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A slap from Mitsuwa

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pokute
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A slap from Mitsuwa

Post by pokute » May 27th, '07, 17:08

I was shopping in the Mitsuwa Market in Little Tokyo on Friday, and was in the middle of filling a cart with the odd cold drinks that are uniquely available there (grapefruit drink, peach drink that seems to have peach fuzz added... Etc.), and I noticed a young Japanese woman staring at me with a look of abject horror on her face. She fled rapidly when I noticed her, and returned with the store security guard, pointing me out as the object of her concern, and he immediately proceeded, grinning, to force me from my position in front of the various flavors of Ramune so as to allow the young woman to make her selection free from the gaijin menace. The guard did this without uttering a word, and evidently enjoyed himself immensely. I went immediately to the store manager, Mr. Kobayashi (a man I have hailed by name many times, since I shop at the store every week, spending a LOT of money each visit), and complained that I had been harrassed by the guard. Mr. Kobayashi smiled broadly and told me "He is doing his job!". I asked what that meant: "What job is that, harrassing your regular customers?!". He laughed and said "Yes, yes!". I said I felt I deserved an apology from the guard, and he explained to me that he could not ask the guard to apologise for doing his job.

I have done my best to contact the corporate overlords of Mitsuwa Market, and hope to receive a reply from them soon. In the meantime I am really, seriously annoyed. I am going to do all my shopping at Marukai from now on.

I have been shopping at that market for a very long time... Since long before it was Mitsuwa (It was Yaohan until about 10 years ago), and have only ever had very friendly interactions with the staff until Friday, when they closed ranks against the evil gaijin who was presenting an imminent threat to the well-being of the community by buying all the soft drinks.

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Post by Liantasse » May 28th, '07, 00:05

:O "He was doing his job"!!!?!? And Mr Kobayashi was laughing and he said "Yes, yes"?!?! :O This is a scary story! :cry: I do feel for you, pokute!! You must have felt so betrayed :-( I hope the people higher up the ladder will actually do something about it... :|

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Post by pokute » May 28th, '07, 03:48

I feel like I was arrested, jailed, and then told "Oh well, so what if you're not guilty... What if you really did do it?". Obviously, I was living in some cloud-cuckoo-land to believe that I could shop at a Japanese market indefinitely without overstaying my welcome. When I think about the number of times I have taken members of my own ethnic group down a peg for "closing ranks", I feel like a fool. Maybe I need to go kill some Palestinian children to regain my own ethnic identity? Let's all revert to type and kill each other ASAP before some other fool makes a similar mistake.

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Post by mandaraya » May 28th, '07, 04:03

wow, that's kinda odd ..

btw, i was just there last week, (monday).

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Post by Néa Vanille » May 28th, '07, 04:10

This might seem totally out of line and you may consider it way too heavy, but have you considered suing the store? I assume that you mean Little Tokyo in LA; this kind of behaviour sounds highly illegal in the United States and it sounds like you could sue that guard for illegal detention and discrimination. If you don't want to go that far, maybe send that story to a newspaper? This behaviour was definitely unacceptable and I wish you all the best in getting that apology.

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Post by aatm » May 28th, '07, 04:18

not sure how, but if there's anyway to do so, get everything documented on paper. write letters to the store manager, request apologies, make copies of anything that comes back, then when there's sufficient evidence, then commence the suing. That's not right what they did, and makes me a little wary of going over to the Mitsuwa over here.

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Re: A slap from Mitsuwa

Post by 2triky » May 28th, '07, 04:38

pokute wrote:I was shopping in the Mitsuwa Market in Little Tokyo on Friday, and was in the middle of filling a cart with the odd cold drinks that are uniquely available there (grapefruit drink, peach drink that seems to have peach fuzz added... Etc.), and I noticed a young Japanese woman staring at me with a look of abject horror on her face. She fled rapidly when I noticed her, and returned with the store security guard, pointing me out as the object of her concern, and he immediately proceeded, grinning, to force me from my position in front of the various flavors of Ramune so as to allow the young woman to make her selection free from the gaijin menace. The guard did this without uttering a word, and evidently enjoyed himself immensely. I went immediately to the store manager, Mr. Kobayashi (a man I have hailed by name many times, since I shop at the store every week, spending a LOT of money each visit), and complained that I had been harrassed by the guard. Mr. Kobayashi smiled broadly and told me "He is doing his job!". I asked what that meant: "What job is that, harrassing your regular customers?!". He laughed and said "Yes, yes!". I said I felt I deserved an apology from the guard, and he explained to me that he could not ask the guard to apologise for doing his job.

