96-Year-Old Japanese Soldier Found Behind Butch’s Beach Burritos

butchs-soldier-storyOwners and employees at Butch’s Beach Burritos in Grand Haven were as surprised as anyone else in town to discover a 96-year-old Japanese soldier from World War II living behind their popular establishment.  When part-time burrito-wrapper Jason Sunderson took a bag of trash to the dumpster behind the restaurant, he saw an elderly man trapped under one of the heavy metal dumpster lids, struggling to get free.  By the time he got close enough to see a bayonet, and a holstered pistol at the old man’s side, Jason ran back to the restaurant for help.  “I only make minimum wage”, said Sunderson, age 18, “I wasn’t going near that freaky dude by myself.”

Police arrived on the scene five minutes after Sunderson’s 911 call, cleared the restaurant and adjoining parking lots of civilians, and slowly approached the trapped man with guns drawn.  Officers quickly discovered they were dealing with a very old and frail-looking man screaming at them in a foreign language, and pinned by the dumpster lid in a position which prohibited him from reaching his pistol or bayonet.  With the threat of imminent danger passed, Police disarmed the man and arranged for his transport to North Ottawa Community Hospital, where the still unidentified man is listed in good condition.

According to initial reports, the old, but indefatigable soldier had a knapsack filled with what appear to be detailed logs and journals covering nearly 70 years of spying and information gathering. Initially, Investigators knew only that the man was speaking “something Asian”, but analysis of his uniform and possessions quickly led Detectives to conclude the man was a Japanese Soldier, hiding in Grand Haven since the early 1940s. While Police and local authorities now await the arrival of a Japanese-Translator from Los Angeles, staff librarians at Loutit District Library have been put to work using Google-Translate in an effort to decipher the confiscated notes and journals. Early results show the soldier’s mission was primarily focused on the local American Legion post, as the notebooks appear to include detailed descriptions of every major function, event, fish-fry and all-you-can-eat buffet held at the Legion for more than fifty years.

Police expect to have more answers once they can properly communicate with the man, and a task-force is being formed to review all of the Department’s cold-case files, as they suspect a great number of unsolved petty thefts, campsite robberies and other local crime-mysteries may be attributable to the Japanese soldier who managed to avoid capture for more than half a century.  Most significantly, Authorities are reviewing a 1968 police report filed by teenagers alleging they had been abducted and water-boarded by “some Asian-looking military dude”; a report that was dismissed by Police at the time as “ridiculous”, and coming from “long-haired hippy-types who smelled of reefer”.

By mid-afternoon, Butch’s had added a commemorative Banzai Burrito to its menu, and early indications provide indicators which indicate the Banzai Burrito is proving immediately popular with Butch’s customers.

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  156 comments for “96-Year-Old Japanese Soldier Found Behind Butch’s Beach Burritos

  1. all indications
    May 18, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    It is good to know the Butch’s has several indicators to track customer satisfaction. One is never enough!

    • Scoot
      May 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm


    • Mark Trumpie
      May 19, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      It’s good to know that the indications indicated indicators that indicated early indications.

      • George
        May 20, 2014 at 4:05 am

        Don’t laugh. Indicationalization is indicative of the indicatory times we live in. 🙁

        • May 20, 2014 at 4:10 am

          It won’t be us laughing here at the Times. We take indicationalism, in all its derivative forms, extremely seriously. You’re singing to the choir.

          • David Alex
            May 20, 2014 at 5:27 pm

            No, we are indicating to the choir that they should immediately and irrevocably (by way of vocal instrumentalization) instill in us their irreverent ideology.

      • Ania
        May 20, 2014 at 8:28 pm

        Lol! My thoughts exactly

    • Judi Mazurek
      May 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      There is no way someone could stay hidden behind Butche’s for any length of time without someone spotting him. Do you see the location on the picture and the path along side it. Kids traverse that hill all the time…what is this story for…reporter in training?

      • Judi Mazurek
        May 20, 2014 at 1:34 pm

        And after investigating the rest of the paper, I understand the story…I was at Kite festival and missed all that gang stuff…:)

      • May 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm

        Yeah…that’s it…exactly.

