Category Archives: Travel

Land of the Rising Sun and the culture-shocked occidental

Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa2Everyone should go to Asia before he dies — if for no other reason than to experience true culture shock.

In 1951, during the Korean War,  the Army landed us at Yokohama Harbor. As we trooped down the gangplank and prepared to enter a convoy of olive drab buses, our sergeant yelled: “Anybody need to heed the call of nature?!” Several hands went up. He then formed us into a circle in the middle of the street and said: “Okay, go to it.”

“Right in the street?” inquired a timid voice.

“It’s okay,” answered the sergeant. “Local custom. Nobody will mind.”

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Filed under History, Japan, Military history, Travel