HORSE’S MOUTH: I Dislike Ireland

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

(Published Oct. 15, 2014)

I would guess that holidays are something most folks look forward to, even it it’s only a one-day event such as this past Monday, which was declared as Columbus Day.

However, for one who must produce a column for a newspaper, as is the case with me, the holiday isn’t a holiday. It’s just a little more difficult for me because many of the sources for material to write about are cut off, and that’s the case as I begin to pound out the normal Tuesday column.

So, as I always do, I sit on my front porch and ponder what I can write about to fill a page in The Rafu. Of course, things do pop up that I can use to fill a few pages.

In this case, as I was sitting on the porch, two ladies walked up to me carrying little puppies. One of them got to the point. “Would you like to purchase one of these puppies?” she asked.

I chuckled. “They are cute little doggies,” I told her, “but even if I wanted, I couldn’t do it because we have kittens in our house.”

End of conversation.

I guess I might have mentioned it in a recent column, but three kittens are two too many, so I was thinking about walking around our neighborhood to see if anyone might be interested in adopting one or even two of them.

However, after the incident with the ladies with the puppies, I decided it wasn’t such a hot idea.

Gee, if I have to open my column with such chatter, I must have been sitting in the hot sun too long.

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I just got though reading about the JA community in San Jose recreating an event that took place during our internment at Heart Mountain Relocation Center back in the early 1940s.

It rekindled a few memories for me. It was something I don’t think has ever been publicized in after-camp days. The event is the 70th anniversary celebration of the baseball series between the Heart Mountain All-Stars vs. the Gila Camp All-Stars.

That’s right. An all-star team from the Arizona camp traveled to Wyoming to play a series of games with the Heart Mountain All-Stars.

I often wondered how it was possible for the team from Arizona to travel all the way to Wyoming. Who financed such a trip?

There were about 20 players from Arizona. It must have cost quite a bit to make such a long trip.

You gotta remember, it was during the war years and Japanese Americans were placed in camp because of their race, and the U.S. was at war with Japan.

These things were never brought up or mentioned at the time.

I was curious what other passengers on the train they rode on thought about seeing a group of “Japanese” riding on the same train.

Perhaps someone out there in the reading audience knows about how the trip was put together and could send me the details.

The series itself was captivating.

I watched every game played by the two camp all-star teams made up of Japanese Americans.

Hey, I remember when the Heart Mountain High School basketball team was organized and they wanted to play against the prep teams from the areas near the camp, but were at first rejected because they were JAs locked up in camp.

That situation changed and “outside” schools did play against the camp teams in both basketball and football.

The camp football team won all of their games, but the basketball squad didn’t fare too well against the outsiders.

Hopefully, one of these days more information about those days will be publicized.

The event will be held on Oct. 26 at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose.

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Speaking of camp days, a lot of activities for those of us who were imprisoned in “relocation camps” have never been given publicity, and I’m sure the current and future generations of Japanese Americans would want to know about that phase of camp life.

“Seventy years later” means that those of us who were in our teens or early 20s are now in our late 80s and early 90s.

Boy, doesn’t time pass quickly!

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Since I do mention Northern California from time to time, one of my readers asked, “It sounds to me like you miss living up north. Why don’t you just move back?”

Good question.

I guess if I didn’t wind up as a journalist in Ellay, I might have moved back.

I might be plowing the farm with a team of horses rather than writing a column called “Horse’s Mouth.”

Whenever I go on a visit to the San Jose area, my friends (the few who are left) ask me how I enjoy living in the big city.

It gives me time to think about it. Yeah, I often wonder what I would be doing now if I were back in the San Jose area, living on a farm.

Needless to say, my friends in Northern California always tell me, “George (I wasn’t known as Horse in those days), how did you adjust to living in Los Angeles after growing up as a farm boy?”

Gee, I really didn’t give it that much thought.

Going to camp and meeting Japanese Americans from the “big city” like Los Angeles after I was discharged from the Army changed my way of thinking.

When I tell people that I was from a small farming down, they think I’m just making up a story.

“How can a small-town farm boy become a newspaper columnist?” most of them ask me. I wonder about that myself.

The English teacher at the “outside” high school before we were sent to camp used t tell me, “George, your English is horrible.”

Oh well, maybe a lot of people today might be thinking the same thing. Heh, heh.

I guess I would have to thank the late Bill Hosokawa for getting me started in journalism, even though he told me I didn’t have much of a future in writing and if it weren’t for camp, I doubt if I would have ever broken into journalism.

Heck, I used to have a rough time just trying to spell “journalism.”

Did I spell that right? Heh, heh.

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I’m sure glad the heat wave has fallen a bit over the last couple of days.

It’s still a bit hot, but not like it was last week.

The weatherman is predicting that the temperature will be going up again, so I guess I’m trying to adjust my thinking.

Yeah, I know it’s always hot in Vegas, but when I’m there I never get outside the casino, so it doesn’t matter that much.

During my years in boxing, I traveled the world, so I know the climate in California is great. Yeah, I’ve been to almost every country in the world, except Russia.

Most of my time outside the U.S. was spent in South America.

Japan? Needless to say, it is one of my favorite places. Not because I’m a Nisei. Japan is just a great country.

Maybe because I enjoy miso soup rather than any other kind of soup.

The foreign country I dislike the most? That would be Ireland.

Perhaps because I was looked upon as a “Jap,” rather than an American of Japanese ancestry. It was tiring to hear, “You speak English pretty well for a Jap.”

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Just read an article on how dangerous it is to chat on a cell phone while driving a car.

Maybe someone should say how dangerous it is to speak on a cell phone while walking around.

Ever since cell phones became so useful and popular, I’ve had so many near-misses from hitting a pedestrian talking on a cell phone that I’m surprised that I have not hit one of them.

The other day, I saw a woman crossing the street in an unmarked area on a downtown street.

When I slowed down and told her she shouldn’t be so tied up on her phone that she wasn’t even looking for cars, she said, “Oh, shut up.”

So I tooted my horn and moved on. She gave what people refer to as a “middle finger salute.”

Thank you, Ma’am.

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My wife might have the right thought.

“Maybe you should move your typewriter and desk out to the garage, where you can light up your cigar while you’re writing,” she said, adding, “When I used to let you light up your cigar in the house, you didn’t have any problem writing.”

Needless to say, I asked her, “Then why don’t you let me smoke in the house now?”

You know what her response was to that statement!

Heh, heh.

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Yes, our TV is still broken, so I actually have more time to sit at my typewriter these days.

The TV repairman was supposed to come over two days ago but he said his schedule has him too tied up.

It then dawned on me that not being able to watch TV is really not as bad as I thought it would be.

Yes, what I miss the most are sporting events. The rest of the stuff is just that, stuff.

Since my sons know how much of a TV sports fan I am, one of them brought over one of his portable TVs, but portables don’t carry some of the sports programs that I want to tune into.

So, since the TV man won’t be at my place until next Wednesday, no sports.

See ya on Saturday.

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

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