Korea and Japan. In that order. Korea first, then Japan. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t want to go initially. I says to my wife, “Wife, I’ll be honest with you. I don’t want to go to Korea and Japan.” Wife says to me. “Okay, stay here. Daughter and I will go by ourselves, without you. You can be honest with yourself for the three weeks we are gone.”
I didn’t like her tone. No, not one bit did I like it. I was just being grumpy. I didn’t mean it. I get grumpy. I get grumpy because I work everyday with 130 adolescents and I didn’t want to go to Korea and Japan because they can make me grumpy.
Then my grumpiness changed and morphed into interest. It changed, in part, because of Japan. I have a novel I title “Mika’s Red Ribbon” that I began last summer that is loosely based on my father’s military service in Japan at the end of the Korean Police Action. Remember, you don’t call it a war because war was never declared so you can’t call it a war. You call it a Police Action because that’s what it’s called.
My father told me more that the “shooting had pretty much stopped” by the time he found himself in Japan. He was a radar tech guy and he trained anti-aircraft radar onto dummy targets that big planes pulled on a tether so that the military could get to know better how their radar technology was working and how to improve it. My dad didn’t talk much about his military service (he didn’t talk much about any part of his life) but did say that sometimes the radar signal, after acquiring the dummy target, would climb up the cable and train on the actual airplane with actual human beings inside of them. Apparently, it made everyone nervous when this happened because they were shooting not dummy rockets but smart, boom-boom rockets in order to train well. No one had any interest whatsoever in exploding friendly rockets into our own military planes and into their own human being airplane people.
So, the stupid novel (which will probably never see the light of day) is about a woman, Mika, who has a thin red line, that looks like a ribbon, from her heel to her shoulder. It’s a radiation scar she received when Nuclear Bomb # 2 fell on Nagasaki. Mika survived the blast but was injured and from what I understand (and I better understand a helluva lot more if I want this book to work) people who were injured and ‘contaminated’ by the radioactive blasts were considered defective and experienced rejection. Mika was no exception and to survive in Japan after the attacks, she turned to prostitution. She met Adam Sierra, the character based loosely on my father.
They have an interesting situation as Corporal Sierra has been enlisted to assist with the search for the third atomic bomb which the US government may have misplaced. Because Sierra is smart, knows about radar, and is a South Dakota, white-bread, grain-fed, yessir kinda guy, the brass wants him to help find the missing nuke.
Mika likes that she now has one client instead of many, and develops a real love and compassion for young Sierra. She’s obviously tortured from her injury, tortured as a Japanese woman who has been rejected by her own people, and tortured by the fact that she loves a man who belongs to the country who dropped a nuclear bomb on top of her.
I have no idea how I am going to write this simple little story, but when my wife says to me, “Husband (aka. Asshole) why don’t you get beyond your grumpiness and come with us and then we can go to Japan and you can visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” well, my self-interest kicks in. Mika’s Red Ribbon is part of the Sierra Trilogy that I probably will never write because of my long-standing grumpiness and inordinate amount of time writing about what I’m going to write instead of actually writing it.
So, anyway, I’m going to Korea and Japan with my wife and daughter and they both are pretty convinced that I am, indeed, a grumpy asshole. And the reason that they think that is because I think I exploded the transmission in our van which we attempted to use to transport ourselves and our two dogs–both of whom also have a negative opinion of me–to Las Vegas to leave them with my mother during our Asiatic travels.
There is some possibility that, in my post-school year stress, I put too much of that red translucent fluid into the transmission even though it says right on the dip stick, ‘Hey, dipshit, don’t overfill the transmission with this stuff.’ Four or five hours later, I decide to put more red fluid into the tranny and may (probably) put in power steering fluid instead. That is a major fucking no-no. Not long after that faux pas, the vehicle stopped moving forward. I had reverse but unlike the Native American woman in the film, Smoke Signals, I had no intention of driving from Wickiup, AZ to Las Vegas, NV, in reverse gear.
Because there was no room at any Memorial Day Weekend inn in town, we camped out at the mechanic’s shop in Kingman, AZ. When he arrived in the AM, I accepted his opinion that though the transmission had lived a good life, it was gone. We made it to Las Vegas courtesy of a $250 taxi ride and an UBER pilot named Jeremy who drove a shiny blue Subaru.
Now that I’m in Las Vegas and everything is more or less intact and good to go for Tuesday’s LA launch to parts Asiatic, I’m feeling less grumpy and looking forward to the trip. My wife may be inclined to cash in my return ticket and leave my sorry ass a half-world away. I’m going to endeavor to behave, improve my mood, and show some gratefulness for this opportunity. Thanks for coming along for the ride and giving me the chance to cathart. I feel better. I hope you enjoy the blog, My Asiatic Adventure.