I have done my best to contact the corporate overlords of Mitsuwa Market, and hope to receive a reply from them soon. In the meantime I am really, seriously annoyed. I am going to do all my shopping at Marukai from now on.

I have been shopping at that market for a very long time... Since long before it was Mitsuwa (It was Yaohan until about 10 years ago), and have only ever had very friendly interactions with the staff until Friday, when they closed ranks against the evil gaijin who was presenting an imminent threat to the well-being of the community by buying all the soft drinks.
So what exactly drew the ire of this woman? Just the fact that you were a non-Japanese customer shopping in the store? Sounds like she over-reacted, to put it mildly.

I've been to Mitsuwa millions of times, both in L.A. and in Torrance and have never had a problem at either location.

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Post by pokute » May 28th, '07, 17:37

She wanted to get a drink from the cold drink section. I was buying a whole shopping cart full of drinks from that section, and she could not bring herself to either: A. Step up to the cold drink section while I was there - B. Wait until I was through. I can only imagine what she said to the guard (and the store manager?) to get them to strongarm me. But at the same time, regardless of what she said, I had nearly $100 worth of soft drinks loaded into my basket at the time... Just what did they make of THAT? And I purchased the cart full of drinks during the time that I was searching for Kobayashi-san to report the bad behavior of the guard.

I am considering whether legal action is appropriate. I wonder how far the staff of Mitsuwa is willing to go to defend the action of the guard and manager, without having any idea whether there was ANY reason for their action? The entire Little Tokyo Plaza depends upon the market to bring in business... My favorite sushi bar is in there... I would much rather pursue this as a personal vendetta against that ass of a manager, rather than risk fighting with all of Little Tokyo.

@2triky - Yeah, I have shopped there FOREVER (since the Yaohan Plaza was built!). I have lunch at the lunch counter there with my daughter at least twice every month. I have talked to the manager about products (asking for melon Ramune, etc.) any number of times... I spend an ungodly amount of money there... But, I'm obviously NOT JAPANESE.

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Post by 2triky » May 28th, '07, 20:23

pokute wrote:She wanted to get a drink from the cold drink section. I was buying a whole shopping cart full of drinks from that section, and she could not bring herself to either: A. Step up to the cold drink section while I was there - B. Wait until I was through. I can only imagine what she said to the guard (and the store manager?) to get them to strongarm me. But at the same time, regardless of what she said, I had nearly $100 worth of soft drinks loaded into my basket at the time... Just what did they make of THAT? And I purchased the cart full of drinks during the time that I was searching for Kobayashi-san to report the bad behavior of the guard.
Well given that detailed accounting of the events, it seems quite obvious that her distress was uncalled for and unfounded. Certainly, without trying to sound stereotypical, you would think your longstanding patronage of the store would have given pause to the staff (i.e. Kobayashi). The whole turn of events was unfortunate and unecessary.
I am considering whether legal action is appropriate. I wonder how far the staff of Mitsuwa is willing to go to defend the action of the guard and manager, without having any idea whether there was ANY reason for their action? The entire Little Tokyo Plaza depends upon the market to bring in business... My favorite sushi bar is in there... I would much rather pursue this as a personal vendetta against that ass of a manager, rather than risk fighting with all of Little Tokyo.
Yes I, too, am quite familar with that plaza. Ever since the Japanese economic bubble bursted about a decade or so ago....that shopping mall died. I mean without Mitsuwa there are very few noteworthy establishments to speak of. Hell they even shut down the Ginza-ya bakery on the same floor as Mitsuwa recently. I know the sushi restaurant you referred to - Sushi Go55. I've been there as well. I prefer Hamakawa on Second and Central but that's here nor there. I do like the izakaya Haru Ulala a lot though, which is owned by the same proprietors as Sushi Go55 :)
@2triky - Yeah, I have shopped there FOREVER (since the Yaohan Plaza was built!). I have lunch at the lunch counter there with my daughter at least twice every month. I have talked to the manager about products (asking for melon Ramune, etc.) any number of times... I spend an ungodly amount of money there... But, I'm obviously NOT JAPANESE.
Damn, well the whole sorry chain of events is disturbing. I'm glad to hear your daughter wasn't with you when it happened...though I'm sure that's not much consolation. I have been victimized by similar attitudes in other places so I can say I sincerely empathize with you. Don't take it to heart too much. Such behavior is unjustified but hopefully it will not dampen your enthusiasm for Little Tokyo in general. As you said, you still have Marukai which recently moved to a bigger, nicer space in Weller Court.

