(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on June 12, 2012)


With the Los Angeles Dodgers having the best win/loss record in the Major Leagues, it would be assumed that they would be the headline story in the sports pages of the local newspapers. Not so. You’re lucky to find them after Page 4 or 5.

The reason is that the local ice hockey team, the Kings, are on the verge of winning their first Stanley Cup title and with one more victory, they will accomplish the feat.

The other sports news crowding the sports pages is the controversy over the loss of Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao in his title bout with Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas this past Saturday night.

The two judges scored a 115-113 victory for Bradley with the third judge giving the victory to Pacquiao by the same 115-113 decision.

Most of the 14,000-plus fans booed the decision.

The promoter, Bob Arum, has Pacquiao as the easy winner. The media covering the bout also gave Pacquiao the win by a big margin.

So, how could this happen?

Well, for one thing, boxing is the only sport where the scoring is not known until the bout is over, so the three individuals who are assigned to judge the fight don’t reveal their scoring until the final bell rings after the 12th round.

Aside from my years in newspapers, I spent a lot of time in my life in boxing and always felt that this issue could be solved by posting the score of each fighter at the end of each round.

Over the years, I trained fighters, managed them and worked with promoters in making matches. I ended up as a promoter myself before becoming an inspector for the California State Athletic Commission.

After that I served as chief inspector from the commission. In that position, I assigned the men who were to judge the fight and/or referee the contest.

If there was a controversy on the scoring of those assigned, the final score couldn’t be changed, but I would call the judges in the day after the bout and we would sit and review the bout on film, if the fight was televised.

The judges would explain why they scored the bout the way they did as we viewed the film.

This isn’t something that is done in most states, so there is no way to learn why the judges scored the bout the way they did.

Perhaps if those who are assigned to judge the bouts were compensated a lot more, the quality of their skills would be a great deal better.

Hey, they are judging two guys in the ring who are making millions of dollars while they are earning pocket change.

Oh well, I guess the Pacquiao/Bradley issue will be solved when they sign for a rematch and make millions more.

I‘m sure three other judges will be assigned to the rematch.

As I mentioned in a previous column, my neighbors of over 50 years moved out and put their home sale.

According to the “For Sale” sign posted on the front lawn, the home has a buyer and the sale is in escrow.

Since there were literally hundreds of potential buyers dropping in to look the house over, I don’t know who the new owners will be. Naturally, I am curious about who our new neighbors will be.

I guess potential buyers who looked over the property never looked next door to see who their neighbors will be.

I know when I was looking to buy my first house over 50 years ago, I only had a couple of things in mind.

One was the city where I wanted to own a house. In my case, Gardena.

The next was the price of the house. Followed by the size, including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

Since we were planning to raise a family, if there was a school in the neighborhood.

I never gave any thought to who the neighbors were.

As it turned out, the house we purchased was surrounded by houses owned by Japanese Americans, which was great because our kids became close friends and they played and grew up together.

As I sat on our front porch and watched potential buyers visiting the house, I noticed that a large number of them were Asians. I would guess that about half were Japanese Americans.

So maybe they did glance over to our side of the fence and see me sitting with a cigar stuck in my mouth.

Most of them were young couples, so I hope seeing me sitting next door didn’t scare them away.

It’s something we Californians never think about.

I know that the price of gas in our state is always more expensive than, say, Nevada, but I never realized that when I fill up in Las Vegas, that I am paying more tax for the gas than I pay in California, which means that the price of gasoline itself in Vegas is a lot cheaper than gas in California.

The tax on a gallon of gas in say, Gardena, is 18 cents. In Vegas, it’s 24 cents. Yet, a gallon of gas at the pump in Vegas is 40 cents cheaper than in Gardena, which means the price of the gasoline itself is a lot cheaper than in California.

That is to say, if I paid $4.30 in California, I pay only $3.90 in Vegas.

In Hawaii, the tax on gas is 17 cents. But the motorists pay 50 cents more on a gallon of gas than we do here in California, meaning the price of gasoline itself is so much higher.

So, who decides the cost of the gasoline itself and on how much tax should be charged per gallon?

The highest tax on gasoline is found in the State of Washington, which puts 37.5 cents on each gallon sold. That’s about 19 cents more than California

The lowest tax? That would be Georgia, which puts only 7.5 cents on each gallon.

Oh well, maybe I’ll buy a bicycle.

