(Published Sept. 27, 2014)
I got a letter about a comment I made on my computer breaking down. The sender, who wants to remain anonymous, wrote:
“When your computer doesn’t work and you need your son’s help, we can relate to you. I am sure there are many of us in the same fix. Whenever we need our son’s or daughter’s help, we invite them to dinner and the computer is okay again.
“Keep plugging away. We really enjoy your column.
“I am the person you helped get yomogi plants. Sorry but we haven’t been able to make decent yomogi mochi to pass on to you or Martha Nakagawa, who gave us the yomogi.”
Thanks for your letter. Glad things worked out with your yomogi.
A second letter, from a reader who doesn’t mind being identified. Her name is Kazuko Monobe, and she wrote:
“My Nisei husband, Ken Monobe, was born and raised in California and he was sent to Heart Mountain when he was 14 years old.
“I was born and raised in Japan and met him and married him in Tokyo in 1956. We lived in Gardena; Ogden, Utah; Henderson, Nevada; and now live in Seal Beach.
“We have been enjoying your articles in The Rafu for a long time. As soon as we receive The Rafu, your article is the first thing we read.
“We hope you will keep writing ’til you reach 100 years old and put your name in the Guinness book as the oldest person to be an active newspaper columnist.
“I have just published my memoir, titled ‘A Love Letter to America.’
“I constantly count my blessings as a naturalized citizen of America.
“If you would introduce my book in your column, I would appreciate it very much. I wish you health and happiness. Have a wonderful day.”
I’m sure many of you who have followed my writing for many years know that there was a time when I was a barber. That’s right, a barber.
When I got out of the Army after the end of World War II, I began hanging around Little Tokyo and was tagged as a “Taul Building Learner” or just plain “yogore.”
Well, after a few months of doing this, I decided I’d better find something to do with my life.
One of the “yogores” said, “Hey, Horse, have you ever thought of becoming a barber? We need more JA barbers in our city.”
I gave it some thought and decided, “Why not?”
So I decided to enroll in barber college in Long Beach, using my GI Bill benefits to pay for the tuition. I graduated and took my state barber’s license test. Would you believe I passed the examination? So I began looking for a job.
A barber shop in Little Tokyo operated by a husband and wife said they’d give me a trial as an employee.
A few of the customers whose hair I cut came back the following day and complained to the owners that I did a horrible job on their hair.
Needless to say, I didn’t last too long and I was back on the street with no job.
So I tossed in the towel as far as being a barber was concerned.
In those days, a barber was paid 75 cents. Today, barbers get $10 to $12.
Maybe I should have stuck with the hair clipper instead of sitting at a desk pounding away on a typewriter. Heh, heh.
Over the past week I’ve gotten a dozen letters telling me I was sent an email but the sender was informed that their message couldn’t get through to my computer.
I‘m not sure what the problem is because I still get a lot of email at my address.
As reader Marge K. wrote:
“Too bad your email is not available anymore. I have to send this letter by snail mail.
“I am writing because I don’t think I have seen you mention about Alhambra’s Rose Parade entry for this year. The City of Alhambra’s Rose Parade entry is going to be ‘442.’ I believe the title will be ‘Go For Broke.’
“I called a gentleman at the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce and asked him how they got around to selecting the 442nd and he said the present mayor of Alhambra is Gary Yamauchi and he and another fellow JA, Stan Yonemoto, have been promoting the 442nd for many years and they finally made it.”
Well, Marge, you must have missed the column in which I wrote about the 442nd float because I mentioned it not only once but twice.
However, I thank you for your letter.
I’m sure the Alhambra float will get a lot of media attention when articles are written about the 2015 Rose Parade and hopefully, the TV coverage of the Rose Parade will do a great job on the Alhambra float.
I received an interesting news item from San Francisco. This happened a couple of years ago:
The San Francisco Police Department, relying on antiquated computer technology routinely recorded nearly all Asians who were arrested in the city as “Chinese” until this month, department officials said.
Arrest data that included “Chinese” numbers was released to the public and sent to law enforcement agencies for at least ten years, contributing to a skewed understanding of who was being arrested by San Francisco police.
The “Chinese” classifications baffled Asian community leaders, who said the lack of statistics about Asian arrests have made it difficult to know where to focus scarce resources and have contributed to a stereotype of most Asian groups as “model minorities” who never commit crimes.
