HORSE’S MOUTH: No Japanese Players in the World Series

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Well, Editor Gwen is back from her week-long sojourn to Hawaii.

I’ll be looking forward to reading about her trip to the Islands, which I am sure she’ll touch on with her column.

I wonder how many Spam musubi she consumed during her stay or if she changed into a swimsuit and basked in the sunshine on the beach at Waikiki.

Yes, I consume a lot of Spam musubi when I visit Hawaii and although I don‘t change into a swimsuit, I do sit on the sand at Waikiki, mostly gazing at young women walking by in their swimsuits. Ha, ha.

Since I wrote about Spam in a recent column, I expected a few responses to my comments.

Well, reader Ernest Ikuta sent me this one:

“I enjoyed your article about the history of Spam in the Saturday issue of The Rafu.

“During World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was in Europe with his troops and ate K-rations as his men did. One of the items in K-rations he consumed was Spam, which he ate at almost every meal. After some time, he grew tired of Spam, but had no choice other than to eat it.

“When the war ended and Gen. Eisenhower came back to the U.S., the first thing he did was to call the president of Hormel Corp., which manufactured Spam, and he told him that he should take a can of Spam and shove it (where the sun doesn’t shine).”

As always, I can’t verify the accuracy of the letter from Ernest. I’m sure he got it from a good source.

Thanks for your letter, Ernest. I got a good laugh reading it and I’m sure a lot of readers will say the same thing.

Speaking of food, in recent years when my wife and I dine out, we usually go to a buffet-style restaurant.

I really prefer it over restaurants where one has only the menu from which to pick what to order.

At buffet restaurants, there are so many variations of food that one can not only select the type but also the amount of food one can pile on the plate.

There are a lot of buffet-style eateries in the L.A. area (including Japanese-style foods), but my favorite is Grand World Buffet in Torrance, located on the corner of Western Avenue and Carson Street.

Grand World has a mixture of cuisines as its name suggests, including Chinese, Japanese and Korean. They even serve sushi.

Being a soup lover, I also favor their soup section, which features five different types of soup, including miso soup.

The patrons are a mixture, but I see a lot of Japanese Americans dining there.

Of course, the tab is a little high, but what the heck, when I can enjoy the food so much, who cares about the tab?

I guess I became attached to buffet-style eateries from the days I used to patronize Clinton’s Cafeteria, which used to operate on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles.

It was a bit of a walk, but I used to go there frequently from Little Tokyo and the price was really fitted to my nearly empty pockets.

Ah, memories….

Another thought on buffet-style eateries.

Someone sent me two “letters to the editor” about the custom of tipping when dining out.

One letter-writer said:

“What do I tip when eating at a buffet-style eatery where the server takes drink orders (including water) but does nothing else? What about a Japanese restaurant where the server takes the orders and serves the meal, but the sushi chef prepares the food?

“Our favorite Japanese place has a tip jar at the sushi bar. I feel a tip should be left for both the server and the chef, but I don’t know to divide it. I was told that the sushi chef keeps their tips and the others are split.”

According to buffet etiquette experts, a 10 percent tip is the correct amount because the server takes drink orders and clears the table as her only chore.

If one is at a sushi bar and the food is served directly to the patrons, tip the chef for the food and the server for the drinks.

The jar, whether it is at the sushi bar or the coffee shop, does not obligate one to leave a tip.

Of course, if you are a regular customer, this does not apply to you.

At the Grand Buffet, one of the servers who brings us our water also brings us hot tea even if we didn’t order it because it is charged on top of the food we dine on.

Tea is charged separately, so when the server brings us a pot without our ordering it, I leave her a tip. If the others don’t we leave nothing, which seems to be the case at all the other tables I observe when the patrons leave. They don’t leave anything.

Oh yeah, the Soup Plantation is a buffet-style restaurant but they don’t even have servers. When we pay our bill before going to our table, the cashier just hands us glasses that are light green in color and we have to fill our own glasses with water.

For those who order drinks when paying their checks, the cashier hands them clear glasses.

The patrons have to go get their own drinks, and if they have the clear glasses, they can pour juice and soft drinks (for which they were charged) and go to their tables.

If one with a light green glass goes to the dispensers and pours juice or soda, it is highly visible, so he will be approached by an employee and asked for the extra money due.

Don’t kid yourself — a lot of patrons try to get away with this practice.

I get a chuckle when they get caught.

Oh well.

The other day, one of my sons who is so busy he never visits our house dropped in and the first thing he said was, “Gee, Dad, you’re getting fat.”

I pretended not to care about his statement, but after he left I ran into our bathroom, took off my shirt and looked in the mirror.

By golly, he was right. I’m beginning to look like Santa Claus and it’s only October on the calendar.

