Among Soldiers, There Exists Honor

There is a certain code, or there used to be used to be a certain code, amongst soldiers. (I am not sure it applies to our bearded frenemies in that East between the Far and the Near.) This story perfectly illustrates the point:

I was Artillery in the Army. In 1984 we went to Japan to exercise with the JGSDF in an exercise called Michinoku 84. We were there long enough to get a few weekends free. On one of our jaunts we went into the local city. For the life of me I can’t remember it’s name. I need to go back to my old journal and refresh my memory. Anyway, while there we did what all American tourists do I imagine. We hit a restaurant that looked like a little slice of home. A McDonalds. It was different. You ordered and then sat down and had the food delivered to the table. They served rice instead or french fries. There were at least a half dozen of us. Young, loud, hungry GIs, none of whom spoke a word of Japanese. After several minutes of pidgin English and wild gesticulations we were interrupted by an elderly Japanese gentleman. He got the gist of what we wanted and then shooed us off to a table. He placed our order and paid for the entire meal. It had to have cost him a bundle. Prices were high anyway and for beef they were outrageous. He came and sat with us, refusing all offers to pay him back. We talked as we ate and found out he’d been an Artillery officer in the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. He’d seen combat.

Please do read it all. . .