HORSE’S MOUTH: Visitors in Japan Top One Million

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Was kind of surprised by the reaction from readers regarding Ed Fukumoto’s comments about the quality of my writing falling apart.

Never expected to get so many emails from readers on the issue, so I thought I would toss in some of the short comments and leave the longer ones on my desk.

Here are three short ones:

The first from Benjamin Butler, who wrote: “ Horse, don’t quit. I enjoy your column. It is up to you when you want to put a ‘30’ on your byline. Your neighbor has got a lot of scrotum with his comments. I hope you told him not to trip on the stairs as he was leaving your front porch.”

Tomi Iwata wrote: “Hi, Horse. Please continue your column in The Rafu. We look forward to reading your column, including the jokes at the closing of the column as well as helpful material that is shared, and appreciate the time it takes to do your work in putting the column together.”

The third short note is from Mas and Teri Itano: “We moved from Rancho Palos Verdes to San Mateo, California in May of this year. We look forward to receiving The Rafu mainly to read your column. Keep it up.”

Thanks to the foregoing three and others who expressed their support of my column.

It’s the first time I received so many in support of my column in the 50-plus years I’ve been producing the “Horse’s Mouth.”

Oh, yeah, Gwen forwarded a letter she received from a reader with reference to me. However, he requested that the message not be published, so I guess I can’t respond although I sure felt like doing so.

All I can say is that it’s in response to my recent mention of the quality of my writing falling apart.

Thanks, Gwen. If you are in touch with the writer of the letter, ask him if I can use it in my column.

Yes, it has inspired me to keep pounding away.

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Listening to the Dodgers game on the radio isn’t like watching it on TV, but for the past week, Channel 9, which usually carries the broadcast, is not available, so no games on the TV. I’m not sure why Channel 9 hasn’t returned.

Speaking of baseball, I guess you can say Ichiro is named properly. That would be Ichiro Suzuki, who now plays for the New York Yankees after a decade with the Seattle Mariners.

Well, Ichiro, whose name translates to “number one son,” collected his 4,000th hit. That’s right, 4,000 hits.

Too bad the Dodgers didn’t try to get him when he put himself on the trading block while with the Mariners.

Because of his age, I doubt if he will hit 5,000, but he might collect another two or three hundred.

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I buy my California lottery ticket at the 7-11 Store located on Redondo Beach Boulevard in Gardena. It’s located across the street from the Rite Aid Pharmacy. I’m sure Gardenans know which 7-11 I’m chatting about.

Well, as many of you know, 7-11 also has branches in Japan.

One of them was located in the Fukushima Prefecture town of Naraha.

After the earthquake in Fukushima in March 2011, 7-11 closed and pulled up stakes.

The chain said it will reopen the suspended operation on Aug. 26.

Residents who are preparing to return to Fukushima have asked 7-11 to return to establish a place where they can shop.

The new outlet will open on the site of the former 7-11 convenience store.

No, I don’t think consumers will be able to buy California lottery tickets. Heh, heh.

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Speaking of Japan, visitors to the country topped a record high one million for July. The arrivals, numbering 1,003,100, eclipsed the previous record of 923,000 set in April. The latest number is 18.4 percent higher than July of last year.

The government aims to boost the annual number to 10 million this year.

No, American visitors didn’t figure in the number of foreign visitors.

Topping the list? South Koreans with 244,000, up 28.6 percent.

Taiwan followed with 238,500, up 48.7 percent.

Visitors from Thailand marked an increase of 84.7 percent to 30,200 while those from Malaysia rose 25.2 percent to 9,900.

The figures mean that Americans were way down in head count, less than 5,000.

I guess most of them are visiting Las Vegas.

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In this day and age, using cell phones is a way of life. Isn’t that something?

Well, an elderly couple had just learned to send text messages on their cell phone. The wife was a romantic type and the husband was more of a no-nonsense guy.

One afternoon the wife went to meet a friend for coffee. She decided to send her husband a romantic text message and she wrote:

“If you are sleeping, send me your dream.

“If you are laughing, send me your smile.

“If you are eating, send me a bite.

“If you are drinking, send me a sip.

“If you are crying, send me your tears.

“I love you.”

The husband texted back to her, “I’m on the toilet. Please advise.”