Well, maybe I’m not alone.

According to a recent survey in the U.S., obesity is on the rise in the U.S. and by the year 2030, 50 percent of the population will be obese or just plain “fat.”

Well, we aging Nisei won’t have to worry about 2030. If we survive that long, we’d all be about 120 years old.

Heh, heh.

So, I’ll just keep eating as I have been for most of my life and if I end up looking like a sumo wrestler, people can change my name from Horse to Umanoyama (good sumo name).

I guess it’s natural that when I make a comment in my column, I should expect a response to it.

Well, in my last column I ran a photo of the Nisei Trading-sponsored basketball team at a dinner with sponsor Henry Murayama.

I did so because Henry passed away last week and he was heavily involved in sponsoring sports teams.

Also I mentioned that Nisei Trading’s Double Aye league champions had some of the best Nisei players in the postwar era on its roster.

This brought several inquires about the great cagers of the postwar NAU era.

The inquirers wanted to know who the top Nisei players were in my book, so I thought I would name my all-time postwar team. That would be the era during which I was heavily involved in NAU basketball, not the current generation, which I am sure produced some great talent.

Here’s my postwar team. Forward: Jim Miyano and Tets Tanimoto; center: Dick Nagai; guards: Kaz Shinzato and Herb Isono.

Yeah, I know. I’ll probably get a response with names of other top players.

Everyone is entitled to send me their top players of the era.

Even if you are not that concerned about the coming election, I guess I can say I’m getting to that point, too.

With all the pros and cons about the numerous propositions on the ballot and the “junk” flyers on candidates running for local and statewide offices, I can see why the candidates have to raise so much money to seek election.

I don’t pay much attention because a campaign flyer for say, Assembly candidate Al Muratsuchi will have printed on it “Paid for by Muratsuchi for Assembly Committee.”

Ditto for his rival, Craig Huey.

However, this past week I received a flyer in which Huey was ripped up.

It wasn’t just a thing sheet of paper but an expensive flyer printed in color on glossy and, needless to say, costly paper.

It had statements like “Craig Huey’s extremist views are comical,” and “Craig Huey wants to bring back the bad ol’ days.”

So, I looked at each page of the flyer to see who paid to produce this expensive brochure.

On the final page, in small print that nobody would even see unless (like me) they wanted to know who paid for it, it did ID the group that paid for it. It also included this statement: “Not authorized by a candidate or committee controlled by the candidate.”

When I read that, all I could say was, “Huh?????”

Oh well, let’s forget about politics.

I’m essentially a columnist and not a news reporter, but I still keep my eyes open for news items, especially those about a Japanese American who might be overlooked that readers might be interested in reading about.

When I do read such an item, I always wait to see if the Rafu editorial section “catches it.” If not, as a newsman at heart, I toss it in my column.

I guess such a story is one about a Newport Beach Nisei named George Osumi, who is facing six felony charges related to the stealing of collectable table wine valued at $2.7 million.

Osumi operates Legend Cellars, Inc. and is accused of breaking into lockers replacing good wines with cheaper ones.

He is being held on $4 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned in Orange County Superior Court.

Well, I guess we won’t be seeing a Japanese player in the World Series this year.

With the New York Yankees in the playoffs I thought they would be one of the teams in the series, but they were wiped out by Detroit. So, no Hiroki Kuroda or Ichiro Suzuki on our TV screen.

Kuroda was set to go back to Japan to wind up his career when the Dodgers didn’t offer him a contract for this past season, but the Yankees offered him $10 million, so he decided to stay in the U.S.

Gosh, the Dodgers couldn’t offer him $10 million when they needed pitching and instead poured out $200 million to bring in a bunch of players who didn’t do anything to help the locals to the post-season.

Oh well, I’m still rooting for the San Francisco Giants. They beat the Cardinals Sunday night to keep their hopes alive.

By the time this column appears in print (Tuesday’s edition of The Rafu), you’ll know what I’ll be doing the rest of the week.

Oh well, kind of short, but I’m winding it up with this laugher:

A couple goes for a meal at a Chinese restaurant. (No, not Far East Café.)

They order the “Chicken Surprise.” The waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded cast-iron pot.

Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises slightly and she briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around before the lid slams back down.

“Good grief, did you see that?” she asks her husband.

He didn’t, so she asks him to look in the pot.

He reaches for it and again the lid rises and he sees two little eyes looking around before it slams down.

Rather perturbed, he calls the waiter over, explains what is happening and demands an explanation.

“Please sir,” the waiter says, “what you order?”

The husband replies, “Chicken Surprise.”

“Ah, so sorry,” says the waiter. “I bring you Peeking Duck.”

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

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