Your Moment of Origami
In our last issue, we introduced you to Japanese Consul General Hisao Inagaki, who took over his post at the end of the summer. Since then, he’s been folding one origami paper crane every day and showcasing it on Instagram. At the time of this writing, his fan base is still in the double digits, but we feel there’s an Instagram star in the making here. Find him at @hisaoinagaki.
Powerful Time-Travel Tale
Kiku Hughes’ new graphic novel, Displacement (published by First Second), sends a modern teenager back in time to witness her grandmother’s experiences in World War II. School Library Journal wrote in a starred review that the book offers “a potent look at history and the lasting intergenerational impact of community trauma.” Hughes calls Seattle home. See more of her work at https://kikujhughes.wixsite.com/kikuhughes.
Sake Nomi on the Move
Sake Nomi, Seattle’s premier sake-only retail shop, is moving to a new location. The shop, run by Johnnie and Taiko Stroud, had been operating on Washington Street in Pioneer Square for 13 years, but closed its doors at the end of the October. However, it was just a temporary closure – Sake Nomi quickly found new digs in the same neighborhood and was in the midst of finalizing the details as we went to press. If you are looking for the finest selection of sake in the PNW for this holiday season and New Year celebrations, go to https://www.sakenomi.us.
Taiwan Uses “Humor over Rumor”
Here’s a dose of sanity from Taiwan: The country has used humor to quell panic buying and rumors surrounding the pandemic. Taiwan Digital Minister Audrey Tang calls this “humor over rumor.” Some of the humor includes puns (an ad that played off the words “hoard” and “butt,” which are homonyms in Mandarin, put a stop to binge toilet-paper buying) and cute mascots (Zongchai the shiba inu makes public service announcements; social distancing is enforced at restaurants with Teddy Bears in certain seats). And perhaps most important of all, the government’s humorous online campaigns have been successful, Tang says, because “in Taiwan, we have broadband as a human right.”
Box Office Slayer
The hit anime film “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” has been shattering box office records in Japan and elsewhere since it started airing in theaters on October 16 (that’s right, people can actually go to movie theaters in Japan!). In its first weekend (Friday to Monday) it raked in $44 million, making it the best opening ever in Japan. By its 10th day on the big screen, the film had surpassed $100 million, another Japan box office record.
So how is it that the Japanese can go to a movie theater in the middle of a pandemic? The theaters use thermal scanners and only allow full capacity crowds if no food is sold. So far, no Covid-19 outbreaks have been traced to the theaters.
Okazu Pan for the Holidays
Harold Fields of Umami Kushi has some tasty new okazu pan flavors for the holiday season. This fall, he was experimenting with charcoal flour and planning a hearty lamb-filled okazu pan. What are these creations, you ask? They are delicious little on-the-go snacks of bread and a savory filling. The classic one in Japan is filled with beef curry, and that is one of Umami Kushi’s bestsellers too. But he also riffs on the okazu pan theme with fillings like jerk chicken, lentil, kabocha, and chicken adobo. You can find these okazu pan at any Uwajimaya grocery store, several local coffee shops, and of course, straight from the Umami Kushi shop in Rainier Beach, Seattle.
- Bruce Rutledge loves books, baseball, and Pacific Northwest beer, He also loves Japan and has dedicated his career to telling more stories about the country through books, magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, and now, on Origami magazine. He works in Seattle's Pike Place Market. Come visit him in his store in the Down Under.