Military stories from past to present, both wars.

I like young girls…

December 6th, 2007 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

Back in Okinawa in 1994, Jim Adams, my faithful side kick, got me involved in a group called Okinawa plus 50. It was going to be the reunion of Marines and Soldiers from WWII and their Japanese counterparts. A good will gesture as the fiftieth anniversary was coming up. Being part of this committee was very interesting since some of the old guys had no desire to bury the hatchet with the Japanese. That’s a different story.

In the course of attending a few of these meetings, a LtCol, with a real zest for history, invited Jim and me to attend a special dinner. The guest was Arocki Toboson or something like that, and he had been a Kamikaze pilot in the tail end of WWII. Well, he obviously wasn’t a successful Kamikaze pilot if we were having dinner with him, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to drive down for the visit. Mind you, this was in the All Hands Club at Camp Kinser, which, in traffic, would be about a forty-minute drive.

Jim and I dressed up in our green Alpha’s and off we went. There were many officers there when we arrived, and only being Captains, we were seated down the table from this older Japanese man who occupied the head seat with his twenty-five-year-old interpreter. LtCol History boy occupied most of the conversation during the night with his vast knowledge of what the Japanese were doing during those last days of the war. It went like this—you would ask a question to the young girl, and she would ask Arockison and he would answer in soft Japanese, after which she would then reply. We found out that his mother was an American who married his father in 1925, and moved back to Japan with him. Even though she had assimilated into the culture, during the war they had her under house arrest, and she didn’t leave her house for almost five years.

Arockison talked about his early flight training, or lack there of, and how the war ended before they could strap a plane on him. So what does an out of work Kamikaze pilot do after the war? He becomes a dentist, one of the most successful dentists in Southern Japan. I guess he would dive into those mouths screaming “BONZI!” Old Arockison took a liking to Jim and me, especially since I was a pilot, and he thought Jim was too with his gold parajump wings on his left chest. At the conclusion of the dinner Q and A, his interpreter asked if Jim and I could drop them off at their hotel in downtown Naha. I think the Colonel was rebuffed that he didn’t get asked, but volunteered us to do this task. That was about to add another hour of driving in the crappy gridlock traffic that Okinawa enjoys.

As we get settled into Jim’s van, Arockison exhaled loudly and said in slightly accented English, “Oh man, am I glad to get away from that suck butt Colonel.” I just about had a heart attack when I realized that he spoke English. Holy crap, what did we talk about back there that he could have heard? We both spin around with a total look of disbelief. He smiles and says, “Don’t look that way, I told you all that my mother was American so, of course she taught me to speak English.” I spewed out, “What gives with the interpreter and not speaking English tonight? We wanted to ask more questions, but it was tough to get in line for the Q and A.” He patted his “Interpreter” on the leg. “See, first of all, isn’t she beautiful? I just love looking at her. Second, if she wasn’t there, then guys like that Colonel who think they know it all about the war would never let me get a bite of dinner. She and I chatted, and I made her do all the hard work while I was able to eat. See, very smart no?”

I had to agree with his method and got a chuckle when he made us promise to never tell his secret or the LtCol would lose face. We promised and exchanged cards that night, a big deal in their society, and said goodnight. He told us that he may call us up some time on his next visit to the island.

A month later, my phone rang and it was Arockison. “Tacoson, I want you and Jimson to be my guest on a boat cruise next Saturday. Are you available?” I said, “yes” for both Jim and I and got directions on where to meet him. In closing he said, “Also, please wear your Dress Blues; it’s a bit formal.” My enthusiasm for the boat trip dropped, as it was August, and thick Dress Blues didn’t mesh well with the 100-degree heat and the 100% humidity on the Island. You could hard-boil an egg inside your uniform with that kind of heat.

That Saturday, we piled into Jim’s van and took off for the Japanese Naval base on the other side of the Island by the Sea of Japan. As we approached the dock where the Japanese Cruiser was located, the sentry on duty checked our names against his list and waved us through to the VIP parking close to the ship. Leaving the comfortable air conditioning of the van, we put on our Dress Blue blouse and donned our white covers. The sweat started to pour out of our tightly shaven heads as we walked up the gangway to the ship. A whistle started blowing as we reached the top; both of us smartly saluted the back of the ship where the Japanese Flag was hanging before saluting the Officer on duty. In front of us was a long line of Japanese Officers from the ships’ Captain to an Admiral and standing at the end of the Congo line was Arockison. After a million bows and card exchanges, Arockison takes us down to the Officer’s wardroom for refreshments.

