HORSE’S MOUTH: About Jury Duty


(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on Oct. 8, 2011)


Like every citizen residing in L.A. County, my wife got a summons for jury duty. On the summons there is a section that allows the person to request being excused from service.

One reason for such a request is a person’s medical problems, and if the person making the request is over the age of 70, a physician’s approval is not required.

Well, when my wife received her summons last year, she did request to be excused and it was granted.

I also have been excused for the same reason, but I have never been asked again so I was curious why my wife’s previous request was approved and yet they sent her another notice to report.

Well, maybe an article I read about a person named Al Levy can explain why they overlooked my wife’s previous request to be excused.

Who is Al Levy? Well, his wife told the media that her husband was summoned and was threatened with a $500 fine if he did not report.

So what, some may wonder. It seems that Mr. Levy passed away 14 years ago and his wife had notified them of his death, but now they are threatening him with a fine if he does not report for jury duty.

I guess I shouldn’t feel too badly about my wife having her request approved and then being threatened with a fine if she doesn’t report this time.

If they are going to try to get a deceased person to serve, I guess anything is possible.

Oh well.

Let’s see here:

Adrian Beltre hilts three home runs to lead his team to win in the Major League playoffs.

Takashi Saito comes out of the bullpen and pitches his team to victory in another playoff game.

Rafael Furcal is starting in still another playoff game.

And, the Los Angeles Dodgers players are probably sitting on the beach at Santa Monica watching these guys playing and thinking about next season.

All three, Beltre, Saito and Furcal, were members of the Dodgers team before they were traded away.

Hey, maybe they should have traded the Dodgers’ general manager for tossing away the aforementioned players, who are leading their new clubs to a possible world championship.

It was expected that the most expensive restaurant in the world would be located in Japan. That would be Arakawa’s in Tokyo.

However, it was kind of surprising that two other Japanese restaurants were ranked in the top ten as the world’s most expensive. One is Tetsuya and the other Yamamoto.

However, these two Japanese restaurants are not located in Japan.

Tetsuya is in Sydney and Yamamoto is in Amsterdam.

I would assume that a lot of the patrons at the latter two places are Japanese tourists.

There were no Japanese restaurants in the U.S. found in the top ten, but I guess that shouldn’t be too surprising.

While chatting about surveys on rankings, guess who is in second place on the list of the world’s countries with the most billionaires? Yup. It’s Japan, which lists 29 billionaires.

They don’t come close to the country with the most billionaires. Not surprisingly, it’s the good old U.S.A. with 269 billionaires, a mere 240 more than Japan.

Surprisingly, England ranks 10th in the number of billionaires.

Perhaps one day someone in the JA community will do research on who is the richest Nisei in the U.S.

There are a lot of rumors about who is the richest JA, but the actual listing has never been revealed.

Oh well, if they are going to do research on who is the poorest JA, they might start with a columnist for the Rafu who has the nickname “Donkey.” Oops, I mean “Horse.”

Can anyone spare a dime?

Yes, I read all the other columnists who write for the Rafu.

So this past Wednesday, I was curious why one of the Rafu’s most talented writers, Wimp Hiroto, was missing from his usual space.

There was no “note” by the editors about his absence, so I was sort of curious why he missed his deadline.

As a fellow columnist, I am aware that meeting deadlines week after week isn’t that easy, but I try to chug along.

One of the sources for pounding out and filling the space allotted to me is to look around for the results of surveys that readers might find interesting.

Here’s one that might fill that bill. The survey was entitled “If the Earth Were a Small Village.”

If we could shrink the Earth’s population to a village of 100 people with everything else remaining the same, here is how the village would look:

• There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere and 8 Africans.

• There would be 52 females and 48 males.

• 70 would be non-whites and 30 would be whites.

• 70 would be non-Christians and 30 would be Christians.

• 6 people would own 50 percent of the world’s wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.

• 80 would live in substandard housing.

• 70 would be unable to read.

• 60 would suffer from malnutrition.

• One would be near death.

• One would be near birth.

And none would be a newspaper columnist (my own opinion).

And so forth and so on….

It seems that in our Japanese community a lot of individuals and firms are frequently given media attention for their contributions to the community, and deservingly so.

However, just as many go unnoticed even if they make financial contributions to worthy causes. So, unless we read the “fine print,” we may not know about these fine organizations and individuals.

This thought struck me when I received an invitation to the Go For Broke National Education Center’s “Evening of Aloha” dinner slated for Nov. 5 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Two of the Diamond Sponsors are Union Bank and Terasaki Family Foundation. Other sponsoring categories are Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Since I’m a Union Bank customer, I am glad to see them listed at the top of the sponsoring category.

I’ve been a Union Bank patron for nearly 40 years. That was before they became Union Bank with other names like Mitsubishi and Bank of Tokyo.

I know that to a lot of people, a bank is a bank. However, from my own experiences over the years with Union, I learned that being associated with one firm has many advantages. For one thing, I have gotten to know a lot of the executives on a first-name basis.

An example is Karen Tankersley. She retired a few months but others have filled in her absence. One such a person is a young Nisei named Mr. Shuta.

When I recently dropped my checkbook somewhere, I immediately had to close my account and open a new one. Mr. Shuta handled all the red tape I encountered and had everything renewed with the snap of a finger.

Where else but at Union Bank could I have experienced such action, I thought to myself.

So, I thank them and congratulate them for being the Diamond Sponsors of the veterans’ dinner.

Another sign of the times?

We received an invitation to a birthday party slated for this Saturday.

In the old days, when we attended birthday parties, it was for younger people adding on another year.

This week’s gathering is for an older Nisei who will be somewhere in the 80s, and guess what? When attending a birthday party for someone in that age bracket, the question that pops in my mind is, “What would be an appropriate birthday gift?”

That may sound a little silly, but I found it difficult to find an answer.

Yeah, I thought to myself, maybe I’ll just toss a few greenbacks in an envelope and that would be that. But I always felt that a birthday gift had to have a little more meaning to it than just a dollar-and-cents value.

No, I won’t reveal what I finally decided on.

If I sound a little more goofy than usual today, I have to blame it on one of our cats.

She keeps jumping on my desk and walking across the keyboard of my PC, forcing me to retype something I had already pounded out and she stomped out with her paws.

If it were daytime, I’d toss her outside, but at night, we try to keep all three of the kittens indoors.

Hey, maybe someone is looking for a pet cat.

(Maggie’s comment:  Now, now, Mr. Y., you don’t want to get rid of one of your “daughters”. You have to discipline cats just like you do children. My advice to you is whenever she jumps on your desk, GENTLY swat her “behind” with a rolled-up newspaper before she gets a chance to walk across the keyboard. Keep doing this every time she jumps on your desk and she will learn not to jump on your desk.)

Here are some laughers taken from the 1972 Reader’s Digest, “Anecdotes for all Occasions.”

From Page 12 and 13 under “This Sporting Life”:

• Golf: A game where the ball always lies poorly and the player well.

• A certain preacher was chagrined by the fact that one of his friends and golfing companions invariably beat him. His companion, an older man, said, “Don’t take it too hard. You win in the end. You’ll probably be burying me one of these days.”

“I know,” said the preacher, “but even then it will be your hole.”

• A reluctant husband found himself drafted as a fourth at bridge, but managed to extricate himself rather swiftly by looking at his hand and muttering, “Let’s see, what have I got here? A ten of valentines, an A of clovers, a nine of arrowheads and a …”

• A bridge expert was being harassed by questions from a novice player. “And do tell me, sir, how would you have played the hand, under the same circumstances?”

“Under an assumed name, Madam,” replied the expert.

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



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