In 1945 and ’46 my Father, Jorma Sr., found himself a young Naval officer attached to an Army military intelligence unit with General MacArthur’s staff. As a first generation American born in this country, Dad was already something of a linguist. His first language was Finnish, then English taught at the Carnegie Library in Ironwood, Michigan. As a thirteen year old, the Kaukonen family moved to East L.A., Lincoln Heights to be exact… so his next language was Spanish. His younger brothers were combat vets, Tarmo in North Africa and Italy and Pentti in the Pacific, winding up in the Philippines. Dad was a little older and he had to jump through hoops in order to enlist. they sent him to the Navy Language School in Ann Arbor an he learned Japanese. (Before Dad went home for the last time, he would master Urdu, Tagalog and Swedish.)
After the fire bombing of Tokyo, there was little left standing save plumbing and iron safes. Dad and his buds would sift through the ashes of the city and crack safes to see if there were any relevant documents inside and at night they were billeted with Douglas MacArthur’s guys at the Grand Hotel in Yokohama. (Interestingly enough, still standing.) When I was here with Hot Tuna in 1997, that’s where we stayed.
After an eleven an a half hour flight from Denver, we arrived in Narita welcomed by a gentle Spring rain. A couple hours later after checking into the hotel in Yokohama, we took a walk to find an eatery.
A simply delicious bowl of Ramen an some Gyoza! A man’s gotta eat.
Floto by unknown waitress.
It’s 0100 here in Japan… thirteen hours and a day off from Ohio time. I’m awake… obviously. Hmm. how did that happen? I figured I’d answer some emails, update my blog and see if I can get back to sleep. Today is a bona fide day off so I’m going to walk around the port. Tomorrow we play Thumbs Up here in Yokohama. In 1997 Hot Tuna did a live recording here (Hot Tuna, Live In Japan) at a little club called Stoves which is owned by the guy who also owns Thumbs Up.
We’re looking forward to a great couple of weeks here, and we’re going to keep all of you in the loop.