HORSE’S MOUTH: The ‘Ifs’ and ‘Ands’ of the Postal System


(First published in
The Rafu Shimpo on Sept. 20, 2011.)


If all the talk about the U.S. Postal Service closing down hundreds of offices, many in the L.A. area, and canceling Saturday delivery becomes a reality, I am sure many will feel the inconvenience.

However, for some, it might border on disaster.

Just take the Rafu, for example. The Rafu prints a Saturday edition, which is delivered to subscribers on Saturday. If the post office shuts down the Saturday delivery, the Rafu will have to alter their printing schedule.

Under the current printing schedule, the Rafu doesn’t have a Friday edition, so perhaps the Saturday printing could be changed to Friday.

Actually, it won’t be that simple.

That’s because the Saturday edition is “put together” on Friday, which means that if the delivery date is changed from Saturday to Friday, the Friday edition would have to be mailed on Thursday to arrive on Friday.

Sounds confusing? It is a little.

At any rate, since one of my two weekly columns appears in the Saturday edition, the cancellation of the paper on that date will force me to change my writing schedule.

Oh well, maybe I can just cut back from two columns to one.

Perhaps I shouldn’t even be yakking about this until the post office does make the move as they are threatening to do.

When I think about this problem, my memory reminds me of the days when the Rafu and the two other dailies that were distributed in the JA communities were delivered by boys on bicycles.

The direct deliveries were made in various communities where there were heavy concentrations of JA subscribers to the vernacular newspapers (aside from Rafu, the Shin Nichi Bei and Kashu Mainichi) in areas like Gardena, Boyle Heights and West Los Angeles. And of course in Little Tokyo, where Rafu copies were tossed in the doors of the shops and businesses in J-Town.

Of course, today’s generation may find this hard to believe, but it really happened.

I know one of my chores at Kashu Mainichi was jumping into my car after loading the newspaper in the trunk of my car and delivering it to young boys waiting in the various areas. They would then fold the paper so they could toss it on the subscribers’ doorsteps.

I doubt if such deliveries could be carried out today if the Saturday mail delivery is canceled.

Oh well….

That was an interesting bit of news about a Navy petty officer finding a bottle with a message in it on a beach in Hawaii.

What makes it interesting?

Well, according to the story, a young lady who wrote a letter, put it in the bottle, and tossed it in the ocean off the coast of Japan five years ago, and it was carried  by the current to Hawaii — which may mean that the debris and nuclear contaminated junk from the earthquake and tsunami might reach our coastline if enough time passes, even if it takes five years as the bottle did.

Kind of scary, isn’t it?

Yes, even some of the thousands of people who were killed by the disaster might eventually float across the Pacific and hit our shores.

Can you picture this headline in the media? “Japanese body found on Santa Monica Beach.”

If I keep accepting invitations to have lunch with my old friend Helen Kawagoe, I might end up looking like a sumo wrestler.

That’s because Helen, the city clerk for Carson, knows a lot of great, interesting places, including a number of buffet restaurants. Those of you who occasionally dine at buffet eateries know that the sky is the limit when it comes to the amount of food one consumes.

A while back, Helen introduced us to a Hawaiian place, Back Home in Lahaina. Any place with a Hawaiian motif can lead to overeating.

Well, this past Sunday Helen said she wanted to introduce us to a buffet place in Carson called Carson Buffet.

She said that since I frequently mention dining at the Grand World Buffet in Torrance, I should try Carson Buffet and compare the two places.

Well she is right when she says Carson Buffet can’t be compared with any and all other buffets.

I guess if I had to give an edge between Carson Buffet and Grand World Buffet, my vote would go to Carson.

They have a much superior seafood section, including a variety of sashimi. Of course, they have a wide variety of sushi, too.

I was surprised at the amount of food Helen consumed. And no, she certainly doesn’t look like a sumo wrestler.

Since I frequently mention that Helen is the longest-serving elected public

official in the State of California, I asked her over luncheon when she was going to retire.

She laughed and said, “Tomorrow, if they let me.”

