HORSE’S MOUTH: A Prank Invitation?

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Published in The Rafu Shimpo on Dec. 15, 2012

Although I’ve been pounding out my column for a lot of years, I’ve never been asked to be interviewed about my lengthy career.

Well, much to my surprise, I received such an invitation this past week.

Usually, I wouldn’t even mention something like this, but since the invitation was from a Nisei reporter on a major TV news network, I thought I would toss it in, especially since the newsman is so well-known in the JA community.

I am referring to David Ono.

Needless to say, I immediately accepted his invitation.

Well, this is where the situation got a little messy.

After I emailed my acceptance, I checked my computer for his reply.

Those of you who own computers are familiar with what I am going to mention.

There was a “delivery status notification” from the postmaster that read: “This is an automatically generated status notification. This is a warning message. You do not have to resend the message. Delivery to the following recipient has been delayed: [email protected]

I assumed that my acceptance message was never delivered, so perhaps the original message to me was someone’s prank.

I guess I should have assumed that because why would someone of Ono’s stature want to interview me?

Heck, the TV network that employs Ono sent him to cover the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Also he was dispatched to Europe to cover a news event there.

So why would he want to interview someone like me, especially since the newsman is so well-known in the JA community?

Oh well, let me get on with today’s column.

Today’s column can’t start rolling without chatting about Stanley N. Kanzaki, who devoted his entire column in the Wednesday edition of The Rafu to a column that I wrote back in September.

I’m not sure whether I should say, “Thank you, Stanley,” for his reference to my column.

Over my many years with Shin Nichi Bei, Kashu Mainichi and The Rafu, I don’t recall another writer ever devoting his entire column to something I wrote.

Oh well, maybe I should take the advice of one of my sons.

He said, “If you are having a tough time finding something to fill your column with, why don’t you reprint Kanzaki’s column?”

As I usually say on something like this, heh, heh.

I’ll also toss in a short note sent to me by reader Bob Miyatake. He wrote:

“A quick note to let you know that a neighbor couple is boarding the Megabus that you wrote about at the Union Station tomorrow morning (Dec. 9). The actual cost is $4.50 for the two. (You mentioned one dollar per person.) They signed up at Megabus .com, I was told.”

Thanks, Bob. I will double-check on the ticket price since I did quote the $1 figure I was given.

Heck, $4.50 for two isn’t that bad. That means the round trip is only 9 bucks.

Another short note from George Wakiji, whose contributions to my column sure help me out.

He sent this to me because he said he hasn’t seen it anywhere.

His note read: “Casey Tanaka won the election as mayor of Coronado. He is from Hawaii but moved to Coronado. He graduated from Coronado High School and then attended UC San Diego. He taught at Coronado High School as well as serving as mayor of the city.”

Thanks, George. I don’t recall if The Rafu reported his winning the mayor’s seat.

Here’s something that might make you say, “Ugh,” or “Wow,” or “That’s great.”

It all depends on whether or not you might want to smell like sushi.

A Long Island, New York-based company that produces a product with the scent of turpentine recently announced a new scent. The fragrance has the smell of sushi.

According to the company, it smells like just-cooked rice and seaweed.

I’m not sure just what cooked rice and seaweed smells like, and I don’t know if I would want to be riding in a crowded elevator next to someone smelling like sushi.

I wasn’t aware of it, but zip codes are used to rank the most expensive homes in the nation.

Needless to say, Gardena isn’t anywhere close to being in the top ten. Gardena’s zip code is 90247. That’s less than 50 miles away from the sixth-most expensive city. That would be Beverly Hills, whose zip code is 90210. Rounding out the top ten is 90077, where Bel Air is located.

The No. 1 spot is 07620 in Alpine, New Jersey.

How many of you know where the No. 2 spot (94957) is located? That would be Ross, California.

Other most-expensive cities in California include Atherton (94027) in fifth place and Rancho Santa Fe (93108) in seventh.

Thought some of you would find the foregoing interesting.

Well, I know a dozen Nisei who live in the top ten richest cities in California.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, we know we all drive and, of course, we often are caught up in traffic jams.

But what about some of the other annoying things about L.A. driving?

Well, according to a survey, besides traffic, 26 percent say getting lost.

Then comes backseat driving at 22 percent, and last at 15 percent, frequent restroom stops.

Okay, stop the car. I have to go shi-shi.

Yeah, I can never write a column without mentioning Las Vegas at least once.

According to the latest survey, Las Vegas is No. 1 in the world as far as tourist destinations are concerned.

