HORSE’S MOUTH: Twinkle Toes and Babe

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

A friend who also is a reader of my column (how much longer can I call him a friend?) sent me an email on a column I wrote recently.

It was in reference to a phone call from a friend in Chicago who I hadn’t seen or heard from since our days at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center.

The reader/friend wrote: “Hey Horse, what’s the name of the guy you wrote about calling you from Chicago? Maybe he’s a mutual friend since we all hung out together in camp. Can you give me his name and telephone number?”

Well I’m sure you know him. His name is Omar Kaihatsu. I can’t give you his phone number because that goes against my policy. I’ll call him and ask him if it’s okay to reveal his number to you.

Omar lived in the Hollywood area before evacuation and went to Hollywood High School, where he played football and was a teammate of the late Babe Nomura.

Babe was the star running back for Hollywood High. He was such a great runner; his teammates gave him the name “Twinkle Toes.”

I played with Babe on the camp high school football team for two games.

He was declared ineligible after two games because when Hollywood High forwarded his transcript to Heart Mountain High, it was determined that he had already graduated from the outside school.

Well, I was in the same boat, as were three other students. We were all graduates from our outside high schools, but our transcripts were never received at the camp school, so we finished up the season.

And when the State of California passed a bill granting diplomas for Japanese American students who couldn’t graduate with their class because of the evacuation, I was among those who received one.

The principal at Mountain View High School heard about our belated “graduation” and she asked me to participate in the ceremony about eight years ago.

I was asked to make a short speech, which I agreed to do.

And I got the biggest laugh from the audience attending the graduation.

My story went this way: “My homeroom teacher, Mr. Edwards, said to me, ‘George, you’re one of the poorer senior students in the class. If you don’t shape up, your graduation might be delayed.’ But I didn’t think it would be delayed 60 years.”

As I said, I received a roaring laugh.

I hope I didn’t tell this story before. (Right Maggie?)

Well, I’m getting myself prepared for the 2013 baseball season, which gets under way in a few weeks.

Yeah, I’m watching the Dodgers during the spring training games.

One disappointment is the new pitcher they signed from Korea.

If they are considering making him one of the starters, we may be in for a long season.

As of this writing, he has no wins and two losses.

Well maybe when the regular season begins, he will live up to the expectations the Dodgers have for him.

Speaking of baseball, The Wall Street Journal ran a rather long story under the heading “The Secret Gym of Ichiro Suzuki,” known in the Major League by his first name, Ichiro.

Ichiro has played 11 seasons in the Majors, mostly with the Seattle club, and is now with the New York Yankees.

Ichiro uses a special machine to keep healthy and has brought it along to New York.

In the middle of the night, when he can’t sleep, he leaves his hotel room to go to a storage room in the back of the parking garage and works out in a specially designed training machine, which he imported from his native Japan.

It’s his most important training session and he credits it for not missing a single game during his 12 years in the Majors. It has allowed him to get 2,606 hits during his career in the U.S.

At age 39, credit for his injury-free career in the U.S. is given to his workout machine.

Maybe when he retires, he can become a salesman for his unique machine.

Just got this good news from Sheryl Miyamoto, daughter of retired Carson City Clerk Helen Kawagoe.

As you all know, the City of Carson wants to name the City Council Chambers the “Helen Kawagoe Council Chambers.”

The issue was brought up numerous times, but three members of the City Council want to change the name of the facility only after Helen passes away.

Helen, who suffered a stroke and is now in a retirement home, has served the City of Carson for 37 years, the longest of any elected official in the State of California.

Although the mayor of Carson, James Dear, pushed for an immediate name change, three city council members opposed it.

Well the good news is that one of the three lost her seat in the last election, which means the majority will vote on the issue in Helen’s favor.

The decision will be made in two weeks.

It will be a grand move by the City of Carson because no one has contributed to the city as much as Helen has over her long career.

Yes, anything dealing with aging catches my eyes.

A reader who calls himself “Retired Mas” sent me a piece entitled “Something to Think About.” It goes like this:

I recently picked a new primary doctor. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing fairly well for my age (I just turned 52).

A little concerned about that comment, I couldn’t resist asking him, “Do you think I’ll live to 95?”

He asked, “Do you smoke tobacco or drink beer, wine, or hard liquor?”

