HORSE’S MOUTH: I Have Great Sons

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

(Published May 13, 2014)

Over the nearly 25 years of writing my column for The Rafu, I missed producing a column only a couple of times and the reason was the same. I was in the hospital.

Well, today it looked like I might finally miss having a column because my computer broke down. I went out to the garage and brought one of my old typewriters into the house, but because it’s been so many years since I used the equipment, the ink tape had all dried up.

When I went to a print shop in Gardena to see if I could buy a tape, the salesman said, “We don’t carry ink tape.” I got on the phone and, what else, I called my son to tell him about my broken-down computer.

Since it was Sunday and he wasn’t at work, he came over and began tinkering with the computer. After an hour or so, he said, “Well, it’s working now.”

So, here I am pounding away on the keyboard.

One piece of advice my son did give me. He said, “Dad, you’d better go to computer training classes that they hold at local junior colleges.”

I nodded in agreement.

In the meantime, I’m filling the space allotted to me in The Rafu, so let me get on with my chatter for the day.

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The other day, I mentioned that we owned three cats.

Yesterday my wife told me that one was missing.

I told her the cat probably wandered away in the neighborhood and someone took her in as their pet.

It never occurred to me that while I was tinkering around inside the van parked in our driveway, she had sneaked into the vehicle, so when I finished, I shut and locked the door of the van and went inside.

This morning, a day later, my wife was walking by the van and she saw the cat brushing up against the window and meowing, so she came into the house, picked up the key and opened the door.

It might have been unfortunate. Because of the heat pounding down on the van and no air inside from an open window, she might have perished if she had been forced to stay inside for the rest of the day.

So, we’re back to three cats. Meow, meow, meow.

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Reader and friend Iku Kiriyama dropped me a line about my mentioning that our favorite Denny’s restaurant was closed. She wrote:

“I was really surprised to read in your Saturday column that Denny’s closed. That’s the one on Western Avenue by the 405 Freeway onramp, right? Gwen (Rafu editor) and I met for breakfast on that Wednesday when you and Susie couldn’t join us. There was no sign and it was crowded.

“Did you know there’s a Denny’s on Sepulveda in Torrance, on the way to King’s Hawaiian? I go there with a neighbor. Go down Western to Sepulveda, turn right. Pass Crenshaw and take a left turn on Maple (Walgreens on the left). Turn into the parking lot. Circle around back towards Sepulveda and Denny’s is right there. You might also turn left into the lot from Sepulveda but the traffic is busy, so we prefer to enter from Maple.

“By the way, regarding painting of addresses on the curbs, which you wrote about, in Torrance, it’s a private company (not sponsored by the city) that comes around. They ask for $15. If you don‘t want them to paint, you tape the sign over your curb number. I haven’t seen them or a notice for a couple of years now. Maybe they quit because they come around during the daytime when most of the working people are not at home.”

Well, Iku, we didn’t pay but they painted the number anyway. So I guess paying for the job is strictly voluntary. No, they didn’t post a sign next to the new paint job with the word “cheapskate” printed on it.

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Let me get away from chatter and get down to some serious stuff.

One, of course, is the L.A. County sheriff’s election, which is just around the corner.

Maybe it’s my imagination, but it does seem like Paul Tanaka is drawing a lot of attention for the job.

In this past Sunday edition of The Daily Breeze, the newspaper that covers the South Bay, they ran a great story on Tanaka on the front page of its local news section.

The story was headed, “Tanaka touts knowledge of jails, experience as Gardena’s mayor.”

The opening paragraph read, “Paul Tanaka held the highest rank of any current or former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who’s currently running for the job.”

The second paragraph read: “Working his way from deputy to second in command of the department over his 33-year tenure, Tanaka said he gained an in-depth understanding of the department that will serve him well if he is elected sheriff in the June 3 election.”

It also pointed out the nine years he served as mayor of Gardena, which has a population of 60,000, provides him with political know-how that’s needed to be effective at the top spot in the Sheriff’s Department.

