HORSE’S MOUTH: Thoughts on Sakae Sushi


(First published in
The Rafu Shimpo on Sept. 10, 2011.)


How long is too long when waiting for something?

An example: When I go out to dine occasionally, at Denny’s or Carrows, I size up the number of people waiting for an open table and calculate how much time I would have to wait.

Of course, at some restaurants, the hostess will come right out and tell me, “You’ll have to wait 20 or 30 minutes.”

The longest I want to wait is 15 minutes, so when I’m told that it will be 20 to 30 minutes, I jump in my car and go home, which means my dinner for that day will be a couple of fried eggs on a bowl of hot rice with shoyu poured on it.

So, why am I even chatting about this?

Well, my favorite place for sushi is Sakae Sushi. It’s a place in Gardena that most agree makes the best sushi.

Sakae Sushi was closed last week. There was sign on the door indicating that they were closed for their yearly vacation.

On Wednesday, they were open, so I dashed down to pick up a box for supper.

Unfortunately, the place was crowded with people trying to pick up their sushi.

The lady behind the counter told me, “You’ll have to wait” when I got to the head of the line and placed my order. She didn’t tell me how long I would have to wait, but I put in my order and sat down on one of the chairs available for waiting patrons.

Then I noticed that people who came in after me and others who were waiting walked up to the counter and were given their order.

This happened quite a few times and I began to wonder, “Hey, what’s going on?” How come these individuals were coming in and getting their order while the rest of us waited?

Then I learned that these folks had placed their order by telephone and were told, “Your order will be ready in 45 minutes.” So, they show up 45 minutes later and don’t have to wait in line like the rest of us.

I don’t know how the others felt about this, but I was kind of discouraged.

I thought, maybe they should have a “will call” counter so those who are waiting on-site won’t feel they are being slighted.

Oh well, if those who run Sakae Sushi read the Rafu, maybe they’ll take up my suggestion.

In the meanwhile, I’m still a solid customer of Sakae Sushi because the quality of their product is the best.

Everyone is aware that China has become one of the world’s top economic powers, bypassing Japan for the title.

Now we hear that a Chinese company may buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. My reaction when I heard this was simply, “Wow!”

The Dodgers owned by a Chinese firm? Yes, I’ll say it again, “Wow!”

Well, maybe we shouldn’t get too excited.

The Seattle Mariners are owned by a Japanese company and I don’t think I ever thought “Wow” when that sale was completed.

We all know that the star of the Mariners is a Japanese, Ichiro Suzuki.

If the Chinese company takes over the Dodgers, can we expect a few Chinese players to join the roster?

Oh well, maybe I shouldn’t make such a big deal on the racial situation.

Touching on baseball, the other day after Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda gave up four home runs in two innings, I suggested that he might shave his mustache.

It was the first time the Japanese ace went to the mound with a mustache.

Well, maybe after he was blasted, his teammates told him the same thing because I noticed the next day when the TV camera caught him in the dugout, he was without his hairy mustache.

I don’t know why, but Japanese guys don’t look good with a mustache.

Yeah, I know. I have a mustache and maybe a lot of people think the same of me.

Oh well, I know I won’t be throwing a home run pitch sitting at my computer turning out my column.

When Ets Yoshiyama lived in Gardena, he used to drop over our house to chat at least once a week.

What did we talk about?

His younger days when he was a super basketball player for the Oliver Broncos.

Well, Ets moved to San Luis Obispo and his visits dropped off to about once a month. And in recent times, I don’t see him anymore.

I can understand. Ets is a year older than I and it’s gotta be tough driving to Southern California from San Looie.

I often wonder how he’s doing.

Got a note from his niece, Linda Balderamma, a staffer for Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who told me she visited with Ets in San Looie last week.

She took a photo with him and sent it to me, so I thought, “Hey, why not run it” so that a lot of his old Ellay friends can see how he’s looking these days.

That’s Linda on the right and on Ets’ right is his daughter, Lori.

Linda said they are trying to talk Ets into using a walker.

I can understand that.

When I go to Vegas and walk from the California Hotel to the Main Street Hotel (about a block), I have to pause about halfway to catch my breath.

Maybe I’ll need a walker, too.

On the other hand, if I do use a walker and bump into people I know in Vegas, they might say, “Man, Horse, you look more like a cow, using a walker.”

If Ets read this piece, he will probably say something like that, too.

At any rate, thanks to Linda for the photo. Ets still looks great.

A bit of news.

Whittier College is honoring its 1961 varsity football team, which went undefeated and went on to the semifinals of the NAIA playoffs.

The quarterback on the team was Sei Miyano.

The starting line was known as the “Japanese Bandits” because there were so many Japanese Americans in the lineup, most of them from Hawaii.

The event will be held on Oct. 1 in conjunction with Whittier’s game with Occidental College on that date.

The event honoring Sei and the 1961 team will be held following the Occidental game, between the hours of 8 and 11 p.m. at Marie Callender’s on Washington Boulevard and Lambert in Whittier.

It’s always wonderful how the public responds to various tragedies that occur around the world, like the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed entire cities in Japan.

If most of you are like me, you may wonder how much of the donations go to the victims.

Well, as I often preface any articles I write based on information sent to me by readers, I will say I am not sure how accurate the following information might be.

The information was prefaced with the sentence, “As you open your pockets for the next natural disaster, please keep these facts in mind:

“American Red Cross President and CEO Marsha J. Evans’ salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses.

“United Way President Brian Gallagher received a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits.

“UNICEF CEO Caryl M. Stern received $1,200,000 plus all expenses, including a Rolls Royce. Less than five cents of donated dollars goes to the cause.

“On the other hand, the Salvation Army’s commissioner, Todd Bassett, received a salary of only $13,000 per year for managing the $2 billion dollar organization. 96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.

“The American Legion national commander receives zero salary. Your donations go to help veterans and their families and youth.

“The Veterans of Foreign Wars national commander receives zero salary. Your donations go to help veterans and their families.

“The Disabled American Veterans national commander receives zero salary.”

The letter to me ends with “No further comment is necessary.”

Thanks to the reader.

Another reader wrote to ask me if I am planning on attending the presentation ceremony honoring the Nisei vets in Washington, D.C.

The quick answer is “Nope.”

Of course, if the Rafu asks me if I would cover the event for the newspaper, I might consider it. However, I’m sure they already have someone assigned to it.

I know, many think, “You’re really not a vet, are you?”

Well, I guess being a media person or over 60 years, I really don’t think too much about having worn a uniform for Uncle Sam’s military.

In fact, I was recently reminded of the only time I ever participated in a vets’ event.

That’s because Rod Kamiya of Gardena recently sent me a photo he took of the event.

I guess that was about six or seven years ago when VFW Post 1961, to which I belong, asked me to be the speaker at the organization’s dinner meeting.

Heck, I don’t even remember what I talked about.

My only thought at the time was. “Boy, the organization must be hard up for speakers to have to ask me.”

The photo will indicate how boring I must have been. The fellow sitting behind me at the podium looks like he fell asleep.

I’m glad Rod didn’t take a photo of the audience. A lot of other people probably dozed off.

Oh well….


George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via email. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.



1 Comment

  1. Yu Shouldgetacellphone on

    Love your columns, Mr. Y., but your comments on Sakae Sushi are way off. You have been a customer for many years, but didn’t know they took phone orders? I don’t know how they could put another window in their place. You would end up picking up your sushi at the barbershop next door… Now if they were to put in a drive through… it would be heavenly, but crazier than In-and-Out. Probably easier for you to get a cellphone and put them on the speed dial.

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