Essay Tenkara Video

Six Degrees to Full Circle

Sometimes when I see or hear something it sticks in my head for a few days. Then days later, another something pops up and in some distant way my mind links to the first thing. Does this happen with you? That is kind of how this story meandered through my mind came to be. One thing leads to another, which leads to another… Let me get started here.

Every year, as the holiday season comes upon us, a community friend likes to remind everyone that “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. His reminder this year of “Yippee-Ki-Yay” tipped the scales and had me dial it up to watch one evening. I have probably seen this movie twenty-five times since it was released and I graduated high school, in 1988. For me, it is definitely a classic. It draws me in to watch over and over again. I thought I knew every aspect of the movie and nearly all the lines in the script.

Jason Sparks - Six Degrees Angling - Bruce Willis

This year though, I heard a golden nugget in the script that I’ve missed in the previous two dozen times watching the movie. It only came about because of my exposure to tenkara and our community that provided the context of this nugget. The word triggered a quick jerk response for the remote. I backed the movie twenty seconds to hear again what I thought I heard was indeed what I heard. Astonished. It was. I hit the rewind again to mild chagrin from my family with me on the couch. It was there for sure.

After the movie was over, I started thinking about how to bring this forth to share. Ideas for the presentation and sequence starting coming to me. The next day I had a thought about “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. That seemed like a pretty cool angle to take, so I started working out a sequence to get me to where I wanted to go. I needed to end up at Die Hard right? To do this, I took the liberty to run “Six Degrees” in reverse and end up with the Bruce Willis in this movie.

Quickly, if you are not familiar with the premise of 6deg. and how Mr. Bacon fits into it, you can read-up on it here: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

For the game, it is all about forks in the road. Several times I had to stop, back up, and go in a different direction. I like working through a puzzle like this. There was several avenues I came to that got me to the goal. Here is the linkage I settled with to share.

Jason Sparks - Six Degrees Angling - Size Degrees of Kevin Bacon
  1. Kevin Bacon & Fred Ward- Tremors
  2. Fred Ward & Ed Harris – Right Stuff
  3. Ed Harris & Nicolas Cage – The Rock
  4. Nicolas Cage & David Caruso– Kiss of Death
  5. David Caruso & Bruce Willis – Hudson Hawk
  6. Bruce Willis – Die Hard

Now that we have gotten back to Die Hard, let me set up my revelation. The building has been invaded and “John McClane” is in Holly’s office with his shoes off, wriggling his toes in the carpet with a smile on his face. “Hans Gruber” is standing in the holiday party just about to address the party-goers. Here is that sixty second clip for you to watch”.

Did you pick up on that? Did you catch that tidbit of information that links into the context of fishing? Here is the script of that scene

Hans Gruber Now, where is Mr. Takagi? Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi, born in Kyoto, Japan, 1937. Family immigrated to San Pedro , California, 1939. Interned Manzanar, 1942 to 43. Scholarship student University of California, 1955. Law degree, Stanford, 1962. MBA , Harvard, 1970. President, Nakatomi Corporation. Chairman, Nakatomi Investment Group…

Joseph Takagi [interrupting]  Enough!
Hans Gruber [concluding]  and father of five.
Joseph Takagi I am Takagi!

The character Joseph Takagi (James Shigeta), as a three year old boy, was interned at Manzanar War Relocation Center (more info here), That site is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California’s Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine to the south and Independence to the north.

Jason Sparks - Six Degrees Angling - Manzanar

There are several books and movies about Manzanar that address and present the stories associated with the points in American history that created the relocation and interment facilities. Many of us are familiar with the “Manzanar Fishing Club” documentary film telling a portion of this story. As described the “MANZANAR FISHING CLUB” is a feature length documentary that chronicles the WWII internment of Japanese-American from a unique perspective: through the eyes of those who defied the armed guards, barbed wire and searchlights to fish for trout in the surrounding waters of the Eastern Sierra.”

As mentioned in nearly reference to this documentary that I could find, it is a must-watch film. You should take the time to read up on these stories and watch this documentary. It has the ability to strike a strong chord of appreciation in humanity, and some lack thereof.

In all the times I’d previously watched “Die Hard”, I hadn’t been exposed to knowledge that would have made that reference stand out. The promotion of the Manzanar story has been passed around the tenkara and fishing communities for some years now. Had you ever picked up on that in the movie? Now I will always hear it when watching “Die Hard”.

Let me get back to my link wandering mind again. Back to where I started at the first degree with Kevin Bacon. I have always been a big fan of the movie “Tremors” and it always comes to my mind first when I think of Mr. Bacon. In doing a bit of research on Manzanar, and the six degrees theory, I stumbled into something else. Thank you interwebs for associating my research topics from “Manzanar” and “Kevin Bacon” to present new links of interest.

A “behind the scenes” documentary styled interview with the cast of the movie called “Making Perfection“. It of course got my attention and I sat to watch it. If you are a fan of this movie, you might enjoy watching it also. In this, it discusses the staging for the town of Perfection, where the characters lived and where the movie takes place.

Jason Sparks - Six Degrees Angling - Alabama Hills

This film was staged in the Alabama Hills outside of Lone Pine, CA. More than 100 movies have been filmed in and around Lone Pine, a very popular destination for Hollywood productions over the years. Check out all the films shot in this area. I wonder if that famous rock scaled by Captain Kirk in an old Star Trek episode, and also had a cameo in Bills & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is located there as well?

You may recall I stayed the night in Lone Pine as I set up my quest to catch California native golden trout a few summers ago. We drove through the Alabama Hills as we left the town and drove up to the high altitudes of Horseshoe Meadows. That still holds top rank in my fishing memories as a very special day shared with my wife. That entire area was fantastic and exciting for me. It was such a different setting then my tight streams in the Blue Ridge mountains. Lone Pine, California… Wow.

Jason Sparks - Six Degrees Angling - Jason Sparks Golden Trout

Did you follow that additional level of association degrees made here in the article? My idea for the article came about using the “six degrees” to segue into it. That brought me back around to “Tremors” and the discovery of it being filmed outside of Lone Pine. As mentioned earlier, the Manzanar Camp site is just north of Lone Pine by a few miles. So I went from “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie to “Kevin Bacon” to “John McClane” to “Hans Gruber” to “Joseph Takagi” to Manzanar to “Tremors” to Lone Pine, which is just south of Manzanar site. This six degrees took me full circle.

Thanks to John Vetterli for putting the idea of watching Die Hard into my streaming queue.

Thanks to Daniel Galhardo for supporting efforts to bring the Manzanar Fishing Club story forward over the years like this Tenkara Cast episode and here.

Take the time to read about another personal adventure and discovery around Manzanar in this recent Tenkara Angler article “Buddha, Barbed Wire, and a Bit of Freedom

If any part of this essay touches something in your life or mind, please share it.
Had you picked up on this script nugget when you have watched the movie before?
Can you build a different six degrees route from Kevin Bacon to Bruce Willis?


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4 comments

  1. Jason…thoughtful article and “exercise”….I know what you mean…now I have a “name” for my wondering mind from time to time…special thanks for introducing me to The Manzanar Fishing Club…can’t wait to view it … tucked away as a “must see”…another tool to help me virtually fish my way through these colder, darker days…new light coming on many fronts with 2021.

  2. I am constantly connecting dots that for others have many more dots to connect in between before they get to where I am. It makes me practice patience. Thank you for this awesome entertaining ride.

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