OCHAZUKE: Watching the Cars Go By


(First published in
The Rafu Shimpo on July 21, 2011.)


As I stand on the corner waiting for the bus or when driving in my car waiting for the traffic signals, I get such a bang out of the things written above or below the rear license plate of a car. I see what a driver is doing while waiting for the signal to change. Through the years I have laughed at some of the things I see people do while some disgust me.

Here are some examples of things written above the license plates:

• Dewey or don’t we? (Dewey Decimal System. I’m sure this person driving the car was a librarian or someone in the family was)

• Calm down. Don’t rear me.

• War Is Hell.

• Hi, Ho, Hi, Ho, It’s back to work I go.

• My Daughter Was Student of the Year and/or My Son Was Student of the Month

• I (symbol of a heart) my dog/cat/gopher (honest!)

• Obama for President

• Jesus Is Lord

• Prayer Changes Things

• There are sketches of a man, a woman, two sons, a daughter and a dog on the  rear window of the car, advertising the members of the family.

(I have seen several of these advertising the different number and/or members of the family.)

• I hear your horn, how do your lights work?

• I’d rather be fishing or I’d rather be hiking or I’d rather be swimming. (I have seen all three on three different cars.)

• Inside the symbol of a fish is written the word “Darwin.”

• If at first you don’t succeed, give up!

• I’m Really Good!

• Remember, Tender Loving Care!

• If You Can Read This, You’re Too Close.

• Remember Pearl Harbor.

• Please Do Bug Me (termite truck)

I see mostly GREY-colored cars, in all shades of grey, especially steel grey. Next are WHITE-colored cars, followed by BLACK-colored cars. Lately I have seen some MAROON-colored cars and PLUM-colored cars, which I haven’t seen in years. I am surprised there are so few BLUE-colored cars.

The other morning while waiting for the bus, I saw a two-seat car in CHARTREUSE and another in BUTTERSCOTCH. I thought to myself, WOW! It seems times have changed and car companies are becoming more color-conscious than just the ordinary grey, white and black. I am really surprised there are so few blue-colored cars.

I had a pang of sympathy when I saw a beautiful grey-colored car, just purchased, with a noticeable dent on the rear. I know it was a new car because there was no license plate, only an indication of where the car was purchased.

I have to smile when I see a dog with its neck sticking out of the window or sitting next to its owner on the front seat. I have often wondered why I have never seen a cat in a car since I used to take my former cat, Toughy, in the car wherever and whenever I could. Toughy used to perch on my shoulder and look out the window. After a friend gave me a “pet car seat,” Toughy would really enjoy riding in his seat, looking out of the window. He was a perfect passenger.

We drove together three times to San Diego, three times to Oceanside and six times to Escondido.

I see people with one hand on their cell phone talking away and waving and/or gesturing with their other hand while waiting for the signal light to change. I see people eating a banana or a Big Mac or drinking coffee. I see women putting on their make-up, men shaving with their electric razor. I see more men picking their nose, gross! However, I have never seen a woman picking her nose.

It’s so entertaining to watch the “nut” behind the wheel. Forgive me for the use of the term, but in all sincerity I have never encountered such nutty drivers anywhere else as I have seen in Los Angeles. I am sure those drivers I have seen all have one thing in common and that is, “Hi, ho, hi, ho, it’s back to work I go.”


Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. Ochazuke is a staff-written column. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.



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