HORSE’S MOUTH: Regarding JAs Vying for Sheriff

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Well, this past Monday was a holiday, so I had an extra day off before having to pound out today’s column.

I guess I can start off by writing about the Japanese American Korean War Veterans reunion, to which I am always invited because two of the individuals involved in the event are friends of mine. They would be Bacon Sakatani, who was elected as the new president of the organization, and Min Tonai, the outgoing president.

The luncheon was held at the popular Sea Empress Chinese restaurant in Gardena. I would estimate that about 150 attended.

Needless to say, since the JA Korean War vets are a lot younger in age than I, I could say I was one of the oldest in attendance.

When Min introduced me to the audience as a “World War II vet,” I got a lot of looks from those in attendance with that “You don’t look that old” glance.

In addition to Min and Bacon, there was one other person I knew at the event. That would be Zombie Yamamoto, one of the all-time greats among NAU basketball players. Zombie set the NAU AA League’s one-game scoring record when he was participating in the JA Cage League. He was really a great one.

The NAU Basketball League isn’t like it used to be when the JA Cage League was one of the major sports programs in our community. I guess you can say it’s probably a sign of the times.

The Korean consul general attended the luncheon and I sat at the same table with him.

I’m sure his presence was to show his appreciation to the JAs who served in the Korean War back in the ’50s.

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santa anita-tram tour

Oh yeah, before I overlook it, Bacon wants to help organize the Santa Anita Assembly Center reunion, which I used to put together. He submitted the following letter to me:

“I would like to propose a Santa Anita Assembly Center reunion with the Horse in the near future at the Santa Anita Racetrack before it closes in June. It will be held in the grandstand on a Saturday or Sunday.

“This is primarily for those detained in the racetrack during World War II and their survivors but will include all those who went to various camps, or friends of Horse, to just have a get-together.

“There will be a tram tour through the stable area, where many stayed in the large shower rooms, group photos taken at the Santa Anita monument, a walk to the Seabiscuit statue and then to the grandstand.

“Program will be minimal as it will be hard to organize anything structured in the stands. I can take care of the main work of registration and mailing out tickets. We can make a list of attendees and name tags. Maybe we can invite Supervisor Mike Antonovich, in whose district the racetrack is located in Arcadia.

“The Heart Mountain Reunion Committee will be having a meeting on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 11 a.m. at the Quiet Cannon, located at the Montebello Country Club. Lunch will be served up to the first 209 responders. Please indicate if you are coming to the meeting. Please pass this email on to others who may be interested. If you have any questions, please let me know. Bacon Sakatani, (626) 338-8310.

“Photos shown here include the tram tour and the group photo taken at the 2009 outing. A total of 180 people were in attendance.”

santa anita-group shot

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Okay, let me get on with the rest of my column.

Recently, I touched on the election for L.A. County sheriff and chatted about the possibility of two JAs seeking the position. Well, as expected, I received a number of responses from readers, so I thought I would print one of them. David Watanabe wrote:

“Just a few comments, one light and another not so light. First of all, I am always amazed at your longevity as you always write how often you eat so often, especially  at places like Denny’s with your big breakfasts (bacon, sausages, etc.) there. That kind of food can’t be healthy. And I imagine you eat a lot of that buffet food in Vegas, too. You have been blessed with good genes, like a racing horse.

“The other comment is about our two JAs running for sheriff. You wrote that having two JAs will split the vote among the JA community, and given this tough choice you would choose to vote for Paul Tanaka for reasons I can understand.

“However, I would like to suggest to other JAs, assuming they would vote for either one, that they vote for Terry Hara instead. I don’t know either man except for what I read in the newspapers. In any event, I always vote for the best candidate who will do the most good and not because they are JAs.

“I don’t think Mr. Tanaka has any chance of winning because he has been severely tainted by the recent sheriff’s office scandal. The public officials and the public are looking for an outsider to ‘clean house,’ so anyone with past ties to the sheriff’s office will have a steep uphill climb to become sheriff. Therefore, I think Mr. Hara has a much better chance if he runs for sheriff.”

Thanks for you letter, Dave.

Of course, I have to disagree with you on Tanaka’s background in the Sheriff’s Department.

The comments made by outgoing Sheriff Lee Baca don’t really touch on Tanaka’s status as the former undersheriff, the next highest position in the department.

