HORSE’S MOUTH: Kudos to Mayor Paul Tanaka

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

(Published Nov. 22, 2014)

I was glancing through one of the JA community newspapers and came across the name of a “no-no boy” in the obituary section.

In this day and age, I guess classifying a JA as a “no-no boy” doesn’t ring a bell.

However, during our days in relocation camps, when the U.S. government presented a questionnaire to the Nisei, those who responded with “no-no” answers to the question of whether they would serve in the U.S. military were classified as “no-no boys.”

That is, even though they were U.S. citizens, they would not serve in the armed forces because they were incarcerated in the camps due to their Japanese heritage.

Quite a few did respond “no-no.”

Needless to say, it did create a confusing state among the JAs.

Although I responded “yes-yes” and was taken into the military, I could understand the stand taken by those who answered “no-no” because I had several friends who did so and were sent to prison.

Well, perhaps after all these years have passed, bringing up the matter of the “no-no boys” won’t sit well with a lot of folks, but hey, history is history.

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I guess I was wrong by a large margin when I mentioned that Gardena didn’t have too many Japanese-style restaurants. A reader pointed out that I was quite wrong and he was quite right.

I did a little research over the past few weeks and counted over 20 eateries serving Japanese-style food and most of them do have Japanese names.

I’m going to try most of them and give my opinion on the style of food they serve.

By the way, I guess some eateries that serve Hawaiian-style dishes can be classified as Japanese-style because they do serve rice with a lot of their dishes.

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I guess getting a job as coach of a high school volleyball team won’t get too many headlines, but Steve Yoshimoto is the head coach of the La Reina High School girls’ volleyball team.

When Yoshimoto heard that La Reina High was searching for a head coach, he walked into the school’s athletic office and entered his bid.

He was quoted as saying, “When I heard of the opening for the coaching job, I applied because I wanted to be a head varsity coach in any sport.”

He is eager to rekindle the proud tradition in the CIF Southern Section championship program and he is off to a promising start with his team in first place with a 17-5 record and in first place in the Tri-Valley League and ranked No. 3 in CIF-SS Division 4 AA.

Yoshimoto has been coaching volleyball for nine years.

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My wife and I like to look around for places to dine in Gardena.

Pacific Square, the major shopping center in the city, has a lot of dining spots with a lot of new ones coming in when space opens up, so we kind of drive through the area to see what new spots are open.

The other night, we saw a small Japanese-style site next to the large Chinese eatery, so we gave it a try and came away rather impressed.

Yeah, we ordered two Japanese dishes and they both turned out great.

I guess we now have a place to go if we don’t want to spend too much money and still get enough to satisfy our appetites.

Of course, if we want to spend a little extra on Chinese food, we always go to the Sea Empress. That’s the Chinese spot that people looking for a site to accompany a large turnout always go to.

When we moved into Gardena nearly 60 years ago, the city was quite different where dining spots were concerned.

Today it has restaurants to accommodate various party groups, from very large to just a small gathering.

If we just want to go to a coffee shop, there are plenty of those, including Carrows, and yes, there is the Hawaiian place called Bob’s.

I guess we dine at Bob’s at least once a week. The price is just right for us.

Yeah, two cheapskates. Heh, heh.

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It sure doesn’t seem that long, but time does pass. By the end of next month, we will hit 60 years as residents of Gardena.

When we bought the house we live in, the neighborhood had a lot of Japanese families. Over the last four or five years, most of the Nisei families moved out of Gardena.

The reason? I guess it’s the price of real estate in the city.

Would you believe when we bought our three-bedroom house, it cost us $14,000? No, I won’t tell you what we are offered these days for the same house, but no wonder so many have sold out and moved away.

Most of the Nisei families now live in Palos Verdes, which I guess is considered the Beverly Hills of the South Bay. My sons live in Palos Verdes.

We never give moving out of Gardena any thought. We love the city and of course, we have a Sansei mayor, Paul Tanaka.

Yup, even though he failed in his bid to become the county’s sheriff, he’s still the top man in Gardena. Hey, being mayor of a city isn’t bad and for us Japanese Americans, having a fellow JA as mayor is nice.

I hope he keeps running for the seat in the next election.

We’ve had a couple of other Nisei mayors, which was comforting for us.

There’s one thing I would want Tanaka to do in his spare time. That is, I’d like to know how many JAs are part of the Gardena population. I don’t think it’s ever been calculated.

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No, I haven’t had the opportunity to chat with Paul Tanaka since the conclusion of the race for sheriff. However, I’m trying to get together with him to discuss it. I want to get his views on the outcome of the election and what his future plans might be.

I think whatever he has planned is a plus for the Japanese American community.

As I mention frequently, I’ve known Paul from his childhood days, and that’s a plus for me and the city of Gardena.

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The headline read, “How America Lighted the Way for a Japanese Nobel.”

It tells of the Nobel Committee’s awarding of the 2014 prize in physics to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for inventing the blue light-emitting diode. The long-term significance of the technology is undeniable. By providing a bright source of blue and white light, they have enabled the U.S. to transcend Thomas Edison’s incandescent bulbs. The LED offers the prospect of affordable lighting.

As Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura contributed to the lighting revolution, the blue light can be said to be a purely Japanese invention.

Akasaki and Amano are based in Nagoya and Nakamura, a professor at UC Santa Barbara, is originally from Japan.

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The year 1914 was 100 years ago and boy, what a difference a century makes. Here are some statistics from that year:

  • The average life expectancy for a man was 47 years.
  • Fuel for cars was sold only in drug stores.
  • Only 14 percent of homes had bathtubs.
  • There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.
  • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
  • The average wage was 22 cents per hour.
  • The average U .S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
  • A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 year, a dentist between $1,500 and $4,000, and a mechanical engineer above $5,000.
  • More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.
  • 90 percent of all doctors had no college education. Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press.
  • Sugar cost 4 cents a pound, eggs were 14 cents a dozen, and coffee was 15 cents a pound.
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month and used Borax or egg yolk for shampoo.
  • Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into the country for any reason.
  • The five leading causes of death were pneumonia and influenza, tuberculosis, diarrhea, heart disease, and stroke.
  • The American flag had 45 stars.
  • The population of Las Vegas was only 30.
  • Crossword puzzles, canned beer and ice tea hadn’t been invented.
  • There was neither a Mother’s Day nor a Father’s Day.
  • Two out of every 10 adults still couldn’t read or write, and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
  • Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drug store.
  • 18 percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
  • There were 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.

Doesn’t that boggle your mind?

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

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