HORSE’S MOUTH: Happy 90th Birthday, Sis

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

I was sorry to read in Tuesday’s edition of The Rafu that Tokyo Café is going to close its doors, but happy to read that a new owner will reopen the once popular eatery.

Old timers in J-Town will remember that Tokyo Café was located at the entrance to Little Tokyo Village on East Second Street next to the mid-block crosswalk to the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center.

The “oldsters” who hang around J-Town used to meet every morning at the old site for their morning coffee and chatter.

It was the highlight of the day for me and I was also able to collect a lot of chatter about J-Town that I could use for my column at the old Kashu Mainichi.

Oh well, I guess life moves on.

Sorry I missed the veterans’ gathering that was held at the JACCC last Saturday. I had written that I would attend, but something came up and I had to cancel my J-Town trip.

However, I’m glad that someone noticed I was not there.

Got a phone call from one of the attendees, who said, “Hey, Horse, I thought you wrote that you were going to be there, but I didn’t see you.”

Thanks to the caller. I’m glad at least one person missed me.

Speaking of the veterans’ gathering over the Memorial Day weekend, there’s one thing about the Nisei vets that needs to be clarified.

That is, those who served in the Military Intelligence Service are referred to as “those who were in the secret organization.”

I’m not sure who came up with the “secret organization” tag, because I don’t think the MIS members were secret agents.

The secret agents were members of the CIC or Counter Intelligence Corps, in which the Niseis served in the Pacific Theater.

Those Nisei who served in the CIC attended special training classes before being assigned to the Pacific combat zone against the Japanese. And after the war ended, they were assigned to the U.S. Occupation Forces in Japan.

It’s a story that should one day be told because they were never credited for their participation in the war against Japan.

When I watch TV or read stories in the print media, certain stories catch my attention more than others.

An example?

The story of the automobile accident in Orange County that took the lives of four 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old.

A car said to be speeding went out of control and hit a tree, ejecting the passengers, all of whom perished.

The reason I followed this story is because my granddaughter, who is also 17, began driving recently.

In fact, she drove “Grandpa and Grandma” to lunch recently.

When I think about the days I used to bounce her on my lap when she was a toddler, I was amazed to be sitting next to her as she steered the car down a busy street.

And I couldn’t imagine her driving 75 miles per hour on a busy street.

Oh, the other thing I thought when reading the story about the accident: Didn’t any of the victims have their seatbelts on?

If so, how did they all fly out of the vehicle when it hit the tree?

At any rate, what a tragedy for the families to lose their teenage children.

I don’t know how many Nisei (or Sansei or Yonsei) are thinking about climbing Mt. Fuji, but starting in 2014, the two prefectures in which the famed mountain stands will start charging a fee for those wanting to scale Fuji-san.

No set amount has been announced, but I’m sure it won’t be cheap when you consider how the Japanese put price tags on everything.

Well, I made my climb back in 1997 since I was still young enough to do so.

Speaking of age, my sister will be celebrating her 90th birthday next week.

She’s the only sibling left from the Yoshinaga clan.

Our family consisted of two sons and five daughters.

My brother lasted until he was 93 and my sister until she was 94.

My 90-year-old sister and I grew up together while the others were kind of distant from us.

We went to camp together and lived in the A barrack unit, the smallest of the four units in each barrack.

If there had been another in our group, we would have been assigned to unit B or C, which housed families of four or more.

Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought that my last surviving sibling would be celebrating her 90th birthday next week.

Hey, if Korean pitcher Ryu of the Dodgers keeps throwing the ball as he has done so far this season, the team’s stands might be sold out every time he pitches.

In the game against the Angels the other night, where we went nine innings and shut them down, the TV cameras that scanned the stadium showed Korean fans holding up signs in Korean along with Korea’s national flag.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Japanese fans doing the same when a Japanese player was playing.

There are a lot of Koreans living in the Los Angeles area now, so perhaps the Dodgers made the right move to hire Ryu.

