I’ve been taking some time off to promote myself (as a self-employed freelancer looking for work), to work on my graphic novel Von Herling, Vampire Hunter, and to work on selling Sunnyville Stories Volume 1 to libraries. At the time of this writing, only two libraries are carrying my book. Most public libraries follow a fiscal year of July through June. As June approaches, that’s the end of their fiscal year – thus it’s a good time to get them to buy my book. If you represent a public or school library interested in stocking Sunnyville Stories Volume 1, please contact Brodart Company as they carry the book wholesale.
Moving onto this week’s topic, the script for Sunnyville Stories episode 9 is completed. In a departure from the normal format of the series, Rusty and Sam won’t be playing that much of a role in this story.
This story, titled “The Japanese Connection”, centers around the Tanuki family. This is what you might call a “lower deck episode”. What happens is that Goemon Tanuki, the nephew of the family patriarch Goro Tanuki, is coming to live in Sunnyville. It just so happens that he’ll be helping out as a chef at the newly installed teppanyaki grill. The conflict here will be that Goemon is very good at cooking – perhaps too good. Goro feels that perhaps his family won’t let him cook anymore. Well…I won’t go any further. But I’ll whet your appetites with this script excerpt.
As Rusty was heading home from the general store with his shopping bag full of stuff for his parents, he spotted Samantha Macgregor and the two Tanuki children, Rei and Hachimon.
Samantha was wearing her usual pink blouse and jumper. Rei stood out more from her more casually dressed brother, as she wore a traditional Japanese kimono.
“Rusty,” Sam called out.
She hugged him affectionately.
“Hello, Sam. Hi there, Rei…Hachimon,” Rusty answered, “Where are you headed?”
“To the train station, Rusty,” Hachimon said, “We’re meeting our cousin, Goemon. He’ll be arriving any moment on the next train.”
“Cool!” Rusty replied.
He started walking with them, his shopping bag still in hand.
“Cousin Goemon will be helping out at the restaurant,” Rei explained, “Papa just had a teppanyaki grill installed.”
Rusty beamed brightly.
“Really? With all those theatrics as meat and veggies are cooked?” he asked energetically.
“Yes, Rusty,” Rei answered.
As they walked to the train station, Hachimon explained some more.
“He’s fresh out of cooking school,” he said, “Papa said that he’d give Goemon a job because we need someone to help out and to work the grill.”
They made their way to the train station and right by the front entrance, they found Goemon Tanuki.
He was not hard to spot. Not only was he the only one in the train station, but he was a raccoon dog looking a lot like his cousins. He wore a simple sports jacket and carried a big gym bag at his side.
“Cousin Goemon!” Rei called out.
“Cousin Rei! Cousin Hachimon!” he answered.
Goemon bowed in greeting. Rei and Hachimon did the same (they were Japanese after all). Goemon looked to Sam and Rusty.
“Oh, I’m Samantha Macgregor,” Sam introduced herself.
“Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman,” Rusty said.
“And this is our friend, Rusty Duncan,” Sam said, amused by Rusty’s joke.
The five of them started walking together.
By the time they got to the restaurant, Rusty and Sam had to go their separate ways.
“I gotta get home. My mom’s waiting on the groceries,” Rusty said, “But I’ll tell her about the new grill.”
“I have to go home too,” Sam added.
Rusty and Sam waved goodbye and headed off. Once they vanished from sight, Rei, Hachimon, and Goemon entered Banzai, the Japanese restaurant of Sunnyville.
The place was mostly empty, except for a customer at a table digging into a tray of sushi. It was somewhere between the lunch rush and the dinner rush. By the right of the entrance was the bar. Mr. Goro Tanuki, patriarch of the family, was behind the bar, sorting through some bottles.
“We need more wine – I’d better contact Vito later,” he said to himself as he took a quick count.
Sensing that someone had entered, Mr. Tanuki looked over by the front door. His face lit up with a huge smile.
“Goemon! You’ve made it!” he exclaimed.
“Yes, Uncle,” Goemon said.
“Kimiko!” Mr. Tanuki called out, “Goemon is here!”
Mrs. Tanuki, an aging yet still attractive Japanese woman also in a kimono, came from the kitchen. Her hair was tied in the back of her hair in a proper bun and she wore a white cooking apron over her kimono.
“Goemon!” she said, with glee.
Goemon exchanged bows with his aunt and uncle.
“Welcome to our house,” Kimiko said, “We’re happy that you’ve come to live with us, Goemon. I’ll show you to your room.”
“Thank you, Aunt Kimiko,” Goemon replied.
“Yes, relax and get settled in,” Mr. Tanuki called after him, “Tonight, over dinner, we’ll talk about your new job here.”
That night at dinner, the Tanuki family gathered to eat. In the kitchen, Kimiko and her daughter, Rei, cooked an excellent feast with the fragrant smells wafting out from the kitchen.
Goemon sat with his uncle in their dining room, a traditional Japanese style room with a low table and tatami mats.
“That food smells so good,” Goemon said, “Home-cooked food is quite different from what we made in culinary school.”
“What did they teach you there anyway?” Mr. Tanuki asked.
“Very much,” Goemon answered, “About professionalism and proper cooking.”
“Excellent!” Mr. Tanuki answered, clasping his hands in delight, “I’m sure you’ll do well working here.”
Mr. Tanuki shifted a bit.
“Well, I never went to cooking school. When I was just a little boy, I was always in the kitchen with your grandmother. I can never forget the first thing I made: soba noodles.”
Mr. Tanuki wistfully remembered those days.
“Ever since then, the only thing I’ve wanted to do with my life was to cook.”
When the food was served, Hachimon joined the rest of the family. As they dined on a medley of rice, vegetables, and seafood, they talked some more about the restaurant.
“Now, Goemon, we expect you to do what you can to help out,” Mr. Tanuki explained as he helped himself to some more vegetables, “Your main concern will be our new teppanyaki. You’ll be cooking for customers there when they request seating by there. When you’re not there, it is expected that you help your aunt and me in the kitchen.”
“Yes, Uncle,” Goemon said as he dug into a plate of rice and veggies.
“I know this will probably be your first time working in a full-service restaurant,” Mr. Tanuki continued, “Don’t get too frazzled.”