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Portrait of Atsuko


What brought me to meet Atsuko, was a line (see below). I had just parked my car in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California, USA, and several people were standing by the storefront adjacent to where my car was parked. I asked them if they worked in the store, and they said no. I asked what they were doing there and one of the gentlemen said they were holding the building up.

More people joined this group, and then still more. Finally the first three guys explained that this was restaurant was shortly opening up for lunch; all these people were waiting to get in.

I figured this must be some restaurant because people spent their lunch time on a long line, rather than walking around, meditating, going to the bank, or doing relaxing activities or chores.

I went back about an hour later, and there was still a line, along with people sitting in the waiting area. I stayed and was seated by Atsuko.

Atsuko was originally from Kamazawa, Japan. She lived in the United States for twelve years. She was a waitress and a hostess and the restaurant manager at 大黒家 DAIKOKUYA Ramen original Noodle and Rice Bowl restaurant for 8 years. There were five restaurant branches in the Los Angeles area, and I bet they were all crowded all the time.

Atsuko, before coming to United States, was involved in hotel management, and local theater. Then she came to the United States to study acting in Hollywood. Her friend, who owned Daikokuya restaurant, asked her to help manage one of the five restaurants, since she had experience in the hotel/restaurant management field and was familiar with Japanese language and culture.

I very much appreciated that in the middle of this busy lunch throng, Atsuko let me make her portrait and answered a few questions about herself.

 

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Four Lunch-At-Work Haiku


Lunch, George Tooker, 1964, Columbus Museum of Art

Four Lunch-At-Work Haiku

eating lunch alone
flanked by several others
sad reality

head looking downward
absolutely self-absorbed
no one else exists

change your paradigm
reach out to other workers
satisfying employment

people smile back
gracious initiation
warm camaraderie

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Written and Posted:

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