If it were a baseball game, the score would be 5-2. The result of email I received touching on the matter of my contemplating retirement in last Saturday’s column.
I was kind of surprised by the instant response on the matter.
Why the score?
Well, five emails said, “Don’t retire, keep on writing.”
Two were the opposite. As one noted, “good riddance.”
Not to make the matter drag on, but here is what one reader, Archie Miyamoto wrote:
“I see you are embroiled in controversy again. I like that, not because I think half of what you write is a bunch of crap but because I love controversy. The Rafu needs something like this to spice things up.
“You are getting a bum rap. You printed a letter from a writer who asked his name not be revealed. The article was refuted by others. You are now being attacked. It is up to the writer to defend what he wrote. If it was based on hearsay, he should then admit it and apologize to everyone involved, especially to you. If the writer does neither, the letter was most likely a fabrication and you were played for a sucker.
“You should tell the writer if in fact he was lying, his name will be revealed as a warning to all future liars who might think of using you to disseminate false information. While I have no particular love for the JACL, The Rafu has to protect its integrity.
“True, there may be some who might say as a journalist, you should at least attempt to verify submissions. Doing that and filling a newspaper page two times a week without a staff would not be possible. We don’t expect you to do that. Most readers love your drivel the way it is. Keep up the good work and keep calling a spade a spade if that’s how you see it.”
Thanks, Archie, for your comments. It’s food for thought for me. It kind of boosted my morale, too.
Another shorter message read: “It’s not whether you win or lose but how you place the blame.”
I’m trying to analyze that one.
Then one from reader who frequently drops me a line under his email name, “Mauiyoshi.” Here’s his short message:
“Like W/Hiroto, Atty. Shigekuni and yourself, the last three ‘Horse’s Mouths’ of The Rafu, we can’t afford to let any of you go. Otherwise, we’ll get information (even though the three of you are get getting on in age like me and sometimes memory fades) coming from a secondary source and it could only be half accurate, sometimes even with a ‘spin’ of their own on it. Your talk of retirement is similar with the final voyages of the space shuttle and the U.S. space program, as we knew it.”
Well, I don’t know what Wimp and Shigekuni are planning for their future with The Rafu, but in the matter of age, they still have a few years to go before they reach the level I’m at now.
Yeah, I know. Veteran writer Harry Honda has a few years more than I do and he still contributes to The Pacific Citizen. So maybe it’s not only age that is making me contemplate sailing off into the sunset.
I’m not sure how many Japanese Americans read about the issue of classifying Spanish-speaking people as Hispanics or Latinos, but it seems to be an issue similar to referring to Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Taiwan, Indians, Filipinos, etc., as Asians.
I find the issue interesting because I am one of those who feel that I am Japanese, not “Asian.”
In the case of the “Hispanic” and “Latino” issue, at least all those lumped together under the classification all speak the same language, Spanish.
In the so-called “Asian” group, each ethnic group has its own language.
I always like to quote the words of one Chinese gentleman, who once said, “The only thing the Japanese, Chinese and Koreans have in common is that they use chopsticks.”
However, in the case of Hispanics or Latinos, many in the group like to be lumped together because it gives them a lot of political clout. Even then, most say they like the clout but not the label.
Otherwise, even though those in the Hispanic and Latino classification speak the same language, they don’t relate to each other in any other way.
And, in my opinion, being called an Asian doesn’t give Japanese Americans any more political clout.
So, when it comes to politics, Japanese Americans are Japanese Americans.
To put a cap on this matter, I’ll use the old Japanese phrase “naru hodo.”
As I often boast, Gardena is one of the great cities in the Southern California area.
Yes, I know that it isn’t as large as a lot of other cities — which might give it an advantage.
When a city stands out, there is a single reason. Leadership.
I don’t say this because for many years, the leadership in Gardena was in the hands of Japanese Americans.
However, let’s face it. Gardena’s leaders for many years were JAs.
We can go back to the era of the late Ken Nakaoka, who was Gardena’s first elected mayor.
He was then followed on the City Council by the late Mas Fukai, who served as mayor pro tem.
The city recognized both of them for their contributions by naming a building next to City Hall the “Ken Nakaoka Center” and a city park as “Mas Fukai Park.”
Today, Gardena has Paul Tanaka as its mayor and Ron Ikejiri as mayor pro tem. The pair continues to uphold the tradition of making Gardena a great city.
So why am I even mentioning this in the year 2012?
I know most of you will think I’m concocting this story, but it’s absolutely true.
The other day, as I was eating breakfast, I heard a lawnmower on our front lawn.
The first thought came to my mind was, “Who could be mowing our lawn so early in the morning?” (Or any other time of day.)