“So, how do you like this ship?” We were now cooling off a bit from the heat as he handed us a shot of sake. The first shot was a bit rough, but as they kept coming, I didn’t notice the heat of the uniform as much. He explained that the Admiral was the son of one his best friends from Kamikaze school, and this little trip out in the Sea of Japan was to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Japanese Self defense force. Jim and I noticed that we were the only Americans on board and it made me wonder how we managed this coup. After two hours of steaming out to sea, they put on a show of the different weapon systems and their capabilities while we stood in the wind on the bridge of the ship. Leaning over me, Arockison shouts in my ear, “I like young girls” as he pats his chest with a big smile on his face. I reply that I like my girls to be young, but not under the age of 21. He shakes his head fiercely and a bit tipsy like me says, “NO! You don’t understand, I LIKE YOUNG GIRLS!” I understood him the first time and then it dawned on me; he must be some pervert who thought Jim and I could hook him up or something. “I’m sorry Arockison, I like young girls too, but I don’t know any young girls for you.” I’m convinced he wants some dependant daughter with blonde hair. Great, we were trapped on a Jap cruiser with a drunken 70-year-old Kamikaze pervert.
He sways a bit and comes back in close again, “No, you don’t understand, I want you and Jim to meet my young girlfriend when we get back. We will go to my club in Naha; there you will see my young girlfriend.” Folks, don’t ask me what this guy was up to, but he took a shine to two Marines and we were being invited to hang out and experience the culture. “Oh by the way, do you have a nice suit to wear?”

Later that night, we met Arockison at the Suntory Whiskey building in downtown Naha. True to his word, there was a young twenty-five-year-old girl in the full kimono dress standing next to him in his fresh suit. We entered the elevator and with his special key, went to the top floor of the swankiest Gishi girl establishment you’ve ever seen with the Momma son standing there waiting for us as the doors opened. Now, all sorts of things were going through my mind as to what a Gishi girl’s job was. Whorehouse, Cat-house? Wow, we were really dressed up for that. Well, fear not, turns out that the Japanese Ego is about as thin as OJ Simpson’s murder defense and requires lots of boosting. All they do is talk. Jim and I both had a girl on each arm that escorted us into the main room. There were little booths
all around, filled with older gentlemen sipping their whiskey and talking to their girls. Our gals asked what we wanted to drink and then prepared our Vodka Tonic. I was feeling like a stud as this girl who spoke great English, pumped my ego up to where I might not get my head through the door. “Oh you must be berry berry smart to be a peelot” “Oh feel those big muscles in your arms, I like strong men.” Comments like that all night.

They had a gent playing the piano in a suit and tie not far from us. Turns out, you would go up there and pick a song and sing with him as he played the piano. Piano Karaoke, crazy Japs really know how to have fun. I got up and sang Elvis, Blue Suede shoes. Hard to keep time with a guy banging away on the piano and be in tune, but I guess I did a great job because all the old guys would come up afterwards and tell me, “You Sing Elvis, berry guot, next time pease sing All Hooked up.”
My young girl told me later that Arockison considered Jim and I his Gaijin pilot sons. “Wow, I’m really honored, how cool.” Thinking that having a rich old pervert Japanese dad wasn’t such a bad thing. She then told me that we must be special because in the three years she had worked there, this was the first time she had ever seen a military person in the house. I asked her why and she said, “Well, it’s very expensive here, each girl cost $200 dollars an hour plus the liquor. I about spit my drink out when she told me this. Arockison was paying $600.00 dollars an hour to have some young girl pump his ego up plus take care of his two Marine sons the same way…talk, talk, talk. For Six hundred dollars an hour, I should have more then my ego pumped up, but hey, that is their culture and I was just a guest. I didn’t even get a phone number from my gal.

We ended up going with him a couple more times before we transferred back to the states. I heard that he passed away a few years ago, and I’ll relish those interesting memories of a culture that will always fascinate me. Who says that you can’t dress a Marine up and take him out? Just learn to sing Elvis and the world is your Oyster.