Before I forget, I want to thank Carolyn Conley, coordinator of Horse Racing TV, Santa Anita’s sports channel, for mentioning my name during her talk at the recent Japanese American community gathering at the famous racetrack.

It was a few years ago when Rose Ochi and I were interviewed about our experience when the track was used for an assembly center.

As the result of my appearance in the film, the City of Arcadia, where the racetrack is located, wanted to have a chapter included in the book they were going to publish to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the founding of the city.

After they saw the film, they decided to include the story of the assembly center as part of the city’s history and asked me if I would write the chapter.

I rekindled my memory and wrote about what life was like at Santa Anita during the period.

Anyone who wants to read my thoughts on the assembly center can buy the book, “100 Years of Arcadia,” in any bookstore in Arcadia.

My views might be a lot different than those of, say, George Takei, who has talked about living at the racetrack.

Of course, since he was 5 years old and I was 17, I would have a completely different view of life at the assembly center.

I mean, I worked on the camouflage net project with all the guys my age and went to dances being held in the grandstand area in the evening on weekends.

Hey, I can still hear Yoshiko Iwashika singing with the camp band and get a mental picture of the sumo tournament being held in the infield of the training track.

Oh well…

No need to repeat it over and over but boy, does time fly.

I was reminded of this when I saw in the Saturday edition of The Rafu the selection of Crystal Hanano as the candidate for the 2012 Nisei Week Queen contest, representing West Los Angeles.

It seems like only yesterday when I met the 2011 queen and her court at the former queens’ reunion hosted by Em (Kato) Yamada.

I would guess that in a few more weeks, all the other areas will announce the names of their candidates for the 2012 queen’s race.

Reminds me how old I’m getting to be, especially when I think back to the first reunion of Nisei Week after the Japanese Americans returned to the West Coast after evacuation.

Heck, I would also guess that the queens from those early days are now grandmothers. Maybe even great-grandmothers.

Hey, I’m a grandfather myself.

Enuff said.

Speaking of the passing of time, I was reading a copy of The Hawaii Hochi, the JA vernacular serving the State of Hawaii, and was amazed to learn that the Japanese American baseball league in the Islands is celebrating its 109th year.

That’s right, the AJA League, as it is called, is beginning its 109th year.

Unlike the Los Angeles area NAU (Nisei Athletic Union), the Hawaii AJA still maintains its “Japanese” status with all participants being of Japanese ethnicity.

Must be tough to maintain this status with fewer and fewer JA youths available to fill the rosters of the teams.

The Los Angeles NAU roster these days is dominated by non-Japanese surnames, meaning the teams are heavily non-JA.

A sign of times, at least in L.A., but not in the Islands.

While touching on baseball, I guess I wasn’t too disappointed when the Seattle Mariners shut out the Dodgers with a no-hitter Friday night because the winning run was scored by Ichiro Suzuki and two other Japanese players contributed to the Seattle win.

Yeah, the Seattle team has three Japanese players on its roster.

I guess that’s the “Japanese” in me coming out.


The following was sent to me by Harold Fujimoto. I thought would be interesting reading to the older readers in my audience.

Harold’s contribution is entitled “Heart Attack and Water.”  He wrote:

“Something I didn’t know — I asked my doctor why do I and other people urinate so much at nighttime. The answer from my cardiac doctor: Gravity holds water in the lower part of the body and when you are upright, legs swell. When you lie down and the lower body (becomes) level with the kidneys, it is then that the kidneys remove the water because it is easier. This then ties in with the last statement. I knew you need your minimum water to help flush the toxins out of your body, but this was news to me.

“Correct time to drink water, very important, from a cardiac specialist. Drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body: Two glasses of water after waking up helps act activate internal organs. One glass of water 30 minutes before meals helps digestion. One glass of water before taking a bath helps lower blood pressure. One glass of water before going to bed avoids stroke or heart attack. My physician also told me that water at bedtime will also help prevent nighttime leg cramps.”

I found Harold’s information quite interesting, but as I always state when using material such as this in my column, it is something I can’t attest to as being true.

Okay, today’s laugher is entitled “British Humor Is Different.” These are classified ads that were actually placed in U.K. newspapers:

• Free Yorkshire terrier. 8 years old, hateful little bastard. Bites.

• Free Puppies: 1/2 cocker spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbor’s dog.

• Joining Nudist Colony: Must sell washer and dryer.

• Wedding Dress for Sale: Worn once by mistake.

• Complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica, 45 volumes. Excellent condition. Best offer. No longer needed, got married, wife knows everything.


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

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