, I love it. Watched Dr, Atomic on You tube. Very cool.
by Peter rate this post as useful

Ancient Japanese saga 2009/1/5 17:05
Is anyone familiar with "The Tale of Genji"? Here is an interesting piece in the Times about the celebrations of the 1000-year anniversary of what is said to be the world's oldest novel - interesting -

http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/travel/04footsteps.htm

Anyone tempted to go back to Japan? Looks so beautiful!
by Steffi rate this post as useful

Portsmouth - films 2009/1/5 17:24
Thanks Peter for the thorough info about Portsmouth. Sounds like a great place - it often appears on lists - "the 10 best cities in the US to live." The U-boat story is the one I was trying to remember - it seemed so amazing that the enemy had actually reached our shores. Makes the funny film "The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming" not so far-fetched. Has anyone seen "Letters from Iwo Jima", the Clint Eastwood film, taking the Japanese experience of that battle? It was very good - unfortunately, the one that preceded it - "The Flags of Our Fathers", which showed things from the US side wasn't nearly as good. I know the "Letters" movie created quite a stir in Japan, where many young people were not aware of what had happened in this, and other battles.
by Steffi rate this post as useful

Hey Wally 2009/1/5 23:22
You're having flashbacks in a small town in Missouri ?
I'm in a small town in Missouri too and don't see any.
Guess you'll just have to show me.
by Eric rate this post as useful

55 2009/1/6 00:17
I can't really take credit for this. Believe it or not, someone at the 106th, Kishine Barracks, came up with this during the Six Day War in the Middle East, in 1967, and even made little buttons with "55" on them. I just tucked it away in my memory.
by Wally rate this post as useful

Steffi 2009/1/6 00:31
Re: Letters from Iwo Jima. I worked with a WWII Japanese navy veteran when I was in Okinawa. He told me some very interesting war stories. One was when he was on Saipan and Americans were getting ready to invade. He said they were short on guns and ammo, and they gave him a small 25 calibre pistol. He asked what he was supposed to do with it, and his officer said that Americans were so big he only had to point it in the general direction and he would hit them. He said when it was evident they were going to lose, he went down to the suicide cliffs to jump, but decided to wait until the next day, but was wounded and captured that night. He could speak, read and write English, and the U.S. Army gave his a job on Saipan, and he was still working for the U.S. military when I knew him in 1980.
by Wally rate this post as useful

Wally - Iwo Jima 2009/1/6 01:02
That's an interesting story. In the "Letters" film, there is also a lot mentioned about how very limited the Japanese arms supply was. They also showed the hundreds of ships that the US sent towards tiny Iwo Jima, which I guess was then used as a base for subsequent operations. Iwo Jima's importance was that it was the first landing on actual Japanese soil, as opposed to the battles for land that had belonged to others.
by Steffi rate this post as useful

Subs off our shores 2009/1/6 01:42
Steffi et al: During WW2 the German U Boats sunk a number of merchant vessels off of the East coast and also the Gulf. Not only did they "reach our shores" but conducted numerious patrols especially off of North Carolina. When I was there a few years ago I saw an exhibit that surprised me as it would many Americans. This was a major campaign by the germans. i am not certain but U Boats have a range of something like 10,000 miles and using their "milch cows" they could be re-fueled anywhere. There is a story that off of Porthmouth a fishing boat at night smelled diesel fuel and followed the smell right to the U boat and the fishermen fired on the sub with 22's and hunting rifles. They were so close that they could here the rounds ping of the steel hull. This was like 10 miles off shore. Cities like Miami had black outs as subs could see merchant ships silhouetted against the lights. How interesting that cultures conveinently forget things that are uncomfortable to them. I saw "letters" twice. Once for myself and once for my Japanese language skills that are pretty bad. Very touching movie and very well done . Read Genji when in Japan many years ago, very long and don't remember much of it.
Wally and Eric. Are you guys living in the same town? What would be the chance of that !
by Peter rate this post as useful

Japanese war vets 2009/1/6 01:47
Steffi:
My dad was acquainted with a man who worked in his office at JPA who had been in the Kaiten corps in the last months of the war. The man was just five feet tall and had been selected because he was short and had good vision.
The Kaiten was more or less a human torpedo, about 55 feet long, with two or three men inside and enough fuel for a short suicide run at a navy vessel.
The fellow said that he followed orders and aimed his craft at a destroyer in one of the last actions of the war. The Kaiten hit the side of the ship but didn't go off. He turned around and rammed the destroyer again but to no avail.
Curiously, the destroyer crew dropped divers and salvaged the Kaiten and saved all aboard. All the men lived into the 1960s and saw Japan rebuilt to take its place amongst peaceful nations.
by Eric rate this post as useful

Missouri 2009/1/6 02:21
I think Eric lives at the Lake of the Ozarks, which has 1200 miles of shoreline and is South of the Missouri River. I was born and raised North of the Missouri River on flat farming ground in an area called Little Dixie. We are still fighting the Civil War here, and are so interbred that OJ Simpson wanted to move here because he heard everyone had the same DNA.
by Wally rate this post as useful

Eric and Wally 2009/1/6 03:08
Amazing story, Eric. Thanks. It amazes no end how countries will sacrifice their sons in these disgusting ways - and it still goes on. And it looks like you and Wally could swim or boat across the Missouri and rendezvous in the neutral middle - just have distinctive hats or balloons or something!
by Steffi rate this post as useful

Big Lake 2009/1/6 04:25
The Lake of the Ozarks was built as a hydropower project by Union Electric, a public utility, in 1930. Land around the lake, including the lakeshore, can be privately owned. Most other man-made lakes were built by the US Army Corps of Engineers and ownership of lakefront land is not allowed.
My wife's grandfather operated a dairy farm here before the dam was built. After living all over the country with various jobs, we purchased nearby property in 1997 with the intent to retire here. I am a native Iowan. Since the war ended, the Lake has attracted retireees from all over the midwest and is not a typical Missouri community.
Little Dixie people are mostly English descendants from Tennessee and Virginia who brought tobacco and hemp raising traditions with them to Missouri. They are more 'southern' in the Confederate sense than Ozarks folks.
by Eric rate this post as useful

Eric 2009/1/6 10:07
Don't forget Kentucky, as my great, great, great grandfather John Shock (Dutch) came from Kentucky to Missouri by way of Ohio Territories where he was a captain in "Mad" Anthony Wayne's army, and fought at Fallen Timbers. The rest of my family (English/Irish) came from Kentucky in 1836, and were all Confederates. My great, great grandfather on my mother's side was a Yankee and fought in the Missouri 49th Infantry. Man, we're all mixed up now. My cousin on my mother's side married a man whose grandmother is a sister to a woman who married my great uncle on my fathers side, whose mother is the sister of my cousin's husband's grandmother on his mother's side, and I'm my own grandpa!
by Wally rate this post as useful

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