Continued from my earlier post Welcome Home: Guam 2002 (part 4). I liked this e-mail my husband sent to his parents. His feet hurt so badly sometimes that he pays our children to rub them.
“2/19/03: Hello Home, We just pulled out of port and I had a wonderful time. I always seem to try to immerse myself in the local culture a little more than the people that I am with want to, but, hey, you only live once. I learned that Chinese is difficult but still…making the attempt is worth it every time.
I was waiting for three of the guys on my detachment to get haircuts when I saw a place next door to get a foot rub. They are everywhere here, and I had the time, so I gave it a try. These three Chinese women came out and proceeded to yatter away in Mandarin. I gave it a shot, and they all went crazy. It turned out that they are all trying to learn English, so we were a perfect match. This one lady proceeded to put the most excruciating hurting on my feet that I have ever felt (much less paid for), and the other two practiced their English. It was a blast. Halfway through the conversation I accidentally said, ‘Hai’ for yes, and the lady asked me if I spoke Japanese (in Japanese). It was so cool; we blundered our way through one of the greatest conversations I have ever had – in three languages. Just about the time it was over, my three pilots came in to get me. By now they probably think I am nuts, but it doesn’t matter because I take care of them, and they think I am smart (got ’em fooled). A little while later I bought this really neat Chinese mandolin. I will learn what it is really called later. It sounds kind of like a banjo with an oriental twang. Zai Jian, G8r”
Continued from my earlier post Our First Overseas Adventure: Japan 2000 (part 10).
“4/8/01 Hello, Home, I always debate as to whether I am going to tell everyone what is going on because things change so much in the Navy; you never know if things will turn out the way you want or expect. On that note, I am going to tell you what our current situation is and what we are trying to do. I found out last month that there is an O-4 with orders to replace me in June of this year. That means that I have an opportunity to leave here 6 months early. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, and initially I did not want to leave because after June I would get to spend the whole summer with SR and the kids. I didn’t want to roll straight from here, zip through the Fleet Replacement Squadron (helicopter training) and then right back out to sea. That would also change when I went to San Diego and make it so that I would be flying H-46’s…bad. Well, our Air Boss made a suggestion that I couldn’t believe; he said, ‘Well, why don’t you just go to the Wing in San Diego and help them set up the H-60 (the Navy’s Army Blackhawk) program?’ It is too good to be true. The ship is behind my early release, and I have talked to the detailer (the guy who writes my orders), and he is going to try to make it happen. Here is the plan: Detach from Sasebo July 20 and go straight to Florida for 30 days leave en route. We would spend the summer visiting (SR would also like to see her mom and sisters) as well as going to Pensacola to check out the house. Following leave we would go to the Wing in San Diego until January 21, 2002. Then I would learn to fly H-60’s for 5 months and then go to Guam. We could take 30 days leave on the way to Guam if we wanted to. We’ll see – you know how things went last time we tried to go to San Diego. I am trying to check into NAS North Island in Coronado before school starts there so that the kids would get a whole year there before going to Guam. This is great because it doesn’t change my timeline and I still get to fly 60’s. This hasn’t happened yet, so I can’t get my hopes up, but this is a nice alternative to staying here and going to sea in the fall. In other news, things here are great. I love being back with SR and the kids, and once again have fallen into the coaching role (if only for two weeks). Yesterday, Jay’s base team played against the Japanese team he used to be on. It was a very good game even though the Japanese team won 12 to 6. Jay pitched the last half of the game and allowed only 2 runs. He is a thinker and threw some amazing trash at those poor kids. Our first pitcher throws much faster than Jay, but he is 12 and about twice his weight. He also throws the ball in the same place every time. Jay, on the other hand, had them swinging at balls that landed ten feet out in front of them and then watched strikes go by. In one case I told him to look out for one of their batters (their best player hitter who hit a home run off of the first pitcher), so Jay threw him four balls. He could have ben a little less obvious, but it was funny. One ball must have gone 20 feet in the air! Mr DL and Lulu are on the same team… the Angels. SR loves it and is so proud that her team is doing well (especially since some of the parents are starting to complain about the crummy coaching of the first team they were on). I think she is doing a great job. Mr. DL is having a blast, and all he wants to do now is play catch and hit balls off of the tee. Lulu is having fun too and is getting a little more caught up in the game because the poor girl is outnumbered especially now that SR is coaching. I am on watch now and it has been a busy night. It is time to go to sleep, so I will bid you goodnight. G8r”
“6/25/01 I hope you liked the e-mail from Jay. We had a fantastic time on that golf course, and he loved the fact that I lost more balls than he did. We finally received orders and are slated to depart here in early August. I really enjoyed reading your e-mails about the farm and how the hay season is going. It makes me miss home, and I can’t wait to get back there. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t having fun here though. The Japanese are some of the nicest people I have ever dealt with. I see where they can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t speak the language, but my Japanese has really improved since I got back. I love watching the looks on their faces when I start talking to them. They generally light up and smile although a couple of times they have just laughed because I used the wrong word (just a couple of times). I saw a comedy routine once where a young Chinese guy steps onto the stage and starts talking with a wicked Tennessee accent. Sometimes I wonder if that’s how I come across. Oh well, we are having fun, and I am going to try to schedule a trip to Mount Fuji before we leave. G8r”
Continued from my earlier post Our First Overseas Adventure: Japan 2000 (part 8).