So, I looked out the window and got a shock. It was none other than Mayor Pro Tem Ikejiri.
I stepped outside and hollered, “Hey, Ron, what’s going on?”
He turned off his mower, laughed and said, “I thought your lawn needed mowing real bad, so I decided to chip in and do it for you.”
I know I neglect my lawn mainly because my mower is broken.
And Ron, in addition to being mayor pro tem, also is on the city’s Beautification Committee.
I know my lawn certainly doesn’t contribute to the city’s “beautification” because of neglect.
However, how many can say that someone with a title like Ron’s would make my lawn look so beautiful?
I guess Ron remembers the bygone days when 99 percent of the gardeners were Japanese, many of them Issei.
At any rate, the first thing I’m going to do is take my lawnmower in for repairs.
I guess I can take the hint by Ron’s effort to make my place look like it would fit the “beautification” category.
And if he runs for re-election, I’ll go mow his lawn because he will be tied up campaigning.
In case any of you JA horse racing fans are wondering what happened to Corey Nakatani, he moved back east again to ride at Oaklawn Park.
Can’t blame him, Even though he was given only a few mounts a day at Santa Anita that scored on 30 wins at the Arcadia track.
I can’t understand why the trainers and owners keep shutting him out when he returns to the West Coast to ride.
So, I guess until he comes back, I’ll keep my visits to the local tracks down.
Hopefully, he’ll return when Hollywood Park opens later this month.
A little change of pace here.
As everyone who has followed my column knows, I lived in Tokyo for about four years in the early ’60s.
My apartment was located in the Shibuya area of Tokyo.
I’m sure you Nisei travelers who visited Japan during that era know what Shibuya looked like in those days.
It was a comfortable area for those living there.
Well, if you go there now, you’ll be amazed on how much it has changed.
My apartment was only two blocks from the dome on top in the near center of the photo. That was about 50 years ago.
Heck, we even had a backyard with a small garden. I don’t think one could even grow a potted plant in the area now.
Good thing is that our “Little Tokyo” hasn’t developed like “big Tokyo.”
Oh well, so much for memories of the past.
Perhaps I was wrong. Heh. So what else is new?
I know that I complained when the Dodgers traded away pitcher Kuroda to the New York Yankees.
Not sure how many of you read the fine print in the box score published in the metro media, but Kuroda started for the Yankees the other day and was blasted with eight hits and six runs.
In the meantime, the Dodgers were winning the first three games of the season with great pitching.
Oh well, I guess I gotta add, “What the heck do I know about baseball?”
Speaking of the Dodgers, I don’t know if I’ll be going to any of their games this season. With new owners, maybe the people who have “connections” with the team won’t be tossing any ducats my way.
Ah, what the heck. Watching them on TV might be just as good. I can always be eating dinner when they play evening games.
I know I can’t take my “bento” with natto in it when I go to Dodger Stadium.
Yes, I take “bento” with me. Buying something to eat at the concession stand drains my pocket too much.
Well, this past Sunday was Easter, so here’s something we can label “Happy Easter.”
A man was blissfully driving along the highway when he saw the Easter bunny hopping across the middle of the road, carrying an Easter basket He swerved to avoid hitting the bunny, but unfortunately the rabbit jumped in front of his car and it was hit.
The basket of eggs went flying all over the place. The candy, too.
The driver, being a sensitive man as well as an animal lover, pulled over to the side of the road and went out to see what had become of the bunny carrying the basket. Much to his dismay, the colorful bunny was dead.
The driver felt guilty and began to cry.
A woman driving down the same highway saw the man crying on the side of the road and pulled over. She stepped out of her car and asked the man why he was crying.
“I feel terrible,” the man explained. “I accidentally hit the Easter bunny and killed it. There may not be an Easter for the children because of me. What should I do?”
The woman told the man not to worry. She knew exactly what to do.
She went to her car trunk and pulled out a spray can. She walked over to the limp, dead bunny and sprayed the entire contents of the can onto the little furry animal.
Miraculously, the Easter bunny came back to life, jumped up, picked up the spilled eggs and candy, waved its paws at the two and hopped down the road.
Fifty yards away, the Easter bunny stopped, turned around, waved and hopped down the road. Then in another 50 yards, he turned, waved, hopped and did it again in another 50 yards.
The man was astonished. He couldn’t figure out what could possibly be in that woman’s spray can.
He said to the woman, “What in heaven’s name is in your spray can? What was it that you sprayed on the Easter bunny?”
The woman turned the can around so that the man could read the label.
It said that the spray “restores life to dead hair (hare). Adds permanent wave.”
George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.