Okinawa Marine
October 21, 1994


Okinawa Marine
October 21, 1994

By Sgt. Anne Dollyhigh

OKINAWA - As the hares make last minute preparations, the anxious pack members begin priming themselves for trail. Loud whistles blasts pierce the air, sending the hares off in a flurry.

"Writes' em off (WEMO)," who received her collective name after completing six runs with Okinawa Hash House Harriers (OH3), makes a mental checklist of things needed to be done prior to running.

"OK, I have my headband, whistle, and chalk," she thinks to herself, "and I've paid my dues with the "hash cash. 'Have I forgotten anything? Nope, I'm ready to go."

Fifteen minutes after the hares have departed, WEMO and the rest of the pack take off in search of the tricky hares.

Once on the trail, she looks along the ground for tracks, like "true trail" arrows or puffs of chad (flour), that indicates the hares passed that way. WEMO realizes that the hares are not to be trusted, and will sometimes leave a bad trail (BT). If WEMO is first to discover one, she will mark it with the letters BT in chalk and continue.

Each time WEMO sees chad, she yells "on-on" or blows the whistle hanging around her neck. She also lets out with a hearty "true trail," when she sees a true trail arrow.

All official members have their own pack arrow, and WEMO, like the rest of the pack, will leave hers at an intersection indicating the direction she has gone.

Along the trail, WEMO keeps her eyes peeled in hopes of catching a hare. If she does, it will be cause for celebration by the rest of the pack after the run.

Ultimately, the clue she wants to see is :finish" or "beer near." As long as it is spelled correctly, this indicates the end of another successful run. If it isn't, she will continue running until the right version is spotted.

The OH3 van waits with coolers overflowing with beverages to quench WEMO's thirst at the end of each run. There is an abundance of food as well.

"The hash holy water is cold," said Frank "B.C.E. (bearded clam eater)" Collins. Which, as most of the others agree, is the most important thing anyway.

The hash master, John "Spouse (sucks up spouse)" Riley, takes charge of the pack, calling them into the circle. The hares are recognized and thanked for a good spotty trail, and all first-timer hashers are called into the circle to do a "down-down." This consists of drinking full beverage of choice while the pack sings and cheers.

"May I have a note please?" asks Spouse.

The pack responds with a loud note, undefinable on any piano keyboard, that kicks off a chorus of songs.

"The hash has no rules, just traditions," said George "F.M. (fart master)" Page. "It is essentially harmless fun where anything goes and nobody cares."

Watching the down-downs, WEMO recalls the pointers Page, the hash scribe, gave her prior to her first run. "Don't wear new shoes – they will make you pour a beverage into your shoes and drink from it. Don't wear a white T-shirt either, they will our water on you," he said. What he failed to tell her was that thet pour ice could water on you anyway. It's all part of the fun.

"My friend told me about hashing," Takayuki Fujikawa told WEMO. "It's a good chance for me to study English while I make new friends."

Fujikawa told WEMO that hish hash name, "Omikase," means "trust me" in Japanese and that he, like many Okinawans, enjoy running with the OH3.

After the hash master dismisses the pack, WEMO joins them at the "on-on." These get togethers are usually held in Japanese restaurants and are a perfect opportunity to gain insight from senior hashers.

"For me, hashing has meant companionship," said Ryun "Knave (probing sex knave)" Mouton. "I have met many Okinawans through the hash and they are all wonderful characters."

"I only hope, by the powers of Simon Gispert, who founded the hash in 1938, that the hash will go 'on-on,'" concluded Spouse.

WEMO left the restaurant in anticipation of the next run which will be tonight at 7p.m. The location will be marked with arrows along Hwy. 330 behind Futenuma. For information call, Diana Goodman, 956-1208.

Reproduced (and edited) by Ryun "Probing Sex Knave" Mouton

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