HORSE’S MOUTH: It’s Nice to Be Recognized

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Newspapers generally use boldface headlines to capture the attention of the readers. I know I often read stories because of the headlines above them.

The other day there was one in The Honolulu Star Bulletin that had as part of its headline “Takei’s Internment…”

Naturally, I had to read the story because I knew the name was in reference to George Takei, who became a star with his role in “Star Trek,” the TV series that at one time topped the most-viewed list.

At any rate, the story on Takei is about his views on the relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. I know that George is famous for his acting skills, but I’m not sure what his views on “camp life” are all about.

He was, according to his own admission, only 6 years old at the time, and since he stayed in camp for two years, he was 8 when he and his family moved out.

I would like to interview him one of these days about his experiences and views on camp life. I know I have some questions I want to ask him and I am more than curious what his responses will be.

Oh well, I know he doesn’t read my column, so maybe I won’t be able to arrange a meeting with him on his views and experiences living in camp for two years.

Well, we’ll see.

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This past Wednesday I went to a medical facility for my usual physical checkup.

There was a Japanese American lady in the waiting room and she keep staring at me. I kind of figured she was wondering if we ever met before or that maybe she reads The Rafu and sees my column. It turns out it was my column.

She asked me, “Are you the Horse who writes a column for The Rafu?”

When I answered in the affirmative, she said, “Oh, I read your column all the time, before you joined The Rafu and wrote for The Kashu Mainichi.”

I thanked her as she got up after having her name called by the nurse.

Golly, these days I run into people I never imagined that I would.

Well, they called my name and that was that.

The doctor didn’t tell me he read my column. He was a “hakujin.”

Gee, incidents like this remind me that in June of this year, I will have been writing my column for The Rafu for 24 years, and I thought if I were lucky, I would last about a dozen years or so.

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I’m sure glad we are in the computer age and I don’t have to bang away on a typewriter.

The other day, my computer started acting up, but fortunately, my son, the electrical engineer, dropped by to repair whatever was wrong with my computer so I didn’t have to go out to the garage and drag in my electric typewriter.

Of course, from time to time I still have problems trying to figure out the computer. It kind of reminds me of the time I had to switch from linotype to the computer to set my column.

The linotype wasn’t a bad piece of equipment, but it sure couldn’t come close to the computer.

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It’s Wednesday as I pump away at the keyboard putting together the Horse’s Mouth, and those who buy the California lottery tickets know what Wednesday means.

It’s one of the two days when the lottery numbers are drawn. The prize today is $35  million. The Cal lottery rarely gets up that high.

Well, who knows, somebody has to win, so why can’t it be a worn-out newspaper columnist?

Hey, if I win, typist Maggie can prepare to vacation wherever she wants because I’ll toss a million to her.

(Maggie’s comment: Yeah, Mr. Y. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I hope I live that long. I suggest you purchase a plane, hire a pilot and then you won’t have to worry about getting a driver to go to Vegas, heh, heh.)

Hey, what else is there to do with $35 million?

Yes, I will make each of my three sons millionaires, too.

With that kind of money, going to Las Vegas to play the quarter slot machine doesn’t seem exciting.

Oh well, dream on.

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Bacon Sakatani, who is putting together the Former Residents of Santa Anita Assembly Center gathering set for March 29, says he’s getting a good turnout.

I guess that’s because a lot of people who want to attend the event are not former residents, but perhaps offspring of those who were tossed into the race track known as an assembly center when Japan got the U.S. into the war.

When I first organized the event about a dozen years ago, almost all participants were those who did experience being locked up at the Arcadia race track.

So when we sat around and chatted, we would talk about our experiences of those days.

Well, I’m glad the younger generation is displaying interest in the event. I’m sure they want to chat with the “old-timers” and get first-hand information on those dark days.

I know I’m looking forward to the event, especially since I’m going to invite my three sons, the oldest being about the same age as were our Issei parents at that time.

Isn’t that something?

Yeah, I’m about 20 years older than my mother was when she was taken into camp. Kind of hard to imagine.

It’s going to be interesting to see who will be the oldest Nisei to attend this year’s reunion. Probably in his/her 90s. Yup, I know one Nisei friend who told me he was attending and he’s now 91.

My youngest son has volunteered to drive me and my wife. The drive from Gardena to Arcadia is about 40 miles, but my son thinks that’s too far for me to drive. Gosh, who would have ever thought something like that a dozen years ago?

To think I was a teenager when the train that hauled us to Santa Anita pulled up next to the stable area where a lot of the families from the Los Angeles and San Diego areas were already living.

Those of us from Northern California were a little more fortunate as we were assigned barracks built on the parking lot. Well, maybe being tossed in barracks shouldn’t be labeled as “fortunate,” but they were a little better than the stables.

Yeah, a lot of the JAs complained that their “stall quarters” stunk like horse you-know-what.

Oh yeah, I hope that some of those I met and became friends with during my stay at the assembly center can attend this year’s reunion. It will be nice to see them after 70 years.

Rots of ruck, Bacon. Hope you get a full house.

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Oh yeah, a couple of days after Bacon’s race track reunion, my wife and I have finally scheduled a trip to you-know-where.

Yup. It will be almost five months since our last trip to Vegas, but we have finally put together a four-day trip to our favorite place. Gosh, the five months really passed by quickly.

Hopefully, we can bump into some of you during our stay at The Cal in Downtown Vegas.

Heck, it’s been so long maybe I’ve forgotten how to play the slot machines. Heh, heh. Only kidding.

It’s hard to forget how to toss money into a slot machine, and it’s a lot tougher when the slot machine doesn’t toss out a few coins when I win every now and then.

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I know I frequently use the term “time flies.”

gardena baseball team (for horse)Well, check out the photo I’m tossing in today’s column. It’s a photo of a preteen baseball team, 10 to 12 years, made up of kids from Gardena.

That’s my son, Tim, in the front row, far left. Today, Tim is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Doesn’t time fly?

I wonder if any of the kids went on to play professional baseball. Wouldn’t that be something?

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Since I used to love to fly, stories about mishaps involving jet planes catch my attention. In this case, that would be the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

After four days, nothing has been found of the missing flight with 239 people aboard. As I said, I loved to fly, so I am moved by the disappearance of the jet plane.

There was a time when I flew to Tokyo seven times in about ten months, and as I sat in my seat I often wondered what it would be like if something went wrong with our flight.

I don’t remember who snapped the photo, but it was taken during one of my flights to Tokyo.

horse on planeNote how I was dressed. In those days, after the flight landed at Narita, I usually headed for a meeting with Japanese company bigwigs, so I always boarded the flight in L.A. with coat and tie.

I’d much rather have been dressed like the fellow behind me.

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Today’s laugher is for some of the oldsters:

An 80-year-old man goes for his check-up. The doctor is amazed at how healthy he is.

“To what do you attribute your good health?”

“I’m a turkey hunter and that’s why I’m in good shape. Get up before daylight and chase turkeys up and down mountains.”

The doc says, “Well, that sure helps, but I’m sure there are some genetic factors. How old was your dad when he died?”

“Who said he was dead?”

“What about your dad’s dad? How old was he when he died?”

“Who says he died?”

“Your grandfather is still living! How old is he?”

“Grandpa is 118.”

“Did he go turkey hunting with you this morning?”

“No, he got married.”

“Why would a 118-year-old guy want to get married?”

“Who said he wanted to?”

Hope all of you grasped the punchline.

 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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