Saturday, March 6, 2010

The US military and sexual trafficking-Yokosuka, Japan 1969

My first time on 'liberty' in Yokosuka, Japan I got a taste of
how the military works with, cultivates, ignores, tolerates
and is an integral part of sexual trafficking. They are a part
and parcel of it.

Outside of every military base I was at were brothels. Some more
obvious than others.

In Yokosuka, there was a huge (about four stories) off-base servicemen's
club(an enlisted men's). Bars, function rooms and a place to buy cheap
(tax-free) booze for all military personnel. It was called the Club
Alliance; which was located across the base on the main street.

When I first stepped off the base I was amazed to see the size of Yokosuka.
I was on a main thoroughfare...watching it all. I had stereotypes of Japan in
my head, and this city seemed smaller than Boston, but not too different
population wise. I wanted to see more of the main street area even before
heading off to the red light zone for my first night of drinking, fighting and...

But, first things first. We went to buy our booze from the Navy store on the
first floor. The corridor was about 12 to 15 feet across. We had to line up on
the left. An MP(Military Police) was standing further down and to the right of
the line.

I bought two bottles of Beefeater Gin at about $1.65 per bottle; A cheap drunk.
It would've cost over $7.50 with taxes. (two bottles per person each day
was the limit). Burp! After that, I turned around to go back the way I came in.
The MP moved in front of me and said that we had to exit through the other door.
I said that I wanted to go back the way we came in to get back to the main street. But, he said (and pointed) that we had to exit through the other door. It seemed bullshit to me(like so many things in the military) because I wanted to get back to the main street.

The MP repeated himself; I tried to reason with him. But, he wasn't about to budge.
And, I knew that once I was 'set loose' in the red light district guys like him-MPs
would soon be looking for someone who (roughly) fit my description (fights and
general mayhem etc.), and I would be avoiding them. A game I had already played
successfully in Chelsea Naval Hospital and city(my first medivac), plus Charlestown
Marine barracks, Boston, Jacksonville, North Carolina (Camp LeJune); Oceanside,
California (Camp Pendleton). And, I didn't want to give him a face to remember me by. So, we exited by the door we were told.

When I was at Camp Pendalton doing my last bit of training before going to
Vietnam the first time I had a slight problem with two MPs in Oceanside. I
came back from liberty at my cousin, Bernadette and her family in Burbank.
When I got into Oceanside to catch a bus back to base I'd had consumed the
better part of a quart of Tequila. So, I walked into a shop that sold military insignia etc., and I bought Brigadier stars. A Brigadier General is the
bottom rank of generals; one star.

I put them on my civilian shirt lapel (an instant promotion from PFC to General;-).
When I was on the bus two MPs came aboard to check our IDs. When they saw me
they asked me to remove my stars. I told them it was my rank, and that I was the
youngest Brigadier in the Marine Corps, and surprised that they weren't aware of
who I was. And, I reminded them that they had forgotten to salute me. Everyone
got a big laugh out of my insistence that it was my rank, and that they were out of
line not saluting me. I also told them that I like to take the bus just to be 'one of the men'. I removed them. Anyway...

But, that day in Yokosuka I said to Boyd(I think) that I wanted to go back to
the Main street for a bit. But, when we exited the door there was a problem. I couldn't turn right, because there was a brick wall there. And. there was another
brick wall in front of me. I couldn't go back; that's where the MP was. We could only turn left. We were in an alley. The military had it set up so we had to exit
into an the dead end of an alley and throngs of hookers were awaiting for us. They knew. We didn't! Not, that I would've run away from them, but that''s the way the brass had it set up.

Who was getting kickbacks (and who knows what else) for that?

And, by then, we heard all the commotion on the only street that we could walk on-our left. After we walked a few feet a prostitute (among the throngs of them) welcomed me to Yokosuka. Well, she had her hands on my balls, and she was
quoting prices and offerings. '$20 dollar...fuckie-suckie, fuckie suckie...$20...etc. A man's brain kind of goes mush when that is happenning
(at least mine did:-), and it's kind of hard to think straight. It's a bit intoxicating...especially for someone coming from a war zone...but even if not.

I turned to Boyd with my hands in the air (a bottle in each), a lovely Japanese
woman attached to me, (and turning as I did a 360) I said, "Hey, John, we're not
in the hospital....or Yokosuka. We must've got killed in the Nam cuz it looks like we're in heaven.''