Police Chief Greg Suhr told the San Francisco Police Commission that the department would start collecting accurate data for the 18 ethnic categories (including Japanese Americans) accepted by the California Department of Justice based on how people who are arrested identify themselves.
“If someone asks somebody, ‘Hey, what ethnicity are you?’ We’ll report that,” Suhr said.
In 2010, the department reported 760 Chinese, one Japanese and nine Filipino arrests. When the department submitted its arrest data to state authorities, it informed them that the “Chinese” category included Asian arrestees of all ethnicities.
The State Department of Justice, however, did not appear to get the message. It recorded the Asian arrests as Chinese in its annual crime report.
According to the 2010 census, Asians are the largest minority group in San Francisco comprising a third of the population. Of the city’s Asians, 64 percent are of Chinese descent.
“How do we know how many Filipinos, Koreans, Vietnamese, Japanese are arrested?” said Rudy Asercion, the executive director of the West Bay Pilipino Multi-service Center and a member of the Police Department’s community outreach group for Asian Americans.
Recording most Asian arrests as Chinese is just one of the data collection problems the department has faced.
Police officials have blamed the inaccurate arrest data on a 40-year-old computer system that provides officers with only four categories: White, Black, Chinese and “others.”
“Whoever created that system – just having those four categories – I think that’s racist,” said Eddie Zheng of the Community Youth Center.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi applauded the department’s pledge to tally the race and ethnicity of arrestees.
The Sheriff’s Department has agreed to provide the Police Department with data on the ethnicity of the people arrested, including Japanese.
Oh yeah, got one call from a JA who said, “Hey, Horse, I live in Gardena like you and disagree with your recent remarks about the lack of Japanese restaurants in our city.
He went on to name five Japanese eateries in the city, so I guess I’ll have to jump in my car and check out the places he mentioned.
Perhaps our opinions on what a Japanese restaurant is differ from each other.
Serving rice in a bowl doesn’t necessarily make a place “Japanese.” Well, I’ll have my report in a few days.
As I frequently mention, I write my Saturday column on Wednesday (today), so some information might seem outdated.
Perhaps I can ask Editor Gwen if I can write my Saturday column on Thursday.
Yeah, I already know the answer to that one.
A lot of you may not believe this, but I have cut back on watching TV in the evening by at least 50 percent.
It’s gotten to the point where I can’t stand the commercials aired by most of the channels.
Yes, I know commercials are necessary for a TV program to survive, but there has to be a limit.
The other night I kept track of the number of commercials on one TV program and couldn’t believe it when the number hit 11. That’s right. Eleven commercials in just one break.
I wonder how many other TV viewers are getting just as disgusted with the number of commercials.
It’s a good thing I have my computer to keep me from the TV set.
Well, I guess the old saying “money talks” still has a lot to do with it.
(MAGGIE’S COMMENT: I just have to say this, Mr. Y. Not only are there too many commercials, but so many are also unnecessarily outlandish).
A warning from the police might be a good way to close today’s column:
This is the thing these days, with people out of work and needing cash. Beware, it’s headed your way.
Just last weekend on Friday night we parked in a public parking area. As we drove off, I noticed a sticker on the rear window of the car. When I took it off after I got home, it was a receipt for gas.
Luckily, my friend told me not to stop as there could be someone waiting for me to get out of the car.
Then we received this email yesterday: “Warning from Police.” This applies to both women and men. Beware of paper on the back window of your vehicle — a new way to do carjacking.
You walk across the parking lot, unlock the car and get inside. You start the engine and shift into reverse. When you look in the rearview mirror to back out of your parking space, you notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle of the rear window. So you shift into park, unlock your doors and jump out of your car to remove the paper that is obstructing your view.
When you reach the back of your car, that is when the carjackers appear out of nowhere, jump into your car and take off. They practically mow you down as they speed off with your car.
And guess what, ladies? I bet your purse is still in the car. So now the carjacker has your car, your home address, your money and your keys.
Your home and your whole identity are now compromised.
Beware this scheme that is now being used. If you see a piece of paper stuck in your back window, just drive away. Remove the paper later and be thankful that you read this email.
A purse containing all kinds of personal information and identification — you certainly don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands.
George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.