Deems the Author

North American Post Listing of Deems' articles written
for the North American Post
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Free Music May 25, 2018
Soul Foods April 27, 2018
Economics February 2, 2018

Free Music

By Deems Tsutakawa / For The North American Post Thur, May 25, 2018

My old pal from childhood days, Perry Lee, owns the world's largest collection of Bruce Lee memorabilia and it is on display at The Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle. Perry, his brothers, and I played a lot of street ball, table tennis, and Risk amongst other games while growing up in the Mount Baker neighborhood. Perry also went to my high school and graduated a few years before me. At this time he is closing in on nearly a half century working for the health department where he examines restaurants for complicity with codes. Apparently he loves his job which I can relate to for sure.

Perry and his wife Vicki are staunch supporters of live music. They go out virtually every week of the year to listen to live bands and enjoy the comradery of the greater Seattle night life. Needless to say, they know every eatery, night club, and musician in town. Personally, I feel that the world needs more people like Perry and Vicki as then there would be more live music everywhere.

Upon talking with the knowledgeable couple, the thing that struck me was the fact that they could go out fifty two weeks a year to see good quality live music and never have to pay a cover charge. They can usually get free parking at or near most venues and there is always food and drink specials abound. Coming from a family restaurant background and inspecting restaurants Perry definitely knows good food.

Once again the thing that comes to mind again is the basic function of live music in our society and around the world. Granted there are a few acts like Kenny G and Adele that garner massive revenue but their type of success is quite rare. You could say that one probably has a better chance of winning a mega lotto prize than to make millions playing or singing. If the statement that says the majority rules is true than the rule of live music is to bring people together to see friends, laugh, eat, and tell stories. If you love the night life like I do please be more like Perry and Vicki.

Soul Foods

By Deems Tsutakawa / For The North American Post Thur, April 27, 2018

The rich tradition of Soul Food started in the old South and was created by the African Americans using whatever ingredients that were made available to them. The cooking style goes back hundreds of years to the slave days and has influenced countless chefs, kitchens, and diners for generations upon generations. Today's version of the legendary cuisine is somewhat healthier than the original as the current cooking methods are for the most part using vegetable oil instead of lard and fresh meats that are less fatty. The cool thing about Soul Food is that the restaurants that specialize in this food style oftentimes like to have live music such as Jazz, Blues, and of course Soul Music on site. The people that frequent the Soul Food eateries are also quite knowledgeable about the music and its quality. When playing music at one of these establishments you need to be groovin' and soulful for sure.

On occasion I like to use the term Soul Food loosely with a worldwide implication encompassing a wide variety of cultures. Perhaps the term 'comfort food' is more appropriate however as far as I'm concerned everybody has a soul. The foods of our ancestors help us with our identity and are something to share with friends, family, and acquaintances. 'Japanese American Soul Food' would be Teriyaki meats and rice with a side of pickled veggies. The Southeast Asians have Pho' noodle soup, Italians love their pizza, and the people of India eat a lot of curry.

Whether cooking on a stove or cooking on a bass guitar I find it is always better to put your Soul into the endeavor. The making of soulful foods and music over an extended period of time gives the art forms a depth of flavor and a richness to be loved over and over again. Thank goodness for our souls.

Economics

By Deems Tsutakawa / For The North American Post Thur, February 2, 2018

My old hi school pal, Wayne Rabb, is a talented drummer and has played on several of my albums. We worked together in several bands through the sixties and seventies and it was always a blast. During the decade of the 70's he decided to become a union cement finisher. Wayne is an outgoing, outspoken African American man and had to show great patience to get a cement job. For the good part of a year he went down to the union hall daily in hopes of being sent out on a job. Five days a week the boss sent out all the Caucasian workers but would never call MR Rabb's name for any work. Finally after waiting out the months upon months of frustration he got sent out to work. Eventually Wayne became a journeyman and spent some thirty years doing cement labor. You have to respect his perseverance. He used to tell me with a big smile on his face that he was making 'white money,' He knew it was real cool to making the same as the other guys.

In my personal opinion, the Executive Order 9066 was not only about racism but had other spin offs that would benefit the non-Japanese Americans. Before WW2 my dad's family had a large import/export business of steel and lumber to and from Japan. The company was, of course, shut down and never reopened. The entire inventory, warehouses, land, and a fleet of trucks were confiscated and never returned. I suspect that with the signing in 1988 by Ronald Reagan of the redress for all JAs that the family case will be closed and no more property claims will be allowed.

At a Japanese American Chamber of Commerce meeting back a few years ago, I listened to Taul Watanabe speak. Taul was a very successful businessman. His theme was simply that 'politics is economics and economics is politics.' On occasion while playing a good paying piano gig, I can hear MR Rabb's voice echoing around in the back of my mind and it puts a smile on my face.