Especially if they wind up winning their league title.

They may even start serving kimchee at the refreshment stand.

By the way, if I’m not mistaken, there are more players from Japan on Major League rosters than there are Americans playing in the Japanese pro league.

Who would have ever imagined something like that?

Not only that, but some of the Japanese players are doing better than their American counterparts.

An example is the Seattle Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma, who leads all American League starters in fewest base runners allowed.

And does he get any recognition? Nope.

Oh well, that’s the way the ball bounces.

Anyone looking for a house in Ojai?

What about one designed by Kazumi Adachi, who is famous for his mid-century designs?

Well, the three-bedroom, three-bath, 2,700-square-foot home is listed at $2.295 million.

Heh heh. You can buy ten houses in Las Vegas for that kind of money.

I know I always joke about dining at McDonald’s, but did any of you know that the fast-food chain’s service is broken?

Yup. More customers complain about the service they get at McDonald’s.

I can dig that.

The reason is simple enough. It’s the type of workers they hire.

And the high turnover is one of the reasons.

The company is well aware of the turnover and is pushing its franchises to improve staffing and service.

I know the McDonald’s where I do business has a tremendous turnover in personnel.

I assume the reason is that those who apply for a job at McDonald’s do so while awaiting jobs to open elsewhere.

Oh well.

I guess some of you may recall I wrote about my car, a Toyota Avalon, on which I recorded 222,000 miles.

That’s right, 222,000 miles.

So I wasn’t surprised when the other day I looked at my engine heat monitor and the arrow was all the way to the top, boiling hot.

I staggered over to my mechanic Isao’s garage and as expected, was told my radiator was leaking.

I guess at more than 220,000 miles, something had to blow up, and it did.

Fortunately for me, Isao is always ready to fix any problems I have with my cars no matter how busy he is. So in a day, I had a new radiator.

Whew, am I glad it didn’t blow up on my way to Vegas.

Oh well, I guess it is time for me to consider buying a new car.

In all the years I’ve owned a car, I don’t think I’ve ever put more than 150,000 miles on one.

And here I am with one at 222,000.

Just got a notice that the City of Carson is holding a ceremony to officially rename the City Council Chambers as the Helen Kawagoe Council Chambers.

After much debate, the City Council decided to honor the former city clerk.

The dedication is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4, at 5 p.m.

Those of you who supported the renaming  of the chambers for Helen can attend the dedication ceremony.

I hope to make it since Helen has been a dear friend for so many years.

As you all know, Helen suffered a stroke and had to retire from her post as city clerk after 37 years, the longest-serving elected official in the State of California.

Hope to see all of Helen’s supporters at the dedication ceremony to give the event added meaning.

I’ve been to Manila in the Philippines about a dozen times during my life and never thought of the place as a second Las Vegas.

But that’s what the city wants to become.

They are taking this step forward with the opening of a $1.2 billion casino that would be Asia’s third largest.

China’s $38 billion casino industry in Macau is the largest and is said to generate six times the revenue of The Strip in Vegas.

U.S. casino companies have been significant competitors in Asia, but not in the Philippines because of the fear about possible corruption and concerns that growth projections won’t be met.

My lawyer friends will probably enjoy today’s laugher (including my lawyer son).

A guy asked a girl in a university library, “Do you mind if I sit beside you?”

The girl replied with a loud voice, “I don’t want to spend the night with you!”

All the students in the library started staring at the guy. He was truly embarrassed.

After a couple minutes, the girl walked quietly over to the guy’s table and said, “I study psychology, and I know what a man is thinking. I guess you felt embarrassed, right?”

The guy then responded in a loud voice, “$500 for one night? You’ve got to be kidding!”

All the people in the library looked at the girl, who was now in shock.

Then the guy whispered, “I study law and I know how to screw people.”

Well I’m glad my son fixed my computer. I thought I’d be absent today.

I guess I’d better get a new PC because I’m afraid to keep going like this.

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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