Friday, August 28, 2020

Junichi Nakashima Found!

I found my old friend Junichi Nakashima through a poem he'd written at Baylor University way back in 1975/76. Junichi had posted the poem on YouTube on August 23, 2020, explaining the context of its writing. I found it yesterday and immediately left a comment (August 26, 2020):

Very nice poem, Junichi. I recall you writing it. You also showed me a long poem in free verse that you had written in Japanese and translated into English, a poem about how you overcame weakness. You told me of a fight with a motorcycle gang. I worked with you in Penland Cafeteria, and we had very many long discussions. When you left for Japan, I gave you a book of photographs. Perhaps you remember me?

Junichi found my comment and replied:

Omg! Jeffery! Is that you? Insanely great message. Surely I remember you as well as the days we worked in Penland Cafeteria. In addition, I still have the book of photographs you gave me. That's my precious treasure, you know. Where are you now?

I replied:

I'm in South Korea. I've been here twenty years, teaching various subjects. How I got here is a long story, but the short version is that I met a Korean woman in Germany in 1992 . . . on a train. After living in Europe, Jerusalem, and Australia, pursuing my scholarly interests, we ended up here, in Seoul. I've tried to find you these past twenty years, and I did find some things on the web about your life as an artist and actor, but the websites provided only shreds of information, so I'd reach a dead-end each time. Only this time did I strike oil, gold, or some even more valuable metaphor! I see that you have lived your life for art. Very admirable - and courageous! I don't recall if our cafeteria sessions included discussions of my long-term aims, but my freshman year at Baylor was when I learned that I had talent as a writer, and I always intended to write fiction one day. I first, however, needed to learn more knowledge, experience more life, and practice more writing. By about 2012, I was ready to start writing. I've published a Faustian tale as a novella, The Bottomless Bottle of Beer, and a book of poems, Radiant Snow, both presented at Amazon with a look-inside-the-book function. The story is so far available only as an e-book, but I hope to get a hard copy ready soon. It has interesting illustrations by Terrance Lindall. I'm finishing a series of limericks and have another novella, The Uncanny Story, which is sort of available, but it's getting a re-editing.

I suggested that we switch to email contact, and I will perhaps report back when I hear more about his life since 1976.


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