HORSE’S MOUTH: My 24th Year with Rafu

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Gee, this is my final column for the month of June.

So what, some might ask.

Well, it was in the month of June that I joined The Rafu as a columnist.

Which also means that I’ll be starting my 24th year with The Rafu when the calendar turns to July.

Gosh, spending 24 years on a job is a career.

When The Kashu Mainichi closed its doors and I retired, Rafu English Editor Naomi Hirahara invited me to continue my career with her newspaper.

At that time, I figured I’d be around for about five years.

So perhaps it’s almost a sign-off with a “30” — journalism’s symbol for ending it all.

With many young and talented journalists arriving on the scene, old fogies like me had better consider hanging ’em up to make room for them.

Oh well. In the meanwhile, let me continue on with today’s chatter.

In a recent column, I mentioned that Temple City was converted to the local area’s new Chinatown.

Well, Ted Maesaki, who resides in the San Gabriel Valley city, wrote me the following:

“Yoshinaga-san, I read your June 22 article in The Rafu. You mentioned about Temple City, amazed at the large number of Chinese residing in the city.

“It’s funny that I live in Temple City and you are absolutely correct.

“In fact, on the block I live, more than 50% are Asians, mostly Chinese.

“Every time I see a house go up for sale, I see Asians moving in.

“This trend is true in all the San Gabriel Valley area, from Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, San Marino and Arcadia.

“Also there are so many Chinese restaurants, it’s difficult for us to know which ones are good. I usually ask my Chinese friends. The changes in ownership among restaurants are also very high.

“There are many wedding gown shops too. I heard the people from all over China, Hong Kong, Taiwan come to Temple City to get gowns before their marriage.

“Temple City became very famous back in November 2011 when we had a horrible windstorm and lost power to our houses for five days. Some areas in Temple City were without power for over a week. We were one of the hardest hit and had most damages in the San Gabriel Valley area.

“I remember that last year it was not cold in November, so we were able to survive without heating. We were not able to cook, so we bought takeout or went out to eat, but many places were also closed, so we had to go further away from town to find places to dine.

“Another big story in Temple City is the number of City Council members as well as the mayor of the city several years ago who were indicted for bribery charges, and they are all in jail currently.

“Last but not least, we are also famous for wild parrots.

“These parrots are very beautiful in green color; they fly and rest on the power lines and trees in the hundreds, making loud noise. I don’t know how these wild parrots got started. I hear different stories. Maybe someone in your reading audience can tell me. These parrots just roam around Temple City and nearby areas.

“I hope I didn’t bore you to death with the story of the smallest town in San Gabriel Valley. My favorite city is Temple City. Ha, ha, ha.”

Thanks for the letter, Ted. I’m sure many readers will find it interesting because of the information you’ve revealed.

I might have mentioned it before, but just in case I didn’t, I’ll use it here.

The question is, “Where do the Japanese rank in the number of visitors to the U.S.?”

The answer? They are fourth with 2.7 million.

The source of information is the U.S. Commerce Department.

Number one, of course, is Canada with 22.7 million.

And of course, Mexico ranks second with 14.5 million.

Yup, England is just ahead of Japan with 3.8 million.

Hey 3.7 million Japanese is a lot of nihonjins roaming the streets of the U.S.

As I frequently mention, as I sit in front of my computer in the area of our house I call my office, I can hear the broadcast of the Dodgers game since my wife is as big a fan as I am.

Which means I can hear Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully’s voice describing the game.

In writing about my career as a columnist and having pounded away for 59 years at the Kashu Mainichi and Rafu Shimpo, I like to think I’ve had a long career.

Heck, when I read Scully’s story, I know I won’t ever catch up to the Dodgers announcer.

Scully’s been at the mic for 64 years and since he’s “only” 85 years of age, he’s going to be around a few more years before he reaches my present age.

I have three years on Vin, so when he reaches my age, he will have been at the mic for 67 years.

Go get ’em, Vin.

Still touching on sports, it was nice to see the story on Thomas Duarte featured on the cover of The Rafu’s graduation issue.

The Mater Dei High School star on the football team is Hapa. His mother is Japanese. So if I didn’t see The Rafu’s story and Duarte goes on to UCLA and stars for the Bruins, I probably wouldn’t pay much attention to a headline like “Duarte Stars for Bruins.”

I guess we’ve had a number of Hapa athletes that we didn’t know were Japanese as they gained stardom at the college level.

Of course, in Duarte’s case, his facial features are Japanese, so we would have learned that he is part Japanese.

Hey, we haven’t had a Japanese starring for the Westwood school, so as a Bruin fan, I’m certainly looking forward to following Duarte.

By the way, congratulations to the Rafu English staff for publishing the graduation edition.

A lot of work goes into publishing the graduation special.

Heck, just putting together the names of all the Japanese American graduates, not only from college but from their respective high schools, is a task in itself.

And the staff has to put together the graduation issue while still putting out the daily issues of The Rafu.

Having worked as a staffer at The Kashu, I can appreciate the work involved in publishing the grad issue.

Take a bow, gang.

This one is headlined “How men and women record things in their diaries.”

Wife’s diary: “Tonight I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn’t flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed but didn’t say much.

“I asked him what was wrong. He said, ‘Nothing.’ I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn’t upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly and kept driving. I can’t explain his behavior. I don’t know why he didn’t say, ‘I love you too.’

“When we got home, I felt as if I lost him completely, as if he wanted to nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed.

“About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. I still felt that he was distracted and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep. I cried. I don’t know what to do. I’m almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.”

Husband’s diary: “A two-foot putt. Who the heck misses a two-foot putt?”

I’m sure you Nisei golfers can relate to the husband’s diary.

Heh heh.

Since I posed the question about aging Nisei and how many JAs are over 100, I received this email: “Want to inform you that Yosh Shibayama’s mother Dorothy is 103½ years old. She was born in Los Angeles.”

Thanks for the info from the reader.

At 103½, that fits the category of “oldest Nisei.”

Those who might have information on centenarian JAs can email or snail-mail it to me and I’ll be more than happy to publish the information in my column.

Okay, those of you who feel you have a working knowledge of Japanese might try the following “Japanese words” and define their meanings.

The words? Try risuku, toraburu, and shisutemu.

Well, an NHK listener is suing the Japanese station for the use of these words, which he could not understand.

Actually, the words mentioned in the second paragraph are not Japanese words.

They are English. Risuku is the Japanese way of saying “risk.”

Ditto for toraburu, which is actually “trouble.”

And shisutemu is “system.”

Although many words like those listed here have been adopted into the Japanese language, the listener claims NHK is causing many Japanese emotional stress by refusing to use native Japanese equivalents instead of using the English words.

With Japanese society increasingly Americanized, the NHK listener believes that if the TV giant doesn’t go with the trend, that would go a long way in protecting Japanese culture.

The man says NHK must realize that it has a diverse and widespread viewership and is obligated to keep its programming as “neutral” as possible.

NHK is studying the complaint, a representative said.

I mention from time to time the name of Harry Honda, the last of the remaining Nisei journalists.

He still contributes to the JACL’s official publication with his popular column, entitled “Yours Truly.”

And he also sends me material from time to time.

This is one of those contributions, entitled “Less and Less.”

Here they are:

Cooking – Fireless

Food – Fatless

Tires – Tubeless

Dress – Sleeveless

Youth – Jobless

Leader – Shameless

Attitude – Careless

Wives – Fearless

Babies – Fatherless

Feelings – Heartless

Education – Valueless

Children – Mannerless

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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