      • Dressed-to-be-molest...ed
        May 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm

        This person obviously doesn’t realize the trauma I endured after the torture this man put me through just to find out what Prono Pups were actually made of…

      • Julia Beann
        May 22, 2014 at 8:25 pm

        Actually no. This is real. Look it up. People can’t accept that their world isn’t perfect and it has mysteries in it.

        • Paul
          May 23, 2014 at 2:23 am

          finally some one w/ common sense ..thank you Julia

        • Paul
          May 23, 2014 at 2:25 am

          Finally someone w/ common sense, thank you Julia

    • HUTCH
      May 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      I think he was just trying to get a “bleakfast bullito”.

      • Doug
        June 6, 2014 at 8:39 pm

        Wow! A Japanese L and R “joke”! How clever and original of you. Your mother must be so proud!

    • Melissa
      May 23, 2014 at 6:45 am

      Lmao, I was thinking the same thing

    • brandon,wett
      January 4, 2015 at 4:04 am

      omg I wondered where my grandpa went!

  2. Sally
    May 19, 2014 at 5:49 am

    A resent poll suggests:
    1. This topic would make a very interesting book (teens included)
    2. This would make for an amusing movie (as indicated by our early indication indicators)

    >interested to find out more, whether it be fiction or truth something like this might get me to read a book for the first time in 5 years.

    • Bill
      May 20, 2014 at 9:08 am

      This was already the plot of a Gilligan’s Island episode.

  3. May 19, 2014 at 11:12 am

    He doesn’t know the war ended 70 years ago?

    • Mike
      May 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      There are plenty of people who have no idea that a war has ended for various reasons. They might have been separated and lost all communication, therefore not knowing it ended and continuing to “fight for survival” as long as possible.

      Lots of Vietnam soldiers never returned from Vietnam because they chose to stay there.

      Some Vietnam would-be draftees fled the country to escape the draft and never returned – though I’m sure that’s partly because they’d be arrested upon return.

      Still, crazy to think this guy last SO long and never lost sight of his “mission.” Especially if he is the guy who interrogated those teens in the late 60s.

      • john
        May 19, 2014 at 8:59 pm

        What did his logs cover? When food was being served and where?

        Ohh, I probably would like to know where I could get some food if I was homeless as well.

        This is fabricated to the max.

      • erik michaelsen
        May 19, 2014 at 9:03 pm

        Mike, wake up and smell the coffee !

      • Chazgp
        May 19, 2014 at 10:02 pm

        You should really take a better look at the actual “newspaper”…

      • Nate
        May 20, 2014 at 1:15 am

        Two thoughts:
        1. Any spy in the field would maintain radio silence until given a specific code marker to come in. The fact that this guy evaded capture and maintained his mission for almost three quarters of a century is amazingly commendable.
        2. Most spies are overseen by a specific person (to give the brass deniability). If this person forgets a spy (which can happen as there is minimal recording of where they are sent, so spies in the field do not end up outed if an area is captured and at the end of a war, and not every spy can be reached to be deactivated with that limited information). So, being that none of his handlers made contact, it’s very easy to think that this man has no idea the war is over, or refuses to accept defeat if he can read english and saw the newspapers on VJ day.

      • Theresa
        May 22, 2014 at 9:47 pm

        No one would be arrested at this time for returning to the United States after having dodged the draft for the Viet Nam War. All draft dodgers were pardoned on the first day of the Carter Administration, January 21st, 1977.

    • May 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      The war has ended?


      • SpatulaQueen
        May 19, 2014 at 6:15 pm

        Yes, but the Fish Fry’s have not!

      • David Alex
        May 20, 2014 at 6:01 pm

        What war?

    • Micheal Mclouth
      May 19, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Exactly, he should have known by now I know that he doesn’t speak English but look what today is and how the world has changed

      • May 20, 2014 at 12:13 am

        If he doesn’t speak English – and Japanese newspapers etc aren’t exactly readily available, especially if he’s been living on the streets and I doubt he knows how to use a computer, therefore no internet knowledge and experience either. He’s been living in a very tight bubble – and asking people questions about if the war has ended probably would seem like insubordination or risky to his mission. Don’t forget, the Japanese would literally commit suicide to fulfill their missions.

