Tokyo Bay Japan WWII Letter USS Bristol September 23, 1945

 This letter was written by a Sailor, who was in Tokyo Bay, Japan, serving aboard the USS Bristol, on September 23, 1945. He was writing to his parents. From the letter…..

Dear Mother and Dad,

   Yesterday I set foot on some Imperial Japanese soil! I had recreation at the Yokosuka Naval Base, now a US Navy recreation area. That place was a Jap “boot camp” with many barracks and drill field and training ships. The set up here for liberty is two parties to Tokyo and Yokahama on odd days and two parties: one liberty to Yokasuka and one recreation to the Naval Base on even days. I was one of the unlucky persons to go to the Naval Base. The “recreation” there is absolutely lousy. The only things I got were a few Jap signal flags and a million and one radio tubes. Joe Paulson got recreation last Monday and brought back two radio receivers. We stripped one for parts and are going to rebuild the other for interest. I found out the tubes we would need. I rummages around the same wrecked house where Joe got the Navy receivers and found 36 tubes of one type we need- all bran new and never used. I also brought back 26 neon tubes.  We are going to find out all the characteristics about the tubes and the neon tubes will be helpful for future electronic work I intend to do at home. I also brought back several switches which we can use at Silver Crags. We are going to have fun rebuilding that one Jap radio.
   I have been trying to have some of the boys get some things for me when they go on liberty. One of the boys brought back several very nice vases, a number of fans, and other trophies. We take over cigarettes, candy, and soap to sell to the Japs. Then we buy what we want for the money. Sometimes direct barter and trade is used. Some of the prices are these: 
1 cigar = 20 yen = $1.33 1/3 American
1 pack cigarettes = 20-25 yen = $1.33 1/3 American
1 bar of soap = 15-20 yen = $1.00-$1.33 1/3 American
3 pieces hard candy = 17 yen = $1.50 American approx.
Plenty of good prices so we take advantage of it all. A carton of cigarettes costs $0.55 American here in Ship’s Service- an individual pack sells for nearly two and a half times the price of the carton. I have 15 yen in bills. I have quite a few of the boys signatures on them. That gives me one up on Fred Pullen: Short snorters from Tokyo. I shall send a lot of stuff home when I get the chance.
   Lat night our movie was “Gentle Annie” with Marjorie Main, James Craig, Donna Reed, and Henry Morgan. I think we saw it together. Anyway it was very good and my second time to see it.
   The time is now 1245. I am on radio watch. In port a lot of business about ship movements, liberty, recreation, mail, weather, etc. is carried on over the TBS and other networks. All ships listen in and take note of everything. We keep a log of all messages to and about us. A secret publication has all the ships and their voice and code call names. Our name is “Lavender.” The USS Colorado is “Cheyenne”, the USS Denver is “Tommy Gun”; Howard’s ship is “Peaktop 63’. When letters are given for special things a phonetic alphabet is uses. My name is Bob…Baker Oboe Baker. Destroyers are “seahawks” or DogDogs (DD). Some system and     quite a help to understanding. We should use it in many places.
    The Japanese use both their own characters and Arabic. Many of their bills and books and signs have both. Also English occurs in their things a lot. Some of the boys have met English-speaking Japs on liberty.
   Yokosuka is both a Naval Training school and a Navy Yard. There are about six or eight large cranes and several dry docks there, many warehouses and factories. The battleship Nagota, I thin the only one left, will be taken back to the States for the American people to see. There are a few Jap destroyers over there as well as smaller craft. Most are at the bottom of the ocean. We are in hopes we can head homeward soon. There is a lot of “scuttlebutt” around that we might.
   Did you subscribe to All Hands? There is a good article about the educational benefits of the G.I. Bill in the August issue. Also a good article about hospital ships- I have seen Tranquility, Rescue, and Benevolent. The G.I. Bill article points out that a person may get all the benefits (education) entitled to him no matter how much he attends school each year. Subsistence paid by the month when you are in school, tuition, lab. Fees, and other school expenses paid to the University when you are in school and by the school year. Part time students only get subsistence a the part time rate. I am eligible for 28 months of training in or three 9 month school year. I should be able to finish my degree and then some at government expense.
   We have had a lot of rain here recently. It has stopped our movies in the evenings. I hope you have seen Life for July 2nd, 1945. It has a 2,200 ton destroyer with dual gun mounts in color on its cover. An excellent picture. There is also an excellent article on Guam in the same issue.

That’s all for now, Love and Kisses,


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