Saturday, April 10, 2010
My buddy is ex-Navy who spent four years stationed at Yokosuka Navy base. He said he could get me on base with offers of `American beer, American food, and Taco Bell.` Hell, I would be damn stupid to pass on such an offer.I have not eaten `real` American food in a long time; McDonald`s does not count. I have gotten too used to eating Japanese food and half-ass attempts at American food. So off I went to the Nazi Camp, I mean US military base, with an ex-sailor.
I showed up late but my sailor buddy did not seem to mind much. He was busy trying to handle two high maintenance chicks and a grumpy hungry two year old baby. He was happy to see my ass when I flagged him down at the train station. He finally had him some back-up so to speak. After a quick hand shake and smile of relief, he lead me about two blocks away to meet up with his ball and chain, her friend and his cute but hungry two year old child. He them hauled the gang off to the base.
Now, remember I have not been around anything directly tied to the United States in several years. I completely forgot my home culture is filled with a boot licking, crazed, everyone is shit and a terrorist Nazi-like mind set. Stepping onto a US military base in Japan only throws me head first into the New-American mentality. I was excited as I was watchful and cautious. My Ex-Navy buddy knew the drill much better than me. I have been spoiled with complete freedom of movement and privacy; with only getting harassed by board Japanese police once or twice a year. We rolled up on the base and low and behold I need to be toe tagged before setting foot on US owned soil. I can understand the need for some kind of permission to enter a military base but the manner of going about it is a little unnerving. My Ex-Navy buddy said to me, `Stay cool man. I will handle this.` He gets some kind of strange form requiring me to report my nationality, current address and other such personal information. They wanted me to submit to a biometric shake down but my buddy got me out of it by saying, `It`s cool he is an American living in Japan and not a threat.` The butch looking Navy gal gave me a look of malice only given to enemies of the state; which in her mind was most likely anyone not enlisted. She ended up giving me a slip of paper with my picture on it saying I was `cool` and away me went.
When I finally got into the base I felt a wash on strange comfort come over me. I could feel American culture all around me but something was off. It was like some kind of weird simulation of American for some spy training camp. Everything look and operated a bit too perfect. At first I felt pretty good but soon a felt comfort yet confused and a silent paranoia. That`s when it hit me: I am right in the middle of US territory. It had been a long time to experience a taste of my own culture.
After a bit of time freaking out on my surroundings I decided to get what I could out of a day at the base. My Ex-Navy buddy got us on a bus and hauled us off to a food court. While I can get crap like KCF, McDonalds, or Burger King(which is kind of good) the really good American fast food is denied to me by the Japanese. Well, when we rolled up on the food court my eyes could only focus on one thing; Taco Bell! I must admit I ate like a starved pig. I may have ordered 1/3 of the menu. It was a bad call but a tasty one. The ladies in our company were taken back by my viking like feasting.
The next stop in this strange trip was the PX. The PX is very different from any old-school image in my head. It was like a military version of Wal-Mart. Stocked full of all the usual suspects of American consumerism. To my credit, I did not go into a spending spree like the zombie creature known as the American consumer. I only bought food and beer. I had to indulge myself in some `real` American food. I bought a soft shell taco kit, a four pack of Mac&Cheese, five cans of winners in a can and a six pack of Ice House beer. I was happy with my haul.
The day ended at a on-base bar with some good conversation. My buddy and I discussed our troubles over a few beers. Overall, a day at the base was interesting and good for me; despite the square atmosphere.