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Every Wednesday I spend a couple of hours at the Foreign Correspondents' Club. I'm the club webmaster and the go-to girl for Mac troubles. Mainly I just sit in a little room off the library and manage web content. From time to time someone will pop in with a question or just to say hello.

Way more than half of the Club's members are over 50--maybe half are over 60. They've been kicking around the bar since the early days and it's definitely an old boys club (with a few girls and a growing handful of youthful go-getters in the mix). When they fuss and squabble among themselves, I think of them as the Old Curmudgeons and reflect on my future temperament.

But I really don't know much about them at all. So I each month I read with great delight Write Up Your Alley, a column of reminisces in the No 1 Shimbun. This month, Max Desfor described a memorable trip to an onsen:

They apparently didn't speak English and, of course, I couldn't speak Japanese. One day, as I was luxuriating in my kimono after soaking in the hot tub, there was a loud knock on the door and the innkeeper was jabbering away at me. I understood only one word: denwa. I jabbered back that no one knew where I was and no one could be calling me. But he kept insisting, and I finally went downstairs with him to the phone.

It was Don Huth, our news editor and a very close friend, who told me that I had won the Pulitzer Prize for news photography. My reply was, "Look, if you want me back to work, say so. But don't give me that bullshit." With which I immediately slammed the phone down and went back up to my room.

A few minutes later, the innkeeper was knocking on my door and again jabbered about denwa. So back I went to the phone. This time it was Bob Eunson, our chief of bureau, who first ordered me not to hang up on him. Then he read several congratulatory messages from the big bosses in NY, also from my wife and brother.

I was somewhat shellshocked at that point and didn't slam the phone down. Shortly after that, the ryokan was filled with a mob of local newsmen who came to interview me. The innkeeper apparently knew he had something of a celebrity in his house, so he came up with a beautifully decorated, enormous platter of sushi as an honorific offering.

So I guess some of my Old Curmudgeons are eminent old curmudgeons. I should probably pay more attention to them.

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I know a rather distinguished-looking, silver-haired but youthful curmudgeon who hangs out there on an irregular basis...Ill tell him to say hello to you when hes there on a Wednesday next!

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