Back in 1996, Hasbro introduced the G.I. Joe Classic Collection, which was intended to resemble the original G.I. Joe figures from the 60's. These 12" figures became popular, because of their attention to detail which featured cloth outfits and multiple accessories. The Classic Collection line ran from 1996 to 1999 and included over one hundred figures.
One of them was this 442nd Nisei figure, which was produced in 1998:
You can still find these figures at hobby stores, flea markets, and online stores. But I ended up picking this figure up on eBay. I had been trying to find this particular figure for years, but they were a bit pricey and I couldn't see myself spending $50 on a doll. Then a few months ago, I started checking eBay and discovered that the prices had settled down into the $20 to $30 range. So, I began tracking prices and eventually bid on one. I won the auction for $19 ($8.01 for the figure + $10.99 shipping).
You're probably thinking... why this particular DOLL?
Well, the 442nd Infantry Regiment was an all Japanese-American unit that primarily fought in Italy and France during the later part of World War II. They were known for their bravery and determination are the most highly decorated unit in the history of the United States armed forces.
I've always been fascinated by the fact that some of these guys were willing to put their lives on the line for their government and country, which had recently sent them and their families to internment camps.
The Noguchi Boys: Steve, George, and Henry
A few days ago, I took a trip down to Las Vegas to visit my parents and had the opportunity to sit down with my father's friend, Steve Noguchi. Mr. Noguchi and both of his brothers were a part of the 442nd Infantry Regiment. Our conversation lasted over an hour and covered everything from his time at the Poston Internment Camp (in Arizona) to an amazing story about how his brother, George earned a Bronze Star for saving the life of a guy who suffered from shell shock in a burning tank. It was one of those times where I just sat back and tried to soak in as much information as I could.
Mr. Noguchi & Me
Mr. Noguchi, if you're reading this... Thank you for taking the time to "talk story" with me. It was truly an honor to be able to sit down and listen to a real American hero.
By the way... while I was hanging out in Sin City... I also had the opportunity to relax and bond with my parents.
Papa Fuji drove me around the community in his golf cart to check out garage sales in their community (sadly I discovered no sports cards or any sort)...
And earlier, Mama Fuji took me to the casino for a rendezvous with Senorita Slots. Normally, she takes my money and leaves me feeling dirty and broke. However this time, I had my way with her and turned $20 into $100.
I can't remember the last time I quintupled my money. Of course, I donated some of it back to her... but in the end, I was able to take my parents out to dinner, buy my friend some treats, and still have a few dollars to spare. In fact, it's the first time in years that a trip to Vegas didn't cost me a dime. BTW: My flight was free, because I had a voucher from Southwest Airlines.
So... thanks Mom & Dad for everything... you're the best!
Today, I have two questions for you...
Do you own any dolls?
Who are your heroes?
I'm embarrassed to admit this... but I actually own two dolls: the G.I. Joe seen above and a Los Angeles Lakers Barbie doll. It should be noted that the Barbie doll was a gift and not a purchase and I don't consider my Star Wars figures, SLUs, or McFarlanes to be dolls... they're action figures!
As for my heroes... there are many people in my life that I admire and respect, but none more than my parents. Mama Fuji is one of the most generous, kind hearted woman in my life, who has always put her family and friends before herself. And Papa Fuji is everything I aspire to be: a hard working man, who is honest, responsible, and humble.
Enjoy your Sunday everyone... sayonara!