HORSE’S MOUTH: A Request from the Topaz Museum

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

(Published Jan. 31, 2015)

If I penned my email address, HorsesMouth2000@hotmail.com, to fill a page, how many times would I have to pound it out?

Heh, heh. Shall we try? Okay, here we go.

HorsesMouth2000@hotmail.com. HorsesMouth2000@hotmail.com.

That’s twice in one line.

So, I’ll just let the reader’s imagination reveal what a page of my column would look like if I filled it just with my email address.

Well, that should drive Maggie crazy.

(MAGGIE’S COMMENT: YEP!)

Yes, I’m just trying to get something down on paper for my column.

It’s January turning to February, and I had to come up with something that would tickle Editor Gwen and make Maggie make some kind of comment as she usually does.

Gosh, it is tougher than I thought, so I’d better go back to my old column style.

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Well, baseball is just around the corner, so let’s chat a little about the good old sport.

For JA fans, Ichiro Suzuki signing with the Miami Marlins would be the big news. The Marlins agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract, pending a physical examination.

The 10-time All-Star hit .284 last season with the New York Yankees and had 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons with the Seattle Mariners.

He arrived from Japan after spending nine seasons with the Pacific League’s Blue Wave and won the batting title in 2004.

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horse 1:31Speaking of winning, just thought I’d toss in a photo of “guess who” holding a door prize I won at a JA community get-together.

Not much of a door prize, but winning is better than losing no matter what the prize.

Joining in the laughter in the background are Bruce Kaji and his wife.

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We hadn’t heard of Yuta Watanabe until his teammates recognized him after his first workout with George Washington University.

What caught the attention of his teammates was his jump shot, speed and basketball intelligence.

Watanabe is from Miki, a small town in Kagawa Prefecture in Japan, and is proving to be a quick learner in his freshman year.

During his game against St. Louis University earlier this month, he made a key three-pointer to give his team a 52-48 lead, capping a 13-0 run.

Game-changing plays are becoming commonplace for him, and the 6-foot-8 Watanabe is the first Japan-born player to earn a Division I basketball scholarship. He has quickly earned his rotation in the Washington lineup.

His coach said Watanabe lives for his big moments and he keeps his composure more than the upperclassmen.

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Okay, let’s jump from college basketball to a tidbit from the past.

Of course, part of the past is the evacuation and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

One of the camps was Topaz in Utah, and the Topaz Museum building was completed in May of last year. But it didn’t get the publicity some of the other relocation centers did.

The Topaz Museum (www.topazmuseum.org) is still looking for 1940s blankets and bedspreads, and those who might have any and want to donate them to the project are asked to contact the facility.

The Topaz Museum Board is very grateful to everyone who has contributed to the capital campaign to make the museum possible, but they are still looking for continued support to make sure that the public learns about the history of Topaz.

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I guess most of us are familiar with Caesars Entertainment. It describes itself as the “world’s most geographically diversified casino entertainment company in the world,” but it doesn’t have any casinos in Asia, where gambling has grown explosively over the past decade.

Caesar’s failure began in Macau, the only place in China where gambling is legal.

CEO Gary Loveman called the missing of Macau his biggest mistake. Now Macau is the world’s biggest casino hub.

In 2006, Caesars lost a big fight for a casino license in Singapore in competition against the Las Vegas Sands.

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Okay, let me get back to baseball.

Some of the top baseball news involves the signing of Japanese players to our Major League rosters.

Well, what about the return of the Japanese players to their former Japan clubs? Two Japanese players who were on U.S. rosters announced their return to Japan, which didn’t seem to make the U.S. sports pages.

One of the two is Hiroki Kuroda, who signed up with the Hiroshima Carp of Japan’s Central League.

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The following is an article I received from Supervisor Mike Antonovich, which I would like to share with. It’s entitled “Monrovia Resident Honored by County Supervisor for Museum’s Allensworth Showcase,” and was written by Courtney Tompkins:

“A Monrovia resident, Ralph Walker, who was instrumental in organizing the event, said he felt inspired to share the story of Allen Allensworth, a ‘prominent’ figure who is seldom talked about in the history books.

“‘When I found out how he’s been neglected, it moved me in a lot of ways,’ Walker said.

“Born into slavery in 1842, Allensworth escaped during the Civil War and joined the Union Army. In 1908, he founded an all-black township in Central California that still stands today.

“‘His idea was so beautiful, so unique, to have a place where you could go to deprogram if you were a former slave,’ Walker said.

“A portion of the original rural town, named after Allensworth, has been preserved as a historic state park.

“Allensworth was also a leader to the buffalo soldiers and in the early 1900s, he founded the Second Baptist Church of Monrovia, of which he was a pastor.

“On his way to give a sermon at the church on Sept. 14, 1914, Allensworth was struck by a motorcycle while crossing the street. He later died from his injuries. He was 72 years old.

“Thomas Stratton, president of the nonprofit organization Friends of Allensworth, said when Walker reached out to him about holding the event, he was looking to heal; to find closure.

“‘Oftentimes we are given a chance to correct history, and like Dr. King said, it’s never too late to do right,’ Walker said. ‘I thought it would be healing for both parties.’”

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I received the following letter from Nancy Oda asking for assistance in locating the “children” of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station:

“Dear Mr. Yoshinaga,

“I am asking you to help me find the ‘children’ of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station. Most are in their early nineties.

“For example, Estelle Hoshiyama Uchizono used to live in Little Tokyo and now we cannot find her. Due to technology, a recent Christmas blast uncovered the Uyeda family’s Tuna Canyon roots for Yonsei and Gosei members. It is amazing that a simple email blast from Maryknoll has been a gold mine of information. So, I am trying your column since you have so many readers.

“We want to videotape recollections and reflections of that untold part of American history. We are trying to close the gap between the declaration of war on the Empire of Japan by President Roosevelt, the arrest of Issei by the FBI, and E.O. 9066, which turned the world upside down for our community.

“Thank you from the Tuna Canyon Detention Station. We are now incorporated as a nonprofit organization whose single mission is to memorialize Tuna Canyon.

“Yours truly, Nancy Oda (Sansei).

“(BTW The lawsuit between Snowball West vs. the City of Los Angeles is still at the Superior Court awaiting a new judge, as requested by SBW).

“P.S. My father used to make lots of natto for us at home in East L.A. Not in small packets like today.

“NOTE: Nancy may be reached at: Nancyoda64@gmail.com.”

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and can be reached at horsesmouth2000@hotmail.com. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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