Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, June 18, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 10

1010 Mountain View News Saturday, June 18,2022 


THE BURMESE HARP – a movie review 

[Nyerges is an educator and author. His many books can be seen at www.SchoolofSelf-] 

I recently sat spell-bound for nearly two hours, watching the emotionally-
riveting film, The Burmese Harp, produced in 1956 in black and white. 
The movie follows a company of Japanese soldiers, stationed in Burma, following the surrender 
of Japan. The captain of this company, Inouye, had been drafted out of music school, 
and regularly led the soldiers in song. This group of singing soldiers is depicted as different, 
healthier, and happier because they sing so frequently. One soldier, Mizushima Yasuhiko, 
often plays his harp to accompany the singing. 

When news of the surrender is received, the soldiers are exuberant, and begin prepara-tions 
to depart within a few weeks or so. 

Mizushima is also the company scout, because he could be mistaken for Bur-mese. Another 
group of soldiers is hiding out in a cave, refusing to surrender, and so Mi-zushima is sent to 
convince them to surrender. They angrily tell Mizushima that they will never surrender, that 
they would rather die than surrender. [Historical fact: The last two Japanese soldier holdouts 
from WWII were captured in 1978!]. 

Mizushima fails in his task, and the cave is bombed by the British, apparently killing everyone. 
Mizushima’s company assume that Mizushima is dead, and they make plans to move 
along to an eventual camp where they will be taken back to Japan. 

The story then tracks Mizushima, who although wounded, was not killed. He was healed and 
brought back to health by a Buddhist monk. Though Mizushima could have returned to his 
company, he was overcome with grief for all the dead soldiers still in Burma. He set about 
burning and burying the dead, the anguish and terror of war having changed him permanently. 
At some point, he becomes a monk. 

When I watched the unfolding plot of this story, told through two different perspectives, I 
wondered why so few people have heard of this masterpiece. It was actually the 27th film by41-year-old Japanese film-maker Ichikawa, and apparently his most famous. It is a hauntingly 
compelling movie that draws you along in its story and vistas, very much as you’d expect 
in a classic Kurasawa movie. 

Filmed in 1956, there were still Japanese at that time who believed that Japan should not have 
surrendered, and that it had been wrong for their government to surrender. And though the 
movie has been described as an “anti-war” movie, that description seems to miss the point. 

War seems inevitable in human life. Yet, when everyone is drawn up into various con-flicts, 
there are endless choices that can be made, for better or worse. Inouye led his sol-diers in 
song, that lifted their spirits. And Mizushima, after his near-death experience, de-cided he 
would no longer be a soldier, but remained in Burma as a monk, burying the dead, and perhaps 
contemplating returning to Japan one day. 

The movie was based on a novel by Takeyama, written in 1946, and the movie largely sticks to 
the book. One early critic of the Burmese Harp movie suggested that the movie whitewashed 
the atrocities of Japan in Burma in WWII. This is probably an unwarranted criticism, since 
the movie accurately depicts the appalling cost of human life in war, and more importantly, 
that there is always an alternative to the militaristic spirit. The fact that Mizushima could 
change from a Japanese soldier to a monk under such dire conditions is where the movie 
gives us all hope. 

The Burmese Harp is strongly recommended, and I give it my highest rating. 

The Chef Knows By Peter Dills 

It has been said, that there is no substitute for time. Only through 
its passage can many of life’s experiences be fully understood. This 
Fathers Day I reflect back on a lesson of life and a Father that has 
ceased to teach and comfort me. I would like to invite you along for 
a single night with a man that has left this Earthy place but dwells 
eternally within my heart. The article below was written and published 
before his passing. 

My Evening with a Restaurant Critic. 

My entire life has been an eight course meal. 

In my late teens I had the distinguished posi

tion of bagger at the local supermarket, and 

later with references, I was able to move to 

Jurgensen’s Gourmet Grocery. There I was 

to learn about fine wines, exotic cheeses and 

my kryptonite, dry aged beef. I guess it all started there because at twen

ty-three I was pretentious about food. For many years I thought that was 

where it all started for me, there in those markets, but I have come to 

realize that I was wrong. For some in life it is the famous baseball player; 
or possibly a religious figure, for others it is a musical master or the profound artist. How many 
times in life, if ever do you get a chance to sit with those that inspire and challenge life with a 
depth of wisdom? For most they will never get the opportunity. I can claim one prize in this life; 
I have had the opportunity to observe, speak with and lastly follow in the footsteps of one person 
that holds that place for me. They have been labeled “The greatest generation” for a reason. Each 
day another from that stratum of America, “slowly goes into the night.” 

