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I went to Sho Tokyo Saturday with a friend, it is the last time I will ever be there, so it was a very emotional time for me.
I spent a lot of time there in the 1980s with my grandparents. Many Nisei Week festivals and other cultural events.

Sho Tokyo continues to evolve, and I am sure the next time I see it, it will be almost unrecognizable...except for the North side of First Street

Yes I am moving as far away from LA in the continental US as it can get, all the way to New Hampshire in New England. I must go to tend to my brother, who is now disabled with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).

I will be moving away from all of the cultural conveniences that are available to buddaheads in SoCal, like the Japanese grocery stores and restaurants.
I doubt if there is any okonomiyake restaurants there, to say the least.

I have lived in the LA area for 28 years....I have to leave behind many friends and my sister, who will stay behind in Long Beach.

Little Tokyo is like my ancestral hometown, where my grandparents and father lived and worked for awhile before WWII. In this vast metropolis of LA/Orange/Riverside County, where I have lived in Gardena, Bellfower, Norwalk and Fullerton, I have always considered Little Tokyo my anchor.
I first went there in 1977 on a visit to my grandmother while on leave in the Air Force. I went at least four times a month during my salad days in the 1980s.

The north side of First Street will never change. When I come back in say, ten years, the old buildings will still be there.
But the rest of the place may look quite different.

[Image: Sho%20Tokyo%20sm.jpg]
I thought about your moving the other day.
i think you should stay. Just for your own sake!
You live in a place that I was supposed to move to in Jan 2007 (to stay with some friend of my mom's -- she has a house with a couple of empty rooms).
I regret not moving tenfold, only coupled with my return to the U.S. after all my Studio friends (all international fams) and my own family in Japan telling me not to return o the U.S. --gee I thought I had time to pack.

Aside from some o.k. people in Brattleboro, VT and Killington, VT...aaaargh Matthew...
I can't even imagine?!

I'm in Ithaca and have maybe 2 students (prospective who want to pay when they feel like it). (after spending over 15,000USD to get my studio started --and I haven't moved the big piano -- I usually teach at people's homes) The Japanese crowd out here is slim to nil. If you can keep alo of work online I know you'll survive.

I still think that you should ... stay if you love it there. The northeast is cold, damp, and has personalities that go with it.
My being raised here was based on the fact that it is on the same latitude as Akita-ken (my mom's hometown I loved it there so much and has some similar features in perennial gardening (though not too many underneath)

From: Lat: 39.692009 Long: 140.344177
Grew Up: Lat: 40.44204 Long: 75.336312
Now: Ithaca NY: Lat: 42.440495 Long: -76.495454
Sho Tokyo: Lat: 35.670479 Long: 139.740921
Little Tokyo, CA: 34.048302 Long: -118.240532
There is no choice. I have to go. My brother needs me there. I could not live with myself by staying here while he is stuck in the hospital. I have to take care of his business, hold his apartment and car for him so he can come back to them someday.

I know the climate and weather suck. But you HAVE to take care of family, especially if they have nobody else.
He chose to live in New Hampshire years ago for personal reasons, and I respect them.
Helluva reason to have to go, but ya gotta do the family right, Matthew. Not really a choice, ne?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Aaaaargh. I hope there's some astronomical value for you in the move.
I understand the family part. I wish my mother would have stayed in Japan when I got out of college in 99'.
Instead she returned 2X because of some stupid car issue. (as if she has a nice one here--she has an old minivan).
So, because she returned, I decided to stay here. I'm worried about her in her abusive marriage that she constantly lies about.
Matthew, I really wish you and your brother all the best after you move out there. Keep us updated once you're back online, okay?

As for food - I'm pretty sure that by now, most larger grocery stores in the US carry staple Japanese foods (rice, soy sauce, mirin etc), and there's bound to be some sort of Asian grocery store *somewhere* within commutable distance, so if you have enough time to cook once in a while, you could look up a few recipes and cook up a concoction or two. It might not turn out great at first, but practice makes perfect. Okonomiyaki, for one, is a pretty easy one to make [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif[/img]

Good luck, and keep in touch, ne!
I am taking at least one 25 pound bag of California Calrose rice with me..along with a lot of green tea. Plus my rice cooker and air pot.
<!--quoteo(post=209802:date=Jul 13 2008, 02:38 PM:name=Matthew Ota)-->QUOTE(Matthew Ota @ Jul 13 2008, 02:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->I am taking at least one 25 pound bag of California Calrose rice with me..along with a lot of green tea. Plus my rice cooker and air pot.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Rice out here is nearly $20 for a 20lbs. bag. ( the Kokuho Rose rice is @ $19.00 now, it's more at smaller markets). Green tea, is expensive too... @$3.50 for 20 powdered mix tea bags of Japanese Yamamoto Yama. Oh yeah, due to the food/ grain shortages, a month ago I saw a $2.00 per sandwich leap for wheat bread (at the deli). Also, rice prices are expected to jump up again too. That is for real. I've been eyeing the alge/pond scum...ya... hope it doesn't get to that point. articles: Grain, U.C. Davis-- ,

I drink the most inexpensive tea I can find on sale usually;- though I get massive pangings for Japanese tasting stuff that I can't stave off. I know why I can't afford Japanese things, yet nothing else can curb my cravings. It gets really expensive fast when I get cravings.

I think in NH you might be able to get fresher fish than we do here in upstate NY. (I don't eat fish: though alot of the guys go fishing even in off season; more than in the past -- some with nets now) Organics are expensive too: coming in from Brattleboro, VT the main distribution point up here, even potatoes. and, the growing season out here is shorter than Cali. I remember meeting one woman a while ago and she was from Cali. She told me how much she missed the organics and the pricing from going to the farm directly. The food tastes different out here from what I hear.

I would make onigiri for the trip. definately.
And, keep grain storage containers... One time 2 years ago, I returned to my ex's house and the rodents (didn't know there were any) got into the Kokuho rice (I had it in the regular paper bag) and stored it in piles all over the house, under the couch. They stay out of plastic containers.
Not to be really on the downturn,
FYI there are people out here who are preparing to ransack people's homes in order to survive.
That's from an unofficial/official survey of Pennslvania on up from a "paid" Kerry Campaigner.
Being that NJ has shut down their parks, and things are changing here on the East Coast...
Most military personnell are migrating to DC to VA and south, for energy and growing season reasons.
I do know people who plan on living here up north for the next few decades and have design considerations for a complete freeze and no food availability in their minds.

I hope your brother recovers miraculously and speedily!!!
Matthew.. Good luck with your move and I completely respect you for what you are doing.
You need to do what you feel is right and as you say, family is most important and i'm sure your brother may make more of a speedier recovery knowing he has you there for him. I hope he will get better soon.

My grandmother in Japan recently had a stroke and is never going to be the same as she used to be. My mum has gone out there now, but I can't go at the moment. But I wish i could.
I'm also scared of going because I am scared of not being able to see my grandma how I remember her to be. I know thats really stoopid... but I am weak when it comes to these things.

She had a stroke about 2 months ago and was in a coma state for a while. She woke up about a month ago and has since been making small reactions to things and is hopefully getting better each day... very slowly....

So, Matthew, my thoughts are with you! Be strong and good luck with your move