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In the Rafu: Journeys in Kansai | Proud to Serve: Japanese American WWII Veterans | Family Tree Project

 

HORSE’S MOUTH: A Family Photograph

By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Over the years, I have frequently received letters from Rafu subscribers who live outside of Southern California and receive their newspapers via the post office, telling me they get theirs as late as a week.

Well, I live in Gardena and I frequently get my copy not a week late, but two or three days late.

However, in my case, I can walk over to Marukai Supermarket in Pacific Square, which sells The Rafu, and get my copy.

Especially on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the days my column appears. I want to see if everything I wrote was published or if some portions were edited out.

This past Saturday, the mailman said he didn’t have The Rafu, so I had to go to Marukai.

The new saleslady who was working the sales counter gave me an odd look when I said I wanted to buy a copy of The Rafu.

She said, “Aren’t you the one who writes for the paper?”

When I nodded yes, she said, “Why do you have to buy your own paper?”

I told her the post office system was frequently late.

She laughed and said, “Why don’t you drive to your office and pick up your copy?”

“Well,” I responded, “with the price of gasoline, it’s a lot cheaper to pay you folks 40 cents for my copy.”

And that was that.

Patti Hirahara, who is working on a book about camp days at Heart Mountain, emailed me a photograph of a family that she plans to use in her publication, but try as she might, couldn’t find the identity of the family. She asked me if I could print the shot in my column in the hope that someone might recognize those in the photo.

Here is what Patti wrote: “I am trying to find out who this large family is in Heart Mountain, so I thought if you could publish the photo in your column and see if anyone might recognize them. I have four folders with individual groupings of this family, but it has me stumped. This photo was taken in 1944.”

Well Patti, I tried to make a better print of it, but it’s not a very good copy of the one you emailed me. I hope Editor Gwen and her staff can make a better copy.

At any rate, thanks to Patti. Hope there is someone out in the reader audience who can provide her with information.

Tried the Chinese buffet in Torrance that a reader recommended to see how it compares to other restaurants that I mentioned in my columns.

It’s located on Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance.

I was surprised by the large crowd of diners when I entered the place this past Thursday.

And most of the diners were Caucasian, which I thought was a bit interesting because the other Chinese buffets I frequent are mainly patronized by Asians.

So, what are my thoughts on this site?

All I can say is, the other Chinese buffets don’t have to worry about losing my patronage.

Ah yeah.

Leave it to the Japanese… again.

I know all of us who own cars face the problem of keeping the vehicles clean.

Especially parents who have small kids, who know how to scatter debris in cars.

In Honda’s 2014 Odyssey vehicles, each car will be equipped with a built-in vacuum cleaner.

Honda said it is the industry’s first built-in vacuum cleaner and it was on display at New York’s International Auto Show last week.

The small Honda VAC, as it is being called, can suck up stray French fries, cereal, straw wrappers, coins and more after a long car trip.

The idea for the vacuum cleaner in the Honda came from a Japanese engineer who returned home from a trip and was frustrated by the debris left behind by his toddlers.

The result was a small unit with a hose long enough to reach the entire vehicle. In a test, the vac sucked up Froot Loops easily.

The vacuum will go on sale in the summer of 2014.

There was no info on what the Odyssey equipped with the built-in vacuum will cost.

I guess I’d better avoid going to or passing through the State of Oklahoma.

The state is poised to lift the ban on slaughtering horses.

They are setting up horse slaughterhouses.

Just a thought from someone who is called “Horse.”

Hyun-Jin Ryu, who pitched pretty well for the Dodgers this past Saturday and won the game, is getting $2.5 million this season.

That’s not bad when you consider that Zack Greinke, another pitcher is getting $21 million. You read that right. Twenty-one million dollars.

So we have to assume that Greinke is 21 times better than Ryu.

Heh heh.

Speaking of money, I noticed in Saturday’s Rafu that they are going to spend over $200,000 to refurbish the old chimney that people are calling a landmark at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center.

Will there be a protest from some sources on the spending of such a large sum of money at the former relocation center?

Heck, I’ll bet the construction of all the barracks in which we quartered didn’t cost much more than that being spent on a useless chimney.

Oh well, that’s life.

Heck, those of us who worked in camp were paid from 8 to 16 bucks a month.

