A Shanghai High

Shanghai skyline
I want to thank Susie Berteaux  for being the guest blogger for the last two excellent posts,  “Fairy Tale Updated” and ” Go for Broke”, while I was having a wonderful two-week adventure in China. Shanghai, our first gateway city to China — aka “the Paris of Asia”– is renowned for its historical landmarks: the Bund, the Yuyuan classical Ming gardens, the French and British Concessions, as well as the extensive and growing skyline, the “showpiece” of the booming economy of mainland China.  
Shanghai is bisected by the Huangpu river,  a tributary of the famous Yangtze, and a wonder to behold at night. Riding on a boat with about a hundred Chinese tourists, we looked to the left to see what 19th century Shanghai looked like–Parisian in feeling–and to the right to see what the 22nd century might be.  Shanghai is “Paris meets Blade Runner”.  Words cannot describe the dazzling light show on the facades of 127-story gravity-defying skyscrapers with images projected and controlled by computer programs. They are jaw-dropping, stiff-neck inducing miracles of architectural design! These buildings are so unbelievable they looked like a movie set for “Mission Impossible”.  No wonder American action films (including the new James Bond movie) are partly filmed on location in Shanghai! Despite meteoric redevelopment, the old city still retains beautiful traditional buildings, both European and Chinese.  One of the most interesting in the Bund was the secret meeting place for the first Congress of Mao Tse-tung, carefully preserved with rare photographs of Mao and his key advisors.  Additional photographs of American and European politicians with Mao are also prominently displayed. During the Second World War  20,000 Jews fled Hitler’s regime to seek refuge in Shanghai and formed a vibrant community centered on the Ohel Moshe Synagogue, which is preserved as part of  Shanghai’s complex religious past.  (There is also a Muslim Street and mosques in the area.)

Shanghai Museum foyer

From neoclassical to art deco, Shanghai’s rich collection of architectural styles are visual teasers.  Award-winning international post-modern buildings are being constructed by the hundreds per year in this thriving metropolis of 25 million people. In recent years, a large number of architecturally distinctive– even eccentric– buildings have sprung up throughout Shanghai. Among the noteworthy examples of contemporary architecture is the Shanghai Museum, designed by prominent local architect Xing Tonghe.

Shanghai Museum exterior

Designed in the shape of an ancient Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE) bronze ritual vessel, the Shanghai museum has an entire floor (out of five floors) devoted to these exquisite 4000 year-old artifacts.  This is the best collection in the world. The building has a round top and a square base, symbolizing the ancient Chinese perception of the world as “round sky, square earth” and was partly designed by a French architectural team as well.

Shang Dynasty bronze


There is no way to truly communicate to anyone the splendor of this city, like no other I have ever visited.  Seeing is believing. This was a Shanghai high–a razor’s edge of fantasy and reality!

Fairy Tale Updated

The retelling of Fairy Tales of my childhood has been an interesting journey for me. If you know the children’s books by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (The Stinky Cheeseman and other Fairly Stupid Tales, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and others) you might know where I’m coming from.

The real trick in really appreciating the “new” look at fairly tales is that you have to know the original stories.  My parents provided me with a large sized Golden Book of Fairy Tales and read these tales to me before I could read and then encouraged me to read them myself when I started to learn to read myself.  Between the readings and the Walt Disney animated films, I feel like I am well versed in the love of these tales.

Now that my 17 year old grandson is spending his Senior Year of High School with us, I
seem to be finding lots of “new versions” of these tales in my Netflix queue.  The most recent of these movies was Snow White and the Huntsman, an updated take on the Snow White tale by the director Rupert Sanders.

This movie tells this tale with lots of special effects that really draws one into the darkness of the abandonment and need for approval that the Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) feels.  Misusing her beauty and power, the queen casts a spell of misery over her kingdom that leads the true princess, Snow White (Kristen Stewart  of the “Twilight” series), to escape her imprisonment in the depths of the grim castle. Snow White then fights her way through the dark forest that has many icky obstacles to find sanctuary with the very cantankerous 7 dwarfs (Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins and others)  with the help of the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth  of  “Thor”) that was sent to take her back to the Queen.

The special effects in this film are really beautiful and affective in so many ways,
it is beyond description.  The mirror, the ravens, the monsters, the forest, the costumes and  the makeup are all used to make this an interesting retelling of this tale of love conquers evil – and it isn’t just the love of the handsome prince that makes this a new version of this old story…


Snow White and the Huntsman

Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones


“Go for Broke”

Let me introduce myself to the followers of “Unhealed Wound.”

I am Susie Berteaux, friend of Diana and Doug, who has a blog of my own – “S&J’s Big Adventure(s).”

I guess, since I have my own blog, Diana thought that qualified me to be the  substitute blogger while she and Doug are traveling the vast, beautiful and  fascinating country of China.  When she gets back, we will all be waiting for her discoveries of art, culture and …food. I hope you all will find my postings as interesting and educational as Diana’s.


For this posting, I will “GO FOR BROKE!” as I attended the 11th Annual Evening of Aloha Gala Dinner for the “Go for Broke National Education Center.”

The dinner was held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles, CA.  Almost 900 attendees gathered on the 2nd floor of the hotel, for an evening with the surviving Nisei veterans of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service (MIS) along with their families and friends. This dinner is an annual celebration of these Nisei men who contributed so much to prove their loyalty to the United States by volunteering to fight in the European and Pacific Theatres of World War II.  The 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service (MIS) have become the most decorated military units in US history. Seeing all these men in their late 80s and early to mid 90’s who are our fathers, uncles, grandfathers and great grandfathers, who survived the loss of brothers, cousins and friends in battle far away from their families who were incarcerated in internment camps in some of the most desolate parts of the western United States, made me want to bring more awareness to anyone who is interested in loyalty, courage and love of family and country.  The Go for Broke National Education Center is a wonderful place that does just that.  I have copied some information from the Go for Broke National Education Center website to give you some information that has made me proud to be involved with such an organization.

