HORSE’S MOUTH: Living in Tokyo Is Expensive

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Since I was a “yes-yes” respondent to the loyalty questionnaire while we were in Heart Mountain, I decided to attend the “no-no” forum held this past Saturday in Torrance.

I thought I might hear and learn something that I might not have known about why the “no-no” respondents did sign the questionnaire the way they did.

Did I learn anything new? No-no.

Was the program interesting? No-no.

Was I glad I attended the forum? No-no.

Was I glad to get home in time to watch the World Series? Yes-yes.

Enuff said.

I recently came across a survey result conducted in the good old USA.

The survey asked Americans what social class they belonged to.

Well, 89 percent said they were middle class. Only 2 percent said they belonged to the upper class, 7 percent said lower class and 2 percent didn’t know.

I wonder how Japanese Americans would respond to the question.

I would guess that like the rest of Americans, JAs would rate themselves in the middle class.

I guess I would rank myself in the “don’t know” category.

However, I think that more than 2 percent would say they are in the upper class.

I’m not sure what figures were used to determine what class level people belonged to.

Maybe I should take my own poll to get some kind of results to the question.

Shortly after the 2012 Nisei Week Queen was crowned, I made a few comments on the selection of the winner of the tiara, which made me curious about the criteria for selecting the winner over the other contestants.

Well, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Queen Committee just announced that nominations are open for their 2013 event.

The Northern California event was fashioned after Nisei Week, especially in the selection of the queen. That was 45 years ago and they haven’t changed their selection process.

Nisei Week did. They used to have an “open door” as far as contestants were concerned, but in recent times, the process was changed.

Now, a contestant has to have a sponsor to become a candidate and the field is limited.

I think the old system created more interest in the J-Town community.

For Cherry Blossom Queen, among the qualifying rules are:

Candidates must be at least 18 years old but not more than 25 as of April 13, 2013.

Must be single and not previously married.

Be at least 50 percent Japanese ethnicity.

Be a U.S. citizen having lived in Northern California for at least three years.

Submit an essay of no more than 500 words in English explaining “Why I desire to represent the Japanese American community as the Cherry Blossom Queen.”

To my knowledge, I don’t think our Nisei Week Queen candidates have to meet these qualifications.

If I’m wrong, maybe someone on the Queen Committee can correct me.

It’s Sunday today as I write this column, and I’m trying my best to finish before 5 o’clock because I want to watch the World Series. I’m rooting for the San Francisco Giants, who as of this writing need one more win to claim the world title.

Well, maybe the U.S. title.

Teams in Japan are playing for the national championship, and guess who’s leading their series? The Tokyo Giants.

Wouldn’t it be great if the S.F. Giants win and then someone arranges a series between them and the Tokyo Giants?

Couldn’t we name the winner of such a series the true world champs?

I sure hope the S.F. Giants can win our World Series. It will happen if they win one more of the remaining four games.

My niece has been a diehard S.F. Giants fan for so many years. She sent me an email saying the entire Bay Area was going wild, so I can imagine what it will be like if the Giants bring home the title. Even without a win, traffic in downtown San Francisco is bad enough.

But, as they often say, “It isn’t over ’til it’s over.”

As I frequently mention, I grew up on a farm my Issei parents operated. They grew strawberries, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, raspberries, apricots and apples.

So when I bought my house in Gardena over 50 years ago, I wanted a place with a large backyard so I could grow a few vegetables.

Well, my wife was born and raised on the island of Maui, so she wanted a backyard “farm.”

However, her idea of a farm was far different than mine, so I let her operate our backyard “farm.”

Pictured here are a couple of her products.

For one, she planted pineapples. Yup, can you imagine pineapple plants growing in Gardena? The  photo on the left shows one of her plants with a pineapple ready to be picked.

The other two plants with a “Hawaiian flavor” are pomegranate (photo on the right) and macadamia nut tree (no photo).

My contributions to our “farm” are orange, apple and grape trees along with tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and eggplants.

Hey, maybe I should put my computer in storage and return to farming.

Don’t everyone agree at once.

A reader (who wants to remain anonymous) seeks some help from other readers. Here is her letter:

“The generation before we Nisei made omochi with anko filling with yomogi in the omochi. I have been looking for someone or a nursery that has the yomogi plant.

“No luck so far. I am told that it spreads like weeds and has pointed leaves. Can you possibly ask in your column if anyone has yomogi, the plant, not the powder or granules?

“Would prefer someone in the South Bay area so I won’t have to travel too far. Any help you or your readers can give me will be very much appreciated. Keep writing your column. My husband and I really enjoy your writing.”

Well, I don’t know a thing about yomogi but I’m sure there are some folks out there in readerland who might provide the information you are seeking. Will email any information to you if I get any responses.

And, thank you for your readership.

Anyone who has visited Tokyo either on pleasure or business knows that it’s not cheap to eat in a restaurant in the Japanese capital.

There have been rumors that things are coming down in price.

Nope. According to a recent survey, Tokyo is still the world’s most expensive city to dine out.

The survey covered 72 cities in 58 countries.

The survey also reported that Tokyo is also among the three most expensive cities in general merchandise and services.

Tokyo is 75.8 percent higher than Delhi, the cheapest city.

Tokyo residents also pay the highest monthly smartphone bills among seven major global cities.

Surprisingly, Seoul, Korea, has the lowest phone bills.

Well, maybe all this doesn’t bother the Japanese.

They still lead the world in centenarian population (those living over the age of 100), topping 50,000.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry shows that centenarians number 51,375, up 3.620 from the previous year and the 42nd consecutive year of increase.

The oldest person in Japan is 115-year-old Jiromon Kimura from Kyoto Prefecture. He was born April 19, 1897. The oldest woman is 114-year-old Koto Okubo of Kawasaki. She was born Dec. 24, 1897.

Oh yeah, talking about the high cost of eating out in Tokyo, ordering take-out sushi in New York City can’t be scoffed at where price is concerned. A take-out box of sushi for two persons costs $59 each. Wow!

I buy my take-out sushi, a box good enough for three people (my wife, son and me), which costs less than $10, at Sakae Sushi, and I don’t have to tell you how popular Sakae Sushi is with the Japanese American community.

It’s not only the prices that make Sakae Sushi so popular. They make tremendously tasty sushi of all types.

Their box of sushi has different varieties, so it fits the taste of everyone.

Yeah, I know Gardena (the site of Sakae Sushi) isn’t New York City, but I’ll bet those who pay $59 for sushi for two people in New York City couldn’t top Sakae.

Laugh time.

Too funny not to share. Sometimes it does take a rocket scientist.

Scientists at NASA built a gun specifically to launch standard four-pound dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle, all traveling at maximum velocity. The idea is to simulate the frequent collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of windshields.

British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high-speed trains. Arrangements were made and a gun was sent to the British engineers.

When the gun was fired, the engineers were shocked as the chicken hurtled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped the engineer’s backrest in two, and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin, like an arrow shot from a bow.

The horrified Brits sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the design of the windshield, and begged the U.S. scientists for suggestions.

NASA responded with a one-line memo: “Defrost the chicken.”

True story.

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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1 Comment

  1. Horse, as usual, is irresponsible in saying the story about NASA and the frozen chicken is true. See: http://www.snopes.com/science/cannon.asp

    If it was just a laugher, fine, but to label it true is a disservice since so many of his readers are so gullible.

    More important issues are just as unbelievable.

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