When Angela and AJ evacuated from Japan in March they left me with alone in a house with an 8 month pregnant Japanese refugee and her American Husband.  While great people and company, I was working what seemed like 20 hours a day supporting the Search and Rescue (Operation Tomodachi) ops in northern Tohoku and couldn’t spend much time with them until they went home to Ibaraki (for a healthy birth of a beautiful baby girl!).  Thus myself and scores of co-workers found ourselves in an awkward situation where our dependents actually “deployed” away from home while we were left on the homefront.
Once work started to regain some normalcy we started to delve into unknown territory.  Everything seemed hard and simple tasks required a late night call to our spouses on the other side of the world. For example, how in the world do I pay our rent? Do I pay in yen or write a check? Where do I take the trash and recycling? And the biggest one was in regards to food. I wandered into the unfamiliar commissary and came across several geographic bachelors staring at aisles, unsure of where items were. I had maybe been in the commissary two or three times in a year until this point and was extremely confused as to the placement of products (though the selection was VERY poor due to the fact that less produce was being shipped in due to the earthquake… because we won’t need to eat in a disaster?!?!?).
I cleaned the house once all over and settled into a diet of quick turkey wraps, cottage cheese, coffee and alcohol.  To deal with the stress of work, possible radiation, and family separation several of us at work developed an established bar routine on the weekends, enjoying the suddenly mellow local night scene (the Japanese had become very depressed and not out as much after the earthquake).  One of the great things about Japan is the bars do not close, and stay open until at least dawn, so you can take a 0300 cab home, grab an anti-hangover “ginger” shot and be good to go (still not sure what is in these things but they are legit, and sold in every 24 hour convenience store).  In addition to our hard drinking, we kicked off “Operation Keep Each Other Alive” where we each took turns cooking food.   One person would barbeque, I would make enchiladas, and would switch off to make sure we were all eating.  It was tough to the be the ones at home for once, without our spouses, kids, and pets, and it saddened us all.
Thankfully we survived, I now know how to pay the rent, made some friends with the local bartenders, and have Angela and AJ where they should be!
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