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Japan Diary, 16 July 1983 - 31 July 1983

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16 July 1983 (Sat): My, my, somebody vandalized the duty truck. I suppose they’ll blame me, because I didn’t use it and park it at the barracks. I am just too tired to go to Tokyo. There are things that need to be done here anyway. I could have mentioned one of my shoes nearly falling apart last night. I bought another pair at the Exchange this morning. Before that, I started defrosting the refrigerator and made iced coffee. On my way out for lunch, I bought Yen at the Club Alliance. Lunch itself was at Ryu-En. The choice of dish narrowed down to scrambled eggs with shrimp or scrambled eggs with ham. I chose the former in case I want fillet katsu for supper. The scrambled eggs with shrimp weren’t bad, but it was even better the first time I had it. This time they used a little more salt than necessary. After lunch, I did some quick shopping at Saikaya, buying bread & pastry at Pompadour. Then, back to the barracks for housekeeping chores. Before actually having supper, I bought some mailing envelopes at Seiyu. Since I had shrimp at lunch, my original intention was to have fillet katsu for supper, but I was no longer in the mood for that, so I wound up at Pinocchio for a salami pizza and crab salad, both of which were delicious. On the way back to base, I remembered to buy milk, which I had forgotten to do at lunch time. And so, back to the barracks, for more housekeeping chores.
17 July 1983 (Sun): On examining the Tour Companion and careful consideration of the matter, I’ve decided to stay in town and relax today. I won’t be going any farther than Yokohama, and perhaps not even that far, because there is no pressing need to go there. I could have supper in Kamakura at Saint Tropez. For lunch, I had the fillet katsu, at Shindo, I didn’t have yesterday. In honor of the season, I received a tenugui as a thank-you gift. From there to Yajima. Although I was sorely tempted to buy more than one record, I settled for the reissue of the Tchaikovsky & Mendelssohn violin concertos by Heifetz. If they had had a recording of Dvorak’s Symphony #6, I probably would have bought it. On the way back to the base, I bought the next larger size of mailing envelopes at Seiyu. I worked on the much-delayed tape for Mother, but wasn’t able to finish it because of a headache. It turned out that I didn’t leave town at all. I went to the mini-mart for bleach, an Analog [science fiction magazine], and a Japan Times. Supper was at Alaska. The bento in the display case aren’t on the English menu, but I had a seafood combination dinner, which looked good and was very good. The waiters seem to find foreigners amusing. I was aware that supper put me over budget for the day, but even so, I was under budget for the weekend. And so, back to the barracks.
18 July 1983 (Mon): Errand to run at lunch time. I ate at Genroku Sushi. No saba or kohada, but I did get a plate of hamachi. Also, I tried the higher-priced ebi(1), but I didn’t care for it. The errand was to mail the envelope of newspaper clippings and sheets from Idemitsu to Mother. I had forgotten that the A33 is closed on Mondays and so had to take a taxi (from the main gate) to the main post office. Afternoon at the office was frantic and thoroughly unpleasant. On the way to the station [Shioiri], Sakamoto-san gave me a lift. She had returned to the office for her umbrella. She doesn’t go by Chuo, but I was able to catch the tokkyu before the 1657 kaiso tokkyu. I forgot to check the kiosk for a paper. I’ll have time to do it in Yokohama. Got one. As I had planned, I had supper at Botejyu in Lumine, the deluxe "modern" yaki (a combination of okonomi-yaki & yakisoba). Yum! Afterward, while down in the Delicious Market, I saw some appetizing parfaits in the display case at Puti (sic–I’m sure they mean "petite") Lumine. It was made with excellent frozen yogurt and was delicious. Now, I’m on the bus. I got a ride back all the way to the barracks.
(1) The most common type of shrimp in sushi has been boiled. The more expensive shrimp is raw.
19 July 1983 (Tue): Chinese food for lunch, at Chuka Hanten. I tried the take(1) teishoku (one dish, rice, & soup), which was tasty. No time for shopping afterward. I got off work early. Instead of going out immediately, I took a uniform and some dirty clothes back to the barracks. While there, it occurred to me that this would be a good opportunity to at least look at headphones. The most promising set looked like one by Pioneer. The sales clerk took it into the Nakamichi display area for me to try. The Nakamichi rep (a gaijin) wanted me to try/compare a set of Nakamichi headphones that retailed at A-33 for $37 and which he said cost $102 list in the states. They aren’t worth even close to $102. They didn’t sound a bit better than the Pioneer headphones, didn’t fit as well, and I didn’t like the padding. I had only intended to look at and check headphones, but I bought the Pioneer set, and so had to return to the barracks before going out to supper. I wanted to try the chicken teriyaki at Fujiya, but they didn’t have it, so I ordered the seafood fry and a tuna salad. The two made a good meal. Then I went to Monsieur Tarte, forgetting that it is closed on Tuesdays. For a moment I pondered the places where I could buy confectioneries and recalled that I hadn’t tried any of Giraud’s goods. That’s where I bought my goodies. Then, back to the barracks. The three things I tried were not great, but they were tasty.
