Thursday, March 16, 2017


Local dignitaries greet a Japan Air Lines flight to Guam in the early days of tourism
Early 1970s

It isn't a nice anecdote, but it did happened, so am told. And it shows just how hard feelings still were just 30 years after the start of World War II on Guam.

Even the unpleasant truths should not be lost, for they are part of the story of our human experiences, good and bad.

I was speaking on the phone with a woman in her 70s who remembers when the Japanese tour buses started going down South on Guam, touring the island.

"Kao un hongge, Påle', na ma åcho' i bås nai man ma u'udai i Chapanis tourists?"

"Would you believe, Father, that they threw rocks at the Japanese tour bus?"

Mind you, this lady is from the village where it happened, and she saw it.

It wasn't as if the whole village came out in organized fashion to throw rocks. People, perhaps younger guys, randomly threw rocks. If people too young to have even been born before the war did it, it shows how the war stories being told at the kitchen table by the elders affected the younger ones.

The lady told me how the Japanese would confiscate the food of families, or rough up a few villagers, just to intimidate them. Of course, worse things happened (rape, severe beatings and death) but the lady didn't even get into that.

"Nuebo na un chagi humungok este, Påle'?"

"Is this new for you hearing this, Father?"

I told her that I had never heard of Chamorro villagers throwing rocks at Japanese tour buses in the early 70s when tourism went into high gear on Guam.

I am glad we're beyond that now.

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