Good luck, man.

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Post by 2triky » May 28th, '07, 21:54

double post.
Last edited by 2triky on May 29th, '07, 02:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by TIticamara » May 29th, '07, 00:07

Some people are just plain rude no matter the nationality. If you opt for suing, first thing that comes into my mind is it going to be expensive? If its free by all means sue their ass.

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Post by ruisu » May 29th, '07, 00:20

Sorry, where is Little Tokyo?

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Post by pokute » May 29th, '07, 01:30

ruisu wrote:Sorry, where is Little Tokyo?
Ahaha! Little Tokyo is a part of Los Angeles. It has been a center of Japanese culture outside of Japan for about 100 years. At any given moment there are perhaps 2000 Japanese tourists and business people there. If you are wacko for Japanese culture, it is as close as you can get to Japan without going to Japan. It is a 10 minute drive from my home.

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Post by ruisu » May 29th, '07, 02:02

Wow...hmm, I thought this was in Japan, so I wasn't surprised at first. But in the US? That's shocking.
Hope it doesn't keep you from buying the stuff you like =/

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Post by angelic.me » May 29th, '07, 02:16

That is crazy. There got to be other non-Japanese people there at that time, how can they just pick out u and do that. That is so racial discrimination. This world is full of crazy ppl.

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Post by DMPA » May 29th, '07, 02:24

ROAR! This made me mad! What the hell do they think they are?!?! Geez, some people are just so full of it! UGH! I am really sorry for what hapened to you, and I hope u can resolve this matter in one way or another and once u do u should tell us of the outcome. Hope everything goes well, other than that I can't really do anything. sry.

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Wow

Post by vannessave » May 29th, '07, 02:30

Wow I've shopped there many times without a problem. I would say it's a very friendly place to shop. I hope this is all a misunderstanding. Say would you still be considered be a gaijin America

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Post by pokute » May 29th, '07, 02:45

I always found it a VERY friendly place in the past. As I said, I'm a regular customer there. I eat lunch at the lunch counter, I buy bread from the bakery department, I get my pickles from the VERY NICE pickle lady, I bow slightly and say "ohayo!" to the checkout ladies and manager... The lunch counter lady and old man wave when I come in the door.... Matsue is my favorite checker... All that and they turned into ogres because some nutcase woman said GOD KNOWS WHAT to the guard and/or the manager. That's why I'm so upset. Not because it happened, but because it happened under circumstances that make it OUTRAGEOUS.

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Post by doink-chan » May 29th, '07, 02:46

doinkies hasn't been to the Mitsuwa in LA, but I've been to the one in San Jose before. I'm a gaijin too but I certainly haven't encountered that sort of problem at the Mitsuwa in SJ (nor at any other Japanese shops in that area, like Kinokuniya - I go to Kinokuniya quite a bit, and have always been treated well by the staff there, they've always helped me find whatever I'm looking for, and the other customers don't care if there's some gaijin girl looking at the Japanese shoujo manga, but this is kind of a digression). It's good that you complained to the higher-ups of Mitsuwa about the doink, hopefully they will be able to do something.

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Post by melonyhappy » May 29th, '07, 03:10

yesh. what's wrong with that women. why in the world did she do that? :scratch: it's not like you were bothering her. She could have just pushed her way through or asked you to move..

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Post by nikochanr3 » May 29th, '07, 13:54

i had a problem in kunokuniya (i remember antok offering to help) where i would have more stringent rules on what i was allowed to carry (i couldnt carry my bag while japanese customers could) and the guard would follow me in teh store. it was obviously becaues i was NOT japanese. i made a big deal, and although i got nothint more than a "we'll look into it" said guard never returned. so fight the good fight. thats pretty ridiculous.

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Post by mimmi » May 30th, '07, 20:37

hey, sorry for your bad experienced at that store....at least you still have the patient to buy those drinks, 'cause if that happen to me, I'd just leave that cart full of drinks and walked out off that store, then call the news paper and make a complain toward that store....but then again that's just me....

I agreed with Nea Vanille, call your lawyer and talk to him....maybe on the account of a civil suit....the lawyer will know what section is been damage example: your personal emotional distress of utterly embarrassement from the misconduct of the store guard and the manager to your person....and races might even included, eventhough you've been shopping there for ages....anyway the lawyer will know what to do....just my one cent....i'd do that if i'm in your shoes and if I'm not satisfy from the response from the higher management....oh, and keep that reciept, just incase you take it to court, it will be a prove of the date and your presence at the store....

