Veterans’ Tales by Vassar Bushmills

(Editor’s note: There is today a Manos Russian restaurant in the Asakusa area of Tokyo, but the one of which I speak here was just a short walk from the original Sanno Hotel in Akasaka, who’s history can be seen here.)

I could tell a dozen stories about Manos, a little Russian restaurant in the Akasaka District of Tokyo, about 200 feet from the Soviet Embassy.

My best friend in Japan was Maj Guy, living next door in our 12 family quadrangle in the Sagami-hara housing area at Camp Zama. He worked in the G2 section of our Army headquarters. His boss, Col Mac, was the last Army Attache in South Vietnam at the time of the Fall of Saigon in 1975. We were also good friends up until he passed away last year.

I’ll tell that story some other time, but Maj Guy was Col Mac’s Liaison Officer with the Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces (JGSDF, their national army).

What a sweet gig.

Guy was basically a dog-robber, whose principal job was to set up all the social events between our command and the JGSDF (Army). He was the go-to guy for every office in our command, G1-thru G4, plus the General’s office, when there was to be an event with their Japanese counterparts. This included golf, fishing trips, special dine-ins (Japanese military were like the Russians, they had very ritualistic ways of getting drunk) I was invited to several.

Manos’ was where Guy took their officers to get laid.

No really.

And when he told me this I said, “You’re a pimp.”

“No, but you have to come to Tokyo to see. I’ll set it up.”

Manos was a small Russian restaurant, only a short walk across a big boulevard and down a side street, no more than a five-minute walk from the Sanno Hotel, the US military hotel in Tokyo since early in the Occupation. It was the only place where, in the world’s most expensive city, American military personnel could sit down at a 5-star table and enjoy a steak and fine wines at stateside prices[…]

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