HORSE’S MOUTH: Watching the Cars Go by

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

(Published Sept. 13, 2014)

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who uses a computer and has the problems I do. That is, I can’t connect with the darn thing and when one is writing a column twice a week, the computer is the major source of getting information.

So, when the danged computer doesn’t work, I’m faced with problems I didn’t count on.

Now that I’ve brought it up, you may understand why I might sound a little off.

Yeah, I know. Some of you may say, “Horse, you always sound a little goofy.”

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I write my column that appears in the Saturday edition of The Rafu on Wednesday, and I know that this Saturday and Sunday will be one heck of a busy time for me.

On Saturday, there’s the Heart Mountain Relocation Center reunion at the Montebello Golf Club and on Sunday, another event at Gardena Valley Baptist Church.

Since I agreed to attend both events, I’ll really be tied up.

I rarely skip invitations extended to me. Yes, they help me write a column, but I attend functions mainly as a guest and not as a newspaper columnist.

That doesn’t mean I don’t carry a pen and pad to write down things that I might experience while in attendance.

I do meet a lot of people, so I can gather a lot of information that can be used in a column.

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In this day and age, we don’t hear or read the word “Jap” in relation to Japanese Americans. However, there was a time when “Jap” was the key word in writing about JAs.

How do I know this?

Well, back in the early ’40s, I used to see so many news articles using “Jap” in reference to Japanese Americans that I decided to clip them out and keep a scrapbook of the stories because I figured one day they might prove to be interesting reading material. So I decided to reprint some of the articles for present-day readers.

• Here’s one dated Jan. 10, 1943. The headline reads, “Bureaucrats’ School for Japs Shows Extravagant Planning.”

The subhead reads, “Estimated Cost of Temporary Buildings at Granada Outstrips Actual Outlay for Permanent Structures in Denver.”

• Another head reads, “Denies Jap Camps Offer Utopia to Enemy Internees.”

“Enemy internees?” Hey, we’re talking about Japanese Americans, many of them U.S. citizens.

• Then there’s one that reads, “West Coast Doesn’t Want Japs to Return.”

The dateline for this article is Amache, Colorado, a site for incarcerated Japanese Americans. One of the questions asked in the article read, “Do you think the Japanese who were moved inland from the Pacific Coast should be allowed to return when the war is over?”

Twenty percent of those asked the question said they would allow them to return to the West Coast. Seventy percent said, “Send them all back to Japan.”

Another question: “Would you be willing to trade at a Japanese-owned store after the war?” Fifty-eight percent said, “No.”

As to evacuating JAs from the West Coast, 97 percent said they thought the Army did the right thing, with only 3 percent disagreeing with the action.

• Another headline in a Denver newspaper read, “Denver Group Denounces Jap School Costs.”

This was in reference to building three school buildings at the Colorado relocation camp.

• In Arkansas, where another relocation camp was built, a newspaper article read, “Arkansas May Bar Japs from Owning Land in the State.”

A bill was introduced to prohibit any person of Japanese ancestry from owning land in Arkansas.

• In writing about Italian Americans and Japanese Americans, a story in **The Denver Post** had this heading: “Italians and Japs help Colorado Farms.”

Yup, Italians and Japs.

• An article in a Washington, D.C. publication read, “Senators Plan to End Coddling of Japs in Camps.”

Then-Senator Hiram Johnson of California was named chairman of the body that ruled on the issue.

• Regarding Japanese Americans serving in the U.S. Army, one article was headlined “Army to Form Combat Force of Loyal Japs.”

“Loyal Japs?”

Senators in Washington, D.C. considered dividing Nipponese into “friends” and “foes.”

As one senator put it, “Many Japs are believed to be loyal to the U.S.”

“Japs loyal to the U.S.?” Oh, my gosh.

• Oh yes, here’s a closer.

The story is headlined “Wyoming Bars Vote of Jap Evacuees in All Elections.”

The story read, “Some 10,000 Japanese relocated in Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming are now prohibited from voting by a new state law.”

Yeah, I remember that, as a former resident of Heart Mountain.

I was really moved by the following quote: “5,000 of 19,000 Young Nipponese in Relocation Center Expressed Loyalty to Emperor Hirohito.”

What a stupid remark!

In the first place, where did they get the 19,000 names of those “loyal to Emperor Hirohito” and how did they arrive at 5,000 Nisei names?

Hey, I worked on the camp newspaper, and if such a situation existed, the publication should have had the news.

Yeah, baloney! Where did they get such information?

Oh well, that’s the reason I kept a scrapbook.

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Yes, I tried getting my computer to work but again. No luck, so I’ll continue on the same pace as when I started, which means looking for subjects on which to make my usual comments.

As I frequently mention, I spend a lot of time on our front porch mulling over some of the stuff I can write about in my column.

Hey, just sitting there and watching the cars passing by gives me a lot of ideas.

For example, I try to keep track of how many of the cars have women drivers and how many have men.

I learned that about 90 percent of the cars passing by are the same each day, which I figure is natural since I live in a residential area and most of the cars are driven by those living here. The faces are becoming familiar to me.

It’s gotten to a point where some of the women would wave “hello” as they pass by.

That’s women.

The guys? They just roar by.

The guys are probably thinking, “What the heck does that guy do for a living, sitting in front of his house day after day?”

Good question.

Perhaps if they take The Rafu, they would come to know what I do, and some of them might think, “What? All you have to do for a living is write a column for a newspaper?”

Good question.

I have no answer, except that I enjoy writing and can’t think of anything else I would rather do.

Well, maybe going to Las Vegas might top writing a column.

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Yeah, speaking of Vegas, now that we are in mid-September, it’s been one year and three months since I made my last trip to Vegas.

Hard to believe, but I guess time passes more quickly that I anticipated.

Well, I won’t give the exact dates, but I’ll be going to Vegas soon.

Maybe I’ll run into Al Morita, a Vegas fan and the one who got me started going there. That was years ago.

At any rate, I’ll be looking forward to having breakfast with long-time Vegas resident Rose Kakuuchi.

Having breakfast with her, her sister and her daughter is something I enjoy more than just tossing coins in the slot machines, especially since the machines don’t kick back any money to me.

No, I don’t say this because Rose picks up the check after we dine. Yes, she does pick up the check.

Oh yeah, my son has volunteered to drive me and my wife. However, I want to thank the many people who offered me rides.

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I want to thank three readers of this column for sending me a photo of me as the driver for the Japanese diver who won the gold medal in the Olympic Games. He was honored in the Nisei Week Parade. I can’t remember what year it was.

Nevertheless, it was a thrill to drive him through Little Tokyo in front of thousands of people. Needless to say, I don’t think he remembers me.

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Okay, I’m nearing the bottom of Page 7 (typing paper), which means that although my computer isn’t providing me with any information, I’ve nearly finished today’s chatter.

So what can I close with?

Well, how many of you now what “kimchi” is?

It might surprise many of you, but when I was first introduced to kimchi, it was in Japan when I was living there, and I always thought it was a Japanese dish.

It wasn’t until I got back to Los Angeles and dined at a Korean restaurant that I discovered kimchi was Korean.

Yeah, I know some of you will say, “There you go again, Horse, making up stories.”

Nope, I really did think it was Japanese because in those days in Japan, I didn’t dine at a Korean place, so kim chee to you. Heh, heh.

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

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