HORSE’S MOUTH: Keep Hitting ‘Em, Kurt

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

As is the custom at our house, we were glued to the TV set watching the Dodgers play. It’s hard to imagine that the season is only a few days from being over.

So what will we be doing when there are no more games on the tube?

Of course, as I write this, the season still has a slim chance of continuing.

Saturday when the Washington Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals, it kept our hopes for a Dodgers play-off alive even though the hope was very slim.

So why am I even chatting about this?

Well, when the Nationals beat the Cards, the Dodgers’ announcer said, “Kurt Suzuki of the Nationals just hit with two men on base to lead them to a victory.”

When my wife heard Vin Scully make the statement, she jumped up and danced around the living room.

Not only because of the Dodgers’ chances being kept alive but because Suzuki was born and raised on Maui and graduated from Baldwin High School, which is the school she graduated from.

Of course, Suzuki wasn’t even born when my wife graduated from Baldwin.

Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have made that statement because that makes it sound like she’s very old.

Naw, she’ll probably say, “Hey, you’re older than me, which makes you an even older ‘onara.’” (Japanese for you-know-what.)

Okay, let me get on with my column.

I know that it may sound like I’m always chatting about getting letters and email from readers. I guess I do from time to time.

The reason is simple. It helps me fill the space allotted to me by the editorial staff, and included in the mail I receive are numerous invitations to events being held in the Japanese American community.

Not because I’m such a popular person. It’s because the sponsors want media coverage of their events, and inviting a media person might result in such coverage.

However, when I do get invitations, I check to see if anyone else from The Rafu has been invited, and if I find that there will be a member of the editorial staff attending, I usually pass on the invite.

Why am I even chatting about this?

Well, here is an example:

The other day I received such an invitation to a dinner for my wife and me. I asked her if she wanted to attend and she said, “Yes.”

So I decided to accept the invitation and planned to send an email to say that we would be present. Since I had to write my column, I decided to send my acceptance the next day.

Well, after finishing my writing, I should have accepted.

That’s because the person inviting me followed up with another email, only a few hours after he sent it and said, “I have found two others who accepted my invite, so you’ve been scratched.”

Gee, only a few hours after he extended the invitation?

What’s this world coming to?

Oh well, I have a couple of comp tickets from a local restaurant. so I won’t go hungry next Saturday, the date of the dinner to which I was invited.

Speaking of restaurants, the popular Hawaiian eatery in Gardena has moved its location on Vermont Avenue to a new site on Western Avenue, the former site of the Sizzler, which closed its doors about eight months ago.

Yup, I even received a letter on the new site from a reader, Martha Nakagawa, who wrote:

“Hi, Horse, just wanted to let you know that Bob’s Hawaiian Restaurant has moved to 15926 S. Western Ave., the old Gardena Sizzler spot.

“Now the new site has plenty of parking in the back of the restaurant so folks don’t have to go around and around the block for a parking space.

“They’re still remodeling the new site, but they kept the salad bar and will soon be offering fresh salad and soups. It’s also nice that the entertainment is in one room and feels more intimate. You ought to invite your celebrity friend Poncie Ponce for a night out. Their hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“Since I’ve been a Bob’s customer for so many years I was glad to hear that they moved to Western Avenue, which is almost walking distance from my house.

“I guess I’ll be dining there more frequently since their new site is so close to where I live.

“All of you who like Hawaiian food and have never dined at Bob’s ought to give it a try.

“The prices on the various dishes are reasonable.”

I want to thank Martha for the info in her letter.

Speaking of Hawaii, University of Hawaii economists predicts that tourism to the Islands will grow 2.4 percent by next year.

The tourism industry is on a tear, posting an impressive rate of growth. More and more tourists from Canada and Australia are adding to the growth.

Travelers from China and Korea are also adding to the growth. Both countries haven’t sent so many tourists to Hawaii in the past.

Perhaps the drop of Japanese tourists is the reason for more Chinese and Koreans.

Economists estimate that visitor arrivals will grow 3 percent more in 2013.

Aloooha.

Readers of my column such as Yas Saito keep me inspired, something I need to keep me going. Yas wrote:

“Yoshinaga-san. I want to assure you that without your column in The Rafu, I would probably not be so eager to read the publication. Your experiences relating to so many areas truly amaze me. I disagree with your stance on many topics, but such is life. I’m a couple of years younger than you and served in the Army but not in conflict.

“Got my basic training at Schofield Barracks in 1945 and utilized my GI Bill at the University of Hawaii for my BA degree. Also served during the Korean War as an officer-instructor in field artillery at the Army Field Artillery School in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

“Then I used my Korean GI Bill at UCLA for my MBA. Met George Wakiji, Dr. Jack Fujimoto, Pachy and others as we ate lunch on campus. Those were the days. John Wooden was coaching but before his successes starting in the middle ’50s at the men’s gym.

