Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Heart (Love) Japan.

Well, that's what I thought I saw hanging on the wall in the alteration shop.

Eiko, the seamstress and owner of the place across from the main gate of the Air Base, explained what it really said.

"Ichiban is Japanese for Number One. The best," she said.

Then I saw it wasn't even a red heart. Duh.

I had just bought two suits and wanted to slim the trousers a bit.

A more tailored look.

I still had a few suits in the closet from when I retired in 2004.

They looked swell.

But didn't fit. Not even close.

My 8 years of relaxing - and not needing to wear a suit - had caught me by surprise.

I suppose it IS possible they shrank just hanging there year after year.

But, I also believe in the Easter Bunny.

And that the Tooth Fairy wears purple tights.

I looked around the small storefront.

Obviously the USAF was a major factor in her business.

Way back when I was in the Marine Corps, some of us had our uniforms tailored.

I remember the extra heavy starch the laundry put in our pressed utilities.

But not altered by a tailor.

These camouflage outfits probably just had stripes sewn on.

While Eiko was writing out a receipt, she said that next month she was going home.

"Oh, how long has it been since you've been back to Japan?" I asked.

"I go for a week every year," she responded.

"But, NOT to Japan," she added. "I from Okinawa."

As I hurried out I said I bet Okinawa is ichiban.

I came back for my suits on Tuesday.

Perfect fit.

Thank you! (Arigatou Gozaimasu.)

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Eiko readily agreed when I asked if I could take some pictures.

She said "Happen alla time."

The Air Base is home to the Air Force Combat Photographers Group.

I'm guessing they've come in to have some alterations done.

And come back with cameras.

I know I sure did.

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At Thu May 31, 04:33:00 PM , Blogger Kate said...

Wonderful portrait of Elko!

At Thu May 31, 07:21:00 PM , Blogger Rick said...

My buddy in the Air Force always called me Ichiban? He was a military brat who spent a lot of time in Japan where his dad was stationed. Your entry made me think of the uniforms i had tailor made. I wouldn't even attempt putting them on now.


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