CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Should ‘O’ Rest While CR2S Awaits a Test?



I’ll stop subscribing to Rafu if you keep on writing about ‘obakeh.’ Give it a rest.”

I don’t care if you wear samurai armor, that’s a stab that pierces! But in this business, you learn early on to accept slaps with the pats. Noted sage Forrest Gump put it aptly, “Life is like a box of chocolates.” I guess one’s elixir can be another’s vodka when it comes to a CR2S column.

When jolted by something like the above, I look for a name to see how brave the messenger is. More often than not, slings and arrows tend to come anonymously. There it was in full display, C.H.’s name (initials used for public i.d.). Then he chose to cushion the opening salvo with an unexpectedly soothing “Love your column, otherwise.”

If truth be told, the warning was almost welcomed. After three-plus years reporting on the “O” shenanigans, I admit to feeling a bit of “O” fatigue. It isn’t easy finding new ways to dramatize the mystery. I mean, geez, how many different ways can knocks on the door and rings of the telephone be described? There is a constant demand for something new in order to maintain intrigue. So there you go, Bro (am certain CH is male), point taken. But considering a vast majority still has interest in “O,” I don’t think I’ll, ah, close the door.

Like Duke Ellington, “I Don’ Get Around Much, Anymore.” But when I do, it’s total enjoyment when strangers (invariably ladies) introduce themselves as loyal Rafu readers. The most memorable occurred some time ago in a Montebello market. Concluding a very friendly exchange, the nice lady departed with a parting, “Good luck, Mr. Yoshinaga.” Last week I was confronted with a less embarrassing inquiry, “How in the world can your neck perspire?”

Which serves as a timely reminder that a medical review is in order.

Our vast and versatile readership has (so far) failed to come up with possible cures for CR2S’s current woes: Neck that perspires and mouth suffering Burnt Tongue Syndrome. But bless you, not from a lack of trying. There was a bit of humor, more Dr. Seuss than Dr. Oz. A.A. declared: “I have never heard of anyone with under-jaw B.O.!” N.M. suggested deodorant rather than after-shave lotion! [Made me think of Noriyuki “Pat” Morita.]

Although Google has no answer to Burnt Tongue Syndrome, that didn’t discourage some sincere advice. A.S. says breathing through the mouth and curling the tongue during exhale eases the discomfort. I don’t know about you normal people, but I find it hard to inhale through the nose and exhale from the mouth, especially when trying to sleep. Maybe it has something to do with coordination because I also can’t pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time either. [Can you?]

But it’s time to put all the cutesy stuff aside. Prepare yourself for another Crossroads to Somewhere Believe It or Not:

Hear Ye, Here Ye, Hear Ye! You’re about to read the wildest, craziest way to escape the painful clutches of a leg cramp. R.A. informs, nay guarantees, that a swallow of yellow mustard will make the pain go away! You know, French’s, Heinz. That golden stuff you slather over hot dogs and hamburgers. But remember, it’s swallow, not slather.

CR2S got this info the dependable Nisei way, by old-fashioned land-line telephone. No iPhone, Facebook, social media stuff. She went to the trouble of getting my phone number so she could fully explain, probably anticipating some doubt. Her (late) husband had found the answer and she wanted to share with me and my readers. He even kept a plastic squeeze bottle next to the bed, as victims know how an attack can come without warning; often while in bed. She also mentioned a friend who carries miniature fast-food packets in her purse.

I kid thee not, ever since that call, I’ve been waiting for a seizure! Alas, so far nothing, not even a murmur of a muscle spasm. I know that sounds crazy hoping for a cramp, but can you blame me for wanting to see if it works? [Reports from the public are welcome.]

= * =

A persistent reader complaint is my penchant for big words. Guilty. Like chocolate, bacon and strawberries, I have an insatiable appetite for Roget’s Thesaurus rather than Webster’s Dictionary. This next email is representative of reader sentiment on the subject and it made me do a bit of reflection. B.M. wrote:

“I gave up reading your column before because you use hard words and we have to have our dictionary with us,” she explained. “Now that you write in our level we are enjoying your writing. Few my friends said the same thing. Hope I am not offending you!!!”

No B.M., you aren’t. What you did do is make me reconsider. Since I’m trying to learn Japanese, I’m aware of how hard it is to understand a second language. If curtailing hai-seki words helps, will do. But always remember, good English can be as descriptive and charming as Japanese. Go-chu ko-ku, B.M., hon-to-ni arigato! [Non-Japanese-speaking heathens find a jibi-ki if you want to know what I just said.]

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



Leave A Reply