It would seem that Baca has to put the blame on someone else besides himself and he has chosen to blame Tanaka for much of his own problems, so I am still sticking with Tanaka for the role of next sheriff.

Enuff said.

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Whenever I look around for something to write about and I come across an item, I often show it to my wife and ask her what she thinks about it as a column material.

Needless to say, most of the time she says, “Don’t print that kind of junk.”

An example?

This is what I call a laugher that she didn’t find too humorous:

An elderly Nisei driver was stopped by a police car at 2 a.m. The Nisei was asked where he was going at that time of the night.

The Nisei replied, “I’m on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body as well as smoking and staying out late.”

The officer then asked, “Really? Who’s giving that lecture at this time of night?”

The Nisei replied, “That would be my wife.”

Heh, heh. No wonder my wife didn’t see any humor in the foregoing.

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Usually about 10 days after a hospital stay, I get a questionnaire from the hospital about the quality of care I received. This includes the nursing and the doctors.

They have boxes marked “Very Poor,” “Poor,” “Fair,” “Good” and “Very Good.”

My response is generally in the “Poor” to “Fair” range.

I am curious if the nursing and medical staff are shown the results of he questionnaire.

If they are exposed to my rating, maybe I’d better find another hospital to look after me if I ever have to be hospitalized again.

This is the second time I’ve received the questionnaire, so they must be aware of my response. Maybe that’s why my rating of the services rendered was even lower than on my previous staff.

I know that the doctors have so many patients to look after, so I don’t expect them to come in and hold my hand, but they could surely devote more time for all patients.

Oh well.

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I often ask my friends what they feel is the greatest invention of modern times. Leading the response is the cell phone.

Yes, I think the cell phone is a great invention, but not the greatest as far as I’m concerned, although I do depend on my cell for so many of my activities.

As a “stay at home” with nothing more to do than watch TV, my idea of the greatest invention is the remote control.

The reason?

It spares me from moaning and groaning over commercials, especially during the newscasts.

I realize that commercials are necessary, but they’re overdone. Usually, they run 5 to 6 commercials at every break.

So thanks to my remote control, I can sit back and relax every time commercials come on. I wait a minute before I click the TV set back on.

I’m curious how other TV viewers react to all the commercials. Maybe many find it’s a good time to go to the “benjo.” Of course, since commercials run over 3 to 4 minutes, that’s a lot of time for visiting the “benjo.”

As I always say, Heh, heh.

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Gosh I can’t believe that it’s been almost three months since my last visit to Las Vegas. Those of you follow my gabbing know why I’ve been away for such a long period.

Usually, I visit Vegas at least once a month but since I can’t drive the five hours it takes to get to Vegas, I’m kind of stuck unless I can find a driver, which I was fortunate to do on my last trip.

Well, I talked my wife into letting me drive on our next trip, so I might be sending a column with a Vegas dateline in a couple of weeks. She even volunteered to drive at least two hours.

Of course, when she’s driving I can’t fall asleep, so i might as well drive all the way myself.

See ya at The Cal.

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Needless to say, we are experiencing one of the hottest days in the L.A. area over the past several days.

Well, it was interesting to note that Tokyo experienced its coldest days on record this past week.

Having lived in Japan, I can imagine what it was like for those living in Tokyo because most of the houses in the city aren’t really built to fight off real cold weather. Adjusting to cold weather is a lot tougher than facing a hot climate.

Just a thought.

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Speaking of hot and cold weather, I am reminded of what those of us from California experienced when we arrived at Heart Mountain Relocation Center back in 1942.

The first winter there was horrible, with sub-freezing temperatures. We stayed in our barrack unit tossing coal into the crude stove provided for us.

Hey, as Californians, we didn’t have the proper clothing needed.

By the time warm clothing we ordered from the Sears catalog began to arrive, hot weather started to settle in.

Needless to say, I’m curious why those who talk or write about those days never mention the suffering we experienced in the freezing climate.

Oh well.

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I don’t know if today’s column is running long or short but for the editorial staff, I hope it’s on the long side.

I guess the one-day holiday kind of threw me off schedule. I’ll be back on my regular schedule starting with next Saturday’s column.

In the meanwhile, you can all enjoy Wimpy’s column.

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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