HORSE’S MOUTH: A High Honor for Two Nisei Vets

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

The other day I posed the question, “Can anyone out there in readerland name the oldest Nisei?”

Well, Ken Inose provided the following: “Read your article on the oldest Nisei. My mother, Yoshiko Inose, was 104 when she passed away last week. Her obituary appeared in The Rafu Shimpo on Tuesday, June 18. She was born in Los Angeles in 1908. She might have been one of the oldest Nisei in Los Angeles.

Thanks Ken. No doubt at 104, she was the oldest.

Another response to something I wrote about.

Reader George Taniguchi asked me the question, “Since I have never heard of the town Zzyzx that you wrote about, how is the town pronounced?”

George lives in O’Fallon, Illinois, so I’m sure he’s never seen the sign on Highway 15 heading for Las Vegas.

Well, George, I guess I can’t provide an answer to your question, because although I have seen the sign on every drive to Vegas, I have never heard anyone say it out loud. But perhaps the next time I drive to Vegas, I’ll stop in Baker, just a few miles from Zzyzx, ask someone in that small town and get an answer to your query.

I don’t think I’ve seen the following story published anywhere, so I’ll toss it in here in case some of you might want to attend the event honoring Palos Verdes/Los Angeles resident Private First Class Takeo L. Kingi, who was a member of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Kingi will receive France’s highest honor, the French Legion of Honor, for his distinguished combat service in France during World War II. Also receiving the honor will be Private First Class Seiji Oshiro, also of the 442nd.

France’s insignia of Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Legion will be presented to the Nisei veterans by the consul general of France on June 27 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, located at 4783 W. 130th St. in Hawthorne.

Perhaps The Rafu’s photo editor Mario can lug his camera to the event.

Kingi was born on Jan. 18, 1925 in Pensacola, Fla. His Japan-born father, Inomata Kingi, joined the U.S. Navy in 1906 and served on five battleships as an officer and on shore duty for commandants at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.

The family moved to Los Angeles in 1928 and purchased a home in 1936.

Yeah, it’s time to toss in Vegas.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Japanese company involved in gaming in the gambling capital of the United States or the world.

But not only is there one, but the firm is going to double its operation in Vegas.

The name of the company is Konami Gaming, which has its headquarters in Tokyo.

It’s a slot machine manufacturing firm and will establish its new operation on a 12.33-acre site south of McCarran International Airport.

The project is expected to be completed in 2015.

So all of you who are slot machine fans may one day be playing slots made by the Japanese company.

Under its present operation, Konami employs more than 400 people. After the completion of the expanded operation, the number of workers is expected to expand.

Analysts view Konami as one of the gaming industry’s top five slot manufacturers.

Konami officials didn’t put a price tag on their construction project, which is one of the largest under way in Las Vegas.

Wow. A Japanese company making such an impact on my favorite city.

I want to pause a moment and thank the large number of readers who watched David Ono’s Channel 7 program on Heart Mountain and thought my performance wasn’t bad.

Is that like saying it wasn’t very good?

At any rate, another thank you that I forgot to toss in with my comments on the program.

That is, I forgot to thank Patti Hirahara, who made the arrangements with Ono to have me on the show.

So thanks a million, Patti. I appreciate your making it possible for me to make the appearance.

I guess I’d have a tough time pounding out two columns a week if I didn’t get contributions from readers.

As I age, I find I need suggestions and ideas from readers. A lot of the contributions refresh my aging mind.

For example, reader Tom Miyasaki wrote: “Hi, Horse, you wrote that you received your Army basic training at Camp Blanding in Florida and I believe it was toward the end of World War II. Would you tell me what months and year you were there? I ask because I was there in early ’45.”

Well Tom, when I was at Blanding I never thought I would forget what part of the year it was.

But as time passes, I’ll have to go into my Army duty history to get the exact time I was there training to be a replacement for GIs of the 442nd.

There were two battalions made up of Nisei GIs, mostly from relocation centers, training to join the 442nd as replacement soldiers.

It was in the year 1944.

After we finished basic training and prepared to ship out to Europe, 18 of us were pulled out and shipped to the Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC), so we were headed in another direction (Pacific Theater).

