HORSE’S MOUTH: The Dodgers and Japanese Players


(First published in The
Rafu Shimpo on July 26, 2011.)


I’ll open with a letter today because it refers to something I wrote that needs a little correction.

It was sent to me by Jon Foreman, whom I assume is a man, although Jon could also be a woman’s name. At any rate, here is Jon’s letter.

“The information contained in your July 2 column on Asian life in New York City was lifted entirely from an excellent New York Times feature publication June 23. I think it would have been a gracious gesture to have mentioned The Times, one of the few national papers still carrying on the good fight with each feature, which took weeks to prepare.”

Thanks, Jon. Hope printing your letter will accomplish what you mentioned.

I also want to thank Dr. Tom Maeda (oops, I forgot since Tom retired he wants the title “Dr.” dropped from his name) for dropping off a copy of the Hiroshima Kenjin Kai’s 100th anniversary celebration book.

It’s probably the best book published by a kenjin kai.

It’s a hardcover book with 278 pages containing the history and photos of those who were responsible for the formation of the Hiroshima Kenjin Kai.

It’s remarkable how they were able to collect photos (both color and black and white) over 100 years.

Oh yes, the 100th year was celebrated with a dinner on Oct. 10, 2010 at the Quiet Cannon banquet hall in Montebello, which over 600 attended.

I was fortunate to be invited to the event and help celebrate with the Hiroshima Kenjin Kai members.

I did write a piece on the banquet because it was such an impressive gathering.

Okay, since it’s Sunday as I sit here pondering what subject I should touch on, I’ll make use of more emails I have received during the past few days.

Kind of gives me a little breather from using my aging brains.

The next one is from a lady who doesn’t want her name made public. So I guess I won’t be able to tell if she is a Nisei, Sansei or even a Yonsei by asking my friends if they recognize her name.

However, judging from the contents of her email, I would assume she is a Nisei. At any rate, here is what she wrote:

“I am glad that the Nisei Week Festival is going to honor the Nisei vets at this year’s event.

My military service during WWII.

“With the passing of time, the Nisei vets are also passing and they will be all gone in a few more years and we should recognize their achievements while they are still with us.

“By the way, I think you did mention that you are a veteran. Why is it that you never seem to participate in activities by the veterans groups?”

Well, I guess I can respond to that question by saying, “Nobody asked me.”

No, in reality, as a newspaper person who has to report the news, I am not a “joiner,” because if I did belong to any group, I’d probably be prejudiced by being a member and couldn’t take an objective view when it is necessary.

I am a life member of the Gardena VFW Post 1961 but not too active.

In fact, as I think I mentioned once, I bumped into the commander of Post 1961 at a public event and he didn’t even know me.

Oh well, just to remind myself that I did serve in the military during WWII, I thought I would run a photo I had taken during my service days.

As he always does, Harold Kobata dropped off two editions of the Pacific Citizen newspaper (the official publication of the JACL) and one of the issues was devoted to the JACL National Convention, which was held in Los Angeles two weeks ago.

While the various activities held during the National Convention was the main focus of the special edition, the future of the JACL was also the centerpiece.

The discussion of the future centered on the lagging membership in the organization. In reading the writings about this issue, nobody seems to have a clue on how to solve this problem.

One writer suggested that the JACL go out to the “Asian community” to seek new members.

Does that writer know what the “Asian community” consists of?

I was shown a book the other day that lists countries that are classified as being “Asian.”

It was astounding to see the various countries listed. At least 25 are classified as being “Asian.” Most consider only about six or seven.

The question that pops into my mind when the JACL considers expanding their membership to “Asians”: How will those so-called “Asians” feel about joining an organization called the Japanese American Citizens League?

As I once suggested, if the JACL wants to expand outside the so-called Japanese  American community, they might consider changing the name.

That would be to drop the “J” and install “A” as in Asian American Citizens League.

Okay, JACL members, you don’t have to remind me. I’ll go jump in the lake or stick my head in the you-know-what and flush it.