        I feel really sad for him. Stuck in a time that doesn’t exist anymore, having to live with no access to people who understand him, and under probably war-time stress levels. Maybe even PTSD, since we have don’t know what sort of things he experienced before he made his way over here. :/

        One thing that hasn’t been discussed is that this could be a person with mental illness as well. Which would be just as tragic. Whoever he is, he deserves to be spending his last years with his family, not trapped in a dumpster in his 90’s. Incredibly sad all the way around. I hope he gets the help he needs and is able ot be reunited with his family, I’m sure any relatives would be overjoyed to know he’s still alive.

        • May 20, 2014 at 12:36 am

          Reading further comments – and reading the article again I realize this is a joke. I probably would’ve realized it sooner if I had read the last couple lines.

        • tony
          May 20, 2014 at 2:04 am

          I think you’re living in a tight bubble>

        • colleenuecker@yahoo.com
          May 20, 2014 at 11:53 pm

          A very caring observation April and I’m with you chances are he doesn’t have anyone that he knows alive anymore. Very sad for him.

    • Jay
      May 20, 2014 at 2:52 am

      Typical bull-shid-o attitude of PC samurai warriors. Just sayin’… 😉

    • Mark
      May 20, 2014 at 3:48 am

      A lot of Japanese soldiers that were cut off during the U.S. advance through the Pacific Islands were isolated for many years…one such soldier, Lt Hiroo Onoda, was ‘captured’ in the Philippines in 1972. He had to be coaxed out of the jungle by his former commanding officer. Here’s a link to the story….http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldwarii/a/soldiersurr.htm

      what I find fascinating about this story is that supposedly this soldier was part of an intelligence gathering operation that landed here on the U.S. mainland. I hope that they are able to convince him to tell his story. Moreover, I hope that they are able to reunite him with any family members that may still be alive….although at 96, that may just be wishful thinking. It certainly shows what one man, dedicated to the warrior ethos of that country is capable of withstanding just doing what he felt was his duty to his emperor!

  4. CLMiller
    May 19, 2014 at 11:47 am

    This is so much better than mainstream news gathering!!! Carry on.

  5. Shelli Tabor
    May 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    You know this isn’t real right? Apparently we are beginning a off-shoot of “The Onion” in Ottawa county.

    • May 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      If The Onion and The Grand Haven Tribune had a love-child that no one wanted…

      • Sarah Jane Essebaggers
        May 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm

        I have a Japanise born daughter in law living in Grand Haven Yuko Essebaggers and She speaks fluent Japanise

        • Liz
          May 19, 2014 at 7:40 pm


    • Cade
      May 19, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      They reported that the pronto pup stand had washed down to the beach and the pronto pup stand received enough inquiries about ‘where their new location was’ that they actually had to post a rebuttal explaining it was a hoax. People these days.

  6. Lynn
    May 19, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    I’m hoping they follow up with this story after they learn more through an interpreter about the man and what is in his journal (log). Thanks for the interesting story.

    • lynette
      May 20, 2014 at 3:49 am

      This is hilarious!!

  7. levi
    May 19, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    this is one of the craziest stories I heard of?

  8. Sue Bond
    May 19, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Teleportation gone wrong?

  9. I call B.S.
    May 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    This story is complete b.s.

    • May 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Sherlock Holmes is in the house!

    • You don't say?
      May 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Really? How could it not be real?

  10. shamus
    May 19, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    and early indications provide indicators which indicate the Banzai Burrito is proving immediately popular with Butch’s customers.

    Was this a really necessary necessity

  11. lethal girl
    May 19, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    If this is true, post a copy of the police report.

  12. Steve
    May 19, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I believe the soldier was also the subject of a Bugs Bunny cartoon and an episode of Gilligan’s Island; I didn’t realize that they were documentaries when I watched them as a child…

  13. nottalot
    May 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Butches banzai beach burrito+Japanese war veteran=not so happy Americans

  14. Jon Schuster
    May 19, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Your author failed to include the fact that Butch’s new “Banzai Burrito” contains nothing but ONIONS. Wierd, huh?

    Outstanding reportage, nonetheless!

  15. michelle
    May 19, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    I hope this 18 yr old punk lost his job!!!!! How disrespectful….

    • adam
      May 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Why should he lose his job he did nothing wrong

      • Mark
        May 20, 2014 at 3:50 am

        If he did nothing to help an elderly man….regardless of race…he did nothing!

