HORSE’S MOUTH: I No Longer Yen for the Yen

0

YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

(Published Sept. 3, 2014)

So I’m sitting in front of my computer wondering what I should use as my lead subject for my column. It’s Sunday.

My wife sticks her head in the room and says, “What are you doing? Today is Sunday, but it’s also a day before a holiday, so you don’t have to write today.”

She was right. It is a day before Labor Day and The Rafu will be closed until Tuesday, so I have an extra day to write my Mouth.

Not only that, Editor Gwen also reminded me that I could delay my column for a day, but her phone call slipped my mind.

But I thought to myself, “What the heck, I’m already sitting at my keyboard, so I might just as well keep banging away and I will have an extra day off.” so I’m going ahead with my column today and taking two days off.

Yeah, I know, my columns have no date attached to them, so it really doesn’t matter if I write on Sunday or Monday, so let me continue.

+++

I guess I can fill a little space by tossing in what I call a “laugher.” I hope you’ll get a chuckle out of it.

A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named Ahmal. The other goes to a family in Spain. They name him Juan.

Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a photo of Ahmal.

Her husband responds, “They’re twins. If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Ahmal.”

Not laughing?

Well, let me wind up this page. Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much but the reception was excellent.

+++

It’s not because I have nothing else to write about, but I frequently chat about the Gardena neighborhood I live in.

That’s because this coming November I’ll be hitting 60 years that I’ve been living at my current address, which, of course, means that the “old neighborhood” has changed considerably since I bought my house 60 years ago.

For one thing, most of the old neighbors are gone. They’ve moved to other areas of Southern California, many to Orange County while others moved to the Palos Verdes area.

Most of those who moved were Japanese Americans.

Those who purchased the homes in our neighborhood are now Caucasians, which leaves very few JAs, and the four houses directly across the street from my house weren’t sold but rented out to the tenants.

Well, one of the four will have a new owner since the current renters are moving out. I don’t know if the house they are leaving is being sold by its owners or will be rented out to new tenants.

I’ll soon find out if they put a “For Rent” or “For Sale” sign on the front lawn.

I’m hoping, either way, the new tenants will be Japanese Americans.

As frequently mentioned, Gardena used to be heavily JA, but that’s all changed in recent years.

On our block, there are probably only six Japanese American families, a far cry from the “good old days.”

I guess the only thing Japanese American about Gardena these days are shopping centers like Pacific Square, which is about 80 percent Japanese.

+++

If someone suggested changing the name of the popular street in Los Angeles from Wilshire Boulevard, people will think, “You gotta be out of your mind.”

The “Wilshire Boulevard” of Honolulu is Kahala Avenue, and talk about changing its name has opened up a lot of protests from the city’s residents.

So, when a Japanese billionaire offered to buy the street and change its name, the Australian trucking magnate Lindsay Fox, who owns property on the famed street, told the buyer, “Kiss my backside.”

Some of the other property owners were more amenable towards the Japanese offer.

Genshiro Kawamoto, the Japanese billionaire, owned several homes on Kahala Avenue. However, he sold his interests for $128 million to Honolulu developer Alexander & Baldwin.

It would seem that Kahala Avenue will continue to be Kahala Avenue, something all tourists to the island are familiar with.

+++

I guess as one who lived and worked in Tokyo in the early ’60s, when the yen was 360 to the dollar, my eye catches news items about the Japanese currency in the year 2014.

The current story on the yen in the Japan News read, “Greenback rises to about 104 yen in Tokyo.” Yup, 104 yen.

Gee, if I pocketed the yen when it was 360 to $1, I’d feel pretty rich.

At 104 to $1, that means the yen is worth three times more today.

The dollar reached its new value on the New York trading market this past week.

Yeah, I still have a few yen in my savings account, but boy, if anyone predicted that it would be 104 to $1, I would have kept a lot more in my account.

Of course, I don’t do any business with Japan anymore, so I guess the value of the yen doesn’t have that much meaning to me.

+++

As one who thumbs through newspapers from all over the place, including Japan, there are certain features I’m attracted to in the various publications.

One is the obituary section, because there are a lot of Japanese Americans residing in areas around the U.S. and overseas.

So in some cases, I learn of the passing of someone I know, which otherwise I may not have any knowledge of.

Often I wouldn’t have any information on the passing of a friend who lives in other sections of the U.S. or overseas if I didn’t get my foreign newspapers.

This past week I learned of the passing of two such friends.

Well, I guess this isn’t a subject that should be touched on.

+++

Back in the early ’40s, if I were to say, “One of these days I’ll be driving a car made in Japan,” most would think I’d been standing in the sun too long.

But now, in 2014, all we see on the streets of the U.S. are Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans, plus Japanese motorcycles.

(BBC photo)

(BBC photo)

Take a peek at the photo I am running here.

It’s a photo of a Japanese motorcycle that will soon be running around the cities in the U.S. The photo was taken on a street in Tokyo and is considered the newest Japanese cycle to be seen in Japan. Note the bike has two wheels in front with single one in the rear.

I don’t know if American riders will be wearing all the clothing seen on the Japanese biker, but we soon will find out.

+++

Would you believe I have a couple of offers to be driven to Vegas since I wrote about not being able to get there since I can’t find a driver?

Yes, one offer came to me from a Rafu reader who lives in the Midwest. I haven’t decided if I will accept their offers.

Needless to say, I am really tempted to say yes.

I guess the one thing I have to decide is how long I would like to stay in Vegas.

+++

Well, I still have a little more space to fill, so let me do a bit on natto.

The question I was asked was, “What is natto?”

The answer: Natto is a traditional Japanese food made by fermenting soybeans.

Natto has been a popular and nutritious food in Japan for centuries and is known for its possible therapeutic effects on heart disease. A soybean-based diet is thought to be one of the reasons for the low rate of heart disease in Japan.

Hopefully, this will help the staff fill the open spaces in today’s Rafu, so now I’ll gallop along.

That’s what horses do. Heh, heh.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

 

 

Tags

Share.

Leave A Reply