Last night while I was browsing You Tube, I came across a video for the Navy Lodge in Yokosuka, Japan. This caught my eye as this is where we lived for the first couple of weeks after arriving in Japan. I clicked on the link and smiled to myself.
This lodge is definitely not the classier place to stay when looking at first class hotels around the world. It is by no means a four star resort to most. It is a good, functional place to stay when you are being relocated to a foreign country and you don’t have your own home to move right in to. It is a great place to drop your bags when you have arrived after a long and hard flight across the ocean.
I remember well the relief I felt when we first arrived to the Navy Lodge in June of 1976. It was a dark and dreary night, no lie! It was a rainy night and the drive from Tokyo to Yokosuka was both invigorating and strange. The signs were flashing neon, beckoning people to come into the pachinko parlors and restaurants and bars. Each was fascinating to see, but overwhelming after a long flight from San Francisco.
We had a sponsor from the base meet us, which meant someone who my husband would be working with met us at the airport and arranged for our lodging and getting us settled in for the first few weeks. He drove a work van to the airport and talked most of the way from the airport. Hubby carried on a conversation with him while I stared out the windows wondering how this was ever going to feel like home.
When we were dropped off at the Navy Lodge that night we checked in and were shown our room. It was down a dark hallway. On the way to the room we were shown where the bathrooms were and where the showers were. Women on one side, men on the other. Sort of like when you had gym class, those types of showers. The only t.v. was in the lounge at the end of the hall. Our room had a sink in it, a double bed and a small window, but it was quiet and it was ours. We sunk into bed and slept like you can only sleep after a trans-Pacific flight.
After a good night’s sleep, a shower, and fresh clothes we met our sponsor for breakfast. I can’t remember what that was, or where it was, all I know was the new day brought new energy and an excitement.
It did not take long for Japan to feel like home to us. The signs that were so strange on our arrival soon became friendly to us. The noise of the traffic and the crowds of people became the melody of our lives. We learned to move and flow with it. Trains were second nature to me as I did not drive while living there. I became familiar with the bus schedules, the bus stops, the train stations. There were very few boring days while living there.
I often wonder what it is like now. After watching the video last night of the Lodge, I smiled to myself. A kitchenette in each room, that was unheard of! A bathroom in each room, how wonderful! A television in the room, amazing! Plus, right before we left Japan, the Armed Forces Radio network brought us American television! So, there is no more watching American shows dubbed in Japanese!
Time changes so much. Things advance and improve and improve some more. I would surmise, though, the people of Japan are still like they were. They welcomed us and spoke with us and shared what they had with us. They are a part of my history, my story, my heart.
Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate you. Cathi (DAF)