HORSE’S MOUTH: ‘Tails’ of Cats

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Gee, I was glad to read this last Wednesday’s Rafu and find a column by veteran journalist Ellen Endo returning to the publication.

She used to be on the staff of the newspaper and I have to say I was a fan of her writing. I also have to thank her for mentioning me and fellow columnist Wimp Hiroto in her return column.

Over the years we became good friends, and because she was so talented, I frequently wondered why she discontinued writing.

Well, may be if she does contribute and takes up half a page with her writing, I can hang ’em up.

The Rafu over the past year has added a lot of new columnists to fill its pages, so they may not need the “Mouth” any longer.

Oh well, in the meanwhile, I’ll just chug along.

And hey, while I’m thanking Ellen for tossing out my name in her return column, I have to say thanks to Maggie, who types my stuff. She refers to me as “Mr. Y” when she contributes her column and frequently mentions my name.

I had a couple of readers send me emails asking, “Hey, Horse, are you the Mr. Y. that Maggie mentioned in her column?”

Yeah, that’s me.

Speaking of Maggie, we all know that she has a pet cat. So do I.

Well, I saw this interesting photo, which will probably make Maggie giggle.

It shows a cat owner being helped by his cat in replacing a light bulb.

Does your kitty do something like this, Miss M?

(Miss M’s comment: Nope, Mr. Y. She’s smart, but she ain’t that smart!)

We own three kittens and they can’t even find the poop box, let alone a light switch.

Maybe I’d better trade them in for a puppy.

Oh well.

(Maggie’s comment: Mr. Y: You should see a vet regarding that because MOST kittens/cat do poop in the poop box. It’s just a matter of training, too. Animals are like small children and they have to be trained.)


I thought I should toss this in because the date I set for the Santa Anita Assembly Center reunion is not that far off and many of those who indicated they would attend are those who have attended the three others I put together a few years ago.

The most important thing that I want the newcomers to know is that there is a charge for the event.

I say this because those who attended before all ask me, “Has the price for the reunion gone up?”

None of the newcomers who have indicated they will attend have asked me what the reunion will cost.

To begin with, there is the admission charge to get into the facility. Also parking, and we have the buffet luncheon area, which has a charge.

In the past, the total cost per person was $20, including those charges mentioned above.

The track hasn’t notified me if the price has gone up or remains the same.

If the above information is okay with those who have indicated they will attend, please send me your approval letter.

The deadline is the latter part of this month.

Thank you.

Oh, by the way, when I was invited to the JA National Museum for my interview with David Ono, one of the camera setups was in the main floor lobby of the museum.

It was the first time I got a real close-up of the Heart Mountain barrack that was brought in through the efforts of Bacon Sakatani and his crew.

I was amazed that we had to live in such a broken-down barrack.

How did we ever manage to live in such junk living quarters for even a month, let alone years for most?

Of course, the barrack we lived in was lifted about four feet, while the one on exhibit is flat on the floor of the museum, which makes it look more unlivable.

I guess being a lot younger in those days, it wasn’t as tough. And going into the Army and having to live in barracks made those of us who were in Heart Mountain think camp living wasn’t that bad.

Guess what our first meal was when we got to Camp Blanding, Florida?

Yup, Spam. Spam, the last meal we had before leaving Wyoming.

Did the Army know something we didn’t?

Maybe I should have signed up with the “no-no boys.”

Like most of the Nisei my age, I find the aging process has done damage to our hearing.

More and more as I chat with people these days, including my wife, I hear myself saying, “Huh? What did you say?”

In fact, it’s my wife who is always telling me, “You’d better go see a hearing aid doctor.”

I keep threatening to do so, but when I see what the doctors charge and what hearing aids cost, I’m not in that much of a hurry.

So, I looked around for an alternative and I found one.

I went to one of those inexpensive electronics shops and found a hearing aid that costs $42.

It hangs on the ear lobe, so it doesn’t look good like the ones from a hearing aid doctor, but it has improved my hearing.

I don’t catch myself saying, “Huh? What did you say?” when I converse with people.

The one at the doctor’s office is so much more expensive, so even though the one I now wear looks bad, my improved hearing is worth the ugly appearance.

Yeah, it looks like the ear phone connected to a cell phone, which isn’t as bad because most of the cell phone piece is inside of the ear, not hanging outside.

Huh? What did you just say? Heh, heh.

Since I frequently talk about the aging of the Nisei generation, a lot of the readers send me email on aging. Most of them I refer to as jokes on getting old.