(1) That’s the 2-syllable Japanese word for "bamboo," not the 1-syllable English word
20 July 1983 (Wed): Today I was hungry for katsudon, so I went to Shindo for their jo tamago katsudon. It was delicious! There was some initial frustration about where I should have supper. Eventually, on considering the 50 Yen place, I got the idea of ordering hamachi sashimi to go with a tempura moriawase (included chawan mushi(1) & rice). If they didn’t have hamachi, I would order katsuo tataki [bonito seared on the outside]. They did have the hamachi and it was great. The whole meal was excellent. This time, Monsieur Tarte was open and I bought a few goodies. Today was a good day for food. The confections from M. T. were delicious.
(1) A Japanese savory custard with veggies, small shrimp, & chicken white meat.
21 July 1983 (Thu): I was in a mood for noodles today. Spaghetti is a sort of noodle, so I ate lunch at Hippo. No experiments–I had the spaghetti with Italian sauce & meatballs. Afterward, I did some quick shopping at Seiyu. They had a good buy on 6-packs of peaches, but they all seemed dead ripe and it would take me a while to eat six peaches. They also had some Tiger brand mangoes, and I bought one of those. I also bought a carton of vanilla Liebender ice cream, which is mainly why I went to Seiyu. Just in case I forget to buy a bar of soap at the Exchange after work, I bought a bar of soap in Seiyu. As planned, supper was at Kujakuen–chicken with bean sauce and hot/sour soup. Yum. I bought goodies at Mister Donut. I tried a new kind–apple pie (turnover, actually). It isn’t bad, but is sweeter than necessary. And so, back to the barracks, with a stop for milk along the way.
22 July 1983 (Fri): Although I wasn’t in a hurry, I ate lunch at Genroku Sushi because I was hungry for sushi. They had a new type of sushi, which was bright red (not maguro) and resembled meat more than fish. It tasted pretty good. I still couldn’t tell what it was, though. Eating lunch at Genroku Sushi left me with plenty of time, so I went over to Saikaya for a bottle of mandarin orange juice. I’ll wait until tomorrow to buy coffee & tea. I nearly bought a peach, but I haven’t had any nectarines this year, so I bought a couple of nectarines. It has clouded over and is getting foggy. We’ll probably have rain by tonight aat the latest. The haze lingered, but the clouds departed, which is good. I’m now on my way to Kamakura. As planned, I had supper at Saint Tropez. To my surprise, they don’t have many a la carte entrees. The entree I wanted is included in the 1600 Yen dinner, so that’s what I had. It was excellent (pork stew entree). As before, the coffee was stronger than dirt. When I left Saint Tropez, it was only 1819, so I thought I would check Kinokuniya. They were open, so I went in. The Lindavia fruit juice was still/again on sale, so I bought a carton pf plum juice. I found several things I could use for this Sunday’s meals, so now I won’t have to buy a great deal of food in Tokyo tomorrow. I was tempted to buy a piece of the Pyrex on sale, but I didn’t. And so, back to the barracks.
23 July 1983 (Sat): On my way to Chuo Station this morning, I stopped at the city Post Office for stamps as part of an experiment. I mailed a letter this morning on base and then mailed a post card off base at the Post Office. I asked Mother to tell me when each arrives. I’m going to the Tourist Information Center via Shinagawa & Yurakucho. I bought a couple of newspapers on the way. It was drizzling in Yokosuka, so I didn’t think I’d be going to the "Great Space Shuttle Exhibition." By the time I got a Tour Companion at the TIC and took a look at the TC and the bulletin boards, it was after 1130. In Yukari’s display case, I saw an eggplant gratin set and decided to try that. It makes a tasty meal. The coffee wasn’t included in the set, though. Having had coffee at Yukari, I didn’t eat dessert at Cafe Latin because I would have crepe and all their crepes are sets with coffee or tea. I had dessert, a "strawberry fruits" at Tropical Sun in Mitsukoshi. There hadn’t been any rain in Tokyo, so I headed for Nihonbashi. The "outside" part of the exhibition was under cover, so the rain wasn’t a problem. The exhibit was quite interesting, and I did indeed get to touch a moon rock (the line was long, but they kept is moving quickly). It feels like a smooth rock. At the exhibit I bought a catalog for K***** and photos and a medallion key chain for Mother. After the exhibition, back to Ginza to shop for food. In Mitsukoshi, I bought a can of pumpkin soup, ice coffee, tea bags, some fish terrine ((they had it again), and some mushi-keki. Then, I went to Matsuya for Takano red grape juice, but alas, they were out. At that point, I didn’t really know what I would do next. It was a bit early for supper. I returned to Mitsukoshi, but the Key coffee shop was full. After a few minutes, I decided that I could to justice to supper, so I went to Maharajah where I had a delicious meal. I tried their "soup of the day" and their raita. Then, back to Yokosuka, where I bought milk on the way back to the barracks.
