Japanese Paddy Houses . . .

. . . Where you lived before you moved onto base.

My dad is a retired Major from the Air Force. He retired after 22 years of service. I was born in Libya, Africa in 1960 and we lived mostly in the states until 1968 when my dad was transferred to Tachikawa AFB in Tokyo, Japan.

I remember when we first got there we had to live in a paddy house until there was a house ready on base. The entrance to the little village where our house was located was right off the base. The houses were very small and here was my Mom, Dad and two brothers.

If I remember right, the houses weren’t made out of much. The one thing I remember most, was the bath tub in this house. It was about 4 feet by 4 feet and deep enough for me to stand in at 7 years old with water up to my neck.

It was great! And when you sat in the tub, you could look out through the slats in the walls. Needless to say, when we did get our house on base, it was like heaven. It had three bedrooms, a bath room and a kitchen that was the same size as the bathroom. It had an attic that my dad used as a dark room for his photography.

I also remember sitting at the dining room table doing homework when the chandelier would start swaying, signaling the coming of a tremor. We had a lot of those.

One of the other memories I had from Japan, was when the neighbors were being packed up to go back stateside and my new bicycle went along with them. It was a banana seat!

At school, we did not have Fire Drills, but we did have Air Raid drills (Vietnam was still in full swing). We would have to line up and go the the fall-out shelters on the playground.

Most of my memories are from Japan. And all the wonderful things I saw that most of the adults I associate with now could never understand.

I am so glad I found this site, Military Brats Online. My father sent a clipping from the local newspaper in Florida. I guess I never realized there were so many of us out there. And more entering the life of a military brat every day. My nephew (an Air Force instructor pilot) has just added his second brat to the family.

The military seemed to have skipped a generation. My father says that is because we kids served our time in the military with him!

How true! Now, all of his grandchildren are in some branch of the military. (My son will be entering the Army in June).

And the saga continues!

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Military Brats Online in 1997.

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  1. When I say the Japanese Paddy Houses I knew we had something in common. I was also at Tachi 68-73. Lived also at Yokota and Misawa AFB. There is a yahoo group from Tachikawa with a lot of brats and pictures

    I lived down by the commisary and attended Tachi elementary, Middle school, and the to Yokota for High School

    Join the group and you may have some great memories to share, i.e, roller rick, Theater, BX, Hobbyshop, etc…


    Keep in touch




  2. I remember living in the paddy houses 1967 waiting for base housing …I was 5 years old Yakota AFB

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