Many of you know that my Father Elmer Dills was on TV and radio for twenty-eight years here 
in Los Angeles. I had the opportunity to dine and share with my mentor a few weeks ago. I have 
been out with my Father at least five hundred times but as a fine wine, wisdom increases in its 
depth and flavor as it ages. 
On this night our adventure took us to Madeleines(since closed) in Pasadena. Seems that myDad is a regular there and lately he’s been a little under the weather. I have heard him say nothingbut praise of this place, so it’s off to Madelienes. 
“Table for three, please,” on this evening we have, my daughter Lauren (the budding Critic),
Pops and Me. Whenever I see courteous, well behaved children; I know their parents are invariably 
going to be respectful people. Likewise whenever I get a compliment, I know it goes beyond 
just me. As we sit to dine, there is no call for attention and gratification, just a smooth easy inbeing in his court. As we talk, I am struck that there is no air of condemnation but rather one 
of deep respect for the people that more often than not get it right in this business. My Dad the 
legendary restaurant critic doesn’t even ask what the ingredients of the dishes are as he orders. 
He doesn’t request to see the sommelier. Is he a restaurant critic, I am waiting for a sign? It is just 
as natural as going to dinner with a group of friends, I think. 

The restaurant is quietly attractive, cozy and well spaced. You feel a little smarter here, knowing 
that Albert Einstein often slept upstairs while he was visiting Cal Tech. 

We began with a cheese plate ($9), nice but it could have used less nuts and more of cheese and 
crackers. My Dad is a creature of habit, just like many of us. He orders the Rack of Lamb, “I just 
loved it,” just like a young kid would say. The waiter was kind enough to have it cut for him. 
Daughter Lauren ordered the Pork Chops and gave it two training thumbs up. Now that is a 
compliment. Not sure if high heels work in this business though, as you never know when you 
may encounter a chef that feels you have leveled capricious discourse with your pen on the one 
hand and possess a frying pan in the other. She will discover soon enough why I wear running 
shoes and a sport coat.
I order the Spencer Steak, of course I am the difficult one, so once we get the steak the way I 
wanted it cooked, it vanishes quickly. 

Back to Dad, the waiter asks, “How was the meal” and I know 99% of you when asked would give 
the response, “Fine, Thank You.” Nope, the restaurant critic said, “The lamb chops were great!!!” 
“And the dessert was?” A shrugged of the shoulders told it all. That is the honesty and passion 
that got me involved in this business. Today, I still work at a restaurant to keep up on the trends 
and I even get a crazy dream that I may own one someday. You can be sure he will be one of the 
first to give a thumbs up or a shrug of the shoulders if I do. 

Happy Fathers Day – I would never trade sitting across the table from you for anything.
This was a re-print and may just run it every year at this time just to remind you and all to hold 
these special days near your heart. 

My Radio Show is back on AM 830 KLAAA Sundays at 5 PM 


Mortika, or "Morti," is an 
absolute sweetie pie! She 
is so friendly, and will always 
come out purring to 
everybody, even those she 
hasn’t even met. Yes, she 
loves everybody!
Her black and white longer 
fur, has adorable black 
patch patterns. She has a 

cute little smudge of black coffee color on her nose, 

and over one eye a patch of black fur, which is why we call her our Little Love Bandit!

We're not sure about other cats, but she gets along great with the resi-dent bunnies in her foster 


If you would love a total sweetheart, one that lives to give love, purrs, and affection, then Morti 

is your girl! She's really quite “purr-fect!" See more pictures and her videos on our website’s 

Adult Cats page. Submit the application you'll find on our website: 

Pet of the Week

 Fourteen-year-old Princess is looking for a wonderfulhome to spend her golden years. Princess needs a little 
time to come out of her shell, but once she does, she 
eagerly seeks out petting and will show off her hearty purr.
Princess would do best as the only pet in the home so shecan be the princess of the house!

 Join us at Pasadena Humane on Saturday, June 25 from10am-2pm for Free Adoption Day presented by CapitalGroup! Adoption fees will be waived for all available dogs,
cats and critters at this walk-in event. All cat adoptionsinclude spay or neuter, microchip, and age-appropriatevaccines. 

New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-wellness exam from VCAAnimal Hospitals, as well as a goody bag filled with information about how to care for 
your pet. 
View photos of adoptable pets and schedule an adoption appointment at pasadenahumane.
org. Adoptions are by appointment only, and new adoption appointments are availableevery Sunday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters byphone calls or email. 

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