HORSE’S MOUTH: Age Makes a Difference

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

(Published Jan. 27, 2015)

There was a time when writing a column was a breeze. It’s not like that anymore. As one who has been writing a column for 70 years, I can attest to how writing a column has changed so much.

When I first began writing a column it was back in the early ’40s. It was for the Heart Mountain Relocation Center newspaper, The Sentinel. Editor Bill Hosokawa gave me the OK to write a column entitled “Sports Tidbits.”

Writing a sports column is a lot different from a more personalized column like “The Horse’s Mouth,” which came to life after we JAs returned to normal life after our days in a relocation center.

Writing a column twice a week would seem like an easier task than writing every day, as I did at The Kashu Mainichi, but in reality writing every day was much easier. I guess that way the writer can keep his mind operating more openly.

Oh well, I’m sure the readers of my chatter can understand what I am trying to say. Age has a lot to do with it. Hey, when one gets to the almost 90-year era, a lot can change and it does. Let’s face it.

How many writers are still banging away on the keyboard of a computer at almost 90 or more?

There are a lot of things a writer can do in this day and age, and we are doing it.

I guess the question is, “How much longer?” I guess we won’t find out until I pound “30” on the keyboard for the last time.

Oh well, let me continue with my chatter until Page 7, which is usually the last page on any written material prepared for a newspaper.

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When I began writing back in camp days at Heart Mountain, Wyoming, if someone had told me that I would still be banging away in the year 2015, I would have let out a roar of laughter. “Writing in 2015? You gotta be kidding.”

Well, as I glance at the calendar, it’s nearly February 2015 and I’m certainly not laughing. Okay, maybe I’m giggling.

Hey, I never thought I’d outlast a lot of the old-timers who got me started in this writing business. The old-timers I’m thinking about would be in their mid- and late 90s or even in their early 100s if they were still around.

Yes, early 90s would be a very youthful age for veteran JA journalists.

I’m always curious about some of the other JAs who ended up as journalists and how they got where they are today.

I’m also curious about how many JAs there are who are pursuing a journalism career today.

I’m sure there are more than a handful, and we’ll be hearing about them down the line.

Of course, JA vernaculars are fading away and there aren’t as many available as when we older Nisei joined the field.

I am sure that JAs who are seeking careers in journalism will find a way to do so.

There will probably be more “new doors” opening up in future years that may not be available in today’s market.

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Well, as I have noted before, the journalism field opened up for many of us because of the evacuation of Japanese Americans.

What would life have been if it weren’t for evacuation?

I’ve put that question to a few JAs I know whose lives were changed because of evacuation.

Yeah, I would be driving a tractor on our farm if we hadn’t gone to camp.

I’ve made that statement a number of times and I will continue to do so because evacuation certainly changed my life.

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Gee, it’s 8:30 p.m. and I’m still pounding away on my column for Tuesday’s Rafu.

Usually by 8:30 p.m., I have my column in an envelope for Editor Gwen to pick up Monday morning.

On the other hand, if I miss the deadline, I miss it. Will the readers also miss it?

Whenever I sit down and write the “Mouth,” it is my hope that my chatter is read by the many subscribers of The Rafu.

I know that many of the writers for The Rafu feel the same way I do.

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I am also aware that the readership of The Rafu is made up of various age groups, which means that the interests of the readers vary.

I know that I belong to the older readership, but hopefully, some of the younger generation find some of my chatter interesting to them.

I know that when I read the works of some of the youthful writers for The Rafu, I do find their style and information of interest to me.

Reading their material also helps keep me abreast of their thoughts and ideas.

Hopefully, my chatter does the same to them.

Oh well, I must be getting on in years to touch on the issue of age so much.

Of course, I am always interested in the thoughts of our younger JA generations.

Being one of the old-timers, I am always curious about what the younger generation thinks about us aging guys.

As one of the “elders,” I would like to hear from them and get their views on my style of writing.

Enuff said.

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Hooray!

I’ve set up a visit to Vegas, so I’ll be going there before the end of February.

Yeah, I’ll be at The Cal.

If any of you have the time, I’d like to sit down and not only have lunch or dinner with you but just chatter so that I’ll have some column material.

If any of you are going the first week of February, give me a jingle at The Rafu and let me know your dates so we can arrange getting together.

Hope to se ya all there.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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