HORSE’S MOUTH: About the Coming Election

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

With the election drawing closer and closer, I guess we are all caught up in who will win the presidency next month. Needless to say, Obama is the favorite. Ugh.

As far as the JA community is concerned, the furor over Romney’s alleged comment on the evacuation of the JAs and their internment in relocation camps continues, if the numerous emails I have received are any indication.

I’ll publish a letter from reader Robert Wada and then put a cap on the situation. Here is what Robert wrote:

“Here is my follow-up to my prior email on the so-called Romney comment about the Japanese American internment camps and that he supposedly said no apology is necessary. Not true, according to a very reliable source and my own ‘BW Snoops’ truth research service.

“I believe there is a different out-of-context meaning in his comments. I don’t want anyone to change their voting for Romney just because of this nonsense.

“Even though I was in camp (I don’t know if you were too), I really don’t think Romney’s comments were offensive enough to my wanting to change my vote and retain a Muslim as our president. He has a track record of destroying our patriotic and religious values throughout the United States.

“He is banning the wearing of U.S. flag lapel pins and never wears one himself. No Bibles are allowed in military hospitals. It is deemed offensive to Muslims.

“While Hillary Clinton is standing next to him and has her hand over her heart and a military general salutes during the playing of the national anthem, he won’t even hold his hand over his heart. That is more offensive to me than what Romney said about something that happened 70 years ago. This is a new world we and our children live in.

“The way things are going now, the nation could even eventually replace the Bible with the Koran. Something to think about come the election.”

Thanks for your words and thoughts, Robert. You helped clear my thoughts on the issue you touched on.

Oh, by the way, I’m kind of surprised why you wondered if I was ever in camp.

I frequently mention things about Heart Mountain, where I spent a little over a year before joining Uncle Sam’s Army and moving to another “camp,” a military training camp at Camp Blanding, Florida.

Since I frequently attend Japanese American community events, mostly as a media person, and write about the experience, I have been cutting back the number that I attend due to getting to be an “oji-san” (old man).

Take this Saturday, for example.

I had three invitations and had to decide which one I would accept. In this case, I decided to go to the Terminal Islanders’ reunion.

Maybe it’s kind of an irony, but because I was born and raised in Northern California, I never knew or heard of Terminal Island until the evacuation brought me to the Santa Anita Assembly Center and to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. When I joined the Army, there were two Nisei in our company who were former Terminal Islanders.

When they told me their stories about evacuation, I felt Terminal Islanders suffered a lot more than most of the other JAs who were evacuated.

When the war ended and we returned as ex-GIs, I decided to settle in the Los Angeles area and renewed my friendship with the Terminal Islanders I trained with in the military.

So, I’ll be spending Saturday with those whom I can now refer to as “friends.”

Those who follow the controversy now hanging over the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department know that the media have asked Sheriff Lee Baca if the undersheriff (second in command at the LACSD), Paul Tanaka, might be fired over the issue now facing his department.

Seems to me that they are using Paul as a scapegoat.

If the situation at the Sheriff’s Department is in such a bad condition, shouldn’t the head man (Baca) be held responsible?

Why his second in command, Tanaka?

Paul has worked his way up from a low-ranking deputy to the second-highest spot in the department, so why is he being criticized for what’s happening now?

His accomplishments overshadow the current controversy.

I hope the local media bring up this matter properly.

I’m not saying this because Tanaka is someone I know personally. He’s been mayor of Gardena, and the city is one of the most efficiently run cities in Southern California.

Here’ a tidbit of sporting news:

A former UCLA football player (2006) who attracted the attention of five NFL teams but was never drafted decided to try out in the Japanese pro league.

His name is Ken Craft. He lived in Riverside before he went to Japan to continue his gridiron career and he is now being touted as one of Japan’s pro football’s top quarterbacks.

In a recent game, he threw 59 passes and completed 49 for a total of 439 yards.

With stats like that, maybe NFL teams will give Craft another look.

Perhaps other U.S. college players who are overlooked by NFL clubs will consider going to Japan to continue their football careers.

I don’t know what kind of salary is paid to players in the Japan League, but I’m sure it’s not as much as a player in the NFL.

So, if we hear the name Ken Craft next year in the NFL, most will say, “Who he?”

My wife and I had lunch with Iku Kiriyama at King’s Hawaiian Restaurant in Torrance the other day.

It’s always a pleasure to get together with Iku, whom I met many years ago in Gardena. Because she is so well-educated and intelligent, we can chat about every subject and enjoy our conversation.