Needless to say, it will be tough for the other six candidates to fight such a nice write-up.

Since I watched Tanaka grow up as a friend of my oldest son, now an attorney with the Los Angeles City Council, I support the Sansei candidate because of his impressive career in the Sheriff’s Department.

Wouldn’t it be nice if, after the election, I can say, “The new sheriff is a personal friend of mine”?

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Speaking of elections, judicial offices are also being contested in June and among those running is Alison Matsumoto Estrada for Seat No. 76 in the Superior Court race.

Endorsing Matsumoto is Supervisor Mike Antonvich.

Thought above might make interesting reading.

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Reader Ernest Ikuta sent me the following on Rev. Alfred Tsuyuki of Konko Church of Los Angeles:

“The April 30 issue of The Rafu presented a very detailed account of all the festivities of the 45th anniversary of the Manzanar Pilgrimage. It also mentioned that the Rev. Alfred Tsuyuki of Konko Church of Los Angeles performed a Shinto ceremony. It seems that Rev. Tsuyuki has been called upon to perform a purification ceremony whenever new buildings are dedicated in Little Tokyo.”

The letter gets a bit touchy after the opening paragraph because Ikuta touches on Rev. Tsuyuki’s brother, who is cited as defrauding many Japanese Americans, including many elderly, out of millions of dollars through a now-defunct investment company over the past 10 years.

No, I won’t go into the details since this was supposed to be an item highlighting Rev. Tsuyuki, not his brother’s activities.

In the same letter, Ernest also wrote:

“The following is a completely unrelated subject (to the above) but you recently wrote that Japanese Americans in Hawaii consumed a very large quantity of Spam. You also said that Korea started importing Spam and it had become very popular with the Koreans. Spam was also featured on the Huell Howser’s show and he was sampling Spam at a fair somewhere. He didn’t seem to like it very much.

“During WWII, Spam was put into the GIs’ K-rations. Gen. Eisenhower ate the same food as his men and ate Spam for every meal and eventually hated it with a passion. At the end of WWII, he called the president of Hormel Company when he came back to the U.S. and told him how much he hated Spam and that he should take it and shove it up his —.”

Thanks for your letter, Ernest. I got a real laugh out of the last few sentences about Spam and the general.

By the way, my wife and I dine on Spam at least once a week.

It’s easy for her because all she has to do is take it out of the can, slice it and put it in the microwave.

Yes, Spam and a bowl of rice is one of my favorite meals.

Of course, my wife puts a plate of tsukemono next to the Spam, which might help me enjoy the canned meat a little more. And in chatting with other Nisei friends, I find that a lot of them have Spam for dinner during the week.

Can’t find an easier dish to prepare. And inexpensive to boot.

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Today is Mother’s Day, and as expected, my sons dropped by to take their mother, my wife, to dinner.

I told them I had to write my column because I am expected to fill a page in the Tuesday and Saturday issue of The Rafu, so I might be tied up.

Needless to say, they all said in unison, “Yeah, but this is Mother’s Day and we want to celebrate it with dinner at a nice restaurant.”

I argued that I’m a father and not a mother, so I won’t be missed. They didn’t agree.

“It’s Mother’s Day but the father has to also join in the celebration” was their argument.

So… I said, “Okay, if you can give me another hour, I think I will be finished.”

They again chimed in together, “And if you’re not finished, what’s the big deal? Mother’s Day is just once a year and your column is 52 weeks at two times a week, which is over a hundred times, so who is going to miss it you if you miss one edition?”

They made a good point.

After all, writing a column is a hobby with me, not a job. So, what if I miss a few editions of the newspaper?

I guess after doing this for nearly 25 years, it has became such a habit. I will miss writing more than the subscribers reading it.

So, here I am, Editor Gwen. The kids let me finish so I won’t miss this Tuesday’s edition.

Of course, a lot of readers who don’t agree with me will probably mutter.

 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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