24 July 1983 (Sun): Because I had duty, I couldn’t go anywhere. For lunch, I had the terrine, which was tasty, although not very filling; the vichyssoise, which was also tasty; and the nectarines, which were starting to wrinkle, but were very sweet & tasty. Back at the barracks, I had some of the meusli, which was very tasty (I also had a couple things that have been mentioned in past entries). For supper, I made sandwiches using the schrotmisch brot, the cheese, and the salami. It was all excellent. The pumpkin soup was delicious. I must buy more.
25 July 1983 (Mon): I didn’t really need a quick lunch, but it was about 1200, and I was too tired to ponder the matter to any extent. Therefore, I had lunch at Genroku sushi (I would probably have been in trouble if it had been full). Since I had the time to do some shopping, I went to Saikaya for more nectarines. I considered buying some more "American cherries" [bing cherries], but on examining them, it seemed that they had too many blemishes. After work, I felt too tired to go back to the barracks, change into civilian clothes (I didn’t have any at work), and go out for supper. I’ll eat left-overs. I have plenty.
26 July 1983 (Tue): HOT! Good grief. For lunch, I had subuta at Shindo. No shopping afterward. I had the rest of the Liebender ice cream back in the office. Perhaps I shouldn’t have hurried (I don’t need to be anywhere at any certain time), but I did make the 1657 kaiso tokkyu from Chuo Station. I’m going to Yokohama because I want a newspaper. I’ll also buy some Caravan coffee. As usual, I haven’t decided where I’ll eat supper. Once in Yokohama, the first order of business was a newspaper at a kiosk. I had considered having a potato pizza at Mr. Spud, but I realized that I had eaten cheese at supper the previous two days. I didn’t want to get tired of cheese [cheese is your friend]. I was close to the Caravan shop, so I went there and bought some Kilimanjaro (they were having a sale on everything). That still left me with the problem of where to have supper. I gravitated to Patio and gave up trying to think of something I couldn’t get in Yokosuka. I could have eaten at Maharajah, but the Ginza shop is better. I had hamachi sashimi and a tenpura teishoku at the Patio Osaka cuisine restaurant. There were some temporary counters in the "lounge" area. One of them was selling some sort of cakes. I tried a couple of samples and the coffee-flavored cakes were good, so I bought a bag. On my way past the Morozoff counter near the entrance to Diamond shopping center, I realized that it had been ages since I had a cup of Morozoff "purin" [flan]. I bought one so I could rectify that situation. That put me close enough to my budget limit that I considered it advisable to return to Yokosuka. And so, back to the barracks.
27 July 1983 (Wed): The barber shop on base has been inundated with (by?) Marines this week. I despaired of getting a haircut on base and decided to have it done in Town. I went to "Barber Yukano" on the same block with Seiyu(1). I didn’t have any trouble making my needs known and got an excellent haircut and didn’t even have to wait. After the haircut, I went in to Seiyu and bought a mango and some hamachi sashimi (yes, again) to eat at the office. The mango looked okay on the outside, but was bad inside. Fortunately, I still had a nectarine at work. For supper, the trick was where to have a large supper for a relatively small sum of money. I could have done that at Genroku Sushi (or had sushi at the 50 Yen place), but I wanted a cooked supper, having had a cold lunch. I figured I could have a good meal at moderate cost at Kujakuen. I also tried to hold supper down to a cost that would allow me to buy milk and perhaps even a goody. As usual, I had an excellent supper at Kujakuen. I figured I would be most likely to get a low cost goody at Seiyu, where I could also buy milk. I was wrong about the milk–they were out. However, I did get a package of four buns or rolls of some sort at a price which would allow me to buy milk from the vending machine and still not go over the daily budget limit(2). And so, back to the barracks (via the milk machine).
