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Masataka and Masako Komorida, a retired couple who have operated the Navy Exchange Pack ’N’ Wrap shop at Sasebo Naval Base for three years, say November and December are their busiest months as base personnel ship Christmas gifts to the United States and elsewhere.
Masataka and Masako Komorida, a retired couple who have operated the Navy Exchange Pack ’N’ Wrap shop at Sasebo Naval Base for three years, say November and December are their busiest months as base personnel ship Christmas gifts to the United States and elsewhere. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Holiday shoppers have transformed the pace from steady to frenzied in the tiny Pack ’N’ Wrap shop across from the post office.

Masataka Komorida, 68, and his wife Masako, 65, operators of the shop for three years, barely have time to answer the telephone during November and December, the busiest time of the year for packing gifts and other items destined for the United States and elsewhere.

Inside the shop, space is tight, crammed with empty boxes, huge rolls of brown packing paper and tape, Styrofoam “peanuts” and a stack or two of old Stars and Stripes newspapers.

“The main thing we think about when packing for customers is the safety of the items they will ship,” said Masako while packing a laptop computer Wednesday for Mark Haley, Sasebo’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation department’s sports director.

Masako said she and her husband find enjoyment working within the base community.

“Even though we are already retired, we are happy to work at a business like this,” she said. “We really enjoy being able to meet and talk to all the people here, especially this time of year.”

The most unusual item they’ve wrapped of late, she said, is a delicate glass Japanese doll that was about 3 feet tall. She said they’ve also packed items such as bicycles and small pieces of furniture.

Prices vary depending on size and amount of care taken to package an item.

“In the three years we’ve been here there has been just one person to come back and complain because something we packed was broken in shipping,” Masako said.

Hearing that was comforting for Seaman Jason Morrow, from the USS Essex.

“They do a much better job than I could,” he said. “I’ve used them quite a bit and so do others from my ship.”

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