    • Turtle
      May 19, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Fictional people who exist only in satirical articles are typically not worried about job security.

    • sandra
      May 20, 2014 at 12:16 am


  16. May 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Just made my morning!

  17. Courtney
    May 19, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I think this might indicate some indicators that indicate something is indicating some indications.

  18. Carla Blinkhorn
    May 19, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Love the stories. Particularly like the article by Sandi Dune. Good laughs!

    • May 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Thank you very much, and I think, your comment is a timely and good illustration that our readers are much more ‘in on it’ with us than many posters would have us believe.

      • Diane
        June 9, 2014 at 3:31 pm

        I am interested on any updates on this gentleman.

        • June 9, 2014 at 6:22 pm

          Your wish is our command. Check today’s Front Page!

  19. Brian
    May 19, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    And just think, to get here he must have hidden aboard an American war ship! What a crafty warrior!

  20. Cindy
    May 19, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    This is not the first time this has happened however other incidents happened in the Pacific islands where Japanese soldiers didn’t know the war had ended and continued spying. The last one I remember was a Japanese soldier found in the Philippines not too many years ago.

  21. Jack
    May 19, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    This is very hard to believe. So your telling me that there isn’t a Japanese to English translator closer to Ottawa county than California?

    • May 19, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      We questioned that, too, and you’re right, it does seem odd, but that’s what we were told.

    • Jeff
      May 19, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      Jack, read the motto at the top of the website, it says, “Reporting the truth whether we know it or not.”…Although I’ll give them this, they certainly can write a catchy article haha

  22. Barb
    May 19, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I’ve been bamboozled… and loved it. Thanks for making the day for this apparently-gullible-but-not-quite-96 yo.

    • May 19, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      Thank you for having such a good and fun spirit about it…

  23. May 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    This is absolute bullshit!!

    • May 19, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Thank you. Are you a professional detective, or merely a talented amateur? What gave us away?

  24. CPinSL
    May 19, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    There are obviously more than a few people who need a “Bazinga!” or “LOL” to help them realize that they were reading satire. (I was actually expecting the story to be about a run-away kite from the festival that ended up behind Butch’s, but this was just as funny.)

  25. Debbie rumberger
    May 19, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I pray that this Lost Warrior is treated with the same respect and kindness that we would want if one of our servicemen and women were discovered in another unfamiliar country. His dedication to his nation is admirable. His story will be amazing. Let us be gracious victors.

  26. Duncan
    May 19, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Guess he didn’t get the memo the wars over. I’m sure after spending billions of dollar on security, the u.s. goverment knew he was here all along. HA HA HA ! ! ! !

  27. Jeff Spicoli
    May 19, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Anyone who thought this was a real story should be sterilized

    • May 20, 2014 at 12:26 am

      I didn’t realize it was a fake story because this is the first time I’ve ever been to this website and I saw this article come across my facebook feed (and no one that had commented on it that was sharing it thought it was fake either, or didn’t seem like they had.) If this was The Onion I would’ve known right away. I had no idea that an online publication coming out of Grand Haven was now posting completely BS stories. And unlike the Onion where you can obviously tell it’s complete BS it’s not obvious – there could still be Japanese spies here from that time and if they lost contact with their people, might not know the war was over, especially if they don’t speak English. It’s not THAT far-fetched.

      Nor is it far-fetched that a business would come up with a new gimmick to make good on it’s 15 minutes of “fame.”

      And I think your idea of sterilizing anyone who doesn’t get a joke, isn’t in the least bit amusing.

      • JohnR
        May 21, 2014 at 7:05 pm

        Please April, define what “far fetched” means in your world. When the masthead reads “Reporting the truth whether we know it or not” that just might be a hint. When the article references “a part time burrito wrapper” in the first paragraph, well, that just might be a hint too.

  28. Nance
    May 19, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Got Me!

  29. Lin
    May 19, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    That was my first thought – with so many Japanese speaking people in the area, why fly one in?? Of course this totally had me going for about 15 mins while I checked Mlive and other sources. Pays to read the entire page first. LOL!!!

  30. legal girl
    May 19, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Where’s NSA when you need ’em?!

  31. jaki
    May 19, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    If this is true it would be something.

