HORSE’S MOUTH: Hey, Brah, We Make No. 1

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Each year at this time, I attend what is called a “mahalo party” hosted by Boyd Properties. That would be the California, Fremont and Main Street Hotel and Casino in Downtown Las Vegas. “Mahalo” in Hawaiian is defined as “thank you.”

No, I don’t have to drive to Vegas to attend this event. The Vegas company brings the event to Southern California in Anaheim near Disneyland.

The Boyd group invites those who patronize their Vegas facilities to say “thank you” for their patronage during the year.

Needless to say, most of those attending the event are Japanese Americans, many former Islanders.

The hosts for the dinner are John Repetti and David Lebby, the top executives at the Boyd companies.

I would estimate that 200 people turn out for the evening.

I’m not a “high roller,” but I guess being a newspaper writer gains me the invite and I do meet a lot of JA friends who are “high rollers.”

One of the features on the program is the raffle drawing for door prizes. It’s probably the only event where my number is drawn and I collect a prize.

I guess it’s because they draw so many numbers that almost everyone can win something.

Yes, they also serve sushi as part of the dinner.

I want to thank Boyd Properties for inviting me as one of their guests.

As I often do, let’s jump across the Pacific to Japan.

The Board Education in Japan will be assigning teachers in their education system to travel to the U.S. to improve their English, which is expected to help the students in their quest for speaking better English.

With the English language gaining more and more attention in Japan, they want their teachers to be able to master the language if they want their students to also improve on their ability to speak English.

It was not revealed where the Japanese teachers will attend schools in the U.S., but I ‘m sure the Los Angeles area will be one of the sites because of its close proximity to Japan.

If I get a chance to bump into any of them, I’d like to chat with them to see how it is working out as far as improving their English speaking is concerned.

Speaking of schools in Japan, the education ministry announced recently that thousands of students at the elementary, junior and senior high schools are dropping out because of bullying.

Japan is well-known for bullying with 198,108 cases reported this year.

It is common knowledge that bullying is a way of life in Japan, which is one of the reasons that the “yakuza” (gangster) organizations have so much power in the country.

Gangsters display their power by bullying tactics.

This year alone, it was reported that 196 students at various levels committed suicide because they were victims of bullying.

One of the worst areas for bullying is the area hit by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Officials are not certain why this is so.

Okay, let’s leave Japan and let’s stop in Hawaii on the way back to the Mainland.

One of the stories on Hawaii reported that the Island State now tops the U.S. in education. They were ranked No. 2 last year, but climbed to the top this year.

Huh? Does this mean that “pidgin English” will be accepted as the best language?

Those of us who have friends and know others in the Island State know that “pidgin English” is the language spoken by those in Hawaii.

Maybe we will have to include “Hey, brah” when we chat with our Hawaiian friends.

Heh, heh.

As my relatives in Maui often tell me, their home island is now heavily populated with “Mainland haoles,” which might be the reason that the education system now tops the U.S.

That’s just my thought.

As we all know, the famed Hollywood Park Race Track will be completely closed when its present season is over.

Since the Inglewood track is my favorite place, I was determined to go there at least one more time, but one thing or another kept me from doing so.

So it will be “sayonara” to Hollywood Park without spending one last day there.

Of course, we all know that Hollywood Park has changed so much since it was first opened that that’s the reason it is shutting down.

Most of all, those who attended the track in recent years have changed so much. Heck, when I wanted to run into my Nisei friends, all I had to do was drop in at the Inglewood track. Not so in recent years. I couldn’t find a single JA there.

Oh well, that’s life.

Here’s a tidbit I’ll toss in to gobble up some column space.

Since a lot of my readers are seniors, this one is tabbed as “Exam for Seniors.” Let’s see how many of you old-timers can come up with the correct answers. Remember, you only need four correct answers to pass.

1. How long did the Hundred-Year War last?

2. Which country makes Panama hats?

3. From which animals do we get cat gut?

4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5. What is a camel’s hair brush made from?

6. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

7. What was King George’s first name?

8. What color is the purple finch?

9. Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

10. What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

Ready for the answers?  Remember, you only need four correct answers to pass:

1. 116 years

2. Ecuador

3. Sheep and horses

4. November

5. Squirrel

6. Dog

7. Albert

8. Crimson

9. New Zealand

10. Orange

So, how did you do? If you are like me, I missed all of them.

If you said you passed, the Japanese might call you an “uso-tsuki.”

Heh, heh.

Oh yeah, speaking of horse racing as I did a bit earlier, our favorite jockey, Corey Nakatani, didn’t do too badly at the Hollypark meet.

As usual, he didn’t get too many mounts, but with the ones he did get, he won his share of races.

Perhaps the trainers will notice and give him more rides on better horses at the next Santa Anita meet, which opens later this month.

No matter how well a jockey rides, he has to get horses that can run, which is something Nakatani doesn’t enjoy.

By the way, will we see anther JA jockey in the near future?

There was a time when two or three JA jockeys were involved in racing, but in recent years, we’ve only had Corey.

Maybe JAs are getting too big to become jockeys.

You gotta remember, when one is over 120 pounds, that’s too much weight for a beginning jockey.

Gee, I didn’t think I’ve been away from J-Town for such a long time.

When I attended a memorial service for a friend this past Sunday, I drove on East Second Street to get back to the Harbor Freeway and saw two new apartment houses being built between San Pedro and Los Angeles streets. And both were near completion, which means construction must have started at least six months ago.

Wow! I’ve missed J-Town for that long.

Well, when completed, I’m sure Little Tokyo will take on a new look.

I don’t know if I can say that will be good or bad.

No more Nisei Week Festivals????

Oh well, we’ll see.

No, I’m not considering selling my Gardena home and moving somewhere else. (Las Vegas, maybe.)

But I’m glad to hear that a home put up for sale by a JA owner, just two houses away from mine and next door to friend Ed Fukumoto, was sold for $450,000, which means if I do decide to sell my place, which I paid for 50 years ago, I could pocket a nice profit.

Yeah, even enough to move to Vegas.

Gosh, I finally made it to almost the end of today’s column.

As I frequently mention, when I sit down to start hammering out words to fill my space, my mind is often blank, but I guess after years and years of writing, something always pops into mind.

The only question in my mind is, how would the readers react to my mumbling?

I say this because in the past, no matter what I wrote, a number of readers would react to my comments and send me a snail mail or email.

Lately, my email goes blank and Editor Gwen, who drops by my house, brings me snail-mail that is sent to the Rafu office in J-Town. I don’t even get those anymore.

Oh well, I’ll keep going with junk that may not appeal to readers and if that continues, Publisher Mike might call me and toss me out of The Rafu.

Hope Mike doesn’t read this and get some ideas about the future of “Uma no Kuchi” or, in his mind, “Uma no Oshiri.”

Just kidding, Mike.

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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