Now, I Know.

I took off for a weekend last month
Just to try and recall the whole year
All of the faces and all of the places
Wonderin’ where they all disappeared
I didn’t ponder the question too long
I was hungry and went out for a bite
Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum
And we wound up drinkin all night

It’s these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of our running and all of our cunning
If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane

Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places I’ve been
Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure
Makes me want to go back again
If it suddenly ended tomorrow
I could somehow adjust to the fall
Good times and riches and son of a bitches
I’ve seen more than I can recall

These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
Through all of the islands and all of the highlands
If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane

I think about Paris when I’m high on red wine
I wish I could jump on a plane
So many nights I just dream of the ocean
God I wish I was sailin’ again
Oh, yesterday’s over my shoulder
So I can’t look back for too long
There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me
And I know that I just can’t go wrong

With these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of my running and all of my cunning
If I couldn’t laugh I just would go insane
If we couldn’t laugh we just would go insane
If we weren’t all crazy we would go insane

* * *

As part of his “I Don’t Know” tour, Jimmy Buffett gave a free concert at Camp Foster on Friday, October 28th.  It was my first time seeing Buffett in concert and, likely, my last.  (He’ll turn 70 years old on Christmas Day.)  We arrived at 2 p.m. for a 3:30 start time.  Although the sun beat down with only a sliver of shade in sight, the wait was worth it.  Ambassador Caroline Kennedy briefly introduced the singer and his band and then he played for 90 minutes.  As an island lover and dweller, I connect with his Caribbean-themed lyrics and his fondness for a refreshing beverage to beat the heat.  As for his performance for U.S. troops, I couldn’t have picked a more apt performer–he’s as American as apple pie.

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Ambassador Caroline Kennedy introducing Jimmy Buffett.
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Free beads, leis, and sunglasses were given out.
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Enjoying the Caribbean-themed tunes.
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Fins. Watch out for the landshark.
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My tiny landshark.

A Child’s Place

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[S]’s breakfast at Seaside Cafe Hanon, Okinawa, Japan.
I have never been one to eat breakfast out.  Perhaps it’s because I’m frugal.  Why spend $10 on eggs and pancakes when it costs pennies on the dollar to make at home?  Perhaps it’s because I loathe leaving the house early on weekend mornings.  How is it a lazy morning if I must put myself together to leave our house?  Or maybe it’s just because I enjoy breakfasts at home–the smell of coffee brewing, the sound of eggs being cracked, and the unrestrained giggles of a two-and-a-half year old.

Living in Okinawa has not changed my feelings on eating breakfast out, but it has given me a reason to embrace when we do so:  the children’s breakfast set.  Here, one typically orders a meal set.  Sets often include a choice of beverage, the main course, and a dessert.  For breakfast, children are routinely offered ice cream, chocolate, or whip cream to accompany pancakes, in addition to syrup.  And the creativity of eating establishments is bemusing when it comes to children’s plates.  One cafe provided [S] with a liquid chocolate pen to decorate her own pancakes.

At Seaside Cafe Hanon, [S]’s meal included three types of ice cream, pancakes, and a mini-cream puff.  The restaurant substituted the egg-based cream with whip cream on the ears and in the cream puff without us asking, given [S]’s egg allergy.  (I only requested that they leave the egg-cream off the plate.  But that wouldn’t fit the aesthetic, would it?)

I find joy in the pride and creativity of restaurant workers here.  One’s job is not merely to prepare and/or serve a meal.  Rather, it is seen as an honor to do so.  And it shows.

How was my meal?  It was beautifully presented and delicious.

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Eggs Benedict, steak bacon, and whole wheat pancakes, served with a salad.

Remembering War Is Hell

Kaname Harada, a former fighter ace who was believed to be the last surviving combat pilot to fly for Japan at Pearl Harbor, and who became an apostle of pacifism a half-century later out of remorse over the deaths he caused, died on Tuesday in Nagano, northwest of Tokyo. He was 99.

* * *

“I realized the war had turned me into a killer of men,” he told Martin Fackler last year in a profile in The New York Times, “and that was not the kind of person I wanted to be.”

He added: “I fought the war from the cockpit of a Zero, and can still remember the faces of those I killed. They were fathers and sons, too. I didn’t hate them or even know them.”

“That is how war robs you of your humanity,” he said, “by putting you in a situation where you must either kill perfect strangers or be killed by them.”

* * *

He said it was only after the Persian Gulf war that year, when the United States forced Iraqi troops to withdraw from Kuwait, that he could bring himself to speak publicly about his own wartime experience. He said he was appalled that Japanese teenagers were describing the conflict in the Mideast as if it were a video game.

“Until I die, I will tell about what I saw,” Mr. Harada said. “Never forgetting is the best way to protect our children and our children’s children from the horrors of war.”

 * * *

“Nothing is as terrifying as war,” he said. “I want to tell you my experiences in war so that younger generations don’t have to go through the same horrors that I did.”

But he acknowledged that some conservatives in the Japanese government had been rethinking the country’s pacifist path.

“These politicians were born after the war,” he said, “and so they don’t understand it must be avoided at all costs.  In this respect, they are like our prewar leaders.”

Kaname Harada, Pearl Harbor Fighter Pilot Who Became Pacifist, Dies at 99, The New York Times (May 5, 2016).