HORSE’S MOUTH: A Unique Invention from Japan

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

No, I don’t expect every reader of my column to agree with what I write.

In fact, the people who disagree with my opinion are more prone to write to me expressing their thoughts than those who agree with me.

An example?

In my past column I talked about the dinner served at the veterans’ organization’s gala called “Evening of Aloha.” My feeling was that compared to past “Evening of Aloha” events that I attended, the dinner was not as great.

Reader Grace, no last name, dropped me this email: “Speaking of the dinner (that you touched on) I thought the sea bass with miso powdered crust was just delicious. The dessert was really a no-no for me, being diabetic, so when I got home (at midnight), I took my bedroom blood sugar and it was sky high, but it was worth it. You can use this story as long as you don’t mention my name.

“I’m writing my autobiography, a very slow progressing thing which I think all Nisei should do for their grandchildren. With the word processor on the computer, it’s easy to insert things that you forgot that keep popping up when talking with others our age. Put that in your column. It’s good exercise for your fingers and your brain, as I am sure you have experienced.”

Thanks for your letter.

I’m sure more people agree with you about the quality of the dinner served at the vets’ gala.

I guess since I go to so many of these events, I get a little more critical than perhaps I should.

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A smartphone that can smell? What will the Japanese think of next?

scentee (for horse)A Japanese company will be introducing a smartphone that can smell in addition to three of the five senses — touch (manipulating the screen), hearing (phone calls), and seeing (viewing photos or video).

The company is named Scentee Inc. and is based in Tokyo. It will debut the new phone on Nov. 15. The firm has high hopes about the success of the Scentee.

The Scentee can act as a simple scent diffuser. The user sets the device to spray automatically at specific times, for example, when one is getting up in the morning. But it can also be a communications tool, which the manufacturer aims to improve.

“We hope to facilitate the Scentee as a communications tool, so we want to develop an SNS application that is focused on scents,” said Masaru Tange, CEO of Shift Inc., the parent company of Scentee.

“We received a huge reaction from people around the world. They said they wanted to become distributors of the Scentee,” a spokesman for the company said of their experience at the world’s largest mobile trade show.

The new phone will be priced at 3,400 yen.

In the meantime, Scentee is planning to introduce an application called Hana Yakinuku (nose barbecue) when the device debuts next month.

It provides video images of meat being grilled and causes Scentee to emit a scent of barbecued meat.

People interested will need to buy a package of three cartridges containing the smell of barbecue rib, tongue and potatoes with butter.

The device, which is plugged into the earphone jack, has a tank that can puff out a scent about 100 times.

Will Americans go for the new gadget?

Would I buy one if they distributed the new device in the U.S.?

At the advertised price, I might take a shot at it.

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I guess we old-fogey Nisei had better get used to the idea that we are getting old and the new generations of JAs are taking over.

This is the thought that struck me when I read the story of Paul Abe, who was appointed as Union Bank’s Little Tokyo Branch Manager.

A long-time banker in Little Tokyo, Abe reports to Senior Vice President George Tanaka, who heads Retail Specialized Markets.

So what makes me talk about old-fogey Nisei? Well, Abe is a Sansei.

How many Sansei do we know have been appointed as a branch manager of a Japanese bank?

Abe joined Union Bank in 1991 and has served as branch manager, Asian Segment manager and priority banking manager. He’s served on the boards of nonprofit organizations like Little Tokyo Business Association, Go For Broke National Education Center, Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, and Little Tokyo Community Council.

A native of New York, Paul is a Sansei and earned his MBA at USC. He also attended Waseda University in Tokyo.

Gee, I’ve been a customer at Union Bank since it first opened, but I’ve never met Abe. Maybe, as I said, it’s because we Nisei don’t mingle with the Sansei generation. Well, I guess that’s the way the old ball bounces.

If we don’t meet anyone from the Sansei generation, what about the Yonsei?

My grandchildren are Yonsei and even though they call me “Grandpa,” I guess I don’t really know them as well as I should.

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I know that when I chat about myself and other Nisei of my age, I often use the term “old person.”

Yeah, I guess I’m an “old person.” I never really liked the terminology, but the following makes me feel better about it. And if you ain’t one, I bet ya know one or two or three.

It’s called “Old People Pride.” I’m passing this on as I did not want to be the only “old people” receiving it. Actually, it’s not a bad thing to be called, as you will see:

• Old people are easy to spot at sporting events during the playing of the national anthem. Old people remove their caps, cover their hearts, stand attention and sing without embarrassment. They know the words and believe in them.

• Old people remember World War II, Guadalcanal, Normandy and Hitler. They remember the Atomic Age, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Jet Age and the moon landing.

*They remember the 50-plus peacekeeping missions from 1945 to 2005, not to mention Vietnam.

• If you bump into old people on the sidewalk, they will apologize. If you pass an old man on the street, he will nod or tip his cap to a lady. Old people trust strangers and are courtly to women and treat them with great respect.

• Old people hold the door open for the next person and when walking, old men make certain the lady is on the inside for protection.

• Old people get embarrassed if someone curses in front of women and children and they don’t like any filthy or dirty language on TV or in movies.

• Old people have moral courage and generous integrity. They seldom brag unless it’s about their children, grandchildren or their animals.

• It’s the old people who know our great country is protected not by politicians, but by the young men and women in the military serving their country.

This country needs old people with their work ethics, sense of responsibility, pride in their country and decent values.

We need them now more than ever.

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Today’s finale is entitled “Working for Peanuts.” While Editor Gwen is in Hawaii, I thought it would be a good “space filler.”

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip:

You don’t have to know the actual answers to the questions. Just read straight through and you’ll get the point:

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last Heisman Trophy winner.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half-dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is that none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday.

There are no second-rate achievers; they are the best in their field.

But, the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through difficult times.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

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Words of wisdom: “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.”

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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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