Across the Ocean, from Tokyo to Alaska, by Jeep

In 1957, two intrepid Westerners traveled from Tokyo to Alaska by amphibious jeep, and lived to tell the tale. One half of the duo published a book on the trip, titled Once a Fool.

You can read large excerpts of the book on Google books and you can buy the book at a major discount at But e-books has the best excerpt:

In 1957 Japan-based journalist Boye Lafayette De Mente joined Australian adventurer on an amphibious jeep named “Half-Safe” on an ocean-crossing journey from Tokyo to Anchorage, Alaska that took precisely four months, and resulted in their incredible experience being listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. (Gas for the jeep was carried in a large torpedo-shaped tank behind the jeep.) Enroute, the two encounted Russians, fish nets, a wall of water, the gas tank, sea lions, whales, each other, and were lost for three weeks. The aftermath of the trip continued for some 40 years. This is De Mente’s intimate account of the journey.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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2 Responses to Across the Ocean, from Tokyo to Alaska, by Jeep

  1. Sejo says:

    Wow. Funny that «demente» in Italian means idiot or fool.

  2. Joe Jones says:

    De Mente wrote a Japanese phrasebook (Survival Japanese) which happens to be the first Japanese language book I ever owned. I bought it in 1998, around the time I was accepted to be an exchange student in Osaka.

    He seems to have been a rather prolific gaijin voice during the early postwar decades.