Jenni & Tony at Higashi Obon, our first photo together, July 1995
Just wanted to wish my honey a happy 10 year anniversary. Last night, Tony and I celebrated the eve of our anniversary by having dinner at Koraku in Little Tokyo. I had the curry fried rice, the same dish we shared that first night, which we've shared on other anniversaries as it is "our place." The main difference with our anniversary dinner this year, is that we had Baby Maiya with us. Koraku is loud, chaotic, greasy and has lousy ambience. The booths are too small for a wriggling infant--definitely not kid-friendly. We must have passed her back and forth between us about 5 or 6 times, taking turns eating our dinners, me nursing her, pushing water cups out of the way, Maiya kicking her foot into Tony's plate, knocking over things, etc. I wouldn't have had it any other way.
Here is an excerpt from my journal, the night after our "first" and "last" date, and then 2 additional entries from those first weeks of our relationship!
Tony Osumi, where do I start? I don't even know where I first met him, I recall about 3 years ago, seeing him at an APAN (JACL) meeting and asking my friend Gary Mayeda about him. I remember seeing him at the Wakako Yamauchi play, "12-1-A," at UCLA. We were both with other people. I remember reading things in the Rafu Shimpo and admiring this man, this activist, from afar.
Then there was a series of events where I started to see him at meetings where he talked about A3M (Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches) where he was the Japanese Task Force Coordinator, and the New Otani Workers’ Support Committee. Then I saw him at NCRR’s Day of Remembrance in February. I saw him at the JACCC Spring Festival in May. I ran into him again a few weeks later at the Visual Communications Asian Film Festival where we chatted at the reception. The next day I saw him at the CSUN Nikkei Student Assn banquet. My friends all knew of my developing crush on him and were teasing me. I was so embarrassed when he sat at our table, I couldn’t speak.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I read about this event in the Rafu - Home Movies of this Okinawan American activist, Dick Kobashigawa. I ripped the article out of the paper. The bottom said, “For more info, call Tony Osumi at ...” So I thought about it and tried to get up my nerve to call him.
I called and we chatted for 15 minutes or so about stuff. Pause. I took a shot and asked him if he was still a SHAM, I AM. ("SAM, I AM" was a play I had seen at East West Players for Single Asian Male, I Am. He had a poem in the Valentine’s issue of the Rafu and at the bottom, he had written SHAM, I AM, Single Hapa Asian Male, I Am.) He said he was and asked “What about you?” I thought it was a pretty clever opening.
What I didn’t know at the time was that my friend Lisa Sugino, who knew Tony from work, had been e-mailing him about a mystery woman that she wanted to set him up with. He figured out who it was and e-mailed back to her, “It’s a go.”
Last night we ate curry fried rice at Koraku, wandered around Little Tokyo, passing through JVP, reminiscing about the Far East Cafe, walking to my grandma’s church at Koyasan. Then on a lark, we drove out to the West Covina Obon. A perfect first date. He’s a muralist, artist, poet, writer, activist. He is committed, dedicated, articulate, attractive, and something that seems right.
7/24/95: I have serious feelings that I have met my soul mate for life. I am on a cloud.
8/21/95: How wonderful life is when Tony Osumi is in it. It’s hard to tell who’s more in love, but it really doesn’t matter. What I do know is that he is it.
The things I wrote about him being committed, dedicated, articulate and attractive, are all still as true today as they were back in 1995. Tomorrow, we will go to the Senshin Obon together. We will bring our beautiful, grinning daughter, Maiya, who also celebrates her 5-month birthday today. Now we are three. I think it's so cool, that of the places I ran into Tony at in 1995 (Day of Remembrance, the JACCC Spring Festival and the VC Asian Film Festival) are places that we have taken Maiya to in her first few months. Our life together continues and grows... I am still on a cloud.