Excerpts from the Go for Broke National Education Center website:




In 1986, Japanese American veterans who had served in segregated units during World War II decided to create an organization committed to keeping alive their legacy of rising above prejudice and distrust to serve their country with unparalleled bravery and distinction.

Spearheaded by Colonel (Ret.) Young Oak Kim and Buddy Mamiya, the veterans embarked on a mission to build a monument as a lasting memorial to the patriotic men who served their country, even though their country had turned its back on their families.

In 1989 the organization was formally incorporated as the 100th/442nd/MIS WWII Memorial Foundation. For ten years, the veterans led a grassroots campaign to raise funds for the monument, and to secure a location in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district.

1998 was a watershed year as ground was broken for the monument, the Hanashi oral history program kicked off, and the organization held its first teacher training workshop.

Having completed their original mission of building the monument, the veterans established the Go For Broke National Education Foundation to focus on educational programs to preserve and perpetuate the veterans’ story.


….Over the years the organization has continued to develop its educational resources and outreach. We partnered with the Museum of Tolerance to tell the story of the Japanese American soldiers serving in the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion who were amongst the first to reach a Dachau sub-camp and render aid to the Jewish Holocaust survivors.

Our comprehensive video, “A Tradition of Honor,” paired with curriculum guides tailored to meet state standards, has provided the backbone for our teacher workshops.
In recent years, we have developed online curricula to support project based learning.


In 2006 we made a slight name change to the “Go For Broke National Education Center” to reflect our vision of nationwide educational outreach.

Today, we’ve completed over 1,100 veteran interviews, taught over 3,000 teachers and 100,000 students, and we continue to welcome tens of thousands of visitors to the Go For Broke Monument.


More interesting facts from the website:


Military Record of the Military Units

The Japanese American soldiers of WWII proved their loyalty through the sacrifices they made in service to their country, the United States. The decorations and awards they earned are a permanent and indisputable record of their bravery and their patriotism.

For its size and length of service, the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was the most decorated US military unit.

21 Medals of Honor (20 awarded on June 1, 2000)
52 Distinguished Service Crosses (including 19 Distinguished Service Crosses which were upgraded to Medals of Honor in June 2000)
559 Silver Stars with 28 Oak Leaf Clusters (in lieu of second Silver Star. One Silver Star was upgraded to a Medal of Honor in June 2000)
8 Presidential Unit Citations
1 Distinguished Service Medal
22 Legion of Merit Medals
15 Soldier’s Medals
4,000 Bronze Stars with 1,200 Oak Leaf Clusters (in lieu of second Bronze Star)
9,486 Purple Hearts
12 French Croix de Guerre with 2 Palms (in lieu of a second award)
2 Italian Crosses for Military Valor
2 Italian Medals for Military Valor


The Military Intelligence Service (MIS) was credited as having “saved countless lives and shortened the war by two years” by Major General Willoughby, General McArthur’s Intelligence Chief.


3 Distinguished Service Crosses
5 Silver Stars
1 Presidential Unit Citation (awarded June 30, 2000)
5 Legion of Merit Medals

Note: On   October 5, 2010, President Obama signed into law S. 1055, a bill to grant  the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442n Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service, United States Army, in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II.



I am humbled and proud of these Nisei men whose slogan was “Go for Broke” in war and  in peace the Go for Broke National Education Center  is “keeping alive their legacy of rising above prejudice and distrust to serve their country with unparalleled bravery and distinction.”

Azuki–The Sushi, Not the Bean

We’ve eaten at just about every high-end sushi restaurant that exists in any town we are in, looking for the Holy Grail of sushi, and some standouts have really  been memorable.  In San Diego, I believe that  Azuki belongs in the same category as the best we’ve been to: for its freshness, creative presentation, and quality of preparation.

Located in Banker’s Hill near Balboa Park, Azuki is both a “sushi-ya” restaurant and watering hole.  We arrived at the door (beautiful glass with azuki beans inside the panels) just as the Happy Hour was ending but the friendly sushi chefs encouraged us to get a drink and an appetizer before they would officially close Happy Hour.  

So, we sat at the bar and immediately ordered beer and sake, with spicy albacore tataki (sprinkled with yuzu, shichimi pepper, jalapeno, lemon zest with Hawaiian sea salt (usually $14 we were charged the $6 happy hour price!).

Then we ordered a few hot dishes: the hamachi kama (grilled yellow tail head chock full of succulent morsels of cheek flesh) and three types of tofu  were delectable. Some of their creative, whimsical  interpretations of sushi or raw food were amazing:  loved the Kobe roll–spicy rock shrimp with avocado and seared wagyu beef layered on top.  Just to push the eater over the top, truffle aioli and parmigiano reggiano were garnishes laid on the seaweed.  Also enjoyed the Vertigo roll–snow crab, scallops, hamachi with shiso leaves, cucumber and avocado to add green color and veggie flavor.  The classic sushi was beautifully presented and perfect, sweet, tender, and impeccable color.

Azuki is committed to using local and organic produce whenever possible and due to overfishing concerns with bluefin tuna, serves only more sustainable aqua culture fish and seafood. The menu of hot, cold, small and large plates means Azuki has something to offer all appetites – and budgets -, even for non-sushi lovers. The wine, sake and beer lists are excellent, too, so it would be fun for drinks only…or maybe that dessert I skipped.  Live music later on weekends could make Azuki an entertainment destination in and of itself.  If you are in San Diego, this is a must!