101. 🌸 Now I Smell Like a Japanese Flower?

I found myself undressed down to my jockey pants. Each and every article of clothing, the lady carefully folded and placed them on the side table.

I walked into the bathing area and just before stepping into the tub set up for me, I removed my only remaining article of clothing. The water was comforting and warm and I could feel everything melt away.

The young lady used a mitt-like cleansing cloth which she placed over her four fingers, leaving the thumb exposed. This washcloth had little scrubbie bumps to them yet it was very soft.

Instantly and completely relaxed, all I had to do was raise a limb when asked to do so by her gentle, experienced motions and still, no words. I noticed she remained on her knees while bathing me, wow!

She pulled the plug, draining the water from the tub. Then I was rinsed with a shower-hose attachment; Bill was experiencing the same thing a few feet away from me.

The ladies then dried us off and helped us into robes with slippers at the ready. Bill was led to his sectioned off room and I was asked politely to lie down on the bed in my area of the room.

I believed that I smelled like a Japanese flower after a very, very relaxing massage. 🌸 The young lady asked me if I wanted something to eat. Again only with motions, her suggestion demonstrated eating this time. Oh yes, this sounded perfect!

Bill? He was in agreement; we were given a menu (already in the room) and we selected our dinners from there. Both of us were so relaxed that leaving the room this evening was out of the question.

The two girls left the room to fill our food orders. We shared a few words of expression in the ladies’ absence. About 25 minutes later they returned to the room with our meals on trays. Bill stayed in his area of our room with his new friend and I stayed with mine.

I was already sitting up on the bed when she placed the tray in front of me and she then sat down at the foot of the bed. My dinner looked so delicious, I remember that much 😀 I began to eat my meal and the girl remained sitting there at my feet.

I looked up at her and she’d shyly giggle, putting her hand lightly over her mouth as she did so. What else to do? 🥢 🍽 🥃 The dinner sharing began. She sat a little closer. I fed her a bite and then I took one so, back and forth we went to the end.

After she cleared away the tray, she once again used motions to ask me if I wanted her to return. I’ll ask you here to imagine how that must’ve looked.

Feeling relaxed, refreshed and very much alive in the morning, it was time to check out. The girls made certain we knew the robe and slippers were ours to keep. After carefully folding and placing these into our bags, they carried them once again for us.

The young ladies and our overnight bags were downstairs waiting for us at the front desk when we arrived moments later. With the bill cleared, we each then handed some American dollars to the girls. They bowed slightly and shyly giggled once for our departure.

At a relaxed pace, we walked a little and then took a taxi back to the ship at the dry dock, arriving just before lunch time.

Normal duties took place. After lunch, I cleared the saloon and quickly set it up for dinner; this was really easy as I already knew the numbers in attendance would be few.

Now to check the pantry, freezer and refrigerators for our provisions (especially food) must be maintained. The land crew of suppliers had the order and they’d return with it in a couple of hours.

Our storehouse of provisions was dropped off on the designated area of the deck and we all hustled with others in the crew to get these securely stored into all the proper places.

There was still enough time to take care of ourselves, to clean our own cabins and do our laundry. Dinner hour was upon us and well, time to feed the officers again!

Subsequently I prepared the saloon for the next morning’s breakfast. I myself had a quick bite to eat because I wasn’t sure if I’d dine out in town.

Afterwards Bill and I grabbed our overnight bags once again and off into Yokohama we went. Another evening of Japanese hospitality was waiting for us!

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100. Yokohama, Japan

And I finally fell asleep.  

Whatever sounds I faintly heard lulled me off into slumber. This time it wasn’t to the gentle, rocking feel of a boat afloat. However, in the early hours of the morning I involuntarily tuned into the reverberation of muffled drilling and various sounds of the many repairs our ship would undergo.  What?!  7:30 already?

There’s approximately a dozen officers entering the saloon at once. Chatter is all about the room; remaining ever-attentive to the crew’s needs, all the while I’m captivated by their tales, presented in a medley of perspectives.  

I have to admit, the earlier part of the previous 55 hours was well, so full of adrenaline the likes of which before, I had never known.  Perhaps only the shaking tree, the dark & rainy field at midnight, the near drowning and the Marines’ guns aimed at me would come close.

It was now my turn to enjoy breakfast.  By now all of you know how I ordered.  Once again, what a one man feast!  These days I can get full just thinking about how I would eat in my youth.  

Next the dining saloon was refreshed for lunchtime and that meant it was time for me to think about this evening… anticipation of what Japan might have in store for me.  

I was informed that so far, we had this 1st evening off and overnight in town was approved if we wanted it.  I wanted it!

Back home, I had heard that it was ideal to tell a taxicab driver what I wanted.  They would take us to the very best and so for whatever that was worth, I was going to give it a shot!

The cab driver took myself and a fellow crew friend whom I’ll name as ‘Bill’, to a fairly nice looking hotel. We were received warmly *(not for a single moment discounting Omotenashi) by the front desk staff.  Undeniably Americans have American dollars.  

💵 I mention this because during my months spent throughout the Pacific, American dollars were very much desired and it was a language most everybody spoke.  

Heck! I can remember how excited I was as a young lad back in Fiji when the American G.I.s would place silver dollar coins on to the palm of my hand.  In return they received my lunch; delectable rolled up rotis filled with veg curries which my sister-in-law had lovingly prepared, fresh every day.  Okay end flashback.

It was only in a moment when two lovely young Japanese ladies in bright-colored Kimonos approached the front desk clerk.  He gave them our room keys.  They briefly spoke something to one another in Japanese.  

They gently took our overnight bags and turned to face us with beautiful smiles, motioning that we follow them.  We were escorted up a flight of stairs to the 2nd floor.  They let us into our room.  We noticed quickly this was a room that was divided into 2 areas with paper walls.

At this point we both thought they’d bow their way out of our room.  Instead they went into the bathroom area and began drawing two baths.  Bill and I curiously peered in behind them to see what they were up to. They each added bath salts and scents into the bath waters.  Use your imagination for a bit here.  

I will admit to a bashful bit of part surprise and part expectation.  We glanced at one another.  One of the two girls came out and said in as few English words as possible, to undress.  She pointed over towards the bathroom and said, “Bath.”

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* Omotenashi defines Japanese hospitality; anticipation of their guests’ needs with an undeniable attention to details