  32. Barb Nicklow
    May 19, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Although War doesn’t always end when declared an end, this story sounds satirical….

  33. Dave
    May 19, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Is today April 1? Early indicators indicate some indications that are indicative of an author who is repetitively redundant

    • legal girl
      May 19, 2014 at 11:04 pm


  34. Another van den
    May 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    I spent many years in the Grand Haven VFW with my WWII grandpa. I thought that guy didn’t quite look Dutch when I saw him there. My nickname there was dynamite. Can I FOIA my part of his journals?

  35. AttiChrisRex
    May 19, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    What Happened? That Whole Area is Covered With DHS Cameras! No Excuse For This Breach of Security……lol

  36. legal girl
    May 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Honestly, we are still talking and chuckling about this story. The exposure and interest it has generated is impressive. Kudos to the writer…and the editor. Best. Story. Ever.

    • Andrea
      May 20, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      You are right, kudos to the writers! I work @ Butchs & the Detroit News called today to see if this was true or satire! We love all the interest in people asking of the “Bonzi Burrito”.
      Keep the stories about the locally owned GH business coming!!!

      • May 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm

        Thank you, Butch’s!! We’re fans of YOU, our favorite lunch spot for staff meetings. We didn’t mean to be disruptive, but then again, News is News, and you shouldn’t shoot the messenger…thanks for jumping in. Maybe think about a lock on that dumpster…

        • Andrea
          May 20, 2014 at 7:47 pm

          Lol…next time you are here please let us know you were the writers 🙂

  37. Spencer
    May 19, 2014 at 11:09 pm
  38. C
    May 19, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    You guys are sick! This was a great story and it had to be ruined by revealing the truth that this is pure fiction. I had seriously hoped that this was one of those “truth-is-stranger-than-fiction” moments, but oh no…you had to burst my bubble. Bastards!

  39. jjfap
    May 19, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    grand havens police blotter is devoid of any report backing this up

  40. tall-mike
    May 20, 2014 at 12:11 am

    I hope all his personal belongings are returned to him

  41. Gary
    May 20, 2014 at 12:39 am

    Trust me I think I have seen him a few times hiking Dewey Hill but never got a good enough look.

  42. Charlie
    May 20, 2014 at 12:59 am

    This belongs in the Onion….

  43. Scott
    May 20, 2014 at 5:13 am

    I assume the author of this story is the same guy who wrote the 9/11 Benghazi attack talking points for Susan Rice.

  44. Johng46
    May 20, 2014 at 8:05 am

    You are my inhalation, I have few web logs and rarely run out from post ddafabcbbkbe

  45. Laura
    May 20, 2014 at 11:25 am

    My greatest concern for the safety of our nation is the number of commentators who are determined to show their genius by debating various points for accuracy. This is the only paper I would want to write for! My fav part was in the last line, “early indications provide indicators which indicate the Banzai Burrito is proving immediately popular…”.

  46. kem brooks
    May 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    If they need an interpretor, how did they know he was 96 years old?

  47. Ryan
    May 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    This guy deserves the Japanese equivalent of the Medal of Honor. Talk about dedication…

  48. Irene Adler
    May 20, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Well, I for one am looking forward to trying the Banzai Burrito made in honor of Butch’s esteemed dumpster diver. As long as dogs and cats don’t start to go missing…..

  49. Veronica Lake
    May 20, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Everybody knows that the American Legion is a den of iniquity! Those aren’t really bingo games, you know. The caller is giving out code to those who are able to decipher it! And furthermore, this also explains the rash of dog and cat disappearances!

  50. May 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    While reading this article, I was questioning the qualifications of the writer BUT was soooo dissapointed when reading the comments to find out this was a joke. How sick!!! I, for one, am so ashamed of what America has become. Have never heard of the Onion and don’t want to. Couldn’t you spend your time better searching for a TRUE and factual human interest story to publish? Those readers who believed they were reading a true story and had compassion for this person should be praised but you are probably laughing and making fun of them instead. Again, DISGUSTED by this entire thing!

    • May 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      We apologize for wasting your time or upsetting you. We obviously differ, because we love The Onion, and National Lampoon, and Mad Magazine, and Saturday Night Live, and Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel…and we could go on, but we’re not trying to convert you…and making people feel such disgust isn’t our ambition, so we’re sorry to have bothered you.

