HORSE’S MOUTH: Now About Evergreen Cemetery

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

(Published Aug. 23, 2014)

This coming Monday (Aug. 25) will mark a special day for me. It will set the date as the first time I’ve been away from my favorite city, Las Vegas, for more than a year.

Yes, in all these years, I have never been absent from visiting Vegas for more than a year. That would include the period in the early 1960s when I moved to Japan to work for sports a promotion company in Tokyo. Even living in Japan, I would make a business trip to the U.S. and I made sure I included going to Vegas even for a day.

The last time I visited Vegas was in June 2013, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to break the streak since I don’t have anything planned for Vegas at the moment.

Why the long delay?

Well, as I mention from time to time in my column, I need a driver because I can’t handle the four-hour trip in a car.

Yeah, I guess I could fly or even take a bus as some suggest. That sounds OK but a plane or bus ride doesn’t appeal to me.

Maybe I can hitch a ride with someone driving to Vegas. Sure, I’ll pick up the tab for the gasoline.

(MAGGIE’S PLEA TO SOME KIND READER: It would make Mr. Y. and me very happy if he and his wife could be driven to Las Vegas in the near future. He has written this request so many times in the last few months, if you get what I mean. Thank you in advance.)

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Gee, I thought at 89 I was old.

Well, after reading about Sakari Momoi, I now feel like a spring chicken. Momoi is the Japanese man who was declared the world’s oldest man at age 111.

He gained the title when Alexandar Imich died at age 111 in June of this year. Momoi is a day younger than Imich.

In spite of his age, Momoi, a native of Fukushima Prefecture, likes to dine on fish.

The world’s oldest person is a Japanese woman, Misao Okawa, who is 116 years old and lives in Osaka.

By the way, does anyone know who the oldest Nisei might be?

I haven’t heard of any Nisei hitting the century mark, but I’m sure there must be such a person.

Anyone with information on this question can drop me a line and I’ll check into it.

I would like to know if we do have a Nisei who is over the age 100.

(MAGGIE’S COMMENT. Mr. Y, perhaps Keiro Nursing Home could help you with this.)

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As I was set to begin typing the next segment of today’s column, the phone on my desk rang. I usually don’t pick up the phone but since this was happening so regularly, I did take the call a few minutes go. Yup. It was one of those commercial calls that are popular these days.

Don’t these people have anything better to do than bother others with these commercial calls?

The ones I do hear seem like a recording, so hanging up doesn’t accomplish the purpose for cutting them off.

I’m thinking of changing my phone service so I won’t have to be bothered by these useless calls.

How many of you out there in readerland are experiencing this problem?

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Baseball is played worldwide, but none of the countries can come close to the game as it is played in the U.S. Probably the closest to the U.S. is Japan.

With so many Japanese players now on the roster of our Major League clubs, it is becoming obvious that Japan is narrowing the gap as far as the caliber of the game is concerned.

Will all this lead to a “true” World Series between the American champions and the Japanese? Wouldn’t that be something?

I know, a lot of you will say, “Horse, are you nuts? Japan will never approach the U.S. in baseball power.”

Hey, what do you think would happen if all the Japanese players now on the roster of the U.S. teams decide to form their own club and challenge the Americans?

I sure would like to see that happen

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Can we jump from baseball to basketball? And “jump” might be the right word.

How many of you have heard of Natalie Nakase?

Neither did I until I was sent a news clipping about Nakase, who is aspiring to become the National Basketball League’s first female head coach.

You read that right. The first female head coach in the NBA.

The Los Angeles Clippers named her the assistant coach for the two-week Summer League in Las Vegas.

Nakase, the present assistant coach, is trying to earn credibility in the coaching profession by proving her worth. Becoming an NBA coach is something no woman has ever accomplished.

“I don’t just want to be coach,” she said. “I want to win a championship.”

So, when Nakase sat on the bench recently with the staff, it was an acknowledgment of the work she put in over the last two seasons as an intern.

The head coach of the team said, “It doesn’t matter if it’s men or women. She wants to be a coach and she works her butt off at it. She’s terrific.”

The head coach also said, “There’s going to be a woman at some point in the NBA. It’s going to happen.”

After graduating from UCLA, where she was a three-year starter, Nakase tore a knee ligament playing in Japan.

She is supported by fellow coaches, who call her a “grinder.”

Even if we haven’t heard about Nakase at this point, it’s almost a certainty that she will be capturing the news headlines when the season gets under way.

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As I frequently mention, I usually sit around when I’m thinking about what I should touch on in columns. This is tougher than the actual writing.

When my mind is filled with column material, it’s like a walk in the park. No problem.

When I am thinking, I hate to be bothered and my wife is aware of it. So, when I’m sitting in front of my computer, she generally doesn’t even come through the area where I am sitting. If she wants to get to the room beyond me, she goes around the house to the back door.

Needless to say, the neighbor’s dog starts barking when she passes by them. Yeah, a barking dog is worse than my wife walking through my computer area, so nowadays, I tell her to walk through where I am sitting, which is probably why I’m even mentioning this.

Barking dog or walking wife.

Heh, heh.

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“Hey, Horse” is the way the next letter opens. The writer goes on to say: “I’ve been following your column for a long time now and I notice that you don’t touch on horse racing anymore. What happened?”

Well, you’re right. I don’t chat about horse racing anymore because I guess I’ve quit following the sport.

One reason is that they closed Hollywood Park, where I used to go and play the ponies.

Yeah, driving to Santa Anita from Gardena is a bit too much for someone who just celebrated his 89th birthday. (That’s me.)

You can forget Del Mar — it’s even a worse drive.

So, I guess you can say I’ve kind of quit horse racing as a pastime, especially since the only JA jockey doesn’t ride too many mounts anymore.

Maybe if a new JA jockey makes his debut, I might get stirred up again.

With the JA generation growing bigger and bigger, finding one who is of jockey size is a tough task.

Just a thought.

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Yes, the current water shortage is affecting a lot of areas, especially the cemeteries.

There was a major story in a Los Angeles newspaper about Evergreen, located in Boyle Heights and a familiar facility for the Japanese American community because so many of those buried there are JAs.

Evergreen is the oldest in the Los Angeles area and it’s having trouble maintaining its lawns, so the site has been mostly brown for several years now.

The cemetery has been attempting to work with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which has resulted in no action, and the area is showing its effect.

The main problem at Evergreen is the lack of recycled water.

Many of the JAs with family members in Evergreen are becoming more concerned with the continuing shortage of water.

Supervisor Gloria Molina said, “In honor of everyone buried at Evergreen, I urge everyone to help revitalize this site in Boyle Heights.”

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Oh, by the way does the price of gasoline for your car bother you?

It bothers me.

One week it comes down 20 cents. The next week, it goes up 20 cents.

Well, maybe we can find an alternative to gasoline-driven cars.

Have you heard of Tesla? It’s a car that doesn’t use gasoline, only an electric charge. It can be driven 240 miles on one charge.

Speed? It can be driven from zero to 60 mph in 5 seconds.

Heck, how many cars can do that?

It is considered the world’s safest car.

Only drawback is that each model costs about $35,000.

Oh well.

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I might be a little short today. I have to hit the sack early since I have a 4 a.m. wake-up tomorrow.

I’m sure Editor Gwen will understand since I know she often has to get up early in the a.m.

Of course, for someone my age, it’s a little tougher getting up before the sun rises, or should I say, before the moon goes down.

At any rate, I’ll be back with my lengthy piece on Tuesday.

Take care.

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

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