HORSE’S MOUTH: A Family Reunion

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

I guess when one hits the age 90, a birthday party is a little special.

So, when my sister, who lives in Mountain View in Northern California, decided to hold a birthday party, she decided on celebrating in Southern California this past Saturday.

She picked a restaurant in Santa Monica.

A dozen of her relatives accompanied her, all flying down to attend the party.

I’m not sure who selected the site, but it was a rather nice place.

Yeah, my family were the only “local” relatives to attend the party.

Among the Northern California attendees was Mike Brown, the son of my sister’s daughter.

He was a football star at San Jose State and probably could have had a career in pro football, but he wanted to be a businessman, so he passed up being a pro athlete.

He had the size to be a pro player, 6-foot-3, 250 pounds.

As one trying to organize a business, he traveled to Japan a number of times and enjoyed visiting the country.

I kidded him and told him he should try sumo wrestling because of his size.

He just laughed.

Well, he’s a businessman now.

It was a pleasant Saturday afternoon for all in attendance who helped blow out the candles on the birthday cake.

In response to a reader’s query — “How do you pronounce ‘Zzyzx’” — referring to the small town with an unusual name on Highway 15 en route to Las Vegas, John Kabashima emailed the following.

“First please accept my condolences on the passing of your son, and second, you were great on David Ono’s TV special.

“If you Google ‘Zzyzx Huell Howser,’ you can watch his visit to Zzyzx and hear the correct pronunciation of the name.

“The first syllable is pronounced ‘zi’ as in Mt. Zion or ‘eye’ with a ‘z’ in front, and the second syllable is pronounced ‘zix’ as in ‘six’ with a ‘z.’

“Keep writing, Horse. It’s an inspiration to us Sanseis nearing retirement.”

Thanks, John. I used your information to pronounce Zzyzx and it helped. Now when I go to Vegas and see the sign next to Highway 15, I can yell out the word.

I’d like to thank the many of you who sent me emails telling me they thought my performance on David Ono’s show was pretty good.

I guess what surprised me was the number of viewers who tuned into David’s show.

That includes my friend Rosie, who lives in Vegas.

I’m not sure how she was able to see a TV show in Vegas on a Los Angeles media channel.

But she said she saw the show, which of course, was another ego inflater.

David said he will be putting together another show for a nationwide presentation.

No, I don’t think he’ll be inviting me on the national production.

I often find stuff in my pile of junk and debate on whether I can use it in my column.

This one has the title “Test answers that are too clever for their own good.”

I thought I would toss them in and let the readers decide.

Q: In which battle did Napoleon die?
A: His last one.

Q: Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?
A: On the bottom of the page.

Q: What is the main reason for divorce?
A: Marriage.

Q: River Ravi flows in which state?
A: Liquid state.

Q: What can you never eat for breakfast?
A: Lunch and dinner.

Q: What looks like half an apple?
A: The other half.

Q: If you threw a red stone into the Blue Sea, what will it become?
A: A wet stone.

Q: How can a man go eight days without sleeping?
A: Sleep at night.

Q: How can you lift an elephant with one hand?
A: You can never lift an elephant that has one hand.

Q: If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and three oranges and four apples in the other hand, what would you have?
A: Very large hands.

Q: If it took eight men ten hours to build a brick wall, how long would it take four men to build it?
A: No time at all, the wall was already built.

Q: How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
A: Any way you want, because a concrete floor is very hard to crack.

Q: Give a brief explanation of the meaning of the term “hard water.”
A: Ice.

Q: Why are there rings on Saturn?
A: God liked it, so he put a ring on it.

Q: Brian has 50 slices of cake. He eats 48. What does he have now?
A: Diabetes.

Q: How do you change centimeters to meters?
A: Take out “centi.”

Hope you got a chuckle out of the foregoing.

When my son was stationed at Misawa Air Force Base in northern Japan, I visited him several times.

One of the things we did was drive around the area as sightseeing tourists.

