HORSE’S MOUTH: Just a Thought About Queen Contests


(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on August 6, 2011.)


It helps to pay closer attention to what people say.

An example?

The other day, Carson City Clerk Helen Kawagoe, an old friend, invited me for dinner “back home in Lahaina.”

“Wow” was the first thought that came to mind.

Since Maui is my favorite island and Lahaina is one of my favorite cities on the island, I couldn’t believe Helen was inviting me to have dinner there.

After a moment of silence I learned how low the battery on my hearing aid had fallen.

“Back Home in Lahaina” is the name of a Hawaiian-style restaurant located in Carson at Carson Street and Grace Avenue.

Helen wanted me to try out the eatery since I write about restaurants I dine at from time to time.

She said they serve great Hawaiian food and also provide music and entertainment and frequently present karaoke.

So I graciously accepted her invitation. I will write of my experience there in a later column since I am writing this before our dinner get-together.

I will be able to compare it with some of the other Hawaiian-style eateries in the South Bay.

While touching on dining out, a reader responded to my column in which I listed the various ethnic dining spots that are my favorites.

He wrote: “You mentioned a lot of eateries in your article but you neglected to list your favorite among those you named.”

He is right.

So here is how I rate my favorite ethnic food:

Needless to say, Japanese is on top of my favorites. Next would be Hawaiian, followed by Chinese. After that, Mexican, Italian and Korean.

So what are my favorite dishes at these eateries?

Some may be surprised if I list soup.

That would mean miso soup at a Japanese place.

Then French onion at almost every eatery.

After that abondigas, the meatball soup served at Mexican places. And clam chowder, also available at most restaurants, not only necessarily at ethnic places.

So that’s about it concerning restaurants and favorite foods.

I had to read it twice. When I first glanced through it, I thought I was reading it wrong.

But no, fellow columnist Wimp Hiroto has moved into the Keiro Retirement Home.

Well, one thing for sure. He’ll probably be the only columnist writing from a retirement home.

Man, talk about the passing of time.

I’m looking forward to what he will be writing about from Keiro. Maybe we’ll get an entirely new point of view about retirement home living.

Go get ’em, Wimp!

In the next week or so, the Japanese surname Yoshinaga will be in the headlines. No, it won’t include Horse Yoshinaga.

First, of course, will be Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga, who will be serving as the grand marshal of the Nisei Week Festival parade, which means a lot of photos as well as written words about her.

Then across the Pacific, veteran actress Sayuri Yoshinaga’s campaign against the use of nuclear weapons since 1980 could lead to the elimination of nuclear power in Japan.

She was quoted as saying, “I hope there will be no nuclear plants in Japan because we have so many earthquakes in Japan.”

The actress, now 66, made her statement at an event in Hiroshima.

Still in Japan.

The people of the country won’t be buying too many watermelons this year.

Because of the unusual weather and the earthquake and tsunami, production of watermelons was cut back drastically, which meant that the price of the melons soared.

Who will pay $40 for a medium-sized watermelon, the going price on the Japanese produce market?

Hey, maybe U.S. watermelon growers might look to Japan as a market.

Even if they’re imported from the U.S. I doubt if the melons would cost 40 bucks on the Japanese market.

Two events caused me to think about it.

First, the Nisei Week Queen contest, which will be the focus of the media and the general public. It’s one of the highlights of the festival.

Then the story about the Miss Black USA contest to be held in Washington, D.C., which features black candidates from the 50 states, including Miss California, who was featured in the L.A. media.

This made me think, a lot of Japanese communities hold beauty pageants to select a representative for each city: Nisei Week Queen for Los Angeles, Cherry Blossom Queen for Hawaii and also Cherry Blossom Queen for San Francisco. Don’t know if the San Jose JA community has a contest.

With each city holding its own queen contest, why not a Miss JA America contest similar to the Miss Black America one?

It might be interesting to bring the winners of each JA community contest together to select a Miss JA USA.

It might also help to bring the various JA communities closer together.

As I always say, just a thought.

The use of words can often get confusing.

How many of you read a story that was headlined, “Dog Rescued From Park After Pooping Out on Trail”?

I was kind of taken aback when I first saw the headline.

However, when I read the story, it wasn’t what I was thinking.

The dog, which had injured its paw, was “pooped out.” That is, he was too tired to continue walking so he had to be rescued by the park rangers.

Yeah, I thought he was doing “you know what,” misinterpreting getting tired with “pooping.”

I guess I was a little pooped out when I read the article. No, I didn’t have to wear diapers.

I was chatting with a Nisei lady at a function the other day and she told me she was one of those who paid the fine for violating the red-light cameras, which will no longer be in use in L.A.

What upset her when she read the story about the cancellation of the cameras is that so many people who received tickets for violating the red lights ignored the tickets sent to them.

She paid, and do you know how much it cost her? A shocking $425 for her ticket!

She’s hoping that those who paid will be able to request a refund since so many who didn’t pay will not be ordered to pay their fines.

Gee, I didn’t realize that the fine for violating the red-light cameras was so high.

Don’t know how I shifted gears from red-light camera fines to public men’s rooms, but I was kind of surprised to learn that an agency that handles such matters issued a ranking of “cleanest public men’s room” in the U.S.

And guess which one won the title of “cleanest.”

It was one located in Los Angeles on Main Street.

There was no information on what criteria were used to score one men’s room over the other.

And, by the way, the cleanest men’s room in Las Vegas hotels and casinos was the one at the Main Street Station Hotel in the downtown area.

Yes, I’ve used the Main Street facility on numerous occasions.

Maybe if those conducting the “cleanest” survey learned that, they may yank the title away from Main Street.

When I read that the famed Mt. Fuji is being considered as a World Heritage Site, I checked a jacket I received when I climbed the well-known Japanese landmark.

The jacket has the date I climbed Mt. Fuji. It read, “July 2, 1999.”

Wow! That’s 12 years ago! Talk about the passing of time.

Heck, I was in my early 70s back then. No wonder I was able to make the climb.

I don’t know if I mentioned it, but while on the trail up Fuji-san, I picked up a small stone and put it in my pocket to bring back to the U.S. as a souvenir.

Don’t know if anyone else has a “piece of Fuji-san,” but I mounted the rock on a sheet of wood and put a frame around it. It now decorates the wall of our living room.

When visitors to our house see it, they always ask the same question: “What is that?”

When I explain that it’s a rock I brought back from Mt. Fuji, I always get the same response: “Oh go on, you didn’t really bring it back from Japan.”

Too bad I didn’t get one of the others in our group to take a picture of me picking up the stone and putting it in my jacket pocket.

Oh well, I have a small jar with sand from Waikiki Beach in it, but when I show it to friends, they react the same way as they do to my Fuji-san rock. Aloooha.

I have to make a correction.

The other day when writing about the unfortunate story about baseball star Hideki Irabu, I wrote that he owned a noodle shop in Gardena.

I said the name of the noodle shop was “Osaka Noodle.” It should have read, “Super Udon.”


George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via email. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.



1 Comment

  1. Miss Japanese-American? I like the idea, but it seems like there are only a few hundred ladies born in U.S. now that can claim full Japanese descent from both parents. Looking around, (including the Nisei Week court), it seems many Yonsei / Gosei are “hapa”.

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