Contrary to what some of you may believe, Crossroads to Somewhere (CR2S) is not the most engaging, personable guy you’d want to meet. A drawback is the inability to engage in small talk. Some interpret it as being aloof, unfriendly. The garrulous and gregarious are born with a natural air of confidence and a gift of gab. Effortless communicators, comfortable and at ease no matter the company or circumstance. Then there are the rest of us.
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Without so much as an introductory how-de-doo, a lady comes up and asks, nay, demands: “Why isn’t your real picture in The Rafu, instead of that too-young-looking drawing that doesn’t even look like you?”
Without missing a beat, putting on display a heretofore whimsical bent I didn’t know I had, I responded: “And you don’t look like anyone I know.” [It just came out of nowhere. Whammo. I’m not that clever so it surprised moi.]
There were hundreds of Jappos milling around outside the Aratani Theatre waiting for The Great Nisei Reunion to begin, but not a single potential rescuer in sight to save me. Alas, with no other recourse, I patiently began to explain how the Toe Nojiri caricature was a cropped reduction of a 20×24 portrait drawn some years ago. Since it looks better than the poser, I’ve used it as a column header ever since.
Dissatisfied and unsatisfied (and still unidentified), the lady now makes the point that all the others, even the pseudo-columnists who write infomercials, have a photo identity. I have a problem holding a smiley face, but promise to seriously consider her suggestion.
Then, glory be, as if in answer to prayer, the doors to the Aratani finally open. It was like the parting of the Red Sea and I was Moses. Escape at last.
There are always encounters with readers, for the most part complimentary expressing enjoyment and favorite topics. I never tire of these. Shoot, who wouldn’t prefer compliment over criticism?
I still don’t know the lady’s name. I’m sure she meant well. I’d like to think.
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The aftermath of The Great Nisei Reunion musical gathering continues to reverberate. Unanimity reigns regarding the enjoyment of the Nov. 16th show put on by retro versions of the Jimmy Dorsey Band and the Mills Brothers. Since there aren’t enough mobile Nisei left to guarantee the success of this sort of production, it remained for Sansei and others to pick up the attendance slack and make it work. A packed and enthusiastic theater crowd (including Sakaye Aratani herself) was the result as the joint rocked and rolled. [For some inexplicable reason, the Stonebridge production did not have the public support nor endorsement of neighboring JACCC.]
Dorsey’s Big Band numbers and the silk-smooth Mills Bros. harmony were enthusiastically embraced throughout the almost three-hour lovefest. The Island Crooners served as a timely bridge between the two acts. Maybe CR2S is still in overdrive, but lemme tell you people who missed out, it was great! People are not only still talking about it, they are expressing a hope for a repeat next year.
While enjoying the sojourn back to the past, I kept wondering who John Mills II reminded me of. [I do awfully weird mental exercises.] A descendant of one of the originals, he had the appropriate voice, looks and professional mien. Then it dawned on me: JMII reminded me of a younger (stouter) version of actor/comedian Bill Murray. Another strictly personal experience was the intermission raffle drawing. Would you believe, of the hundreds of people present, lucky ole Whimps won one of only two drawings!
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We’ve been going to most of the nicer downtown eateries for the past several years. That would be my two guys and two of their BFs. A sanctioned Stag Nite, I guess you’d be safe to call it. [But don’t ask what an oldie like me is doing with a gaggle of fifty-somethings.] The Water Grill, fast becoming one of our favorites, was the November site. Being an extra special occasion to celebrate, a six-pound King Crab was ordered. Through the magic of social media, CR2S readers can take a vicarious gander at what something that gigantic looks like (see photo inset). Not being a seafood aficionado, I wound up with a 20-ounce bone-in ribeye; most of which sits in my freezer for later consumption. An Opus One red completed a memorable dinner
Yup, folks, Life Is Good. You are welcome to join me in my current streak of good fortune. No membership fee and but a single requirement: You have to be nice.
W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.