(Published Dec. 6, 2014)
Was saddened to hear of the passing of Jim Mitsumori. He was a familiar figure in Little Tokyo, so those of us who hung around J-Town got to know him as a friend.
Seems like we are losing a lot of familiar faces as time passes, because let’s face it, we are all getting up there in age.
Yeah, I’m getting to the “old age” bracket.
When World War II ended, those of us who served in Uncle Sam’s Army returned to civilian life in the 26-to-29 age group.
That was back in 1947 so you can see that we aren’t “spring chickens” anymore.
Speaking of the history of the Nisei generation, I was chatting with one of those I refer to as “old friends” not because of our ages but for the length of time we’ve known each other.
He asked me this interesting question during our conversation: “Where were you born?”
I guess I’m not asked such a question too frequently, so I hesitated a bit because I wasn’t prepared to respond. After a brief pause, I said, “Redwood City.”
Needless to say, he gave me a curious look. He said, “Redwood City? Where in the heck is that?”
I had to pause a few seconds before I said, “It’s a city on the San Francisco Peninsula.”
Those familiar with Northern California would know where Redwood City is located, but for those from Southern California, the city would be like a foreign country.
Our family moved to the south about three years after I entered the world, and I grew up in Mountain View until Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
It was then off to Santa Anita Assembly Center and Heart Mountain Relocation Center.
Now I live in the South Bay again. That’s South Bay in Southern California.
Since I’ve been in Gardena for so many years (longer than my prewar residency in Northern California), I guess I’m more of a SoCal resident now.
Because of camp life, I made more new friends from the Southern California area than I had in Northern California before the war.
If someone asked me what The Rafu Shimpo was back in the late ’30s, I would have just shrugged my shoulders.
Today when I meet people, I am frequently asked, “Aren’t you the Horse who writes for The Rafu?”
I don’t even have to respond. The person posing the question answers his own question.
All I can say is being a journalist is a lot more fun than plowing on a farm with a horse, which is probably what I would be doing if we weren’t hauled off to a relocation center.
When I chat about this with my sons, they get a big kick out of it. They all agree. “Yeah, we’re glad we didn’t end up on a farm.” And they all laugh.
When I think about it, I chuckle, too.
I have three sons. One is a lawyer, another an electrical engineer, and the third a commercial production manager.
No journalist. Heh, heh.
Yeah, they do read The Rafu and they read “The Horse’s Mouth.”
The only thing we have in common is that they love horse racing. No, not because their father’s nickname is “Horse.”
It’s that when they were growing up, I’d drag them to the race track.
I mentioned recently that I had a flat tire on my car and I discovered how tough it was to find someone to repair it for me.
Well, after the problems I encountered, I discovered that I had a place to go that I didn’t even think about. I have a contract with Sears for mechanical problems, but I didn’t even think about flat tires.
When I was going through my records, I saw that Sears fixes everything, including flat tires, so I took my car to Sears and that was that.
They told me if I ever face that problem again, I wouldn’t have to look around, just get on the phone and call the number Sears had assigned to me.
So, that’s the end of that problem.
Kind of makes me laugh when I think about being under contract with Sears all these years.
Yes, I do look through a lot of newspapers for ideas that I might use in my column.
For the most part, I can find articles and other items about things that are Japanese.
One of the problems with this is when I run across a name that looks Japanese but upon closer look, cannot be Japanese. Take the name Kakenaga. Doesn’t that sound Japanese? His first name is Bob, which doesn’t make things any easier in trying to determine if he is Japanese.
No, he doesn’t look Japanese.
What he has accomplished is worthy of mention if he is Japanese, or does that really matter?
Giving him a write-up for what he accomplished might be okay whether he is of Japanese ancestry or not.
Maybe some reader might want to comment on this.
I guess this frequently happens when we’re talking about sports more than other aspects.
Since my wife is from Hawaii, I often get a new approach on the language used by the Islanders. Take the word “mahalo.”
When I’m in the Islands, I hear it used so frequently that I often find myself using it.
“Mahalo” translated into English is “thank you.”
So when I got an invitation to a “mahalo party,” I know it’s a gathering to thank people in appreciation for their participation in various projects.
I accepted and am looking forward to meeting the folks who are putting on the event. Needless to say, also included was the word “aloha.”
I can make use of a few other Hawaiian words when I join the group at their “mahalo party.”
Just a thought, but how many of you readers get requests for donations to help feed those who can’t afford to pay for their own food?
Over the past few years, I have been getting requests to provide meals for them. One meal costs $2.41. So, if you donate $14.46, six meals can be provided. If $36.15 is donated, it will provide 15 meals.
This is being put together by the Union Rescue Mission. Oh yeah, this is being tabbed as the “Christmas Meal Ticket.”
I’ve never donated even though I’ve received the request several times, but I thought, “What the heck, why not?” So I thought I would donate for six meals.
By the way, do any of you in the reading audience know how an individual is picked as a potential donor?
For reasons unknown to me, I’ve been getting more and more requests for donations. Thus far this year, I’ve received six requests, and they are not for big money. The amount requested is something I can afford if I decide to do so.
However, if I can find out how I was selected as a donor, I might be a little more willing to respond.
Oh well, live and learn.
It was the opening paragraph that caught me eye. It read, “Good news for Americans. You are going to live longer. The bad news: The longer life span doesn’t bode well for the corporate pension plans that are supposed to support workers into old age.”
New mortality estimates released this week show that an average 65-year-old U.S woman is expected to live 88.8 years, up from 86.4 in 2000. Men aged 65 are expected to live 86.6 years, up from 84.6 in 2000.
Longer life for retirees may add to a squeeze for many pension funds already struggling to plug gaps and force companies to contribute more to cover future obligations.
Gee, did I reach Page 7 for today’s column?
I was rolling along, so I wasn’t aware that I already filled six typing pages.
I guess I can tell Gwen when she drops by to pick up my chatter that I’ve filled more pages than I expected.
Yes, I have a lot more stuff that I can include in today’s chatter, but I guess I’ll just call it a day.
I do have a couple of more pages I can toss in that were emailed to me by several readers. However, I figure I can use them for next Tuesday’s Rafu.
I decided to call it a day, or is that night?
At any rate, it’s always nice to have a lot of stuff stored away, so I’ll cut it off here.
George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.