“1/10/01 (to G8r’s parents) On January 7 we went with the Sasebo baseball team to the Hachiman Shrine to be ‘blessed.’ We had a 10:00 reservation and got the whole show. We all walked into the shrine area in front of an alter/stage and stairway to where the spirits come down. It was open behind us and the termperature was quite cold so luckily we were bundled up. The priest came out and prayed to a stick covered with white paper strips that was standing in the corner. Then he picked up the stick, shook the paper at a small baby then at some businessman and then at the baseball team. After that he sat down and a girl did some sort of a dance with some bells while another girl beat on a Japanese drum. I know I am not going into great detail but it was fairly simple and this is about it. Describing this makes me wonder about how a Japanese person might describe our communion ceremony. After the bell girl finished, we all drank about a milliliter of sake out of a dish and we were done. The kids all say ‘Hi!’ and miss you. I leave to go out to sea on Monday the 15th. I’ll be in and out for the next five months. Love, G8r”
“3/31/01 Hello, Home, I thought you would like this. SR has volunteered to coach Lulu and Mr DL’s tee-ball team. Lulu and Mr DL were originally on another team, but SR didn’t care for the coach’s attitude. When Mr DL showed up with his helmet the coach told him he couldn’t wear it. She said that he had to wear one of the ratty old issued ones. Well,…that wasn’t a good start for Mr DL or SR. Things went down hill from there and culmintaed in SR sending me an e-mail about how upset whe was. The next day she found out that there was another team that needed a coach so she decided to jump right in again. I am looking forward to helping her, but I know she will do great because of all the time she spent helping me. It’s really all about stickers and letting the kids have fun anyway. Last week I received an e-mail from the Commodore of Helicopter Tactical Wing Pacific informing me that he was happy that I was going to Guam. It was nice to receive something that personal from someone so high up. We pull back into Sasebo next week for two weeks before going down to Australia. It sounds neat but I am forgetting what home is like. More later… Love, G8r”
“3/30/01 Hey, G8r, Just a couple more days! Let me know when you are going to be able to get off the ship. We got our uniforms for the t-ball team before practice yesterday. We are the Hario Angels. So, I have Angels in the Outfield! I went on line and found the Anaheim Angels’ website and got the team logo and made up labels with the kids’ names and put them on their shirts. So, I had those to hand out first thing at practice, and all of the kids immediately put on their shirts and hats. I know all but 2 kids (mostly from teaching at the school); that is nice to already know them and what to expect from them. We have a few hyper kids and a few that are really shy. Most are really happy kids. First thing, we ran around the bases a couple of times to get them calmed down so I could talk to them. The I showed them how to run through 1st, and they each did that. Then I put all but one in the in-field, Jay at first, and they each pretended to bat and run to 1st while I threw the ball out to the fielders. The runner tried to beat the ball to Jay at 1st. The I line them up to show them how to stand at first going to 2nd. That’s about all I could get them to do with the bases yesterday, so I then lined them up across from one another and had them roll grounders to one another. Then I went over some rules with them which probably went over their heads; I also had typed something up and passed it out to the parents so they would know what the refs would be calling during the games. It is a lot less structured than Florida. No strikes, all 13 players play in the field (extras play in the outfield), no score kept, etc. I have some initial ideas about some positions; I am going to have them take the field and have them rotate as batters and practice batting and base-running at the next practice. I am hoping I can get several parents to help them at the bases. We will work on run-through and turn and look, although that may come later in the season and most will need to be looking at the 1st base coach’s signal. Lulu went on a field trip with her Brownie troop today to Hirado Island. Mr DL and Jay and I are going out to the field now to play around. Mr DL want s to hit off of the T. See you soon, SR”