|Monday, October 9, 2006|
my friend and colleague jon watanabe died this week. i just saw him last month, seemed as healthy as ever. he was pestering me to get back into radio, as he has been for the past year and a half since i dropped out. i can't quite believe he's gone.
he was a graduate of the kpfa's affirmative action radio training program , which is the same place that i originally trained in radio years before. as one of his mentors, he gave me a piece to critique. it was about a little boy in a wwII japanese internment camp who snuck out on a garbage truck in order to get ice cream in town. i love stories like that, pulling you into the personal (a little boy's desire), revealing the political (lack of freedom and racism).
we went on group trips together, one to the hopi reservation in arizona, another to a conference in chicago. i wish i had pictures of him on these trips, but the computer they were stored on was stolen. such is life.
one of the most memorable moments we had together was when i commissioned (for the radio program i worked for at the time) his first piece for national radio, which went onto win an award. it was about carlos mauricio, a survivor of torture in el salvador. again the personal is political kind of story.
goodbye jon. i'll miss you.