HORSE’S MOUTH: We Won’t Go to IHOP Again

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

(Published on May 3, 2014)

One of the toughest things to do is write a column twice a week. Actually, once I get some idea, the writing part is not that tough. It’s getting ideas for the columns.

An example?

Well, I was going to write about Toyota Motors announcing their moving from Torrance to Texas, but fellow Rafu columnist Jonathan Kaji devoted his entire column to that topic in Wednesday’s edition of The Rafu.

I guess I can add that I will miss Toyota since I drive on Western Avenue almost every day and pass by the company’s facilities. Toyota’s offices cover about ten blocks in Torrance. It’s going to be tough passing by the area and not seeing Toyota’s operation.

I’m kind of curious why the City of Torrance didn’t attempt to make some kind of deal with the Japanese automaker to keep them in the city. This is the third major Japanese firm to move out of Torrance, so I’m sure the city officials were faced with the situation over the years.

Since I own and drive a Toyota, I’ll kind of miss the company not being around Torrance. Oh well, I guess that’s the way the wheels turn.

Toyota’s moving will be a major economic blow to Torrance, one of the fastest-growing cities in Los Angeles County.

Jonathan did a great job on writing about Toyota’s move, so I guess I’ve yakked enough about it.

Hey, maybe I’ll have to go back to owning and driving a Ford or Chevy.

Sounds kind of weird to me to write something like that because since Japanese automakers “invaded” the U.S., I’ve always owned a Japanese car, including a Honda and Nissan before my Toyota, and you know what the irony of all this might be?

When I went to Japan to work back in the early ’60s, guess what kind of car I drove around Tokyo? Would you believe a Chevy?

The owner of the company that hired me thought I would be more comfortable in an American-made car, so he bought me a Chevy. Needless to say, I kept it only for a few months. The reason is simple:

The steering wheel was on the left side like all American-made cars, and driving on the left side of the street with the steering wheel on the left side was too much for me. So I asked the company owner to get me a right-hand steering wheel car.

So for next three years, I drove with the right-hand steering wheel and believe it or not, I avoided getting into any fender-benders in Tokyo traffic.

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I frequently write about my wife and me dining out, but we don’t go to any expensive places.

Mostly places like Denny’s, where we don’t run up a huge tab, especially since we usually order one dish and split it between us. The other place we go to is a Mexican restaurant.

Would you believe both Denny’s and the Mexican restaurant are now closed?

Each site has a sign in the window announcing the reason for their closing. No, it doesn’t say, “Because business was so bad.”

So, now we had to drive around looking for another site at which we can dine.

This morning we went to International House of Pancakes in Torrance. We won’t go there again.

Yeah, the prices they charge are a lot more than we are used to paying.

Okay, so maybe we’ll go back to eating at home.

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Yup. Time to toss in a short letter I received. It’s from reader Patti Hirahara, who wrote:

“Hi, George. Thank you so much for including my email in your Saturday column. Some of my letter was meant only for you, but I am happy you wanted to share it with everyone. It’s wonderful how things have turned out.”

Thanks, Patti. I guess since I don’t get as many letters as I used to, I print those that readers send to me unless they specifically ask that I don’t print them.

My letters are well-received by my readers.

If any other readers want to express their views on any issue, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

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 Once in about five years, the City of Gardena paints the number of each home on the curb.

Prior to doing the job, they send a notice to residents to ask for a “donation” for the painting of the address on the curb. They suggest $10, judging from the notice I received.

Now, I don’t mind paying even if 10 bucks is a lot of money for printing four numbers on the curb. However, this year, I didn’t “donate” for the fee for the number painting.

I just assumed that they would bypass my place and not paint the numbers on the curb in front of our house.

Well, when I saw them finish up in our neighborhood, I went outside to check our curb. Lo and behold, they did paint the numbers on our curb, so I guess I’ll mail in my “donation” for the paint job.

Heh. Maybe being a personal friend of Mayor Paul Tanaka had something to do with it.

Just a thought. Maybe Tanaka didn’t even know they were “painting” our block.

Oh well.

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I would guess that the former relocation camp Manzanar gets a lot of publicity in not only The Rafu but in whatever stories are printed about that era of our life.

The reason seems simple enough.

It’s the only major “relocation camp” located in Southern California and most of those interned there were from the Los Angeles area.

I guess it’s sort of nice to have Manzanar capture the media’s attention since it keeps the public aware of that era in the lives of Japanese Americans.

Gwen Muranaka’s story on the recent Manzanar Pilgrimage says that it drew 800 people. That’s a lot of people, especially since I would assume that the majority of the folks who attended the event were never interned at the camp.

Since I’ve never made it to the Heart Mountain reunions, although I tried a number of times, I wanted to attend the Manzanar event, but I’ve never made it there either.

Going to Manzanar is lot easier than going to Wyoming for the Heart Mountain reunions.

Heck, I think driving to Manzanar is easier than going to Las Vegas. One thing for sure — it’s a lot cheaper going to Manzanar than Vegas.

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My computer is not working as it should. Fortunately, it’s Wednesday, so my son said he can drop by to check out my machine before I have to write my next column.

Ah, for the good old days of the typewriter. Never had the problems with my typewriter that I have with my computer.

Well, I’ll try to keep going.

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Yes, I finally will be making it to Vegas.

The dates? That would be May 17, 18 and 19, and that will be seven months since my last visit. Needless to say, a new record. I don’t recall ever being away from Vegas for that long.

No, I don’t think anyone missed me.

Am I looking forward to going to Vegas? You guessed it.

Of course, our stay will be a couple of days shorter than usual, but it must be old age. Three days seems long enough.

I’m kind of curious if anything has changed at The Cal Hotel and Casino, where I always stay.

You never know. Things change so much in Vegas.

Of course, if I run into people I know from the Islands, a few changes in the casino won’t make too much difference for me.

After all, going to the Cal isn’t only about gaming. It’s a time when I can bump into familiar faces not only from Hawaii but also the Ellay area.

These days we don’t get too many chances to meet old, familiar faces.

One reason might be that I don’t even get too many chances to drop into Little Tokyo, and that’s something that never used to happen.

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Here are some “shorties” that will probably bring a smile to most readers’ faces:

1. When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.

2. After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin; they just can’t face each other, but still they stay together.

3. By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.

4. Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them.

5. Sigmund Freud once said, “The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?'”

6. I had some words with my wife and she had some paragraphs for me.

7. Some people ask for the secret of a long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.

8. There’s a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It’s called marriage.

9. I’ve had bad luck with both of my wives. The first one left me and the second one didn’t.

l0. Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming — whenever you’re wrong, admit it; whenever you’re right, shut up.

11. The most effective way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it … once.

12. You know what I did before I married? Anything I wanted to.

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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