CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Saxophone + Strawberries = Satisfaction

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By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

Civil (left) rightists, community activists and concentration camp advocates don’t have much use for CR2S; seldom being a poster boy or vocal challenger of the many prejudicial excesses stemming from World War II. Although a victim, in more ways than I care to remember, I still wonder how anything you didn’t know or possess could cause irreparable harm. But we won’t go there today. In this week’s dissertation, let’s take a look at how yesteryear taps into our todays.

One of the “benefits” of the Poston Relocation Center experience for this burr-headed teener was an introduction to recorded music. Before evacuation I sang in a school choir in something akin to a soprano/tenor hapa cross. The family listened to the Hit Parade every week, trying to figure out when “Don’t Fence Me In” or “Mairzy Doats” would end their consecutive win skeins. I began to whet an appetite for music appreciation in a junior high school class.

But it was the doom and gloom of Poston that brought 78s into my 60-inch world: Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller, Bix and Tex; Peggy Lee and Jo Stafford; Dick Haymes and Frank Sinatra. Kay Kaiser’s “Pushing Sand” was most apropos for desert living, as was Lena Horne’s aching version of “Stormy Weather.” Yeah, my  unknown civil rights were being stomped but I preferred to listen to a Duke Ellington “Stomping at the Savoy” rendition.

All this stuff is roiling in my cranial tangles because I ventured out Saturday night. Indeed no big deal for most of you, but going anywhere after dark is an adventure these days for me; usually requiring a driver. But I bravely make the Li’l Tokio trek solo to catch Keiko Matsui in her local 25th anniversary tour stop. The decision to face the vagaries of night driving was made easy because Jeff Kashiwa, a saxophonist I had heard about, was to be a guest performer.

Not being a musical critic of Leonard Feather or Mark Swed caliber, I won’t attempt an appreciation critique of Matsui’s piano styling. Except to point out she is a pounder of the ivories as opposed to being a tinkler, a la Claude Thornhill. She is good. And versatile. A perfect evening it would have been had she dispensed with the CD sales pitches between numbers.

But like I said, Kashiwa and his sax were the draw.

Here again, a story of how past events play an integral role in everything you treasure and recall: While foot tapping with Kashiwa’s upbeat arrangements, his mournful jazz wailings were more my cup of ocha, Japanese and green. Although not similar  instrumentally or in style, I’m remembering the alto saxophone artistry of Johnny Hodges while listening to Jeff. Although comfortably seated in Aratani Theatre, I’m thinking back to the Oriental Theater in Chicago with Hodges featured center stage. I’m a 15-year-old again, in a drafty theater balcony, wondering what if they had musical instruments available in Poston. Maybe today I can find a lawyer to sue somebody for being deprived of an opportunity to become a Jappo Coleman Hawkins or Teddy Wilson, maybe  even Liberace.

I’m sure fans of Elvis, Paul, Mick and Rod have their own personal roots and favorite recalls. Rap and all that other jazz. While trying to remain relevant, this corner takes a gander at the Grammys and maybe C&W once in awhile. But since I’m a lyrics lover, especially ballads, my ears can’t take the pounding of today’s so-called entertainers.

At any rate, CR2S suggests, nay, urges followers to attend one of the remaining JACCC-sponsored concert events. New CEO Leslie Ito’s multi-faceted campaign to revive the ailing alphabet org is being spearheaded by the musical presentations under the aegis of Stonebridge Productions.

Take it from me, your old reliable town crier, going out after 7 p.m. is cool, literally and figuratively. It sure beats seeing friends at gatherings purportedly celebrating life. Trust me. Again. Always.

With so many exciting things going on, I almost forgot to announce the results of an ongoing experiment. Of course it took a don’t-forget-nothing reader to inquire about the great Strawberry Experiment: How to keep berries fresh and succulent.

Readers TI and MI first touted me on a formula of apple cider vinegar and water to preserve the fragile food favorite (they were the first of three). Their solution was one part apple cider vinegar mixed with nine parts water. So I dutifully doused and dunked and voila, the batch lasted a week in the refrigerator! And then JT of KRH suggested simply placing the ripe reds on paper towels in an air-tight Tupperware container would be just as effective. This too works! So now I do both, an important option for those who might not like a very slight vinegary smell.

So there you go, people. Knowing there are jillions of berry lovers out there in CR2S land, I will wallow in your pleasure. No need for applause or gifts. Appreciation is quite sufficient.

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached via email. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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