The one thing I learned at the luncheon is that Iku considers herself a Nisei and not a Sansei.

Her father was an Issei and her mother was a Nisei, but she feels more like a Nisei rather than a Sansei.

I’m sure there are a few JAs who have similar backgrounds as Iku.

Iku, whose full name is Ikuko, doesn’t have an Anglo name to go with her Japanese name as most Nisei do, but she still feels she is a Nisei.

So, she’s “Iku,” which in Japanese is “go.”

Needless to say, our conversation touched on the coming presidential election. She’s a Democrat and she knows I’m a Republican.

No, we didn’t argue abut the candidates we favor.

We did touch on the current controversy about the so-called remarks that were attributed to Romney on the JA evacuation and have now been proven to be untrue.

Okay, so I’ll go back to supporting the GOP candidate.

At any rate, I want to thank Iku for spending a couple of hours with me and my wife at the popular Hawaiian eatery.

I guess I wasn’t the only one wondering why the Dodgers didn’t pitch Kershaw in the Tuesday night game against the Giants.

It was a game they had to win to keep their hopes alive for a post-season slot.

Instead, they pitched Kershaw after losing to the Giants, which made the Wednesday game meaningless.

The curious thing is none of the local media ever brought up this question.

Oh well, in baseball the familiar saying is “Wait ’til next year.” That’s baseball. It’s always “Wait ’til next year.”

Well, at least my old favorites, the Giants, won the National League West title.

So, I’ll still have a team to watch in the post-season.

Oh, my gosh! I forget an important bit of information I learned during my lunch with Iku. That is, the age of the two presidential candidates.

How many of you know the age of Romney and Obama?

I know the majority of you will say, “Oh, Yoshinaga, where have you been?”

Okay, for those who don’t know, Romney is 65 and Obama is 51.

I now feel like an Issei. I have two sons who are older than our current president.

Imagine. The two presidential candidates weren’t even born when we were tossed into relocation camps.

No wonder Romney was accused of not knowing about the JA evacuation back in 1942.

Hey, maybe in 2016 my son can run for president. Heck, he passed the California bar and is a licensed lawyer.

Oh well, I know the Democrats will scream, “Man, you must have been standing in the sun too long.” With the temperature in Southern California, you may be right.

Maggie might enjoy this piece.

She probably read or heard about a family in the Los Angeles area who had their house searched by law enforcement officers who received complaints about a foul odor coming from a residence in their neighborhood. The officers found 26 cats in the house.

I mention Maggie because she owns one cat.

She knows I own three, and that’s two more than we ever expected to have running around our house.

I can’t even imagine what it would be to have 23 more cats than we now have “doing their thing” in rooms around the house.

As the Japanese might say, “Chotto kusai na.”

“Chotto?” Heck, make that “Zuibun kusai.”

No comments, please, Maggie.

(Maggie’s comment: No comment.)

Before I forget, I want to thank the people in the front office of The Rafu.

In a previous column I mentioned that I didn’t get a single copy of The Rafu for days and laughingly asked, “Was my complimentary subscription to the newspaper cut off?”

I asked the mailman about it and he said a number of JAs on his route complained about the same thing.

Guess what?

Today (Wednesday) I received a large envelope from The Rafu and three editions of last week’s newspapers were included.

It was a post office error, from what I guessed.

But again, I want to thank the front office for getting the delayed editions to me.

Hey, after 20-plus years of reading the newspaper, I feel lost if I don’t get my copy.

Time to laugh:

A local farmer loaded his prize Hereford bull into a trailer and hitched it behind his pickup. After his dog jumped into the back seat, he headed out along a narrow rural road.

As he topped the steep hill, he met another driver who crowded him so far to the side of the road that both the trailer and pickup slid off the shoulder and rolled over into a ditch.

The county sheriff happened by a few minutes later. After examining the bull, he found it in such poor condition that he drew his revolver and put the bull out of his misery.

He then checked on the dog and it was so bad off, he shot the dog, too.

He then walked up to the farmer, who was still wedged in behind the wheel of the pickup.

“How ya doing?” asked the sheriff.

The farmer looked at the smoking pistol and said, “I gotta tell you, Sheriff, I never felt better in my life.”

Another cop story: A policeman pulled over an elderly driver and said, “My gosh, man, don’t you realize your wife fell out of the back of the car three miles back?’

“Thanks be to God,” exclaimed the old man. “I thought I had gone deaf.”

Until next time …

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

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