The following is exerpted from Stars and Stripes article online Jan 2014.
A trip to Japanís Iruma Air Base of present day and Americaís Johnson Air Base from post-WWII is possible, in a sense, on the same day next month.
Iruma Air Base, outside of Tokyo, is hosting its annual air festival coinciding with Japanís nationally observed Culture Day.
After WWII, Iruma became Johnson Air Base for a few decades, and remnants of the American military ó fabricated and authentic ó still exist in the surrounding community.
One such example is a business and living co-op called Johnson Town.
Just outside the southwest fence line of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force base, Johnson Town is a sizable cluster of upgraded old U.S. military homes and newer houses built to imitate the same postwar period size and style.
The shops and living spaces, mostly single story, are all painted in similar shades of off-white and are connected by paths and walkways. An adjacent park, tree-lined streets and green lawns give that suburban American feel. Perhaps the most American element of all is the abundant parking.
The U.S. military built the single-family homes at their mainland bases in Japan and Okinawa, and many still exist ó in some capacity. The size, layout and common addition of a yard or garage make the homes a unique fixture within the Japanese housing market.
The Johnson Town homes are no different, but have undergone extensive improvements to the walls and insulation, even adding some earthquake resistance, according to the business operationís website.
Mikie Takahashi, owner of the Mellow Food Cafe, which was renovated from an old U.S. military home, said the overhead beams and some colorful siding panels that adorn her bar are the only remaining original elements of the home.
In addition to fusion cafes like Takahashiís, there are American, Japanese and Korean restaurants within Johnson Town.