As there was competition among the ladies...I had more than one pair of hands
on me trying to convince me that for $20 she would bring me heaven. Like an
18 year old man, or boy, or a dog in heat(?) I went with the first woman. She
looked lovely to this Marine... nice thick thighs, smile, and she seemed
friendly. But, the whole time on that street I was on high alert for
pickpockets. My wallet was in my shoes, and my money spread around.

The woman took me to a bar where I bought us each a drink. She sat on my lap,
and began gyrating on me... She said that we had to meet her Mama-san...(boss).
When she arrived, I guessed the Mama-san to be in her 40s. The woman that I
was with was just a bit older than me; I was 18, and soon to turn 19.

I had to buy the Mama-san a drink, and she asked me the most boring and stupid
quesitons, such as did I like the woman, and did I want to 'see her'? DOH!!
as Homer Simpson would say. So then, the Mama-san said that we must take a taxi,
and we did to a place that was in walking distance. I figured that the driver
must be related, and it seemed that it may turn out to be closer to $40-$50
before we were done. I mean from the first drink onward.

When we got to the place for my first time with a Japanese woman. It was a
long line of apartments two stories high. And, it was adjacent to the base
wall. That is, they shared the same wall!

As we entered a strong odor was prevalent; I have always described such smells
(whether in a brothel, friend's house, or a friend who hadn´t showered after
sex, or a´s the smell of recent sex. I´ve always been able to
pick up on it) as 'like a fish market'...for want of a better word. It was a
place where fresh air hadn't penetrated enough to reduce the odor.

I was looking all about me to look for another man or two(as in getting rolled-
never happened), but it wasn't an ambush. But, there was someone else in the
room. As soon as we came in someone arose from the bed. She was a young
attractive Japanese woman, and as she got up from the bed she used the sheet
as her clothing.

And, what struck me, or that I picked up on was that she seemed nervous.
That alone made me feel uncomfortable. I turned to the Mama-san and asked
who she is. And, the Mama-san smiled,and said 'she your girl'! I said 'No'.
'I came with her', and I pointed to the woman who I met in the alley of the
Club Alliance.

However, the Mama-san was insistent that the one who I met in the alley had
to go back to work(picking up another Marine like me), and said 'this your
girl. She very nice. You like...etc.

But, I said 'No. I don't know her, and while pointing to the woman that I
had met I said 'she is the one I met.' The Mama-san was adament that I see
this young woman who was covering herself with a white sheet. And, she went
on about how nice she is, but I said no. I said that she is probably a nice
woman, but that she was not the one that I met met.

I told the Mama-san that I was leaving, and she tried to suggest that I owed
her money, and even that she could report me for giving her girls a bad time.
I said 'really?' 'How about I report this place to the MPs´ She didn't seem
worried about that. I left.

I didn't feel good about my first encounter. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
I wondered if this is the way it works over here, or is it just these ones? And,
I felt bad for the woman at the apartment who's job was to see men brought to
her. I didn't think that she could like that. I went back into the red light
area for a night of drinking, fighting and fun(mayhem).

It was only years later that I realized that it's called sexual trafficking.
I at least had the right instincts. To leave.

As I had very little money until my pay records came to Japan from Vietnam I
couldn't see anyone. But, my newfound friend Boyd(in the military you make
friends fast and loose) said he would take me to the waterfront area where
there were older woman.

When we got there a woman took us into the entrance of a house to wait for the
other two women to arrive. They both had houses, and were probably married. I
realized that when I saw the ring on the finger of the woman I went with.

Before they came John had to go to the bathroom. When the women came in, the
mama-san asked me if I was ready, or if I knew which one I liked. I said yes and
asked her if I could see that woman. Yes. As we left I felt a tinge bad, and
realized that John may not be happy that I took the best...and he was paying for

We didn't get far sexually, because the woman saw the rosary beads on my neck,
and said to me 'You Katlik?' it sounded that way. I asked her again, and she
pointed to or touched the rosary beads(used to ward of death in Vietnam-
superstition:-), and when I said 'Yes.' She said 'Me too.' End.

I met and loved a woman that I met there, Mimi. She was a bar girl, and had not seen
a man (sex for $) in over a year, and told me when I bought her her first drink
not to ask her out, as she didn't go out with men that way. I spent time with
her everynight. She educated me. And, I never saw another woman in Japan.

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