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Post by pokute » May 30th, '07, 20:59

@niko - Yeah, I remember when that happened. It seems I got exactly the same kind of response, they were basically just dismissive of my complaint. The Kinokuniya in Little Tokyo has signs in the pen section: "You are being watched!" I used to find them slightly annoying, now I see them as personally insulting. I was accustomed to getting tailed in Armenian, Chinese, and Korean stores in L.A., but never experienced that kind of thing in a Japanese business, until last Friday.

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Post by ruisu » May 30th, '07, 21:01

Getting tailed and having something like what happened to you are completely different. Both are unfortunate...but I really can't even begin to understand the circumstance that you were in.

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Post by pokute » May 30th, '07, 21:15

ruisu wrote:Getting tailed and having something like what happened to you are completely different. Both are unfortunate...but I really can't even begin to understand the circumstance that you were in.
I probably would have said they were completely different before this happened. Now I tend to see any sort of action of this sort, taken as the result of some occult intuition, to be equally insulting. Since I am far from being a shrinking violet (I was excessively and idiotically polite at Mitsuwa because I was a longstanding customer, and believed that I would receive an apology) I am looking forward to raising hell every time I get followed or see someone else getting the heel-treading treatment from now on.

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Post by ruisu » May 30th, '07, 21:23

heheh...oh no...look what they've done! :lol

wakarimashta :salut:

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Post by Genmai_cha » May 30th, '07, 21:25

pokute, maybe b/c you were in your speedo is the reason why she called the gaurd on you. lol

i'm a bit concern on their action though... at the very lest i think they should have apologized... still i don't know what part of the job he was doing.

By any chance you eat at the shabu shabu place often? I missed going there...

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Post by pokute » May 30th, '07, 21:38

I was never big on eating shabu-shabu at restaurants. I usually just make it at home. We queued up for two hours to eat at the super-busy shabu-shabu place in Little Tokyo Plaza, and it was the same hot water, thin meat, tasteless tofu, and flavorless veggies as every other place. When I make it at home I start with kombu and katsuobushi.

Anyway, I wasn't wearing a speedo, I was wearing my official Peelander-Z crotch-o-tard and helmet, so they had nothing to complain about. And lavender Hello Kitty bathroom slippers.

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Post by neofire » May 31st, '07, 05:17

Well, reading through all posts, I find something really disturbing...

1.Many people mentioned suing, which is terrible, because whatever the outcome, its really is a no win situation, may be you'll win and get an apology and some compensation, then what?
This sue-happy attitude is what's been causing so much problem in this country.

2.You did not understand what was said, may be the problem is with that woman told the store manager and not the store, and that they are just doing their job.

3. comment like " Maybe I need to go kill some Palestinian children to regain my own ethnic identity? Let's all revert to type and kill each other ASAP before some other fool makes a similar mistake..." make you sound like a spoil brat, kicking and screaming because you did not get your way, and everyone has to bow down to your desires and wishes, other wise all hell break loose.

4.You are not the gaijin, they are the gaijin, and i guess you probably don't understand the mentality of sticking together when you are the minority. Even though its Little Japan, its still USA, and they are probably still being viewed as gaijin, alien, foreigner, so I don't blame them sometime trying to look out for each other.

5. Stop this BS about how much money you spend, its not like they keep all your money and use it for vacation, because they have to pay rent, utility bills, wages, taxes and so on, they are just working like most people. I hate the over hyped customer is always right thing, yeah you pay for the item you purchase but you don't own their lives.

chill out, its just a bad day, and everyone has that, suck it up and life goes on.

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Post by nikochanr3 » May 31st, '07, 12:45

neofire wrote:Well, reading through all posts, I find something really disturbing...

1.Many people mentioned suing, which is terrible, because whatever the outcome, its really is a no win situation, may be you'll win and get an apology and some compensation, then what?
This sue-happy attitude is what's been causing so much problem in this country.

2.You did not understand what was said, may be the problem is with that woman told the store manager and not the store, and that they are just doing their job.

3. comment like " Maybe I need to go kill some Palestinian children to regain my own ethnic identity? Let's all revert to type and kill each other ASAP before some other fool makes a similar mistake..." make you sound like a spoil brat, kicking and screaming because you did not get your way, and everyone has to bow down to your desires and wishes, other wise all hell break loose.