Heh, heh. Guess nobody knew I was tossing in a laugher.

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There’s one thing all of us do, if we have a car. That is, put gas in our cars. And like every other driver, I often wonder about if I’m being ripped off as I fill my tank.

Well, reader Yas provided me with the following, entitled “Cheating at the Gas Pump”:

“This is true. It happened to my friend three weeks ago somewhere in Pomona on their way to Pechanga (Temecula). The pump should have totaled $68 (and change). When the receipt was printed and she checked it, it was $77 (and change).

“She got mad, went inside the station and asked for a calculator and let them do the math. They refunded her. She told them that if they cheat, they had better make it right. Normally, her husband would skip printing the receipt, but not her.

“We saw on the news the other night that this is happening everywhere.

“Brian pumped exactly one gallon gas. The price did not match the cost of one gallon. It was higher. He went inside and complained. He got a refund.

“There is also a number on each pump that you can call and complain.

“I stopped at a gas station. My truck’s gas gauge was on one-fourth of a tank. I use the mid-grade, which is priced at $3.71 per gallon. When my tank is at this point, it takes somewhere around 14 gallons to fill up.

“When the pump showed 14 gallons had been pumped, I began to slow down. Then, to my surprise, it went to 15, then to 16. I even looked under the truck to see if gas was being spilled. It was not.

“Then it showed 17 gallons on the pump. It stopped at 18 gallons. This was very strange to me since my truck has only an 18-gallon tank. I went on my way a little confused, then on the evening news I heard a report that one out of four gas stations had calibrated their pumps to show more gas had been pumped than a person actually got.

“How to check a pump to see you are getting the right amount: Whichever grade you are using, put exactly 10 gallons in your tank. Then look at the dollar amount. If the dollar amount is not exactly 10 times the price of the fuel you have chosen, then the pumps are rigged.

“In my case, as I said, the mid-grade was $3.71 per gallon. My dollar amount for 10 gallons should have been $37.10. I wished I had checked the pump. It doesn’t matter where you pump gas; please check the one-gallon price. If you do find a station that is cheating, contact the State Agricultural Department and direct your comments to the commissioner on the info that is on the gas pump.

“We need to put a stop to this outrageous cheating of customers. The gas companies are making enough profits at honest rates.”

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One of my neighbors in Gardena is of Mexican ethnicity.

I guess when he sees me as Japanese American he wonders if I ever tasted Mexican food.

This was my thought when he brought me two plates with Mexican food the other day.

“Here, George,” he said. “I don’t know if you ever ate Mexican food, but try these.”

I thanked him but I didn’t tell him when I first got out of the Army back in the mid-’40s, all I did was go to East L.A. and eat Mexican food because it didn’t cost a lot and filled me up.

At any rate, I gobbled up the food he brought me and I told him the next time I saw him, “Man, the food was great.”

He felt good.

No, I didn’t tell him I had gone to a Mexican restaurant for dinner after eating his gift luncheon.

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Well, time to wind it up, as usual with a laugher.

George (not me), an elderly man from Orange County, was going to bed when his wife told him that he’d left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window.

George opened the back door to go turn off the light but saw there were people in the shed stealing things.

He phoned the police, who asked, “Is someone in your house?”

He said, “No, but some people are breaking into my garden shed and stealing from me.”

Then the police dispatcher said, “All patrols are busy. You should lock your doors and an officer will be along when one is available.”

George said, “Okay.”

He hung up the phone and counted to 30. Then he phoned the police again.

“Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don’t have to worry about them now because I just shot and killed them both. The dogs are eating them right now,” he said. Then he hung up.

Within five minutes, six police cars, a SWAT team, a helicopter, two fire trucks, a paramedic and an ambulance showed up at the residence and caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the policeman said to George, “I thought you said that you shot them.”

George said, “I thought you said there was nobody available.”

Don’t mess with old people.

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Since I’m a grandparent, I guess I’ll fill out the page with this:

Who are grandparents? Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of their own. They like other people’s.

Grandparents don’t have to do anything except to be there when we come to see them. They are so old they shouldn’t play hard or run. It is good if they drive us to the shops and give us money.

They don’t say, “Hurry up.”

They can take their teeth and gums out.

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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