HORSE’S MOUTH: My Moustache Has a Fan

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Well, when I get a couple of letters from readers advising me not to retire, I guess I will print them to inflate my ego.

The first from a reader who requests, “This is anonymous pleeze.” Her email reads:

“Goodness, you’d better not retire. The Rafu is mostly in Japanese so I cut the paper and send the English section after I read it to my uncle, who is 94 and a former Heart Mountain detainee from San Jose before the war.

“I’m of the generation like you mentioned recently of having an Issei father and Nisei mother. So I’m ‘Nisei-han’ and a pretty old one at that. Because of being able to speak English as a child, unlike a few farming families’ first-grade classmates, I wasn’t detained a year to catch up in school because of language problems.

“My father talked to us in Japanese and we answered in English. Many old farming friends here in Orange County are trilingual, having to speak Spanish too, so there is no such thing as ‘dumb farmers’ as far as I’m concerned. They are a business on their own and having to abide to so much regulations and red tape.

“There must be a big void in your home without Robin, so take care and make sure you don’t fall and break a bone like so many of my friends have lately.”

Thanks for you letter. It’s kind of ironic you should mention “falling and breaking a bone.”

I recently injured my leg in a fall and have been under a doctor’s care for about a month now. Yes, the accident can be attributed to “old age.”

This next letter has the heading “Love Your Column.”

Now how can I avoid printing a letter with such a heading?

It’s from reader Carl Yokota, who subscribes to The Rafu in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. He wrote:

“When I get a chance, always enjoy reading your column in The Rafu.

“I’m Canadian, so you may be surprised you have some readership up here in Richmond, British Columbia. Best Chinese restaurant east of Hong Kong in our city, heh.

“My late uncle Joe Hamanaka, ex-U.S. Army MIS, wrote for many years in the ’70s his own column, ‘Area Code 206,’ for The Pacific Citizen. His writing style and yours much alike, very pedestrian and easy to understand and read.

“I like your mustache — very Salvador Dali-ish. Congratulations on your upcoming 88th birthday, a very auspicious birthday to boot.”

Thanks for your comments, Carl. Yes, I was surprised to learn that The Rafu has a subscriber in Canada. I’ll try not to shave my mustache off.  Kind of surprised you noticed it.

Since it’s often said that “everything comes in threes,” I guess I’ll toss in a third letter from a reader.

Sure helps to fill space.

This one from Kuni Okinaka from Olympia, Washington, who wrote:

“I have been catching  up with my stack of Rafu Shimpo from April 10 and when I read the April 13 edition I saw your Horse’s Mouth column on the passing of your son. Please accept my deepest sympathy on your loss.

“My friends up here in Olympia read your column when I pass it on and we really enjoy what you write. We hope you keep writing your columns.

“You may want to write this article in your column: Military Airlift Command.

“My wife and I flew out of Seattle/Tacoma Airport to Japan and Okinawa on a Military Airlift Command flight on a space-available basis. For those military retirees in Washington, there are three flights to the Far East from Sea/Tac.

“They depart on Tuesday for Yokota Air Force Base near Tokyo and onward to Osan Air Force Base in Korea. On Thursday to Yokota, Iwakuni Marine Corps Base in Yamaguchi-ken and Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa. And on Sunday to Misawa Air Force Base and onward to Osan and Kunsan Air Force Base in Korea.

“At Yokota you can stay at the Kanto Lodge, which costs $55 or $65 per night. There is bus service to the New Sanno Hotel near the Hiroo-eki in Tokyo for $8 each way. The bus leaves every morning from the Kanto Lodge at 9:20 and depending on traffic will take from one hour to at least two hours. The lodging at the New Sanno Hotel costs $65 for a single room and $74 for a double. At Kadena AFB in Okinawa we stayed at the Shogun Inn for $55 a night.

“It is easy to sign up. Just go to the Military Airlift Command website and make sure you sign up for SEATAC, Yokota AFB, Iwakuni Marine Corps Base and Kadena AFB to give you options for the return flight home.”

Gee, I’ll bet most JA vets who live in the L.A. area would have to add L.A. to the Seattle/Tacoma cost, but still, getting a flight to Japan and/or Korea without cost might be worthwhile.

Thanks for the info, Kuni. I’m sure a few local vets will check the Military Airlift Command website for more information.

Yeah, it’s time to toss in the result of another survey, something I do quite often.

This one reads, “Survey Reveals How Las Vegas Visitors Spend Their Money.”

Being a Las Vegas visitor myself, I had to read it.

A recent survey found that Las Vegas visitors spend an average of $1,600 over a three-day vacation.