She also chuckled when she said, “I’ve been serving Carson for so many years, most people now refer to me as ‘Mama’ Helen.”

Okay, “Mama” Helen, thanks for lunch.

Oh yeah, since I mentioned sumo wrestlers in the earlier bit, it was interesting to learn that the present tournament in Tokyo is drawing the smallest crowd since 1984.

Wow, that’s over 26 years ago!

While many blame the scandal about fixed matches for the decline in attendance, one of the surprising things is that the decline is due to the drop in “gaijin” (foreigners) attendance.

I never realized that so many foreigners were fans of sumo.

When I lived in Tokyo, I used to attend a lot of sumo tournaments, but I don’t recall seeing foreigners in the crowd.

They were mostly “Nihonjin” faces. Although I am a “gaijin,” even though my heritage is Japanese, I doubt if anyone thought I was anything but a Japanese because I looked like a Japanese.

And those were the days when the first foreign sumo wrestlers were making their debut in the ancient sport.


From time to time we learn of a tourist bus crashing in the U.S. and other foreign countries and a high percentage of the accidents involves buses carrying Japanese tourists.

I’m kind of curious why.

Of course, it could be that Japanese tourists utilize tour buses on their visit to a foreign country.

We’ve had a number of them in the U.S. The most recent one was in Utah, in which Japanese tourists were visiting Las Vegas and took a tour to Salt Lake City.

Why am I touching on this matter?

Well, the other day there was a tour bus crash in Korea and 10 Japanese tourists were seriously injured.

The cause of the crash? The bus went off the road and flipped over.

Investigators guessed it might have been driver fatigue. That was the case in the Utah crash, which had Japanese casualties.

Of course, the Japanese American community has bus service to Las Vegas, but I don’t recall any of them being involved in accidents.

I used to ride on the “Tanoshimi” bus to Vegas and wondered about the driver, who has to wheel the bus without any rest. But they seemed to be able to handle it okay.

Maggie probably will enjoy the following because she pays close attention to such matters. It’s about words.

No English dictionary has been able to adequately explain the difference between the two words “complete” and “finished” in a way that is easy to understand.

Some people say there is no difference between “complete” and “finished.”

However, there is a difference. When you marry the right woman, you are “complete.” When you marry the wrong woman, you are “finished.”

And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are  “completely finished.”

Should I add my usual heh, heh?

(Maggie’s comment: Me, too, Mr. Y., heh, heh).

I was kind of surprised when Harold Kobata dropped off the Sept. 1-15 edition of the Pacific Citizen the other day. He’s been kind enough to save the JACL publication for me.

The surprise is that the front page had a half-page photo of Sei Fujii.

The story that went with the photo said that the film “Li’l Tokyo Reporter” would be released in the spring of 2012. Fujii was credited with the founding of the Kashu Mainichi in 1935.

That’s what made the story so interesting to me. I worked at the Kashu for over 30 years under the late Hiro Hishiki, who took over the post of publisher from Fujii.

Hishiki was the son-in-law of Fujii.

Fujii turned the Kashu over to Hishiki, so I didn’t work directly for Fujii even though I spent so many years on the newspaper’s staff.

Many credited Fujii for defending the Japanese American community’s civil rights, but today his fight for the JAs is often forgotten.

It is an interesting story and even though I was at the Kashu for so many years, there were a number of things about Fujii I was unaware of.

I suggest that those of you who are interested in the PC story get a copy and read it.

Today’s laugher can be titled “Pregnancy, Estrogen and Women.

Q: Should I have a baby after 35?

A: No, 35 children is enough.


Q: What is the most reliable method to determine a baby’s sex?

A. Childbirth.


Q: Do  I have to have a baby shower?

A: Not if you change the baby’s diaper very quickly.


Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?

A: When the kids are in college.

And here are some short spelling lessons:

The last four letters in American … I can.

The last four letters in Republican … I can

The last four letters in Democrats … Rats.

End of lesson.

Test to follow in November 2012.


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



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