Chicago ranks No. 2. A bit of a surprise for me.

The eight other top-ten cities are London, New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Dubai, New Orleans and Hong Kong.

Nope. Los Angeles wasn’t ranked, and neither was Tokyo.

I don’t think I mentioned it before, but if I asked what country in the world has the greatest demand for ramen, I’m sure 100 percent would say Japan.

Sorry, you’d be wrong.

The No. 1 country is China, which consumes 19.1 billion ramen meals annually.

In second place is Indonesia, followed by Japan, Korea and the U.S.

The first ramen shop to open outside of Japan was (hold on to your hat) Sapporo Ramen in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles in 1971.

Three years later, Donsanko opened in New York City.

In the near future stature,will be promoted in Mexico.

Slurp, slurp. Muchas gracias.

Haven’t established a date yet for the planned “Wartime Residents of Santa Anita” reunion, but I’m aiming for a Sunday in March.

While many will be repeat attendees, quite a few will be first-timers at the event to be held at the famed race track that housed almost 20,000 evacuees.

I saw this photo and decided to see how many will recognize it.

No, it’s not Santa Anita.

If anyone can get it right, it probably would be English Editor Gwen, who has attended the past reunions.

Am I right, Gwen? I’ll buy you a $10 win ticket on the reunion race because I know you’ve attended the past get-together.

And, if you win, you can buy me a hotdog.

Well since we chatted about horse racing, I am learning how many JA owners there are in the sport.

At the current Hollywood Park meeting, I’ve counted five JA-owned horses.

The thing I am curious about is that so far, none of the JA owners have given their mount to Corey Nakatani. Corey doesn’t get too many mounts, but has five wins so far at the current meet.

Man, if I owned a horse, I would give every mount to Corey.

He’s as good or better than 50 percent of the jockeys. Maybe he should go to Japan and ride over there. At least the on-track announcer would have an easy time pronouncing his name.

Christmas is less than two weeks away and I noticed that a lot has changed regarding the celebration of the annual holiday.

One custom that seems to have changed is the exchanging of greeting  cards. Many seem to have curbed this practice.

One Nisei friend laughed as he told me about sending out his Christmas cards. “Man,” he chuckled, “it cost more to buy postage for mailing than buying the cards.”

I guess I never thought about it that way.

Oh well.

In a recent column I mentioned that I uncovered a file holding copies of The Heart Mountain Sentinel, the relocation camp newspaper. I was on the staff and wrote a column in the weekly publication.

Well, I don’t know how a copy of The Los Angeles Times got mixed up in my camp newspaper collection, but perhaps it was because in the June 5, 1982 edition, a letter that I wrote was published. So I thought, why not print it in my Rafu column 30 years later?

It’s entitled “Japanese Americans and Japanese Nationals.” Here it is:

“Judith W. Fujita takes a lot for granted in her letter (May 1, 1982) in which she touches on the subject of the Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals.

“Since she married a Japanese national, her views can be expected to be biased in favor of the nationals.

“It’s difficult for me to understand how can she feel that she has a better understanding of Japan and the Japanese than do the Nisei, especially when she makes remarks such as ‘The Japanese standard of living is no way equal to that in America.’

“Just what is the basis she uses to measure ‘standard of living’?

“I was employed as an executive in a Japanese firm in Tokyo for a period of three years and although my company was paying me ‘U.S. wages,’ the Japanese in the same company lived by a standard I found difficult to match.

“Because of my years in Japan, I doubt if she could say that she has a better understanding of Japan and the Japanese than I do.

“Mrs. Fujita says she has long been bothered by the attitude of the Nisei towards Japanese nationals.

“The opposite should be of more concern. The attitude of the Japanese nationals towards the Nisei is real, not imagined by people such as her.

“One of the most difficult adjustments I had to make while working for a Japanese firm was to accept the low opinion most Japanese have towards the Nisei. The Japanese consider the Nisei as second-class offspring of immigrants.

“Although my business card carried a lofty title after my name, I often felt like Rodney Dangerfield, getting little or no respect from the Japanese.

“If she doesn’t understand this phenomenon about attitudes, than she does not understand the Japanese nationals as well as she pretends to do.

“And I agree wholeheartedly with Mas Fukai’s appraisal of Japanese nationals, they do not have humility or sense of shame.

“Mrs. Fujita’s reasoning about ‘A Japanese is a Japanese’ reminds me of the famous statement made by an American general during World War II, ‘A Jap is a Jap.’”

Enuff said.

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

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