On one trip, we were cruising down a rural road when I saw a sign that read “Shingo, burial site for Jesus Christ.”

Of course I just chuckled, but then on my return to the U.S., I became curious about the sign.

So, on my next trip to Misawa, I asked my son to drive me to Shingo.

He wasn’t too big on the idea, so I forgot about it.

Then I came across an article in a magazine headlined, “Land of the Rising Son.” The subhead read, “A visit to what some claim is Jesus’ final resting place in Japan.”

When I mentioned this to a Japanese lady who is  with a religious organization and pays a visit to our house about twice a month to distribute the pamphlets her group publishes, she laughed.

So when I found the article about Jesus being buried in Japan, I thought I would mention it in my column because the lady subscribes to The Rafu and reads my column. I thought she might want to read about Japan’s claim.

I’m sure she’ll be by as soon as she reads this.

After she sees the article, written by an American, Franz Lidz, she will want to read it herself and I’ll be glad to give it to her.

Then we can discuss the article.

I don’t think the City of Oxnard draws a lot of tourists.

On the other hand, I’m sure the people who reside there are proud of their city.

Well, the city held an awards luncheon this past Saturday to recognize what they hail as the “best of the best.”

It included the naming of the “Man of the Year,” along with the “Woman of the Year.”

Also, the “Downtown Business of the Year.”

The award in this category went to Izzy Otani’s Fish Market.

That’s something, isn’t it? A Nisei-owned business being named the city’s business of the year.

Congratulations to Izzy for winning the award.

As I frequently mention, one of my daily activities is sitting on my front porch chewing on my cigar.

In doing so, I realize how much my neighborhood is changing.

Just across the street from our house, I see that the residents have changed and the new neighbors who moved in are a far cry from the neighbors of, say, 20 years ago.

In the old days, everyone in the neighborhood would wave at me and holler, “How’s it going?”

Nowadays, they just give me a glare and drive off in their cars.

I concluded that they probably wonder, “Who is that guy who just sits around all day with a cigar hanging out of his mouth?”

They probably wonder, “What nationality is that guy?”

The reason I am even mentioning this is just this past Saturday, one of the renters of the house across the street crossed over, walked up and introduced himself.

After he gave me his name, he said, “I just want to let you know a bunch of my friends are dropping by and we’ll be guzzling beer on the front lawn. I hope that they don’t get too noisy, but if it bothers you, come over and let me know and I’ll try to get them to tone it down.”

Well, a bunch of guys did arrive but they kept things under control, so I still just sat there chewing on my cigar.

But the fact that he came over and talked to me sort of made me comfortable.

I have neighbors in the next house on my side of the street who hold parties and get really rowdy. I made it a policy that if they continue after 11 p.m., I would just call the police.

Well about a month ago, they kept going until near midnight, so I did call the police.

Everything toned down but I’m sure they’re wondering who called the cops.

At any rate, it’s been pretty peaceful since that incident.

Ah, how I long for the days when most of the neighborhood was Japanese.

Now, most of them have moved away to Torrance and to Orange County.

Maybe if I were a little younger, I might consider moving too.

Oh well, that’s life in this day and age.

How many of you know what “odori-don” is?

It’s a Japanese food dish described as follows:

Diners in Japan looking for a moving experience over dinner can now order a dish with squid that dances on your plate.

Restaurants have created a dish named odori-don, literally meaning “dancing rice bowl,” by adding soy sauce to fresh squid. The high salt content in the shoyu reacts with neurons in cells of the squid’s tentacles, creating voltage differences and making the squid move.

To prepare the dish, the head of the squid is first removed before serving the body with tentacles intact, over a bowl of sushi rice.

Seasoned soy sauce is then poured over it. As the squid is served fresh, when the sauce is added, signals across nerve membranes are reactivated temporarily, making it come back to life. The body is then removed and prepared by the chef to be served as a side dish.

The meal, which is proving popular with diners, costs around 2,000 yen per person. The dish is so popular that restaurants have patented the name of the creation. Now many restaurants have begun making it.

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

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