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