Edward Moreno

At 94, Ed Moreno has accumulated nearly seventy years of service in media- broadcast, newsprint, and magazines. Ed has received a number of accolades for his work, as writer, editor and translator. His torrid love affair with Japanese culture began in 1951 and it seems it will never cool off. He is currently writing a column on Japanese-Nikkei cultural and historical topics for the “Newsette,” the monthly organ of the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center, in West Covina, CA. Before its demise, The East magazine (Tokyo) published some of his original works.  He also writes for “Transactions, the Journal of the prestigious Asiatic Society of Japan”

Updated May 2015

culture en

Ningyo II – The Poetry of Dolls

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Three years after it happened, I am still grieving about the demise of Ningyo Journal, an ambitious periodical that J.A.D.E. (Japanese Asian Doll Enthusiasts) published from 1993 to 2004. It cost only eighteen dollars per year, but it always packed a wallop as an instrument for learning about Japanese dolls. Its earlier issues were valiant attempts at desk-top publishing, which the editors kept constantly improving. By the time it disappeared, it was being printed on first-rate coated paper, and enriched with excellent black-and-white photos; outstanding line drawings and gorgeous color illustrations. Yet, it was ...

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culture en

Ningyo I – Divine Shape and Human Form

At Centenary Church’s annual bazaar1, I stopped at a table full of discards, and asked the saleslady how much for “THAT?”…a pair of old paper dolls inside a flimsy cardboard box. She dawdled; her eyes swept me from top to bottom, and she left to confer with her associates. While their chat was inaudible, their raised eyebrows, nods, and shoulder-shrugging were raucous. The woman came back, and trying to hide a smirk, she hinted: “A…dollar?” Quickly, I handed her the money, praying for no sudden change of her mind. “Thanks, Jiichan,” she said, which really meant ...

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food en ja es pt

Sushi in Los Angeles - Part 2

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The initial target for Mr. Nakajima’s new sushi venture was Japanese immigrants, particularly businessmen. Quite impressed with the fare, they began bringing their American clients to try something novel and extraordinary. After their first experience with sushi,most novices becameaddicts. Kawafuku’s sushi bar had only seven seats, and it was always packed.

Kawafuku’s Chef Saito became the first sushi chef in America. Mrs. Saito was his waitress. In just four years, the couple saved $30,000, quite a fortune then, and decided to go back to Japan where, with their nest egg, they opened a ...

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food en ja es pt

Sushi in Los Angeles - Part 1

In one of our weekly powwows at Maryknoll, I asked my friends whether anyone knew how and when sushi came to Los Angeles. Kō Hoshizaki said that the right person to answer my questions was Mr. Noritoshi Kanai, the President of Mutual Trading Company (MTC) in downtown Los Angeles.1

“He has even written a book about it,” Kō said.

So I lost no time in asking him for an introduction, something he promptly arranged, and I was thus able to meet that almost legendary man. At 86, Kanai-san, tall and imposing, is still the very effective head of MTC ...

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food en

Ohhh, sushi!

Sushi and I made our acquaintance nearly sixty years ago on a train ride from Iwanuma to Sendai. In those days, the government wasn’t as particular as now about “sanitation,” and food vendors were allowed to course the railroad cars offering their wares without anyone batting an eye. As we left Iwanuma, a soft call filled the car:

Sun-bun, suzubentooo…Ocha…ochaaa….” A food vendor was promoting her wares. Muffled giggles followed her call.

“Hi, banchan,” a customer called and, with a smirk on his face, he added, “suzu-ben!” Because of the traditional Japanese politeness that typically infused every ...

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