That seems like a lot of money considering more than 39 million people visited Vegas last year.

Data comes from more than 1,400 travelers who booked their trip on expedia.com.

The visitors were asked about their spending habits.

Of the $1,600, excluding hotel rooms, their spending broke down like this: gambling, $400; dining, $327; shopping, $300; and shows, $187. Forty-two percent of their spending was at the hotel where they stayed.

The $400 for gambling kind of surprised me.

I don’t consider myself a high roller, but I put aside more than that for my casino play.

Like those surveyed, I also stay three days on my Vegas visits. Usually check in on Sundays and check out on Wednesday.

And staying at the Cal Downtown, my dining expense doesn’t come close to the $327 listed on the survey. That kind of spending comes to over a hundred bucks a day.

My wife and I spend about $15 for breakfast, $20 for lunch and $25 for dinner. That adds up to $60 per day times three for a total of $180. Which is still pretty high for a couple of old Nisei.

Oh well…

Speaking of eating, all of the 50 states in the Union were recently ranked on the health of those 60 years or older based on the weight of seniors.

California ranked No. 25 or midway in the health of seniors.

Since all Nisei are now in their 80s, I guess we haven’t done too badly in maintaining our health.

Alaska has the lowest percentage of senior citizens with multiple chronic health conditions, followed by Wyoming. Maybe that’s why those Nisei who were interned at Heart Mountain are living a lengthy life.

And an average of 9% of adults 65 or older live in poverty.

No wonder I can only afford to eat at McDonald’s. Heh heh.

Speaking of health, how many of you know about the benefits of water?

Try these: a glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters in a university study.

Lack of water is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue.

Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing on a computer screen.

Drinking five glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45% plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Of course, too much water may have strange side effects.

Okay, since I received the following stinging email, I guess I’ll toss it in today even though I opened by using a couple of other missives. The writing of the following was kind of upset with my comments on Dodgers baseball.

The main objection was my suggestion that the local club get rid of manager Don Mattingly.

Needless to say, the writer doesn’t want his name mentioned.

Okay, I will comply with his request.

At any rate, here is his short message: “Horse, you’re just a broken-down newspaper columnist, so what do you know about baseball and those who run the teams?”

Yes, you’re right. I am a broken-down newspaper columnist. However, if you check my background, you may discover some facts about my knowledge of baseball.

Of course, some of my statements might make me sound like a blowhard braggart…

I was the first Japanese American to be named general manager of a professional baseball team when I was appointed to that post for the Lodi team in the Class A California League.

The league was made up of teams from the cities of Reno, San Jose, Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield, Stockton, and Lodi.

The Lodi team was a minor-league franchise for the Baltimore Orioles.

If you heard of the Global League, you would know that an Indiana businessman founded the league in hopes of starting a third Major League, but with teams from foreign countries playing together.

I was given the role of chairman of the Pacific Region and was asked to organize a team from Japan to be a member.

So I went to Japan and recruited 22 players to be the entry from Japan.

Other teams included two from the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Chile.

Unfortunately, the Global League went broke and folded up.

After that, I arranged for the first Japanese pro team to spring-train in the U.S. and brought the Lotte Orions to Arizona to train with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels.

As part of their stay in the U.S., I put together games between the Giants, Angels, and Orions in Honolulu, San Francisco, Anaheim and Palm Springs.

I guess I come off sounding like a braggart, but just wanted to point out some of my experience in professional baseball.

Most of those who visit Vegas have heard of the dining spot called Crazy Horse.

Since the name contained the name “Horse” I was aware of its presence in my favorite city.

Well, new owners have taken over the site and decided to drop the “Crazy” from its title and simply call it “Horse.”

So I guess if I want to meet someone there in the future I can say, “Hey, I’ll meet you at The Horse.” Not the Crazy Horse.

Heard something that I found difficult to believe.

As those of you who follow my chatter know, my sister lives in Mountain View, which is down the road from San Jose.

My sister is a Vegas fan so I don’t have to drive up north to visit her. She goes to Vegas about once a month with her daughter.

Of course, they fly down.

Since they haven’t been down for a few months, I asked her daughter when they were scheduled to arrive in Vegas during the month of June.

She laughed and said, “Maybe never.”

Then she explained. The airfare from San Jose International Airport to Vegas is now $500 for her and my sister.

She said, “I don’t think we want to spend that kind of money to visit Vegas.”

And I don’t blame them. Five hundred bucks from San Jose to Vegas. Heck, they could fly to Honolulu for less than that.

Oh well. Maybe they can fly to L.A. and ride with us in our car. I might suggest it to them.

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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