(1) The barber shop was on the side street between Chuo O-Dori & Sennichi Dori on the Hwy. 16 side of Seiyu.
(2) The haircut out in town cost more than one on base would have.
28 July 1983 (Thu): Torisoba at Ryu-en sounded good for lunch, so that’s what I had. I had a 60 Yen kobanyaki for dessert. I had intended to buy records at A-33, but I had left my ID card in my inspection jumper. My "chaser card" got me through the gate, though(1). After work, I remembered to go back to my room to get my ID card. I went over to the Mini-Mart, since I was in the vicinity. I was able to get a Japan Times in addition to a couple of records and a few science fiction books. Then out to supper, which was unagi at Shindo. I was too full to have dessert out, but I did buy a couple cups of cassis sherbet at Fujiya.
(1) It was not necessary to show your ID card on leaving the Main Gate, only on entering it. The "chaser card" was a card showing that I was authorized to escort prisoners, a holdover from my duty at the hospital.
29 July 1983 (Fri): Hurrah! I got the afternoon off! I can’t go anywhere, because I have supernumerary, but it beats working. Because I planned to "eat in" tonight, I had a more expensive lunch than usual. I had considered Shindo, but stopping at the Drivers License Office for study materials and the Club Alliance to cash my check, it was after 1200 by the time I got out to Odakicho, and Shindo was crowded. I noticed that Yanase wasn’t crowded at all and figured that this was too good an opportunity to let go. I had meant to try their tenpura some time anyway. The tenpura dinner doesn’t feature a very large assortment of tenpura, so I ordered sashimi to go with it. It all made an excellent lunch. Their tenpura is better than their katsu. Then to Saikaya to shop for food. First, I bought two (yes, two) loaves of bread at Pompadour. Then, a can of curry soup, a jar of blueberry jam (the quince just doesn’t have much taste), and a can of mangosteens (it sounded interesting). I had intended to go to the Commissary for the rest of supper, but I was moved to buy some chicken stuff and a roll of meat-stuffed omelet at the Chinese food counter. Back on base, I stopped at A-33 for more records. Once back at the barracks, I decided that the fruit at the Commissary would be too picked over and it would be too crowded, what with today being payday. I won’t be able to get a paper today. I didn’t get over to the Mini-Mart early, so there was no sense in going over late because they wouldn’t have any papers. Chicken stuff–tasty; egg roll–decent; curry soup–very good; blueberry jam–very good; corn bread (not cornbread)–tasty.
30 July 1983 (Sat): I’m not sure I should have used so much space for these stamps, but it’s done now(1). I took the usual route to get my Tour Companion of the Tourist Information Center. It was after 1130 by the time I got it, so I didn’t linger at the TIC. I wanted to have lunch at one of the places I had noted in Japan Times and Steinhaus is practically right around the corner from the TIC. Steinhaus has much cheaper lunch specials than Lohmeyer. The "ham & sausage" special turned out to be cold cuts. They were good cold cuts, though, so no problem. The pea soup was also very good. I’d be willing to eat there again. If I had an expense account, I’d be more likely to take people to Lohmeyer’s (L is fancier and I’m sure it has a larger selection). However, I don’t have an expense account. After lunch, I had room for dessert, so I went to Azuma in sukiyabashi Shopping Center for kuzumochi. Then, to Daimaru for the Great Tibet Exhibition. On the way there, I stopped at stationery (in Daimaru) and bought four more Uniball pens to set aside for future use. I also took a look at the restaurant floors. The restaurants are attractive and have reasonable prices, but there isn’t anything particularly noteworthy. The exhibition was fascinating. I wasn’t aware that there was so much sexual content in Tibetan religious art. There was no English, so I don’t know what it was all about. Anyway, I’m very glad I saw it. I also heard and partially saw some sort of religious ceremony. Strange. I bought a catalog and some postcards. I only bought one card of a sexual nature. I’ll send it in an envelope to K*****. Then I set out for Shinjuku. In Tokyo Station I saw an Art Coffee Shop and thought I’d have a cup of coffee. I was able to get a table and ordered a cup of coffee. After waiting over half an hour and still no coffee or inquiries from a waiter, I left in disgust. I’m so pissed (I’m no longer emotional about it, but I’m still very much offended) that I doubt that I’ll ever buy any of their products or go into one of their shops again. Once in Odakyu Shinjuku, I saw a pleasant coffee shop on the first floor. After locating the elevators to 12F (just a moment away), I returned and had a refreshing iced Wiener [Viennese] coffee. The exhibition had no signs in English nor even any Romaji, but it was nonetheless interesting. They had some obsolete signs, decals, and small equipment for sale as railroad souvenirs, and I bought a sign for me or Mother and one for K***** & his wife. By that time it was about 1700 and late enough to eat. I investigated the restaurants in Odakyu. They have some attractive restaurants with (mostly) reasonable prices, but nothing very different from what I can get in Yokosuka. The I remembered that I had not yet been to the Shinjuku Movenpick for supper. I went there and had an excellent supper. The salad was not very large for 600 yen, nor did it have any special ingredients. However, the barley soup was rich with cream and was delicious. The grilled lamb was lean and expertly cooked. Their ice cream desserts are too large, but the apricot pie was excellent and I topped it all off with a cup of cappuccino. By then it was time to return to Yokosuka. I bought a ticket to Shinagawa and at that station investigated the next Yokosuka Line train. I was able to get a seat, so I took it. Yokosuka Line trains are air conditioned.