And as the oft-used statement notes, the rest is history.

The other night as I watched Hiroki Kuroda, the former Dodgers pitcher, playing against his old teammates, I always wondered why the local club traded him away.

Especially as he pitched the Yankees to a win over the Dodgers.

And I guess the Dodgers weren’t one of the Major League teams bidding for the services of Japan high school sensation Yusei Kikuchi, who decided to stay in Japan and pitch in the Japanese pro league.

A number of Major League clubs did make a bid to sign Kikuchi, who decided he would rather play in Japan and refused the offers from the American clubs.

Kikuchi drew a lot of attention from MLB clubs while at Iwate Prefecture’s Hanamaki Higashi High School.

He signed with the Seibu Lions and the left-hander has blossomed into the Japan pro league’s best young arm.

Kikuchi has been hailed as “lights out” for Seibu with an 8-2 record and Japan’s best 1.30 ERA in 83 innings in 12 starts. Opponents are hitting .182 against him. He has struck out 72 batters and has thrown three shutouts, including a recent win over the Chunichi Dragons when he was within two outs of a no-hitter.

And everyone says he will get even better.

Man, the Dodgers sure could have used him this year.

Kikuchi’s main goal is to help Seibu capture the Japan championship.

Many who saw him perform as a high school pitcher thought he would bypass Japan and sign with a Major League club.

He said he has no regrets in picking Japan baseball over moving to the U.S.

Ha, how I would like to hear Dodgers announcer Vin Scully say, “And starting for the Dodgers today is Yusei Kikuchi.”

Well, who knows, maybe one day it will happen.

After all, money talks and everyone knows how much money the Dodgers toss around to sign talent.

In the meanwhile, when do the Dodgers climb out of the cellar in National League West standings?

Maybe someone with the Dodgers can learn to speak Japanese and holler, “Kikuchi-san, tasukete kudasai.

I’m sure most people look for great remedies that work.

Well here are some simple home remedies.

1. Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold the vegetables while you chop.

2. Avoid argument with females about lifting the toilet seat by using the sink.

3. For high blood pressure sufferers, simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure on your veins. Remember to use a timer.

4. A mousetrap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

5. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives. Then you’ll be afraid to cough.

6. You only need two tools in life. WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn’t move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn’t move and it does, use the duct tape.

7. If you can’t fix it with a hammer, you’ve got an electrical problem.

Thought for the day: Never under any circumstances take a laxative and a sleeping pill on the same night.

I don’t recall if I ever used the results of a survey listing our country’s healthiest city.

I’m sure Maggie knows and if I did, my column might be a little shorter today.

The annual American Fitness Index released the list of the country’s fittest cities.

It’s based on a number of health behaviors including smoking, exercise, obesity rates, chronic health problems and access to health care.

The results list Minneapolis-St. Paul as the number one city.

San Francisco is listed as number four, which kind of surprises me because I used to live in the Bay Area city and can’t see why they are so high on the list while Los Angeles is rated number 29.

Las Vegas? Heh heh. My favorite city is listed as number 39.

Honolulu? Nowhere in sight.

Oh well…

I guess there are times when I should check out material submitted to me by readers but ofttimes I’m running behind so I might not be as careful as I should be.

As one reader wrote: “George, you must be at times pretty desperate for news to fill your column, but please use some discretion and investigate before accepting so-called facts from your readers that you reprint in your column. Who wants to read news of questionable value? I am a longtime reader of your column.”

The foregoing was submitted by Roy Imazu.

Well Roy, I do try to weed out the kind of stuff you mentioned, but sometimes I guess I am not as stringent as I should be and I agree with you that I should use more caution on certain issues.

Well I hope today’s laugher is not objectionable to readers.

These were submitted by old friend Em Yamada.

Read these and laugh (I hope).

• Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can’t remember if I’m 85 or 92. Have lost all my friends. But thank God I still have my driver’s license.

• I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor’s permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. By the time I got my leotard on, the class was over.

• Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway and the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

• It’s scary when you start making the same noise as your coffee maker.

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

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2 Comments

  1. Zyzzx is pronounced “ZaiZex”. I stayed at the University of California Research station there in 1998.

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