May 9th, 2017
From time to time, we all have “One of those kinda Days.” I had such a day July of 1981.
I had fourteen months remaining of my four years active duty in the Marine Corp. I had received orders to spend my last year overseas in a country called Iwakuni Japan. Upon receipt of the news, I was a little discouraged because I enjoyed my time in North Carolina. However, I embraced the journey of my last year of duty. I started doing a little bit of research about the culture of the Japanese people. I learned basic phrases from fellow Marines that had already gone abroad. I practiced basic words like hello, thank you, good afternoon, good morning, and good evening. I was still one month away from leaving for Japan.
Before I departed North Carolina, I wrote a couple of letters to let friends know, who were already overseas, that I would be joining them shortly. I then went home on military leave to visit family and friends, before my tour, since I would be away from home for a whole year.
JAPAN, HERE I COME
The day finally arrived to be dropped off at Detroit Metro Airport to make my long drawn out trip. It was imperative that I make all of my connecting flights. I needed to pay close attention to my itinerary so I would not make the mistake of missing any flights. If I did miss any connecting flights and did not arrive on time, I would be deemed AWOL (absent without leave). Nothing like a little bit of stress, right?
Let me tell you this, it was a very long drawn out lengthy trip I had ever traveled. To pass time, I practiced and recited my basic words as I sat in the seat of the plane. I calculated I would arrive early morning in Iwakuni Japan. Tired and exhausted, I decided to use only one phrase, “Good Morning,” which in Japanese is pronounced “Ohayo gozaimaus.”
My plane landed in Okinawa Japan, where I had to make one last connecting flight. I was terribly exhausted because I’ve been up for more than 30 hours straight. My mental clarity was dwindling with each passing second. I boarded a smaller airplane to take me to my final destination.
I sat patiently in the aircraft anticipating the end of my trip, but my patience started leaning towards irritable because I was overtired. One other reason, I drank too much water in Okinawa because I was parched! The plane ride was a little longer than I anticipated. My irritability combined with worry, and stress because I realized there was not a restroom in our commuter plane. My discomfort was so intense, I almost stood up and performed my rendition of The Irish Riverdance in front of the other passengers. I quickly changed my mind and sat still, moving was not in my best interest.
I NEED RELIEF
Finally, the wheels of the airplane hit the runway — hard — landing in Iwakuni! That didn’t help my predicament. I glanced at my watch, 7 a.m. We taxied off the runway to our gate. The moment we were allowed to leave, I bolted off the plane and entered a miniature terminal to find a restroom. I was so overjoyed when I spotted one in the distance, but my happiness subsided when I saw the “Out of Order” sign dangling on the door! I stood there in disbelief asking my Heavenly Father if I had failed him in some way? I looked over at the women’s restroom in desperation only to view female passengers entering.
SO MUCH FOR JAPANESE WORDS
I made the decision to leave the terminal and hope for the best. I won’t lie, when I walked outside, I looked for tall shrubs and trees. Guess what? I’m on a military base. Nothing but an ocean of concrete everywhere. “Now WHAT?” I thought to myself. I looked up and saw a little old Japanese man crossing the street. In my moment of desperation, I raised my hand to attract attention as I approached the old fella to ask him if he would kindly direct me to a restroom. I completely ignored all the basic Japanese words I had learned because of my delicate situation.
The kind old man raises his right hand and says, “Ohayo!”
I interpreted the man saying, “Ohio.”
I, with a puzzled look, said, “No, I’m from Michigan! What makes you think I’m from Ohio? I don’t care where you think I’m from; I need a restroom! Can you help me?”
What he was saying to me was morning. Not good morning or Ohayo gozaimasu in its entirety. He used the shortened version like we would greet one another, Japanese-Ohayo or English-morning.
The poor Japanese guy who could not speak English returned a puzzled look towards me and left my presence cautiously mumbling words under his breath, which, to me, sounded like a suzuki engine, unnnnnn da da da da unnnnnn da da da da. Looking back, he must have thought, what is the matter with that jackwagon?
There I was, standing in a foreign land, about to have an accident I’ve not had since wearing a diaper. When surprisingly, I looked up and saw a familiar face across the road from where I was standing. I quickly marched towards my friend like I was a deranged pit bull ready for battle. My friend looked up at me smiling as he was about to speak. I shut him down and said, “RESTROOM, NOW! WHERE!”
It ended well, I made it, but barely. I explained to my friends the whole ordeal, which was not an intelligent move on my part. I spent the better part of the year greeted on a daily basis by my Marine brothers raising their hand and vocalizing their home state, accompanied by a little unique jiggy dance.
Friends can be so caring and compassionate towards one another.
John is currently an Electrical Skilled Tradesman for the University of Michigan. He has over 32 years experience in his field. He resides in Southern Michigan with his wife, Maryann. He spent four years in the Marine Corp as a 7011 (Aircraft Launch & Recovery Tech). After his tour, he completed a four-year Inside Wireman Electrical Apprenticeship with I.B.E.W. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).
At a very young age, John developed a love for reading and hoarding books and has continued to do so. It wasn’t uncommon to see him writing notes about something. John believes inspiration comes from an intentional reading of the word and following the Lord. He feels it encourages better living and thinking.
When John is not working, writing, and reading, he is trying his best at being a husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, friend, and uncle. On occasion, you’ll see him making sausage and jerky or fermenting cabbage and pickles. He is always put in charge of making Hungarian Goulash over an open pit fire. No one else is allowed!
“My goal is to foster traditional family community and common sense thinking.”
“I enjoy reading books about personal life experiences. When people are at their lowest, broken point, and then making a victorious comeback.”
John C. Gyorki
John is new to the writing and blogging world
You can join him at ThinkerMe.com or email at john@ThinkerMe.com
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