“Oh no,” I replied. “I’m not doing drugs either.”

Then he asked, “Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?”

I said, “Not much. My former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy.”

“Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, sailing, hiking or bicycling?”

“No, I don’t,” I said.

He asked, “Do you gamble, drive fast cars or have lots of sex?”

“No,” I said.

He looked at me and said, “Then why do you even care?”

Heh heh.

Any time I see a headline in print media with the word “horse,” it catches my attention.

This one read, “Horse Plan Needs to Be Put Down.”

I thought it was a letter to the editor of The Rafu referring to my column.

Nope, it was an article about the latest movement to approve the slaughter of horses and to get Congress to approve it.

Several states have approved slaughtering horses, including Oklahoma, New Mexico and Montana. A number of other states are also ready to approve it.

Those opposed say that slaughtering of horses will increase violent crimes.

And experts say that the connection between violent crime and slaughtering of horses is not that remote.

So the next time someone tries to convince you that horse slaughter plants are good for the economy and for business, educate that person.

The truth about why people sell horses to slaughter can be summed up in two words, money and greed.

As a “horse” I cheer those who oppose the new movement to legalize the slaughter of horses.

I don’t travel to Hawaii as often as I used to in the past.

However, unlike most tourists, when I do visit Oahu or Maui, I never worry about the cost of hotel rooms.

That’s because my wife is from Maui and with all my in-laws scattered about Honolulu and Maui, I have a place to stay for no cost.

The reason I am tossing this subject in is that hotel rates are jumping up all over the Islands.

For the past four years, hotel rates were maintained at a reasonable rate.

Now they have jumped to 30% more than last year.

Some seem to think that the influx of tourists from new areas such as China is creating the huge jump.

On Oahu, the average cost is $210 a night. So if you stayed 10 days, you do the arithmetic. That’s more than 15% from 2012.

The new higher cost hasn’t affected tourism from foreign countries.

As far as the rest of the U.S. is concerned, new non-stop flights from mid-sized U.S. cities such as Fresno and Bellingham, Washington, have boosted the number visiting the Islands.

On Maui, the number of tourists rose to 2.3 million, up 5.9%, and they spent $14.3 billion.

And the trend is likely to continue.

So I guess living at my brother-in-law’s house on Maui and taking him and his wife for lunch at Denny’s is a pretty good bargain.

For many people, a vacation in Hawaii would seem like a dream. Living there as a resident might be even better, according to a recent article in an Island newspaper.

Hey, Hawaii ranks number one for the fifth straight year, as residents report the best sense of overall well-being on physical health, outlook on life, job satisfaction and other factors that affect quality of life. According to the annual Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index.

Overall, 53% of Hawaii residents rated their lives as “thriving.”

And heck, if they want a little change of scenery, all they have to do is jump on a plane and fly to Las Vegas. Something my in-laws do about three to four times a year.

Heh. Every time I call them and chat on the phone, we hang up with the statement, “See you in Vegas.”

Which reminds me, my wife’s sister and her husband will be coming to Vegas in about three weeks.

And you know what that means.

A Horse’s Mouth column with a Vegas dateline in about three weeks.

Anyone want to loan me a couple rolls of quarters?

Heh heh.

Speaking of Vegas, the city is often known as the “Disneyland for Adults” and a place where tourists can enjoy a sense of edginess and no danger, but a series of high-profile incidents are threatening the city’s reputation.

For people like me who never leave The Cal hotel and casino unless I’m driving to one of my favorite restaurants, the recent car-to-car shooting and murder is something to think about.

Two bystanders were killed in the shootings on The Strip.

Casinos are particularly worried about convention business, which helps fill rooms and gambling tables on weekdays.

Downtown, where most Japanese Americans stay, hasn’t been targeted by violence, so I guess we don’t have to be as concerned.

In closing, no laughers today.

I was asked by a couple of JAs why I don’t seem to attend events in J-Town that would be a source for column material.

Well for one thing, I am never invited.

And I hate to “break in” by telling those watching the entryway that I’m “from the media,” which used to get me inside even if I didn’t have an admission ticket.

This means I have to strain myself quite frequently to touch on J-Town events.

Oh well, maybe at my age it’s better to sit on my front porch and chew on my cigar.

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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