Our new home was in Nijimura, located in Southern Japan on the Island of Honshu. It was south east of Hiroshima and was only about 40 minutes away by train. It was December and the weather was cold. We were located near the water, we called it the Inland Sea of Japan. At the sea there was a wall made of rock to protect the people from high tides or tsunami's. We were very close to Korea.
The area was part of the American Military. Nijimura was dependent housing for military dependents. The Commissary and PX were located on an island off of the main coast, and one would take a ferry to get there and back.
One of the first thing I noticed was that the women of Japan appeared to be doing most of the hard physical labor. I would see women pulling carts, women working the fields, women carrying large bundles on their backs. The other thing I noticed was that at that time, people would just go to the bathroom in the street. We were walking down a public street one day and a gentleman just whipped it out and began peeing in front of all of us. My Mother ordered us not to look and began walking faster than normal, but all of us kids were craning our necks to get a peek.
Then there were the honeybucket men. Men carrying buckets across their shoulders. The buckets were filled with human waste, which was used as fertilizer.
Nijimura was in an area considered country, and it was only seven years post World War II, so there were still many old Japanese ways. You would still see women wearing the traditional Japanese kimono and geta on the streets. On sunny days the women would carry paper umbrellas to protect their skin from the sun. When someone had a cold or flu in Japan, they would wear a facial mask, to protect others from getting germs.
We soon learned we would not have any fresh dairy products or beef while in Japan. It simply was not available. So we became used to dried eggs and milk. I really missed milk. We weren't allowed to drink the water and we couldn't go barefoot because of hookworm, a parasite that entered the body through the bare foot. Life would be different here.