(Published Feb. 21, 2015)
Well, starting back with my column isn’t as simple as I thought. When I contacted Editor Gwen and told her I had changed my mind about retiring and that I would be back with “Mouth,” I figured it wouldn’t be such a task, but I guess I was wrong.
Thinking back 25 years, as I have mentioned a few times, getting my column rolling wasn’t easy.
The staff at Rafu changed a lot since I got involved with the publication. To begin with, the editor changed. I was hired to write by Naomi Hirahara, but she retired the year after I signed on and she was replaced by Gwen Muranaka, who is easy to work with. Fortunately, I can maintain my position until she decides, “Hey, Horse, it’s time for you to reconsider your role as a Rafu columnist.”
Heck, maybe I can readjust my role and get involved more in sports. The Rafu’s position in sports has changed a lot.
When the late publisher Aki Komai was running the paper, the approach to JA sports was a lot different than it is today.
I thought I would toss in a few letters sent to me over the past few days related to The Rafu and my thoughts about retiring:
First from Marge Kohatsu: “Was happy to read you are not retiring. You mentioned about my inquiring about your keno theory and trying it out. Also when I talked about the Rose Parade float from Alhambra. So good for you to ‘keep on trucking.’
“Wishing you the best for your health and also to make it to Vegas.”
Thanks, Marge. Will continue to make it to Vegas, where I haven’t been for over a year.
Several people have offered me ride. I appreciate it very much and will try to accept one of them soon. Yeah, I miss the place.
Of course, since I haven’t been there for so long, I can say my pocket is jingling with the sound of coins. Can anyone use a few coins?
Just give me a phone call.
The next one, entitled “Welcome Back,” was from Archie Miyamoto, who wrote: “I am very happy to see you back. I kept thinking I should send you an email to ask you to continue writing but didn’t know what to say. You seemed to be in the dumps and it really must be hard to crank out two columns a week.
“I write for our club newsletter and now just do one issue every three or four months. Also I had just told the company where I go one afternoon a week as a consultant I was quitting in a few months.
“Had lunch with Dr. Tom Maeda a few days ago and we talked about how sad we were about your chucking it in, but agreed we are all getting older with all kinds of health problems.
“The article I sent you on comfort women. Please hold off on it if you were thinking about using it. I was thinking about it and rewrote it. I will send it to you in a few months or two and if you like it, you can use it for a filler.”
This one is from George Johnston: “Hi, George. This is your fellow Rafu columnist George Johnston. I’d like to interview you about your decision. Can you write or call me ASAP?”
Susie Isaascon wrote: “I am glad Mike Komai did speak to you. (Thank you, Mr. Komai.) I am happy to know you will now continue to write. You are the reason that I continue to subscribe, more than 30 years. I was thinking to discontinue when I heard about your retirement announcement.
“Please stay in good health and keep sharing your energy/knowledge to us by continuing your column. I have been following you for many years. It is wonderful to know you are still kicking well and still keep up the good job. You are one of my energy sources.”
A missive from Patsy Yoshimura read: “I was shocked and saddened to read in The Rafu Saturday that it was your last column.
“My only reason for subscribing to The Rafu was because of your column. I’ve enjoyed your writing all these years — especially when you write about Vegas. I used to look around to see if I’d bump into you. I was fortunate to bump into you and wife Susie finally on Jan. 19, 2009.
“I hope The Rafu will ask you to continue your column. If not, enjoy your retirement.
“If you do consider writing a book on your life, I would be very interested in reading it. Please take care and wishing you and Susie all the best.”
As I am writing this column today, I guess you can say it’s my way to tell the readers, “Yes, due to so many people asking me to continue, my column will continue.”
Oh yes, I have one more letter to share from Linda Loo:
“Your readers wish you well in whatever you choose to do in life. What a good fortune it is for us that you have decided to continue writing your column. I am a Sansei and look forward to your column because I can learn about the thoughts and experiences of your generation, and at the same time reading The Rafu makes me feel more connected to my Japanese culture, plights and successes.
“I hope you and Mrs. Yoshinaga enjoy many more healthy and happy years and I do hope you make it back to Las Vegas soon.”
Thank you, Linda. Yes, my wife is very happy with the responses from the many readers about my continuing my career.
I have to warm up my motor to continue to pound out my twice-a-week writing on my computer.
I was kind of surprised and thankful for all the support from you readers that I received through my email and the post office. I certainly didn’t expect it.
I guess after 25 years of writing I must have attracted more attention than I ever imagined.
Well, actually after I announced that I was “hanging ’em up, I realized that I actually go back a lot more than 25 years.
As I have mentioned a few times, I began my journalism career during our days in a relocation center. That would be back in 1943, more than 70 years ago.
No wonder I feel like an old man. If I can consider almost 90 as being old, so be it.
Can I add “heh, heh,” to that statement?
As my wife Susie puts it, “Well, you ain’t no spring chicken.” So I guess I can start my “new career” as an old chicken.
I’m a little short today with my column but will be back on track starting next Tuesday and hope to be back with my usual column length next week.
I want to thank all of the readers who wrote to me upon my retirement announcement.
Yes, thanks to Publisher Mike and Editor Gwen and her staff.
I guess I can say, “Mina-san, domo arigato gozaimasu.”
See ya all next week.
George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.