I was one of those fortunate enough to land a job in camp for the 16 bucks.

Hey, at times I felt like a millionaire when I hung around with those making 8 bucks.

Just as a matter of curiosity, I often glance at the classifieds section of The Rafu to see what kind of jobs are being offered in the Japanese American community.

There was one that caught my eye.

A firm looking for a trainer to work in Japan.

If I were 40 years younger, I’d give the advertiser a buzz to see what kind of trainer they are seeking.

About 50 years ago, there was a Japanese company looking for a trainer.

When I inquired about it, I was told it was for a boxing trainer.

In two months I was on a plane headed for Tokyo to take the job.

The job I was offered didn’t come close to the pay that the current Rafu classified ad is offering.

Maybe the Rafu ad isn’t for a boxing trainer, but for some other sport.

Oh well, the ad seeking a trainer rekindled a lot of old memories about my going to Japan for work.

A little add on sports.

It was nice to learn that former University of Nevada, Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame.

I met Jerry about 30 years ago when I brought the Meiji University basketball team to play UNLV in Vegas.

Needless to say, UNLV was a basketball powerhouse in the U.S. during his tenure as head coach.

Meiji? The Japanese university team was probably at the same level of the Nisei League.

So you know what the result was when the final whistle blew.

Jerry remembered me because of some words we exchanged after the game was over.

You see, before the game I asked the coach if we could use the balls Meiji brought over. Made in Japan, of course.

The coach said, “Are you kidding? We’re playing in Vegas and we’re going to use American-made balls.”

I responded, “Let’s use your ball in the first half and the Meiji balls in the second half.”

He turned and walked away. But I notice that some of his players were using the Japanese-made balls during pre-game shooting practice and the Meiji guys were using Vegas balls.

Well, would you believe after the game he came up to me and said, “Hey, Yosh, I’ll tell you what. You give me all the balls Meiji brought over and I’ll give you all of ours.”

Trade made.

When we went up to Seattle to play the University of Washington, the Huskies players were curious why we had nothing but UNLV balls.

I just chuckled.

Maybe we should have kept the Meiji balls.

Perhaps I should have arranged another game before Meiji left Japan.

A game between the Japanese collegians and the NAU AA champions might have produced an interesting match-up.

At least it would have provided how the Nisei cagers matched up against the Japanese collegiate champions, which Meiji was the year they came over.

Height wouldn’t have been a factor. The tallest Meiji player was 6’4”.

There were a couple of NAU players tipping 6’2”.

Oh well, an interesting thought on comparing Japanese Americans vs Japanese.

How many of you know there is a New York City hotel named the Kitano Hotel?

Yes, and the Kitano is hoping to flush away its competitors with a flashy new-style toilet.

By the end of this month, the Japanese-owned hotel will have a “washlet” toilet from Japan in all of its rooms. The new toilets promise “maximum cleanliness” with heated seats, warm water, flushing dryer, cleaning wand, air purifier and remote control.

The Kitano is the first New York hotel to install the pricey toilets, which retail for about $1,500, in all the rooms. The Japanese who stay at the Kitano expect the new toilets.

And the American guests may also appreciate the Japanese toilets.

Other U.S. hotels are looking to install the new toilets, especially those in Las Vegas, including the Bellagio and the Mirage.

I’m sure Japanese visitors to Vegas will say “naruhodo.”

Oh well.

If you didn’t laugh after the foregoing, let’s try this one.

An elderly man in Louisiana owned a large farm for years.

He had a large pond in the back. It was properly shaped for swimming, so he fixed it up with picnic tables, a horseshoe course and some apple and peach trees.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pool as he hasn’t been there for a while.

He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruits.

As he neared the pool, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee.

As he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond.

He made the women aware of his presence and they all swam to the deep end.

One of the women shouted, “We’re not coming out until you leave!”

The old man said, “I didn’t come here to watch you ladies swimming naked. I’m here to feed the alligators in the pool.”

Some old men can still think fast.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via e-mail at horsesmouth2000@hotmail.com. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

One Comment

  • Helen T. Mikamo-Yamasaki
    May 3, 2013 | Permalink |

    There was a past article concerning the different varieties of Ume trees (i.e. stage 1, 2 & 3) and a recommendation of a grower in Riverside County. Could you assist me finding that article?

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