(1) The exhibition where I did the stamping in my diary must have been the exhibition of old signs in Daimaru. It was quite common for me to make notes in my diary after part or even most of the day had passed.
31 July 1983 (Sun): I nearly expired on the KHK train to Tokyo. The air conditioning in those cars isn’t very good, and I was suffering by the time we made Yokohama, where I was at least able to move under a fan. The kiosk at Chuo Station [back in Yokosuka] didn’t have any copies of the Daily Yomiuri, so I bought a Japan Times there instead of in Tokyo. The first order of business in Tokyo was lunch. I found Nair’s with no trouble. It’s a small, drab place. The food isn’t bad (I had the Murgi lunch), but it won’t make me forsake Maharajah or Moti(1). After lunch, I started looking for a mail box. Since there was something to do at Matsuzakaya, I looked in that direction. I did find one a block past Matsuzakaya. The exhibition at Matsuzakaya was interesting(2). From there, I set out for the Riccar Art Museum. On the way, I was sidetracked by a likely looking coffee shop. I’m still unsure of the name. Anyway, it’s a pleasant, cheerful place, well air conditioned. I had a refreshing iced coffee and a very tasty slice of cheesecake. Then to the Riccar for an outstanding ukiyoe exhibition. No catalog [standard practice at the Riccar, evidently], but I did buy a postcard each for Mother and for K***** & his wife. From the Riccar, I headed towards Matsuya, looking for a mail box in the NW section (Wako quadrant) of Ginza. I found one, wrote the cards, and mailed them. On the way to Matsuya, I found another on the Matsuya side of Chuo Dori. Across the street the street from Matsuya toward Mitsukoshi I found another one. The exhibitions at Matsuya were very interesting–ceramics, glass-work, and dye-work. Some of the ceramics were affordable, but I didn’t have any reason to buy a gift. After looking at the exhibition, I looked around on the 6th floor (more gift stuff) and then bought postcards for Aunt Clarice & Uncle Walker(3) on 5F. Then I went to the Takano counter in B1. They were still out of red grape juice, but I bought a jar of peanut butter. From there to Mitsukoshi for bagged tea, coffee, and bulk tea (for icing). I wandered around a bit before making any serious decision about supper. I wandered more-or-less in the direction of Yurakucho, in line with my travel plans. A few minutes before 1700, I decided to try Chiang Mai again(4). I had an excellent meal of chicken/vegetable soup, some odd sort of semi-crisp pork cooked in shoyu, and a chicken salad. If they were playing the same song over & over again, the volume was low enough that it wasn’t noticeable. By then, it was time to head back to Yokosuka. From Yurakucho I backtracked to Tokyo Station, which was a good move at that point, because I was able to catch a train terminating at/originating from Tokyo (departure 1810). Therefore, I got a seat. I hope I remember to buy milk in Yoksuka. I did–bought soda too.
(1) Some people swear by Nair’s, from what I’ve read in various places (others, like me, weren’t impressed). I’ve noticed, though, that some people seem to consider the worth of a restaurant in inverse proportion to its appearance.
(2) The lack of information in my diary tells me that there had been no info about this exhibition (these exhibitions?) In the English-language newspapers, and there was no English info in the store.
(3) These were actually my great-aunt and great-uncle (ooba & ooji). My great-aunt Clarice was my father’s mother’s sister.
(4) A Thai restaurant I had first tried on 27 Feb.


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