Monday, July 14, 2003

An Open Letter to Al

Dear Al,

What's the haps? As you well know I recently celebrated my 11th anniversary as the newsletter editor. I've decided that instead of accepting my annual raise I decided I would make you a unique offer. Nope, I don't want further monetary compensation. What I want makes some sense since it has become part of the newsletter production routine. Every Sunday for at least the past couple of weeks (not counting the holidays) when I have put the finishing touches on the newsletter I have headed down to downtown St. Paul near the Farmer's Market to the only Japanese noodle restaurant that I know of in the Twin Cities, Tanpopo. In the beautiful and spacious decor of an old warehouse across from the Gillette building I enjoy what has become my favorite meal in this world- Bukkake Udon.

It's a delectable treat- a cold bowl of carefully prepared Japanese noodles served with just the right portions of cucumber, chicken, mushrooms, scrambled eggs, fried tofu, and just a dab of the tear enducing wasabi. After pouring the tasty bonito based sauce over the top of it all one can't help but be inspired to woof the whole thing down. The last time I was at Tanpopo the pleasant lil' waitress came over to ask how I was enjoying the meal. Seeing that it was nearly all gone minutes after she had brought it to my table she smiled and said, "Well I guess you don't like it." The meal is so good it might inspire Liz Phair if she were somehow to be exposed to it, to write a ditty called "White Hot Bukkake."

Yup embarrassingly so (but not enough to motivate me to change my ways) the meal immediately makes me relate to the parents in Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away who literally turn into pigs after snacking/snarfing on a feast that magically appears before them.

With the news this past week that Mr. Dylan may have plagiarized in his own work the work of Japanese author, Junichi Saga I find myself unintentionally immersed in all things Japanese. Almost makes me wish I was Japanese.

Last week I was having dinner with Lisa Annemarie before we headed on over to the Target Center to watch our Lynx play, and we were at Copeland's a nice Cajun restaurant. I was enjoying my plate of blackened chicken when Lisa said she had a confession. She told me that if she is ever on death row the meal she would order is Copeland's Zydeco chicken dinner. It reminded me that another friend, the concertina playin' Amy Lou once told me a similar tale- that if she is ever on death row her last meal would have to be Katsu Sushi's #9. Thus I've decided that if I were ever to find myself joining my friends on murderer's row with my final fate firmly decided I would ask for my last meal, a dish of Bukkake udon from Tanpopo. If that is the last thing I ever taste in this world, I think I can live with that so to speak.

So what I'm saying here Al is I don't want a bigger paycheck. Nope what I'd prefer is that you pay for my weekly newsletter related seven dollar meal of udon. I honestly think that's a fair trade-off for my weekly work. I also know that you and Jeanette are well aware of the delights found at Tanpopo having been regular diners. What do you say? Is it a deal?

Yours truly,
-Lance Motogawa


I don't consider myself too much of a snob in most areas of life. I realize my fancy Macalester education exposed me to things not everyone has had the privilege of being exposed to. But I still have come to consider myself a man of the common people. That said I must admit that I am most certainly a cinema snob. I find myself judging people by the quality of movies they tend to watch. Upon the news of the recent deaths of Gregory Peck, Katharine Hepburn and Buddy Hackett I was forced to come to a harsh realization: I'm as common as common can be. As much as I enjoy the old classics, and as much as I firmly believe that movie stars of today can't hold a candle to the stars of yesteryear I must admit in my life I have seen more Buddy Hackett movies than either Peck or Hepburn movies. I'm not particularly proud of this fact but there was something about Buddy Hackett that accurately reflects the true tastes of my life. I remember a most memorable night at Macalester when my roommate Spunky and I were bored out of our skulls and got it in our heads that what we needed was to rent a Buddy Hackett movie. We rented one of his concert videos and I can't say I have since laughed as hard as I did that night. God Bless you Buddy.

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