23 March 2013
After the six of us Marines got off the train taking us across Kyushu (southern-most of Japan's four main islands) we proceeded to "occupy" several small Japanese villages.
In one, we met up with a sophisticated gentleman who spoke some English. I was our group's interpreter. The man invited us to his home for a meal. We had very pleasant discussion and meal.
As we prepared to leave, he politely offered us the pleasures of his wife. Being gentlemen and scholars, we politely declined the offer.
As we were driving along, we noticed a large, sprawling building on the side of the dormant Mt. Aso volcano. We decided it was "occupy" time.
We went to the main desk and introduced ourselves and were warmly greeted by the clerk. After stashing my gear, I asked the desk clerk where I could take a shower or bath. He pointed down the hall. I went through the double doors and saw a large group of nude men, women, and children soaking in the large pool of hot, volcanic, clear water.
I went back to the desk clerk and advised him that I couldn't intrude into the group. He said in so many words, "That's how we do it here."
I went back, sat on a little stool and soaped up, rinsed off, and slithered into the soaking pool with the rest of the folks. I was greeted warmly by all.
We next occupied a small village named Takeda, as I recall. The two-laned, unpaved main street sloped downward at about 35 degrees. We set up our transmitter at the top of the hill, but could not reach Sasebo.
Down the hill on the right-hand side was a small barber shop where we partook of the gentleman's services. A little further down lived an 82-year-old man who spoke English and who lived in the States for many years. He was happy to see us Americans.
On the opposite side of the road was a tiny inn where we stashed our gear. It was run by a tiny, very old lady who fed and boarded us (at no charge). We jokingly kidded her about us being wild Marines. She'd reply, "Bah! Babysans."
At the top of the road/hill was the police station where we called in the mayor and police to advise them of our occupation. I hit right off with the police lieutenant who took me home to meet his wife and have a nice meal. The lieutenant wanted me to teach him English, but we didn't stay that long.
When we were leaving, the lieutenant took me to the police station and showed me a room full of confiscated swords and rifles. He said I could take all I wanted. I took one officer's sword, three samurai swords, and one army rifle. I sent 'em home to my girlfriends' house.
Our next and final stop was in Oita, where we set up our micro-wave radio/telephone station. Four of us would stand 24-hour radio watch with 72-hour free time during which we enjoyed the pleasures of the volcano hot water baths of Beppu.
When I reported back to Sasebo to board ship to come home, I must have looked like an emaciated prisoner of war carrying all my gear up the ship's gangplank.
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