HORSE’S MOUTH: Self-driven Cars

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

When I was flat on my back last week at a Torrance hospital, I wondered to myself, “What’s next?”

Well, fortunately things weren’t as bad as I thought, so I was on my way home on the fourth day following my accident. I figured, however, that I’d have to come back in a few days for follow-up treatment. It never happened as I feared. Instead, would you believe the hospital sent a nurse to our home to check me out?

I guess I never heard of such a thing but the nurse told me another nurse would be by in a few days to also check on me.

So, while I was at home, the two nurses came to check me out on Wednesday and Friday at 9 in the morning.

I learned it was all about medical insurance. Those covered by insurance are given the same nursing attention, so I didn’t have to go back to the hospital to be checked out.

Boy, what a relief it was to have medical treatment in the bedroom of our home instead of having to go back to the hospital.

I hope all those who may need medical attention can receive the same type of care.

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Got a letter that opened with these words: “From an anonymous well-meaning reader.”  She continued, “Take the doctor’s advice and use your walker. A cane doesn’t give enough support when your legs are unsteady.

“How often do I hear people say, ‘I’m not that old to need a walker’?

“Throw your pride out the window. It took me a long time to convince my husband to give up his cane and use a walker. Whenever he took a spill while out, I had to get help to get him up. I see so many men and women using a cane to support themselves while walking. Well, it’s not enough to keep your balance.

“There’s also a ‘walker/stroller’ available with a seat that flips down for sitting. Very convenient when shopping alone. There’s a basket under the seat to keep your purse and a seat to rest when tired. It’s lightweight and folds conveniently to place in the trunk of the car.

“For those who aren’t able to get around alone, a ‘Transporter’ with footrest is very convenient.

“It’s also lightweight and folds easily to put in the trunk of car. I used it for doctor visits and going out to dinner too. It wheels right up to the table.”

Thanks to the reader for her letter.

I guess it takes time to adjust to using a walker vs. a cane.

One thing. When I stagger around using a cane, people look at me with a  “so sorry” look.

On the other hand, when I move around with a walker, most people seem to have a “so sorry you have to use that to get around” look on their face.

Oh well, my movement is improving, so I might not have to concern myself about picking a cane over a walker.

We’ll see.

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Just a short piece to thank the many people who responded to my column regarding getting a driver to take my wife and me to Las Vegas. The large number kind of surprised me.

Heck, a couple of those who volunteered even offered to fill my car’s gas tank both in the local area and Vegas before we start back.

So, it looks like we will be going to Vegas in about a few weeks.

Will contact those who volunteered in a few days.

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Too bad Nissan can’t offer “self-driving” cars until the year 2020. That’s the year the Olympics will be held in Tokyo.

That is seven years down the road, so I guess it won’t help solve my driving problem to  Vegas.

Nissan is one of several major automakers working to develop cars that can drive themselves all the time or part of the time. The push to perfect these cars is aimed in part at reducing the number of accidents caused by driver error.

Nissan said it will build by 2014 a proving ground to test its autonomous vehicle system.

Nissan demonstrated how a prototype self-driving electric car could use a combination of laser guidance systems with sensors and cameras to navigate around a track with various obstacles.

The car could detect a red light and slow to a stop. When a dummy pedestrian jumped in front of the car, it automatically swerved to the left to avoid a collision. When a test driver engaged the turn signal, the car turned right to simulate exiting a freeway.

Among the technical challenges for automakers seeking to develop fully autonomous driving are developing low-cost, reliable sensors that will “see” around the car and guide it along its route.

Nissan’s goal of developing self-driving cars for sale by 2020 is consistent with forecasts from technology. The hardware and software could be ready within that time frame.

But the most difficult obstacles to marketing fully self-driving cars could be legal.

A few U.S. states have passed laws making it legal to test self-driving cars on public roads but before high-volume sales to consumers can begin, automakers, regulators and insurers will have to sort out who would be liable if a self-driving car gets in an accident.

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Since there are only two of us in our house, I always find myself telling my wife, “Don’t cook, we’re eating out.”

Now breakfast time, it’s always easy. Our choice? Denny’s.

So, what about lunch or dinner?

We used to go to place called Grand World Buffet in Torrance. For reasons I could never learn, the place suddenly shut down. Although I asked a lot of folks I used to see dining there, none knew why it closed.

Well, would you believe while looking around for another Asian buffet site, we came across one in Torrance with almost the same name, Grand Chinese Buffet?

No, I was told, not the same owner as our previous favorite place.

The dishes might be compared, but I guess Grand World Buffet can’t be matched.

However, the new place is always packed with patrons.

The one thing is the old place was a lot less expensive and when it comes to being cheap, need I say more?

Besides, the new place is a bit far from Gardena. However, it seems like all the places I like are a bit far from our hometown.

There’s the Souplantation, also in Torrance, not quite as far as the Grand Chinese Buffet, but still a drive from Gardena.

Yes, there are other places in Gardena we patronize.

One of them is Lomeli’s, an Italian eatery, which is quite popular for the locals, which means if you go too late, there’s a 40-minute wait for a table. That’s too long for me.

If you like Hawaiian food, Gardena probably has one of the better ones. That would be Bob’s Okazuya, which used to be on Vermont Avenue, but now has moved closer to our house on Western Avenue.

When we crave Hawaiian dishes, it’s Bob’s.

When we don’t care what we eat, we usually end up at Carrows. That s because one of my favorite dishes is cream of broccoli soup and Carrows serves one of the best.

I know, some of you may wonder — what’s my favorite place for Japanese dishes?

I guess in selecting Japanese eateries, I am prone to look at the prices being charged. Most Japanese places are on the expensive side, although Gardena does have a lot of them.

When I do opt for “Nihon shoku,” I guess we end up at Azuma. It’s a small place, so it’s often hard to get a table.

Man, how did I end up chatting about where I dine? I must be pretty desperate.

I know Editor Gwen and Maggie will agree with that statement.

(Maggie’s comment: No, Mr. Y. Speaking of different restaurants and/or food can be a great help to readers. After all, most of us have three meals a day).

Oh well, I’d better yell at wife, Susie: “Hey, Dear, what are you cooking for supper?”

You know what a dirty look looks like?

Oops, I guess I’ll end up eating a hot dog tonight.

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I’m not sure how much I wrote today because I bounced around so much, but I guess that fall on my porch not only required surgery on my face, but medication for my brains.

Hey, don’t laugh, Maggie. I’m still in pain.

(Maggie’s comment: I’m not laughing, Mr. Y. I know what it means to be in pain.)

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Want to know about American household income?

Asian Americans are at the top with their median income hitting $68,636.

They are followed by non-Hispanic whites with $57,009.

Blacks are at the bottom with $33,321, just a bit behind Hispanics with $39,005.

The wage gap between men and men remains unchanged, with women earning 77 percent of what men do. For women and their families, it’s the same old story, another year of no improvement.

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Today’s laugher is labeled “Travelogue.” Start chuckling:

• I have been to many places, but I’ve never in Cahoots. Apparently you can’t go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

• I’ve never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

• I have, however, been in Sane. They don’t have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work.

• I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump and I’m not too much on physical activity anymore.

• I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go and I try not to visit there too often.

• I’ve been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

• Sometimes I’m in Capable, and I go there more often as I’m getting older.

• One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense. It really gets the adrenaline flowing and pumps up the old heart. At my age, I need all the stimuli I can get.

• I may have been in Continent and I don’t remember what country I was in. It’s an age thing.

Life is too short for negative drama and petty things. So laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly. From one unstable person to another, I hope everyone is happy in your head. We’re all doing pretty good in mine.

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

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