HORSE’S MOUTH: The Santa Cruz Connection

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

(Published Jan. 17, 2015)

As I always do on Wednesday afternoon, I sit around our living room kicking around thoughts on what I should write about for my Saturday Rafu column.

I don’t need a reminder, but my wife says, “It’s 5:30. Shouldn’t you be writing your column?”

I chuckle. “What should I write about?” I ask her.

Before she gives me an answer, I get up and head for my computer in my “office.”

I go through my stack of letters because mail always gives me column ideas.

On the other hand, printing letters from readers is not one of the better ways to fill space.

So, let me get back to my regular routine.

One regular routine is to ask my wife, “What’s for dinner?”

That’s one way to keep her busy in the kitchen and not peeking over my shoulder to see what I’m writing about.

But when I ask her what’s for dinner, she knows what I’m up to.

She has a regular response. “You want Japanese?” she’ll always ask me.

And I always respond the same way, “What kind of Japanese?”

Let’s face it. In the U.S. there are dozens of “Japanese” dishes, most of which are not really Japanese.

I mean, if she puts a hot dog in what she is cooking, it can’t be called a Japanese dish, can it?

Well, I’m sure you know what I mean.

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I mentioned it in a previous column, but McDonald’s Japan is having a lot of problems with its popular dishes.

Recently, McDonald’s disclosed four cases of contaminated food in Japan, including a human tooth found in a pack of French fries and a child being hurt by a chocolate sundae with a piece of hard plastic in it.

It also revealed that a diner found a strip of vinyl roughly 1.5 inches long in a Chicken McNugget, which prompted the company to halt sales of nuggets.

The nuggets are made in Thailand.

What I am curious about is why the firm hasn’t purchased its products from the U.S., where McDonald’s was founded.

I’m sure they won’t find teeth in chicken purchased from the U.S.

I hope.

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Since I can’t drive to Vegas anymore, a lot of my friends tell me, “Why don’t you take the train?”

Sounds like a good idea, but train service hasn’t been getting that much promotion.

What I am curious about is why the train companies haven’t really pushed their service from L.A. to Vegas.

Since the train station in Vegas is located Downtown (about two blocks from The Cal), it seems like a good way for Nisei visitors because most of them stay Downtown and not on The Strip.

Does anyone know what the train fare is from L.A. to Vegas? Anyone with the information can drop me a letter.

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There are days when ideas for my column just roll off the top of my head, and there are days when all I get is a blank space.

When I was on the staff of The Kashu Mainichi, writing a column was a rather simple task. However, when writing is a side task, it’s not the same.

I never realized, when I was a full-time journalist, that being a part-timer was a completely different task.

I’d like to get together with Editor Gwen, but being the editor of The Rafu doesn’t provide much free time to chat with a contributor.

However, I’ll keep at it as best I can.

I know, a lot of you are probably thinking, “If what you write is the best you can, maybe you’d better kick the can.”

Heh, heh.

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I’m sure most of you who read my scribbling may wonder what I do when I’m not pounding out the “Mouth.”

Well, most of my time is taken up by health problems. And when one gets to my age, it’s almost a must.

I go three times a week for dialysis. It’s a medical procedure that takes up to three hours each time.

It might be tougher for younger folks to have to go through, but when one gets to my age, it’s not that bad.

I’ve learned to work it into my schedule.

Never thought I’d be working something like that into my schedule.

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Before I write another word, I have to apologize to the Terminal Islanders for missing their New Year’s party, held last weekend in Lakewood.

I have been invited to their annual event for a number of years, and this is the first time I’ve missed joining them.

As most of you know, Terminal Island was the site of a Japanese community until World War II forced them to lose their homes.

I got to know many of the former residents and enjoyed spending time with them at their annual celebration.

Oh well, maybe next year.

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Was kind of surprised to read in Wimp’s column that his grandson lives in Santa Cruz.

I must assume that his grandson is attending UC Santa Cruz. Yeah, my youngest son graduated from UCSC.

I visited him a couple of times when he was there and before he became a student at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

It’s a small world, isn’t it?

In this day and age, it’s tough to figure out how one’s kids will end up.

My son’s a civilian now after his duty as an Air Force officer and is doing okay.

A couple of my sons have touched on the matter of having an “old man” who is a newspaper columnist.

I guess I never gave it that much thought. After all, the two have gone on to be successful businessmen.

I can sure boast about them to my friends and relatives.

I don’t think they walk around boasting that their “old man” is a columnist for The Rafu Shimpo.

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Brains of older people are slow because they know so much.

People do not decline mentally with age, it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains, some scientists believe.

Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full, so, too, do humans take longer to access information when their brains are full. Researchers say this slowing down process is not the same as cognitive decline.

Dr. Michael Ramscar said, “The brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more.”

Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for. It is not a memory problem; it is nature’s way of making older people do more exercise.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena. He can be reached at Horsesmouth2000@hotmail.com. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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