Thursday, November 1, 2012

August 30-September 7, 1953 On Board Ship, A Little Sunshine, Sukiyaki, A Tea Party and Sayonara

Diary Entry:  Aug. 30, 1953

"Church service going on--Protestant service in Japanese.  30 miles off the Aleutians now. Still cold.  Lovely, smooth sea.  Saw the mts. of islands from noon to night.  Army plane flew out to look us over.  Scout from Nishinomiya came to cabin to see us. Square dancing in lounge.  Tried to learn Japanese folk dance--"Together with the moon"--couldn't catch on.  Movie's tonight.  Go over international dateline so there will be no Aug. 31."

Diary Entry:  Aug. 31, 1953

"Crossed the international dateline about 6:45 A.M. No Monday."

Diary Entry:  Memoranda

"Ship's menus are interesting.  Big variety of foods.  Peculiar phrasing.
     Roast milk fed of veal
     Nectalines (nectarines)
     Clear hot in cup (soup)
Radishes, onion, radishes for breakfast.
Origin of sukiyaki--Farmers use shovel-like tool called suki.  Yaki means to boil or cook.  One day had nothing to cook meat in.  Used broken suki, added some veg. & soy sauce. Tasty.  No. of times per week & how often that family has sukiyaki is a way of determining financial status of family.  Ship's purser has sukiyaki at home twice a week."

Diary Entry:  Sept. 1, 1953

"Sunshine!  The first real sunshine since Seattle.  Smooth sea--blue water, blue sky.  The usual routine.  Spent an hr. in ship's library looking at Japanese books & magazines while children slept.  Tea at 3:00.  Watched Japanese scouts folk dance in kimonos.  Dragon dance scared Ann terribly.  Our new friend, Maeda, came to see us again.  Talked a long time about Nishinomiya.  Gave us a map-folder of the city.  We need a U.S. map.  Sunshine didn't last long."

Diary Entry:  Sept. 2, 1953

"A little sunshine & then fog--gets thicker.  Whistle been blowing every minute for hrs.  Supposedly to warn fishing boats.  Danish ship 60 miles behind us having some trouble.  Rumor says they have a leak.  Plan to dock on Mon. unless we turn back to help them.  Sukiyaki party going on.  Sounds gay.  Decorations beautiful.  Purser changed the Fulbright party plans so we cannot go to the one tomorrow night."

Diary Entry:  Sept. 3, 1953

"Seating plans for sukiyaki party has us with the captain even if we didn't sign up.  Found sitter.  Put on green nylon with full skirt.  Party room decorated with paper wisteria blossoms, cherry blossoms, blinking Xmas lights(even a Santa one)& lantern bunting all around walls.  Mats on floor, round table, white cushions.  Captain was seated.  Sat on cushions.  He served saki in tiny cups.  Sukiyaki bubbling over charcoal in middle of table.  Hor'dourves on plate for each individual or cheese on bread with tiny slice of pickle, crab meat in cucumber cup, sardine on toast. Captain helped me with chopsticks. Did o.k. Dessert was lemon ice cream then fruit.  Japanese girl danced, we sang, told jokes.  Capt. good company."

Diary Entry:  Sept. 4, 1953

"Danish ship 20-30 mi. behind.  Fixed leak, overboarded some cargo, doing o.k. Capt. came out on deck tonight.  Listened to Japanese singing hymns.  Sent a suit to be cleaned.  Hope to put away suits tomorrow."

Diary Entry:  Sept. 5, 1953

"Children's tea party in first class dining room.  Each child had a favor (popped like firecrackers), paper hat, whistle, balloon, paper balls, etc.  Waiters served like kings.  Waiters love the children.  Movies at 8:30."

Diary Entry:  Sept. 6, 1953

"Wonderful sunshine & warm, clear skies.  Up early & on deck before breakfast to see fishing boats & sun.  Packed our clothes. Ready to leave ship tomorrow.  Have our porthole open.  Sayonara dinner tonight. What a menu! Everything from lobster & steak to peach melba.  Lights of fishing boats look like cities along the coast.  Have seen land most of the day."

Diary Entry:  Sept. 7, 1953

"Awake before 5:00.  Boat stopped in Yokohama harbor.  Lots of other large ships in harbor.  Gong sounded at 6:15.  Quarantine officer walked thru dining room after we all got there.  Baggage declaration approved. Fulbright picture taken for press. B dashed around tipping stewards.  Endo gave us sox for the children.  We left ship & started walking to customs.  Boarded buses for ride to hotel in Tokyo.  Improved water & milk here.  Early to bed."

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