Please Enjoy Your Happiness

Written by Paul Brinkley-Rogers
Review by Lorraine Norwood

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Brinkley-Rogers began writing his tender memoir after finding old love letters in a long-forgotten book of poems. His love affair took place in Yokosuka, Japan in 1959. He was a 19-year-old seaman aboard a US naval vessel, and she was a mysterious 31-year-old intellectual named Kaji Yukiko. The tall beautiful woman taught him about literature, art, and the cinema, and encouraged him to become a writer. He learned that she had been born in Manchuria in northern China, and that her beauty and intellect and her knowledge of four languages had made her a plaything of criminals and businessmen. She ran away and escaped their clutches, but atop her books of poetry she kept a short sword for the inevitable day when the gangsters came back.

Told in tender prose addressed to “You” – the Yukiko he loved – and enriched with Yukiko’s intense love letters, this memoir follows their deep friendship from the first exuberant emotions of love to the painful leave-taking. To the young man who captured her heart and who sailed away, Yukiko wrote: “We are from opposite ends of the world, but we will be together for eternity – even in this existence where love affairs amount to nothing more than frost on the ground in late spring.” Brinkley-Rogers says the memory of Yukiko has stayed with him all his life. If you read Please Enjoy Your Happiness, she will stay with you as well. Highly recommended.