  51. Lfpeltz
    May 20, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Wow! A great mix of realism and satire. I didn’t read the banner of your page. Could have been true for all I know because I don’t live in the area. But what kind of gave it away for me was the side bar story headline of “City of Grand Haven Declares War on Depression – Votes to Levy Tax on Anxiety”. That is hysterical! Great 1st issue!

    • May 20, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      Thanks so much. That helps offset at least eight or ten of the comments telling us how awful we are, or how much we suck…

  52. Mike
    May 20, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    It was all a made up story to sell a Banzai burritos

  53. justme
    May 20, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    since when does a uniform last over 50 years?

  54. Scott
    May 20, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Tell the soldier that the war is over and send him home so he can be at peace.

  55. May 20, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I keep thinking Jimmy Kimmel is going to pounce out in a video about this. . . or something. Can it be for real? Bless this soldier’s heart. Some of us can’t even commit to going to church every Sunday or brushing our teeth every day and there he was, rain or shine, ice or sun, keeping his post, spying on the American legion. Somebody get him a Geisha!!!

  56. zoe
    May 20, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    This is clearly a version of The Onion but focused on West Michigan, and it’s perfect!

    • May 20, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Thank you, Zoe.

      • danny boy
        May 21, 2014 at 1:52 am

        Thank you so much! I wish I could have forwarded this to my father who fought in the pacific during WII. He would have loved this! You brought a smile out after a very rough day.

  57. Joe Borrello
    May 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    This sort of thing happens more often than people realize. Last August I ran across a Confederate soldier in Jackson that apparently didn’t know that the Civil War was over. I knocked him down and took his gun. The cops actually let him go and were mad at ME! But I know for a fact that he wasn’t from modern times… he was carrying a flip phone!

    • danny boy
      May 21, 2014 at 1:48 am

      How much energy did you have to muster to subdue the rebel?

      • May 21, 2014 at 1:57 am

        It’s been estimated that approximately 885 calories were burned. Not too bad.

  58. GSC
    May 20, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Why no mention of his alleged attacks on Snickers and the Pier Peddler? Those two dudes will never be forgotten.

  59. Daniel
    May 21, 2014 at 12:12 am

    Today we take Butches, for tomorrow we die

  60. Skip Derusha
    May 21, 2014 at 1:15 am

    I am waiting to read “Live from Grand Haven this is Saturday Night”

  61. GreenGabelGirl
    May 21, 2014 at 1:58 am

    I thought I saw this guy from our wedding reception at the VFW hall
    22 years ago. He was pretending take pictures but now I know he was really doing re-con.

    • May 21, 2014 at 2:15 am

      Now you probably regret choosing to stay silent, when perhaps you should have spoken out, but don’t be too hard on yourself. It was your big day; capturing a Japanese spy was probably the furthest thing from your mind…especially in the 1990s. Totally understandable.

  62. Norman
    May 21, 2014 at 2:51 am

    I have been to Grand Haven. The Times being what Times there are, it is understandable how someone could be so far behind the Times, let alone being behind Butch’s. But in Time we can let some old-Timer catch up with the Times. But of course, being 96, he hasn’t much Time left. And I am out of Time myself.

  63. Minoru Kamada
    May 21, 2014 at 3:38 am

    This is very interesting. However, we have not heard anything about this man in Japan.
    Spies usually never wear a uniform in enemy’s land.
    A Nisei spy, Richard Sakakida, working for the United States wore a plain cloth when he was captured by the invading Japanese Forces at Manila, P.I.
    I suspect this was “a candid camera” or “Monty Python” show.

  64. MamaK
    May 21, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Just fun. Sooooooo much fun. As a writer, there is a great satisfaction that comes from hearing a tickled “snort” while someone reads your work. Rest assured, there were snorts aplenty.
    Good show.

    • May 21, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      That IS assurance we appreciate hearing. Thank you!

