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The Gozaimasu, Ohio, Story

This cartoon explains the origin of the town's Japanese name (pronounced GOHZ-EYE-EE-MAHS) The inspiration for this cartoon came from Honda of America making the brilliant decision to start manufacturing their cars in the United States, eventually locating a plant in Marysville, Ohio, where production began in November 1982.  

Subsequently, in 1984, our cartooninst went to Japan for his day-job work for three weeks, during which time he was awakened every morning in his miniscule hotel room by a recording of opressively cheerful bird song, followed by a soprano voice repeating, "Ohayo gozaimasu, ohayo gozaimasu!  This is your morning wake up call."  As a result, that phrase became permanently embedded in this head.  So it was no surprise when he finally got serious about locating Tom and Harry somewhere, Gozaimasu, Ohio, was the only possibility.

"Okay," you say, "but why in southern Ohio?"  Because in The Southern Ohio Bugle", the local newspaper that Harry reads religiously, every story is a sob story.  (This is a family strip, so keep any other ideas to yourself.)

Then there's Cow Manor - would "Pig Manor" have made it more obvious? - Al and Ellie MacDonald's farm outside of Gozaimasu, perched on a high hill overlooking the lake and Pine Island.  According to the unpublished portion of The Adventures of Tom Duck and Harry, it was a stop on the underground railroad to freedom for escaped slaves prior to and during the Civil War. 

Here's the current alleged address of the farm:

     Cow Manor

     123 Hard Scrabble Road

     Gozaimasu, OH  45678

No, you can’t visit or even snail mail Cow Manor in Gozaimasu, Ohio, because neither you nor even the US Post Office could find it (and especially not FedEx or UPS or their proposed merged corporation, FedUp).  By cosmic coincidence (really!!), there is a 123 Hardscrabble Road in West Portsmouth, southern Ohio, zip code 45663, whereas zip code 45678 covers Scottown, Ohio, some 30 miles or so away.  And there's a reservoir in the region roughly the shape of the one overlooked by Cow Manor.  (For the initiated, also by cosmic coincidence, there’s a Nauvoo United Methodist Church and formerly there was a Nauvoo Elementary School in West Portsmouth, both within two miles of 123 Hardscrabble Road.) 

[This all makes a good story, but click here for a link to some early sketches and story boards about Gozaimasu that tell things a bit differently.]