WW II War Letters

Alton "Oz" Grobbel, Private, US Army

Letter written on 04 October1945 from Kyoto, Japan.

Kyoto, Japan
October 4th, 45

Dear Dad,

Hi ya Dad. Probably thought I forgot all about you, eh! On the contrary, I've just been pretty busy moving.

Well, we're here Dad. Never dreamt 6 months ago I'd be in Japan in October but here I am. Right in the, or one of the, biggest city in Japan. This is really a pretty town and well advanced in civilization I thank you. According to the propaganda sheets they gave us, we expected tar paper shacks and mud huts. I still got to see my first shack around here. They were never hit by bombing raids so their city is still the same as always. It's situated between 2 mountains right down in the valley. I bought a camera the other day and as soon as I can get my hands on some film I'll send you some snapshots of the local scenic beauty parks. Their parks are really beautiful - they'd put Belle Isle to shame.

We really have some nice quarters here. It's a big long 2 story building built on the order of Kramer Homes [ed. - a Federal housing project in Center Line that was built to house war-time factory workers and their families]. There are 32 rooms altogether with 4 men to a room. It's the most privacy I've had since I've been in the Army. We each have a nice big shelf with a sliding door to keep our personal belongings in.

I have a sort of a surprise for you. I am now the new Company Clerk of the 207th. Just got the promotion a couple of days ago. It carries a rank of Sgt. but how long before I get that depends on the Army and you know how fast they work. It's really a good deal and I like it a lot. Of course I bunk with the 1st Sgt. so you can imagine the razzing I get. But it's all in fun and we have a hell of a time around here. Besides, I've been getting razzed for so long about my big feet maybe this will get their mind off my feet.

There's plenty to drink around here. You can buy Sake (Japanese whiskey) by the quart bottles and beer by the case. Their beer is good tasting stuff, in fact I just finished up a bottle a few minutes ago. That Sake is plenty wicked stuff. It tasts like wine but it will really knock you on your ass. I know, I tried some the other day. It sure fools you.

Heard a re-broadcast of the 1st World Series Game. Too bad the Tigers got beat so bad. We had a few friendly bets with the guys. There's a Lt. in our Company from Detroit and we pooled our Yens (Jap money) to make bets. Looks like we're about to take a beating [ed. - Game 1 was played on Oct. 3rd in Detroit (early morning of the 4th in Kyoto) and the Tigers lost to the Chicago Cubs, 9-0; however the Tigers would go on to win the Series with a 9-3 victory in Game 7 on October 10th].

Any news from those big brothers of mine, Bob & Vince? How's everything around town? Write soon and give me all the dope. I'll have to close for now, time to go back to work. Write soon.

Your Son,

P.S. Say hello to Mom and all the kids for me. Give Uncle Joe my regards also.

Enclosed in his letter was this label from a bottle of the beer he had been drinking.


Produced in Japan by Wheat Beer Company

(Kanji translation courtesy of Alena Wu)


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