Always be unprepared

Had I canceled my gig at the Sidekick Books and Wine Bar, I probably wouldn’t have returned.

I never know what to expect. Last night I was at the Sidekicks Books and Wine Bar in downtown Rock Springs, Wyoming, giving a Beyond Heart Mountain book talk.

The opening event was a solo guitarist and singer named Wayne. He’s an indie musician and his own roadie. He started his set at 4:30 and ended at 6:30 pm. After he packed up, he was on his way for another gig in Ogden, Utah.

Four people sat and listened to his music. That’s the life of an indie artist. We move from place to place, not knowing if anyone will show up.

“Do you want to cancel?” The bookstore owner named Lisa had called me the day before. She didn’t know if anyone would show up because of other activities happening in town.

“No, I’m pretty sure there will be people,” I reassured her. “Even if it’s two people, that’ll be worth the drive.”

Rock Springs is 350 miles from Boulder. At a minimum, I’d sell some books to the store. I also planned a stop at the Centennial, Wyoming library in a small town 25 miles from Laramie.

On my way to Rock Springs, I made a cold call at The Second Story bookstore in Laramie and closed a book sale there.

After leaving Laramie, I stopped in Rawlins to stretch, went to my bank, and deposited some money. On my way to Centennial this afternoon, I’ll deposit the check from Sidekicks.

What I have learned over the years is that I can’t plan for everything and go into everything unprepared. I set things up to be around 75 or 85 percent complete. The remaining 15 to 25 percent are unknown challenges. Resolving them can be routine or a mad scramble.

The four people who sat down for Wayne stuck around for my book talk, along with six others. It was a small but appreciative crowd who all bought books, beer and wine. A good time was had by all!

Beyond Heart Mountain

Beyond Heart Mountain is a three-part multimedia project. It consists of a memoir by Alan O’Hashi about his life in Wyoming as a Baby Boomer growing up after World War II. Donate to Boulder Community Media and receive an autographed copy of the book. The book evolved from a coffee table book entitled Nishigawa Neighborhood. A documentary also aired on PBS and is available on DVD.

On the cover is author Alan O’Hashi and his sister, Lorinda, in their grandparent’s backyard circa 1956.

The Beyond Heart Mountain memoir was released by Winter Goose Publishing. It is available as a printed book and ebook available on Amazon.com. The book was released by Winter Goose Publishing on February 27th.

That week coincided with the 80th anniversary of President Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066 that sent 120,000 Japanese to 10 war relocation camps, that included Heart Mountain in northwest Wyoming.

As a Baby Boomer, Alan documents the overt and quiet racism pervasive in Wyoming and throughout the United States during and following World War II. He relates his experiences to current violence towards Asians and the issue of civility within society. The backdrop to Alan’s account is the history of the once vibrant Japanese community in the 400 and 500 blocks of West 17th Street in the downtown area of my hometown, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

“My grandmother and grandfather Ohashi and their large family lived in worked in that neighborhood where I spent quite a bit of time between elementary and high school. Having been away from Cheyenne for many years, I stashed those two blocks in the back of my mind until I learned that two classmates of mine were planning to build a housing development at 509 W. 17th St. The biggest obstacle was obtaining permission to tear down an old building. It was the last structure in the Japanese neighborhood. It was the site of a rooming house operated by Mrs. Yoshio Shuto.”

Nishigawa Neighborhood hardcover coffee table book

Get the Nishigawa Neighborhood coffee table book from Amazon.com, which is a self-published 11 x 8.5-inch hard-cover coffee table book with over 100 color, black and white images of the neighborhood. Donate to BCM and get an autographed edition from the author.

There are two Nonfungible Tokens (NFT) versions of Nishigawa Neighborhood. One is a one-of-a-kind unlinkable digital version of the book. The second is a one-of-a-kind MP4 version of the 84 pages tracked by original music by the Author.

Mrs. Shuto’s tenants were mainly Japanese residents who made their way to Cheyenne. She later opened the City Cafe across the street which became a gathering place for the Japanese in town.

My grandmother was a cook at the City Cafe. Next door, my grandfather was the third owner of a pool hall.

Whenever we went out to eat, the restaurant of choice was the City Cafe. It was a gathering place for the Japanese in Cheyenne.

My friends enlisted me to do a cultural and historical survey of the Japanese residents who lived and worked there from the 1920s through the 1970s.’

Beyond Heart Mountain aired on PBS in December 2021

Donate to BCM and get the Beyond Heart Mountain DVD that was produced by Boulder Community Media (BCM) and aired on PBS. It is mainly about the West 17th Street Japanese community history and a general overview of Executive Order 9066 that President Franklin Roosevelt signed that relocated 120,000 Japanese into 10 internment camps, including Heart Mountain in northwest Wyoming.

I interviewed four childhood friends for the documentary. Robert Walters formerly worked at the City Cafe. He still lives in Cheyenne, where he practices law.

Terie Miyamoto and her family-owned Baker’s Bar. It was the only racially-integrated bar in Cheyenne at the time. She now lives in the Denver Metro area.

Brian Matsuyama now lives in Seattle, Washington. He resided in Cheyenne during his childhood. His family owned the California Fish Market.

Carol Lou Kishiyama-Hough is in Cheyenne. She and her family purchased the Fish Market from the Matsuyamas.

Donate to BCM and get a Beyond Heart Mountain cap are also available. They are low-profile baseball-style hats. Select Beyond Heart Mountain from the dropdown menu. The logo is an adapted version of the Wyoming state flag. One size fits most.