#32 Sasebo Naval Base

It’s really starting to feel like spring around here and it’s wonderful! It’s so cool and comfortable outside that I have my big sliding door to my veranda open and a nice breeze is coming through. It’s those little things, you know?

This past Saturday I finally got to do something I’ve wanted to do for years! A friend of mine took me inside the US Navy Base in Sasebo!

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The official name is United States Fleet Activities Sasebo and it was established in 1946. However, the area has been a naval base since 1883. Ifyouknowwhatimsayin. The base is generally closed to the public but Navy personnel can bring guests in. My friend Jesse got Almas, myself, and another buddy Nick inside last Saturday. I knew that it would be like America once I got inside, but I wasn’t prepared for how much it would be like America.

The main reason anyone living in Japan wants to get into the base is to get at that American food that they jealously keep locked up inside. There was a gas station / convenience store and a supermarket. Walking into the convenience store was like teleporting to America. It was surreal. My pupils dilated and my mouth hung open as I turned a corner to face this aisle.

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I know this probably looks like nothing even remotely exotic to most of you, this blew my mind. Salsa, ranch dressing, easy mac, protein bars, sriracha sauce… it was almost too much to handle. From there we went to the supermarket to get some American-sized steaks for the grill. Then, I saw something I’ve never seen in Japan before: Icing.

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How American is this endcap though? Cake mix, flour, icing, and an American flag themed end-cover. A flag in a supermarket isn’t out of place in America. I don’t know about many other countries, but Japan certainly doesn’t display its flag in every-day sorts of places. The only place I regularly see the Japanese flag is at Japanese government office buildings outside on poles or inside official greeting rooms. Seeing any county’s flag in a supermarket is now quite jarring to me.

When I have a 20-hour long transit to America I have time to prepare myself for scenes like this and can handle it. Without that adjustment period, I was blindsided American culture. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the trip. I can say without a hint of sarcasm that it was exhilarating. It really felt like I had teleported to the states and back. I hope I get to go again, and next time I’ll come mentally prepared.

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