Here’s an example:

As I was lying in bed pondering the problems of the world, I rapidly realized that I don’t really give a rat’s behind. It’s the tortoise’s life for me!

If walking is good for health, the postman would be immortal.

A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water and is still fat.

A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years.

A tortoise doesn’t run and does nothing, yet it lives for 450 years. And you tell me to exercise?

Now that I’m older, here’s what I discovered:

l. I started out with nothing and I still have most of it.

2. My wild oats have turned into prunes and all-bran.

3. I finally got my head together and now my body is falling apart.

4. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.

5. If all is not lost, where is it?

6. It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser.

7. Some days, you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant.

8. I wish the buck stopped here. I sure could use a few.

9. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.

10. It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

11. The only time the world beats a path to your door is when you’re in the bathroom.

12. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he’d have put them on my knees.

13. When I’m finally holding all the cards, why does everyone want to play chess?

14. It’s not hard to meet expenses. They’re everywhere.

15. The only difference between a rut and grave is the depth.

16. These days I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter. I go somewhere to get something and then wonder what I’m here after.

I’m unable to remember whether I’ve written this before.

(Maggie’s comment: Yes, you have, Mr. Y, but it was some time ago so I typed it again. heh, heh).

Here’s something that might get the attention of some readers.

As I frequently mention, I eat a lot of stuff even though I really don’t know where its origin might be.

Well, the other day I was given a bag of goodies by a friend.

It looked like it would taste good, so I reached in and gobbled up some of the stuff inside, which looked like dried shrimp.

However, after grabbing another handful, I wondered what it really was because a closer look indicated it wasn’t shrimp.

The bag said it was dried octopus and below that the label read, “Packed in Thailand.”

Naturally, I ran to the kitchen, spit out what I had in my mouth and then rinsed my mouth two or three times.

I guess I might be too sensitive about where imported food comes from.

That’s because a while ago I read the following story in a publication:

“With the food and pet products now coming from overseas sites, it is best to make sure you read the label at the grocery store when buying food products.

“Many products no longer show where they were made, only giving where the distributor is located. It is important to read the bar code to track its origin. Buy USA or Canada.

“The entire world is concerned about products made in certain foreign countries, which are often referred to ‘black-hearted goods.’

“Can you differentiate which one is made in Taiwan or China?

“It’s the bar code. It’s the patron’s right to know, but the government and related agencies don’t educate the public. Therefore, the people have to rescue themselves.

“Nowadays, Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products made in their country.

“However, if shoppers refer to the bar code, they can be informed on where the product was made.

“Japan, for example, has the barcode 49. The United Kingdom, 50. China has 690-692. The U.S. and Canada, 00-09.”

All I can add to this is that it was a published piece that I can’t say is accurate information or not.

I tossed this in because I felt it would be helpful to me and many others on where products they buy are made.

Because I chatted about Maggie and her cat, I was intrigued by a news story on TV last Wednesday night about a cat.

Way back before WWII and the  evacuation of Japanese Americans, our family experienced something similar to the TV news story.

It’s about a cat with an extraordinary sense of direction that managed to find her way home after becoming separated from her owners while on vacation.

The owners brought their cat, named Holly, 190 miles from home on vacation.

The owners handed out flyers and alerted local animal agencies when she became missing. They couldn’t locate her, so they headed home distraught.

After 62 days passed, they found her, skinny and all bones and hardly able to walk. She was found a mile from her home.

A veterinarian said, “All animals have a sense of direction, but I find it unusual for a cat to find its way home over such a long distance. This is a miracle.”

Now to tie this in with my story.

Back in 1937, my parents decided to move about 40 miles to another farm.

We loaded everything into the moving van and drove to the new location.

As soon as we unloaded the van, we began looking for our cat, who was missing. After a week, we decided to give her up as lost.

Well, we had another truckload of goods to move to our new home, so we drove back to the old home.

Guess what? Our cat was sitting on the porch, having walked the 40 miles.

Again, we loaded her in the van, but this time, when we got to our new home, we locked her up in one of the rooms and made sure she couldn’t get out.

After two months, we finally decided to let her out and she made no effort to escape back to our old house.

End of tale. Or should that read, “end of tail”?

(Note: Part of the ending of the previous column was missing. It should have read: Here is a new word to add to your vocabulary. It will be especially useful to use senior folks. “Exhaustipated,” meaning “too tired to give a s—t.”)

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via e-mail at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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