As always, “leave it to the Japanese.”

A Japanese man recently invented a device that can turn typewriter paper into toilet paper.

Man, I’d like to get a hold of one of his machines.

After all, I use seven to eight pages for tying paper for one of my columns, which means in a week I have to get rid of 16 pages.

In a month, that comes to 68 sheets of paper that I toss into my wastebasket.

If I can turn that many sheets of paper into toilet paper, I don’t have to worry about people saying, “Horse, you’re full of s—.” I can wipe it away.

I don’t know if the Japanese inventor is eyeing the U.S. market with his new machine, but I’m sure a lot of Americans would be interested in buying it.

If we Dodgers fans think our favorite team is bad, check out the Seattle Mariners. As of Sunday, they have lost 13 games in a row.

Gee, we get upset when the Dodgers lose five in a row.

And, the one-time star of the Mariners, who is affectionately known as Ichiro, is no longer living up to his name.

Perhaps he should change his name to “Jusanro.” No. 13 in English.

Or perhaps Seattle could drop his first name and go back to calling him by his surname, Suzuki. Every American player is always called by his last name.

By the way, I am kind of confused about the Dodgers toying with the idea of trading Hiroki Kuroda away.

The Dodgers are always mentioning the shortage of pitching and they are going to give away Kuroda?

Oh well, maybe Kuroda wants to go to a team that will score a few runs for him. Something the Dodgers can’t seem to do.

And it’s part of the Dodgers’ history. They’ve had some solid Japanese players in the past, but they always seem to give them away.

Maybe their motto is “Nihonjin kirai.”

George Wakiji sends me clips from a lot of publications that I can use as part of my column.

The other day he sent along a clip from the Kamai Forum, the publication that took the place of the old Kashu Mainichi, where I toiled for many years.

The clip I am referring to was a story on Mae and Bob Morita, who owned and operated Bob’s Okazuya Hawaiian restaurant in Gardena from 1995 until the unfortunate passing of Bob three years ago.

My wife and I dined frequently at Bob’s and still go there occasionally, although not as frequently as when Bob ran the place.

For those who enjoy “Hawaiian-style” food, Bob’s is still the place to go.

I know a lot of folks who used to dine there regularly have cut back in recent years, but I still see a lot of familiar faces there. Folks like well-known Hawaiian entertainer Poncie Ponce.

Bob’s is probably the only eatery of its size that provides live entertainment. From Thursday through Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m., various groups performing Hawaiian music, often including hula dancers, entertain the diners.

So, if any of you are into “Hawaii kau kau,” give Bob’s a try.

I watched the ladies’ golf tournament on TV only because Ai Miyazato was leading the pack and I was rooting for her to win.

She did.

The most surprising part of her of her victory was that she was interviewed by the TV commentators after her victory.

Naturally, I was expecting that she would have an interpreter by her side to respond to the questions she would be asked about her sterling performance.

Well, as I said, surprise, surprise. She spoke English like a Nisei.

Well, maybe I’d better not compare her English to a Nisei’s.

Why? Well, a lot of Nisei sound like they need an interpreter.

Heh, heh.

At any rate, I wondered how Ai learned to speak English so well.

Hope she continues to win so we can listen to her being interviewed after each victory.

By the way, Ai said she is contributing much of her winnings from the tournament to the earthquake relief fund.

Since she earned half a million bucks, her contribution would be quite meaningful.

As I may have mentioned from time to time, I get a lot of ideas and information from newspapers online.

For material from Hawaii, I receive the Star Advertiser online.

However, like a lot of other print newspapers, if I want to “get” the Star Advertiser online, I have to subscribe to it. I don’t know how much a subscription will cost online, but I’m trying to contact the publication for the information.

In the meanwhile, this may mean “aloha” to news from the Islands.

Since I know there are a lot of former Islanders in the reading audience, I will try to subscribe to the Star Advertiser so I can include news from Hawaii in my column.

And to those from the Islands, “mahalo” for your support.

George Yoshinaga. writes from Gardena. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.



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