4.You are not the gaijin, they are the gaijin, and i guess you probably don't understand the mentality of sticking together when you are the minority. Even though its Little Japan, its still USA, and they are probably still being viewed as gaijin, alien, foreigner, so I don't blame them sometime trying to look out for each other.

5. Stop this BS about how much money you spend, its not like they keep all your money and use it for vacation, because they have to pay rent, utility bills, wages, taxes and so on, they are just working like most people. I hate the over hyped customer is always right thing, yeah you pay for the item you purchase but you don't own their lives.

chill out, its just a bad day, and everyone has that, suck it up and life goes on.
oh please, places shouldn't profile by race, and a minority in the country shouldnt profile by race. this was wrong. he didnt go firebomb the store, basically you are saying, well you were mistreated, but thats cool. Accept it as ok.

its not ok. the kunokuniya thing threw me so much because i LOVE that store, i talk to the people who work there, they know me, but a guard profiled me because im not a cute girl i guess, and it was OK! because taking care of it would be a problem. Give me a break. and when he asked about it, he was told ITS OK, WE ARE ALLOWED TO BE UNFAIR BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT JAPANSE basically.

its really not ok. its not the end of the world, but its not ok, and it makes you feel like crap if you are the person it happens to.

Rant done, thank you.

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Post by pokute » May 31st, '07, 13:32

Wow neofire, you are the supercilious twit of the day! Take a bow!

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Post by Genmai_cha » May 31st, '07, 17:37

pokute I think you just got yourself a fan there. =D

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Post by pokute » May 31st, '07, 17:49

Yeah. I guess it's just part of the downside of international fame. I definitely prefer the teenage girls asking for autographs. The jealous wannabees should just lead their dreary lives in their purgatories of isolation, and leave the superstars the room we need to shine. Too bad my moderator wand is just the toy kind made by Bandai, or I'd trounce that sucker a good one.

It just SO makes my day when I pour a whole bucket of irony into a post and some sucker gets his fragile little wings stuck in it.

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Post by babyviolet » May 31st, '07, 18:12

I've never shop at mitsuwa in little tokyo but I shopped at mitsuwa in Costa Mesa, OC. I haven't experience any inconvinience but your experience scares me. If it happen to me, I will surely pursue an apology coz it's not right. I agree with mimmi to leave the cart and make complain toward the store.
mimmi wrote:hey, sorry for your bad experienced at that store....at least you still have the patient to buy those drinks, 'cause if that happen to me, I'd just leave that cart full of drinks and walked out off that store, then call the news paper and make a complain toward that store....but then again that's just me....

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Post by babyviolet » May 31st, '07, 18:13

Sorry, double post.

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Post by pokute » May 31st, '07, 18:19

babyviolet wrote:I've never shop at mitsuwa in little tokyo but I shopped at mitsuwa in Costa Mesa, OC. I haven't experience any inconvinience but your experience scares me. If it happen to me, I will surely pursue an apology coz it's not right. I agree with mimmi to leave the cart and make complain toward the store.
mimmi wrote:hey, sorry for your bad experienced at that store....at least you still have the patient to buy those drinks, 'cause if that happen to me, I'd just leave that cart full of drinks and walked out off that store, then call the news paper and make a complain toward that store....but then again that's just me....
I know. But I really expected an apology, so I checked out before I found the manager... I never expected to get the response I got. It's the kind of response you expect to get from somebody online, typing away in their little hovel in war-torn wherever, but not what you expect to issue from the smiling lips of the manager of your favorite market.

As for the newspaper angle... I live in Los Angeles. There's only one newspaper here, and they don't even report murders that occur within half a block of their headquarters (one block from Little Tokyo, BTW), so it's not like I can storm up to the editors desk, bang my fist down on the blotter, and splutter my righteous indignation. But I *can* do that here ;^)

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Post by angelic.me » Jun 1st, '07, 19:49

I know. But I really expected an apology, so I checked out before I found the manager... I never expected to get the response I got. It's the kind of response you expect to get from somebody online, typing away in their little hovel in war-torn wherever, but not what you expect to issue from the smiling lips of the manager of your favorite market.

As for the newspaper angle... I live in Los Angeles. There's only one newspaper here, and they don't even report murders that occur within half a block of their headquarters (one block from Little Tokyo, BTW), so it's not like I can storm up to the editors desk, bang my fist down on the blotter, and splutter my righteous indignation. But I *can* do that here ;^)
It sucks that their is only one newspaper their otherwise you most likely can go up to the editor's desk and demand them to help you. I've only been to the Mitsuwa in New Jersey twice so I can't say much about experiencing anything awful.

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