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City Country City

By Deems Tsutakawa

For The North American Post

It goes without saying that people who reside in the great Pacific Northwest have relatively easy access to both urban activities and cool outdoor recreational endeavors. Unbeknownst to most Americans, it has actually been only a few decades since most U.S. residents began to reside in urban settings. It was not that long ago when almost fifty percent of our nation’s population lived in rural areas. In many of the rural towns you will not have the cultural diversity with the international foods, music, languages and values that make our country great. 

The term “culturally deprived” comes to mind. I met a girl who is now middle aged and told me that she grew up in a small town in Ohio and never saw an Asian American in person until she went to college. It seemed astounding to me at the time and, what’s more, is this is probably still true for tens of thousands of U.S. citizens.

The wonderful thing about growing up in Seattle is that one can choose to attend the symphony, shop at the Pike Place Market, listen to cool jazz or just go downtown and look at stuff. We also have the opportunity to do salt water fishing, clamming and crabbing. One can hunt for matsutake in the Cascades, check out fields of brightly colored tulips and enjoy hiking in great forests filled with old growth trees.

I have many Japanese and Hawaiians who love the large amount of land available to us. Many big cities like Tokyo, New York or Beijing do not afford the local inhabitants a chance to have a big grassy backyard for BBQ parties, pets and gardening as they are filled with high-rise apartments and condos.

There is a song by the California band, War, that is called City Country City. It has a lazy, relaxed groove that alternates with a funky upbeat section and then back to the laid-back groove. Although I do not know what their original inspiration was when it was first composed, to me it has an obvious reference to our fabulous environmental situation.

[Editor’s Note]

Deems Tsutakawa is a local Sansei musician. He can be reached at deemst@deemsmusic.com.