Memories

Yesterday at church I had someone tell me they were enjoying my blog, especially the posts about Japan. I hear that about Japan often. I am always thrilled when people like what I am posting, it is so encouraging to me.

On the way home from church I mentioned to Dale the comment made. In my mind I traveled back to our time in Japan and tried to remember more details. What I found in our Navy travels is although each duty station was new and full of unexplored things, after about six months, it just became home. Our lives were similar to what they are now, cooking, cleaning, laundry and trips to the grocery store.

We lived in three homes in Japan. Our final move was our permanent quarters. The housing area was one we waited for. It was Nagai Navy Housing. Set up on a plateau, it was a converted WW II, Japanese airstrip. There were two wide roads in this area and at the end of one of the roads , where we lived was the curved part of the runway. I often wondered what it was like during the war and how many planes took off and how many did not return. Growing up as a daughter of someone who served in WW II, my view of Japan was a bit altered. They were the enemy. Initially, I was not thrilled to be assigned there. All I could remember was geography classes that talked about the way the Japanese farmed. I didn’t pay much attention then, as I truly thought I would never leave my birthplace. I figured anything I learned in geography did not pertain to NW Pennsylvania, so therefore it didn’t pertain to me. Little did I know then.

Where our little duplex was situated was at the end of the one of the roads. We were the only house there. A fire department was a few feet away from our neighbors side of the duplex. On our side was a small commissary which was convenient. In front of our house was a large grassy area. It was quiet.

The front of our little home with our little green Datsun.

As I looked for photos today, I realized with time and a terrible photographer, (me) the pictures look ancient.

It was a typical occupation style home. The bathroom had a dip in the center of the room, the shower was stainless steel, as was the toilet. Whenever I scrubbed the bathroom, water would pool in the dip and I would end up sopping it up with a towel.

The view though, was incredible. Our Japanese neighbors were farmers and daily I would see them carrying things across their shoulders as they went from home to the fields, which was rice in the winter and watermelon in the summer. Our neighborhood adjacent to the housing area was nice.

The field on the other side of our home, a work truck and the neighborhood.

The best part of our view was Mt. Fuji. Opening up the curtains each morning was a glorious view of this mountain. Majestic in all seasons, clouded in the summer months and with snow on top in the fall and winter.

taken from a finger lake at the base of Mt. Fuji

I never expected to have such an adventure in my life. It was only for three years, but those years held so much for me. As I looked upon this sacred mountain, as it is referred to, I would often hear this scripture “I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?  My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 (NKJV)

This view would bring me peace and assurance. I looked at this when I was homesick for family, friends and familiarity, I would begin to remember as my dear Dale has said so often. God cuts the orders, Uncle Sam just pays for them. We were there for a season and a purpose and a lifetime of memories. We left a country we loved and the people we loved when we flew back to the states in 1979.

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