Gay Japan Super Three Crazy Guys ((FULL))
The first part of our gay itinerary to Japan takes us to the phrenetic, super crazy and absolutely awesome capital city: Tokyo! It's a crazy and super fun metropolis that never sleeps. Tokyo is also the main transport hub in and out of Japan.
Gay Japan Super Three Crazy Guys
MR: Yes. Well, there were a couple of guys in our company who went around the bend. I mean, they were just driven around the bend. They became, as this term was then, "Section Eight," they became Section Eights. I don't know what the other sections are, but Section Eight was [that] you were mentally incapacitated in some kind of way, and they just flipped out, I mean, from this kind of harassment, the eight weeks of it. ... I was later to learn all about Section Eight, when I got to my job in the Navy, but, you know, it was just something to get through and I didn't take it too seriously, and I don't know that we learned anything very valuable. The only thing that I can recall that we learned, if we learned it, was to take orders, and the whole thing seemed to [be], as they say, as I said, "We're making a man out of you," and ... I thought it was quite the contrary, that we came in as men and we were going to end boot camp, some of us weren't going to be men anymore, and I was just trying to, somehow, keep my own counsel. ... Towards the end of boot camp, you would go to some sort of a specialty school, something, and mine was medicine. I actually volunteered for that. I was glad I got it, because I thought I'd learn something worthwhile, but this was another reason why people in the Navy would look down at you, because, "Real men don't become medics." [laughter] You know, I can't explain it, ... because being a medic in combat is probably the most dangerous position to be in, ... and so, I went to, ... it's called hospital corpsmen's school, at Bainbridge, Maryland, also, and that was another sixteen weeks. ... They told us that our whole group in hospital corpsmen's school, at that time, where we were learning basic medicine, basic first aid and that sort of thing, so that by the end of that, we could be like sort of junior nurses, junior male nurses, which was another reason people would put you down, because, "Real men don't become medics," you know. People say, "Oh, you're a pussy, you're a medic." You know, you'd hear that kind of language, you know, but I was glad for it, because it seemed to me I might be learning something kind of valuable, and they said that, of our whole group, our whole group was going to be sent to Camp Pendleton, California, which is a Marine camp, and because the Marines, to this day, I understand, do not have their own medical corps. The Navy takes care of the medical care. I mean, the Marines used to be part of the Navy, but the Navy takes care of the Marine medicine, see. So, when you're a medic in the Navy, you take care of Marine guys as much as you take care of Navy guys, you know. In fact, the language for what we were called was "pecker checkers," that was the term used. ... That term came from the notion that what you did as a medic, more than anything else, although I didn't end up doing this, was giving people shots for gonorrhea. That's what you did. [laughter] That's why you were a "pecker checker," [laughter] but, so, they said, ... as a reward; they wanted us to all work hard in medic school. ... They said, as a reward, the person who got the highest grades, and there were fifty-two of us, I remember; in fact, I remember my serial number. That must be branded, must be hardwired, to my brain, 4882463. Now, why would I remember a number like that? but it's funny, you know. Anyway, ... they said that the one person who got the highest scores in the medic school could go to Japan, instead of going to Pendleton, California. I said, "Wow, God, I want to do that." So, I studied up like crazy. I really worked on it, and I did get the highest grades of the fifty-two of us, which meant that, good, I could get to go overseas, see Japan, and that would be neat, and then, we got our orders and mine said, "Pendleton." [laughter] ... So, I went to, I don't know, the personnel people. I said, "Look, we were absolutely promised that whoever got the highest scores were going to go to Japan," and I was very glad that the guy said, "You're absolutely right; we made a mistake." I couldn't believe it. This was the first humane conversation that I'd had in twenty-four weeks, eight ... and sixteen. He said, "You're right, we made that promise, we're going to keep it. You're going to Japan," and the guy just changed my orders right there to go to Japan. So, I went to Japan, and I'll never forget this, on the way over to Japan, these were not jets. First, I had to fly to San Francisco, and there was a Navy base right out in the harbor called Treasure Island, like Alcatraz. It was another little island in San Francisco Harbor. I don't know if it's a naval base today, but it was then, and so, I had to fly there, and these were prop planes and not jets. ... Then, after a couple of days or so, a few days there, I was put on a plane on its way to Japan, only the plane was going to make two stops on the way, and it nearly crashed the first two stops. [laughter] It was absolutely horrible. Coming into Hawaii, coming into Honolulu, the cabin completely filled with smoke, which had something to do with the landing gear not working and they couldn't get the landing gear down, and one of the guys came back, from where the pilot was, came back and ... literally took a window out, or something, to clear the smoke out. I thought we'd all get sucked out of the airplane, ... and then, we landed, in Hawaii, and part of the idiocy of the Navy is, we were there about three days and we were confined to quarters. The only time I've ever been to Hawaii, I wasn't in Hawaii; ... I was just confined to the barracks. I mean, why they couldn't have said, "Hey, you guys, you know, we're going to be here a couple days, why don't you go out and enjoy the beach, get to know Hawaii a little bit?" but I never saw Hawaii. I just saw this barracks, I think at Hickam Field, the