  65. Liz B.
    May 21, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Is this story for real? – Liz B., Richmond VA

  66. Kim
    May 21, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Love this…all the social media, iPhone cameras, etc. posting garbage and this paper making it’s own funnies that will probably get national news. How can the businesses object, curiosity killed the cat and will increase the tourism greatly! Keep it up and let me know if I can help!!! 🙂

    • May 21, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Thank you! We need all the help we can get, as is probably too apparent already. Follows, Likes, and especially Shares on anything you find to your liking are a big help towards allowing us to hang around for awhile…

  67. Definitely
    May 21, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Not going to this place for burritos just they ought to be some pretty oblivious people for not noticing this guy, let alone, the story sounds fake anyway – otherwise it’d be picked up by major papers across the country. Has that happened?

    Again, happily not going to this place just because : )
    There are much better burritos in GH anyway

  68. May 21, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Why on earth would it be necessary to send away for a Japanese translator all the way from Los Angeles? There are professional Japanese-to-English translators and interpreters right here in western Michigan, myself included. (I teach Japanese and translation studies at WMU.)

    • May 21, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Good point, and that’s by no means the only unanswered question about this story.

      • another mike?
        May 21, 2014 at 10:48 pm

        Thank you for being the only outfit to break this story. Mainstream media has become so lazy! Gosh stinking dang it!

    • funnystuff
      May 27, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      My 17 yo just decided he wants to major in Japanese. I’m removing WMU from the list of prospect schools to visit. I would never allow him to study where professors don’t have a bit of sense of humor…..ha!

  69. Mike Staggs
    May 22, 2014 at 4:12 am

    Truly the last Banzi Charge!

  70. the look on his face
    May 22, 2014 at 6:53 am

    when he gets back to Japan with all his findings only to find the war was lost 70 years ago.

  71. May 23, 2014 at 12:14 am

    If he can’t speak or understand English how do they know his age!

  72. Darcie
    May 23, 2014 at 1:32 am

    This one had me going for a few minutes, do you know how hard that is to do? I haven’t had that happen in years and years, thank you so much! You’re writing is amazing!

    • May 23, 2014 at 1:33 am

      Thank you, you’re far too kind (and yet so clearly of good taste).

  73. Olivia
    May 23, 2014 at 9:43 am

    The “Banzai Burrito” seriously? Thanks for white washing another persons culture. But of course that’s what America does. Makes profit off of someone else’s culture.

  74. Sandi
    May 26, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    WOW makings for a movie eh? Sheesh talk about dedication.

  75. Gail
    June 1, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Wow. I’ve been trying to figure out for a few days whether or not there could be a kernel of truth in this story. I even asked Snopes! Good grief. I guess it would have helped if I’d looked at the newspaper header! Good one Grand River Times! You got me! 🙂

    • June 1, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Thanks for enjoying it, anyway. Not everyone is such a good sport.

  76. MarkS
    June 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    I am surprised that the NSA and CIA as well as the DOD and ICE isn’t involved in this case, especially when this man has recorded notes that cover his entire time period that he claims to be spying. There could be some valuable information in his log book. If this guy is for real, I would think that everything from his armament, supplies, clothing, and other old item’s might actually be antiques, not to mention his life story. If this guy went undetected from the 1940’s until now, just imagine all of the other spy’s out there in the U.S. roaming around. One thing this guy had going for him is he was living off the grid; no cell phone, no computer, and most likely living on a cash basis. It makes me wonder, how did he live without anyone noticing him, especially in the Grand Haven area? I detect a huge story here if this man is for real.

  77. John McNeilly
    June 10, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    You think this is big news, you need to come to Saranac. We’ve been talking for weeks over the discovery of a Soviet underground missile silo that was abandoned when the Reds pulled out of Cuba in 1962. From all indications of those who have been down to see it, it seems fully functional. Apparently they were closer to us than we ever thought. Now the question that divides friend from neighbor is, what do we do with it? Is it harming our land water? Is this the reason why soil levels have abnormal levels of radioactive thorium? Is this one reason that Herbruck’s can make so many eggs? Most of us are up in arms over this, but have nowhere to go because the land is been in our family for generations. Just like your soldier, we can’t get the attention of the mainstream media. Perhaps you can help us too.

  78. Connie Bowns Glynn
    June 19, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    NO KIDDING? This fella has been speaking his native language for how many years? Since, let’s say 75 years and with no one else to speak to either. That is quite amazing considering Bergdhal the deserter is claimed to not be able to speak his, which people is English, and has been in captivity for just 5 years! Yeah, really?

  79. Paul
    July 15, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Aaaaand that’s Jenga!

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