HORSE’S MOUTH: Time for Nisei Week Already?

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

“Time flies” were the first words that popped into my mind when I saw the photos of this year’s Nisei Week Queen candidates on the front page of Tuesday’s Rafu.

Gosh, I wasn’t even thinking of Nisei Week when I saw the photo, which made me realize the annual festival is only a few weeks away. And this will be the 73rd Nisei Week.

Needless to say, I looked at the six candidates vying for the tiara and made my choice for this year’s winner.

Of course, the new queen won’t be selected on physical appearance alone. The judges will have to consider many aspects, including personality and intelligence.

As far as physical appearance is concerned, I tagged Megumi Yuhara, sponsored by the Japanese Restaurant Association, and Lauren Naomi Iwata, representing the Gardena Evening Optimists.

The other note is that all the candidates are “Japanese Japanese.” Usually, some candidates are Hapa.

In the past two queen’s races, the winners were Hapa.

When the queen contest hits 75 years, maybe as a side feature, they can pick the all-time queen.

Chatting about Nisei Week, I posed a question because I may have missed it. Who is going to be the festival parade grand marshal?

Maybe one was named, but as I said, I might have missed it.

When it comes to naming a grand marshal, I always ask: What criteria are used to select one?

And who makes the final choice as to who rides in the parade with the grand marshal title?

I know a lot of readers will probably comment, “Oh Horse, there you go again. Why don’t you just shut up?”

Okay, I’ll shut up.

Well, no, I still have seven pages more to type.

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Before I pack up and head for Las Vegas, I want to thank the many readers who have sent me emails wishing me a happy birthday.

I guess I never imagined that I’d be reaching 88 years back when I was in Heart Mountain Relocation Center.

I know I’ve mentioned it when writing about our days in camp, but in those days I used to think being 40 was “really old.”

There was a guy who was playing baseball for one of the camp teams from San Jose who was 40 and everyone seemed amazed that he was still playing. The most frequently heard comment was, “Man, how does that guy do it?”

Today, there are a few that age who are still playing Major League baseball.

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Regarding age, here is an email from a reader who wants to remain anonymous. His letter reads: “An anonymous comment from an older Nisei reader of The Rafu regarding other columnists.

“Each columnist writes in his/her own style on a variety of subjects. There is hardly ever duplication on the subject being covered. I often wonder if the articles are reviewed and coordinated before they go to press. Doesn’t matter what age the writer is. I find the articles written by all staff members very interesting. That’s what makes Rafu unique. Don’t you think?”

Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, you are correct. We all have our own styles of writing, perhaps based on our age.

I guess I belong to the “old fogey” bracket and I probably come off sounding like one.

The only one who comes close to my age is Wimp and his “Crossroads to Somewhere” column.

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Since I’m chatting about age, here’s an email from Joy Endow about two elderly Nisei bowlers who are still active in their sport.

She writes: “Here are two bowlers still going strong at age 95 at the Gardena Bowl. I know your late brother Kay bowled at Gardena Bowl many years ago at the age of 93 and was a very good bowler.

“Rodney Kamiya just turned 95 on July 17 and Eiko Tanaka turned 95 earlier this year. Rodney said his highest bowling score was 250 in 1970 and to this day bowls in four leagues.

“Eiko bowled in two leagues and said sometimes she subs morning and afternoon on Mondays. She bowls six games in one day. Her highest series was 235, 200 and 170 and total scratch series score was 635 in the late 1940s.

“Many of our bowlers at the Gardena Bowl really enjoy reading your column and our circle of friends too.”

Thanks, Joy. Your name alone gives me joy and your comments even more so.

Yes, I used to drop in when my brother bowled at Gardena Bowl in his 90s.

He told me it was bowling that kept him feeling young. So he kept going until he suddenly passed away.

Hey, maybe I should take up bowling. It would give me more exercise than pecking away on the keyboard of my computer.

