Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Walk around Narimasu / 成増の散歩

Okay, I suppose some of you are wondering where the heck is Narimasu and why did I even choose to walk around this neighborhood which isn't listed any guide books to Japan. The answer is simple my friends but we will have to go back in time 38 years to my elementary school days. You see, I was an army brat and grew up in this neighborhood. My family lived on an Air Force Base called Grant Heights which was located near here.


Its kind of nice to know the Tobu Store is still in the same location. I doubt that it was open for 24 hours back then though. When I was with my mom we would stop in here before heading back to the base and she would buy me a triangular carton of milk coffee (you can't find those triangular packages anymore though!)

38年前も駅の隣にTOBU Storeが居た。まだつぶれてないのはなんか良いな。多分当時は24時間営業はなかったと思う。お母さんが買い物の帰り、このTOBU Storeで良くミルクコーヒーの三角パックを買ってくれた(今は三角パックなどはないですけどね。)

Back in my elementary days, there used to be a fountain in front of the station. Now it's been replaced by a police box and a public toilet.


Front of Narimasu Station almost 40 years ago / 40年前位の成増駅前

I didn't think a photo of the public toilet would be so picturesque, but the statue of the little boy with rabbits was kind of cute as was the sign depicting some kind of song.


The entrance to the market street I still remember as well. The book store my mother always went to is no longer there though.


The Mos Burger shop in Narimasu has nothing to do with my childhood, but for your burger trivia, this is the 1st shop of the Japanese burger chain.


Narimasu Skip Mura / なりますスキップ村

I was chatting with the owners of this yakitori shop which they said they had been running for 41 years. And yes, they remembered Grant Heights and all the foreigners who used to come to this area. I believe this is the same place where my Mom would buy my brother and me some yakitori every now and then. They told me where the main gate of Grant Heights used to be, which was where I was headed next.


So this is what the entrance to Grant Heights looks like now. The whole area is one big park called Hikarigaoka Park.


It's a huge park surrounded by a number of apartment buildings.


"Prayer to Peace" monument / 「平和への祈り」

The far end of the park, who knows, it could have been where Tower School used to be located.


You will also find a bird sanctuary within the park and a spot for birdwatchers as well. I spent a little time here as well but saw only one bird.


My bird watching effort, critter didn't move at all / バードウォッチングで見つけた鳥、全然動きはしませんでした

This looks like it could have been the road the passed in front of our house.


Grant Heights (on a clear day you could see Mount Fuji) / グラントハイツ(晴れた日に富士山が見える)

Sometime between 1969 and 1973 / 1969年から1973年の間 (正しい年は分かりません)

Cherry Blossom season in the past / 昔の花見季節

Our house in Grant Heights, the one numbered 815 / グラントハイツで過ごした家 (815)

There really wasn't much else to see in Narimasu, so with the picture of the house I grew up in during my elementary years, I called it a day.



Jeff in Tokyo said...

Hello Ern,
I was doing some research about Narimasu (I live here now).
My friend's father used to work at Grant Heights. He is quite ill in the hospital right now, and I would like to print out your photos to show him. Is that ok with you? If you have any other old photos of Grant Heights, please let me know.
Jeff in Narimasu

Hawaii Duffer said...

I was a Security Policeman on Grant Heights from 1970 to 1973. Another airman and I were the last two US military personnel to close down Grant Heights at mid-night. We used flashlights and Coleman lanterns to see by as there was no electricity. I may have a number of photos of Grant Heights and will send them to you if you would like. I will check back after I see if I can find them. To get your reply.

Tokyo Ern said...

Wow, that would be so cool. Grant Heights was a very big part of my life - the swimming pool, watching "Lassie" at the Chapel, going to the dispensary, the commisary, the PX. West School, Tower School. I would love to see more pictures of Grant Heights.

Hawaii Duffer said...

I will scan the photos so I can transmit them to you but I am not sure how to send them to a "blog". Can you offer some suggestions? Once they are uploaded hopefully Jeff in Tokyo can download them from your blog. It will take some time as there are quite a few photos.

Tokyo Ern said...

Please feel free to send them to this address:

I would like to share them with my father as well. He will love to see those photos as well.

So you wouldn't mind if I post them on this blog as well?

Tokyo Ern said...

To Jeff in Tokyo,

I've posted more pictures of Grant Heights that Hawaii Duffer had sent.

Please feel free to download or print them for your friend's father who is in the hospital.

Hawaii Duffer,

Photos are much appreciated. My father and mother thoroughly enjoyed them.

Jeff in Tokyo said...

Just wanted to say, thanks so much for taking the time to do all this scanning and uploading.
My friend's father was really happy to see the last set of photos.
They don't have internet access in the hospital, but I'm going to print them out for him. Thanks!