famous Hickam Field, which, if I got the name right, was bombed by the Japanese, [during the December 7, 1941 attack on] Pearl Harbor. So, I never got to see anything, and then, ... they got another plane and we took off on that plane to go toWake Island, which was going to be the next stop. This was a Navy plane. The plane from San Francisco toHawaii was actually an Australian Qantas airline plane. I don't know why it was, but it was, and then, on the way to Wake Island, we crossed the International Date Line, and that was when I had a one-hour twenty-first birthday, because we crossed the International Date Line on July 13th, and, now, it was July 14th. It was eleven o'clock at night, now, it was July 14th, and, one hour later, it was July 15th. So, I had this one-hour twenty-first birthday, [laughter] up in the sky, nobody to celebrate it with, just a bunch of sleeping Navy guys, and I happened to glance out the window and noticed that one of the props on the plane wasn't turning. It was just standing straight up. I thought, "Oh, God." So, I went up and I knocked on the cabin door, and, again, ... this was a military plane and somebody said, "Come in." ... I went in there and there was a guy sitting there. Everybody else up there was sleeping in bunks, in the cabin, had places for them to sleep, and there was one guy, who was presumably in charge of the plane, and he had his feet up on the dashboard, so-to-speak, ... which scared the hell out of me. He didn't seem to be holding on to anything, and I said, "Sir, I need to report that one of the props back there isn't moving. It's just straight up." "Oh," he says, "yes, I know." He said, "We've alerted Air-Sea Rescue. Don't worry about it." I'm thinking, "Air-Sea Rescue? Okay, well, at least they've alerted Air-Sea Rescue." [He] said, "But, don't worry about it. We've got three still going. It's no big deal. This happens all the time." I'm thinking, "Oh," and, well, we finally landed on Wake Island, which was very important in World War II, with the Japanese. It was all covered with old, rusting Japanese tanks, teeny tanks, and some of them were on the land, some of them were in the shallow water, ... but, anyway, I saw that the next day. We landed at night and all it was a bunch of Quonset huts, and one of the Quonset huts was a bar. ... So, we all, coming off that plane, didn't know what to do, so, we went down to the bar and I was sitting at the bar, ... with some guys who, apparently, were stationed at Wake Island. ... I said, "What do you guys do?" He says, "Oh, we're Air-Sea Rescue," and these guys were drunk as skunks. I said, "Oh, no kidding, how do you do that? because we just came in a plane and they told us Air-Sea Rescue had been notified," and they said, "Oh, yes, yes, yes, we were notified." "Well, how could you save us if we had to ditch in the Pacific and didn't sink right away? How would you save us?" He said, "Oh, we wouldn't have been able to save you." "Oh," I said, "well, what kind of equipment do you have?" "Well, we've got this big rowboat," [laughter] and I was thinking they could maybe make it a mile out, but that was about it, in the Pacific Ocean. It's just absolutely ridiculous, you know, and we were on Wake Island for a couple of days. ... That was kind of nice, because I was able to walk around Wake Island at least, even though it's only about a mile long or so. I think there was a John Wayne movie called Wake Island, a World War II [movie], about the battle there. [Editor's Note: The film Wake Island was released in 1942; John Wayne did not appear in the film.] ... There was an airstrip and there were these big goony birds standing around, never seen these kind of big birds before, and then, we continued on, after a couple days, to Japan, and, when I got to Japan, I was brought to Yokosuka, "Yo-ko-suka" is the way you might pronounce it, if you didn't know otherwise, if you didn't know Japanese, which I learned a little bit of while I was there, and I was assigned to psychiatric. ... This was peacetime, and so, the hospital was essentially empty. This was the largest naval base in the Far East and, you know, except for somebody who had the flu, you didn't have people with war injuries. This was, after all, after Korea, beforeVietnam, ... but the psychiatric ... wards were filled to overflowing, and we were, essentially, the hospital, the psychiatric part, which I've always found terribly funny, in a way. The typical inmate was somebody who had been a hero in the Korean War, and then, had elected to stay in after the Korean War, make a career of it, and, now, had nothing to do. They were in Japan, there was no real work that needed to be done. You could get a bottle of Cutty Sark for about fifty cents, you could get a shot of heroin for about ninety cents, you could get a woman for about a buck, and they were doing all three, [laughter] and then, they started to go crazy, and some of them ended up in the psychiatric ward, either because they'd try to shoot themselves or they'd try to shoot somebody else, and there was nobody to shoot, see. [laughter] We weren't at war, so, we started to shoot each other. I didn't, but ... the typical patient was somebody who had either attempted murder, or had committed murder, or had attempted suicide, guys who'd cut both wrists, and I was assigned to the locked psychiatric ward. We had an open ward and we had a locked. The open ward was large, the locked ward was a small ward in size. We had, maybe, thirty patients at a time and the open ward had, maybe, seventy-five patients. Everybody was admitted to the locked ward, and the shrinks, as we called them, saw the admittees the very next morning, and most of them would then be moved to the open ward. Most of them were kids who had had an anxiety attack. They missed their mothers, their girlfriend wrote them a "Dear John" letter, or something, and they would go to the open ward and they would eventually return to duty. The locked ward, the people we kept on the locked ward, were dangerous to themselves or others. Well, no, they weren't all dangerous to themselves or others. I'll describe the kinds of patients we had?