On the other hand, maybe I can’t even lift a bowling ball, let alone toss it down the alley.

Okay, I’ll just stick to column writing.

Especially since Joy said I have readers at the Gardena Bowl.

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At the Gardena Post Office, I bumped into a Nisei friend who said he just got back from Vegas.

And the one thing he told me was that it was hot in Vegas and I should be prepared for the heat.

“Don’t go outside of the casino unless it’s absolutely necessary,” he warned.

He said he went outside one day and he jumped back into the casino and never left until it was time to head back to L.A.

I thanked him for the advice.

I rarely go outside even when it’s not as hot as it is now. And when I want to go to another casino, I just go to the Main Street Station because the Cal and Main Street are joined by a covered passageway that is air-conditioned.

The main concern of mine is the drive from L.A. to Vegas. We’ll be traveling in the hot desert most of the way.

Well, when I pound out my column from Vegas, I’ll give a report on how the heat bothered us.

Well, maybe the heat will warm up my luck. Heh heh.

Yeah, I’m going by car, but I’m not doing any driving. My lawyer son volunteered to handle the wheel since I lost my second son recently and he was my driver.

Of course, I’d better finish today’s column before I concern myself with next week’s chatter.

By the way, most of you have been driving Highway 15 to Vegas for many years. Well, you might be interested in what a Vegas newspaper writer who drives the 15 calls the highway between California and Nevada. He tagged it the “Golden Freeway,” and a lot of drivers are adopting it.

I don’t know. Highway 15 is just another freeway to me, and when the traffic is bumper-to-bumper, it’s more like “Bumper Bumper Freeway.”

Oh well, hopefully my drive this weekend won’t be too crowded, although judging from the difficulty in getting a room at the Cal, the freeway may not be free — of traffic that is.

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Reader Takashi Hoshizaki frequently sends me stuff because he knows there are times when gathering material to fill my column is a tough task.

I guess you can call his contribution “homographs”:

The bandage was wound around the wound.

The farm was used to produce produce.

The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

We most polish the Polish furniture.

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

I did not object to the object.

The insurance was not invalid for the invalid.

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Let me toss a couple of these for those who didn’t giggle at the above.

Why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If plural for tooth is teeth, why isn’t beeth the plural of booth? Sometimes I think all English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

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A reader said he was waiting for me to comment on the Zimmerman issue, which is among the top stories in the media.

Well I usually don’t touch on things with racial overtones, which certainly seems to be the reason there is so much media coverage.

My only question on the issue might be: If Zimmerman were black and the victim of his so-called crime white, would we be witnessing all this turmoil?

Just a thought.

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Yes, I’m leaving Saturday morning (July 20), which means I’ll be arriving in Vegas at about 2 p.m.

That won’t be too bad because I usually arrive before noon and I have to wait around two to three hours because 3 o’clock is check-in time at the hotel.

There’s nothing as boring as having to wait for my room for two or three hours.

I certainly don’t feel like playing the slot machines before I can get to my room.

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Since I’ll be bumping into a lot of Hawaii friends on my trip, I am tossing in this laugher with an “island touch.”

Manny applied for a forklift operator job at a famous firm based in Kakaako. A haole applied for the same job and since both applicants had similar qualifications, they were asked to take a test and led to a quiet room with no interruptions by the manager.

When the results were in, both men scored 19 out of 20.

The manager went to Manny and said, “Thanks for coming to the interview, but we’ve decided to give the haole guy the job.”

Manny: “Bruddah, what you mean? Why you do dat, because I stay Portagee? We both got 19 questions, yeah? This is Hawaii, and I’m one Portagee. That should be my job.”

Manager: “We have made our decision not on the correct answers but on the question you got wrong.”

Manny: “Wrong, one stay wrong. So wrong answer is wrong answer. What da diff?”

Manager: “Simple. On Question No. 7, the haole guy wrote down, ‘I don’t know.’ You put down, ‘Me too.’”

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

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