“I thought I would give you a glimpse of a reader who agrees, disagrees and sends you some of your laughers and then waits in anticipation to read your column.”

Thanks, Yas. It’s readers such as yourself who keep me hammering away on my computer, composing my column.

Like all Rafu subscribers, I get my copy via the U.S. Post Office.

I know that I frequently get letters from subscribers who live in other states who get their copies through the mail often a week or more late.

I can appreciate how they feel because I live in Gardena and my copies are often late, too. No, not weeks or months, but sometimes three or four days.

The reason I am mentioning this is that this past week I only received the Tuesday edition (in which my column appears) and no Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Fortunately, they sell Rafu at several outlets in Gardena, including Marukai Supermarket, so I go down and buy the copies.

What gave me a chuckle the other day was the young lady selling The Rafu. She looked at me and asked, “Say, aren’t you one of the writers from the paper?”

Not wanting to create a scene, I said, “No, you must have me mistaken for someone else,” and I let it go at that.

What’s in a name?

The following letter from Mickey (Michiko) Washlow clears up the use of her name in The Rafu.

I don’t know why she sent her missive to me and not the editorial staff.  She wrote:

“A close friend of mine, Mr. Ken MacFillivray, submitted an article regarding my achievement as a senior, which appeared in the Sept. 11, 2012 Rafu Shimpo. You mentioned my name, Mickey Washlow, an Anglo name. I would like to mention that my real name is Michiko and Mickey is a nickname.

“I was born in Seattle and my full name was Michiko Murayama. But I married a Caucasian man (English/Irish ethnic background) … I am now widowed. I hope this clears up the confusion as to what my ethnic background is. I am a Nisei.

“Incidentally, you have previously mentioned Hachiko at Shibuya Station in Tokyo. As a teenager, I was in Japan before the war, and am well-acquainted in that area. I used to take the Teito Line out of Shibuya to go to Inokashira, which connects to the Chuo Line.”

Thanks for your letter, Michiko. I guess you have had to explain your name on many occasions, being a Nisei with the name Washlow.

Your mentioning Hachiko and Shibuya Station as rekindling a lot of memories also does the same for me.

I lived in Shibuya from 1963 through 1965 about three blocks from Shibuya Station, so I passed by Hachiko every day en route to work.

Needless to say, my fellow workers at the office where I was employed always related the Hachiko story because they considered me to be a “gaijin” with no knowledge of things Japanese, including Hachiko.

I guess that’s enuf said on the subject.

A couple of years ago (I think) before all the news of Nisei veterans being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, I ran a photo in my column posing with my sister and my mother, with whom I shared a barrack room at Heart Mountain.

It was taken on the day I left the Wyoming camp to prepare for being shipped overseas.

A friend who owned a camera came by to snap the photo.

I am curious if there were any other Nisei who traveled to the relocation centers to visit their families before going off to war.

I still have the photo displayed on our living room wall because while I was overseas, my mother passed away, so the picture has a special meaning to me.

I was 22 when the photo was shot and my sister, 23. My mother was 65.

The sign attached to the barrack was our “address” in camp, Block 24, Unit 10, Room A.

No, I don’t remember getting any “outside” mail at 24-10-A while I spent a year at Heart Mountain, except from the U.S. Army. Heh, heh.

Chuckle over this one, entitled “The Hotel Bill.”

A lady decided to give herself a big treat for her 85th birthday by staying overnight in an expensive hotel.

When she checked out the next morning, the desk clerk handled her a bill for $450.

She exploded and demanded to know why the charge was so high. “It’s a nice hotel, but the rooms certainly aren’t worth $450 just for an overnight stay. I didn’t even have breakfast.”

The clerk told her that $450 is the standard rate, so she insisted on talking to the manager.

The manager appeared and, forewarned by the desk clerk, informed the woman, “This hotel has an Olympic-size pool and a huge conference center that are available for use.”

“But I didn’t use them,” she said.

“Well, they are here and you could have,” explained the manager.

He then went on to explain that she could also have seen one of the in-hotel shows for which the hotel is famous. “We have the best entertainers from the world over performing here,” the manager said.

“But I didn’t go to any of the shows,” she said.

“Well, we have them and you could have,” the manager replied.

No matter what amenity the manager mentioned, she replied, “But I didn’t use it!” and the manager countered with his standard response.

After several minutes’ discussion with the manager unmoved, she decided to pay, wrote a check and gave it to him.

The manager was surprised when he looked at the check. “But madam, this check is only for $50.”

“That’s correct. I charged you $400 for sleeping with me,” she replied.

“But I didn’t,” exclaimed the very surprised manager.

“Well, too bad. I was here and you could have.”

Don’t mess with senior citizens.

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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