(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on June 9, 2012.)


This past Wednesday (June 6) I joined family and friends to say “sayonara” to Yas Nakanishi at the Kubota Mortuary Chapel.

The Rafu carried Yas’ obituary on the front page of Tuesday’s edition because in the publication’s early years, he helped the newspaper in the printing department because of his expertise with the linotype machine. He was my mentor when I first began working for The Shin Nichi Bei.

When I began my newspaper career with The Shin Nichi Bei, the publisher, Saburo Kido, said he would hire me if I could operate the linotype machine in addition to writing my column.

That’s when Yas stepped forward to help me learn how to operate the linotype.

In those days, before the high-tech era of computers, newspapers relied on the linotype and Yas’ help got me started.

After a couple of years, The Kashu Mainichi wanted to enlarge their English section to three pages and they needed a linotype operator.

When publisher Hiro Hishiki heard I operated a linotype machine as well as writing my column and other news articles, he offered me a job. I decided to make the move and worked for Kashu for 30 years until Hishiki decided to sell the business.

That’s when I retired, which didn’t last long because then-Editor Naomi Hirahara asked me if I wanted to continue my column with The Rafu. So, here I am, 20-plus years later.

Kind of ironic that I would end up at Rafu because I learned how to run a linotype machine under the tutelage of Nakanishi.

I would like to thank Yas’ daughter, Arline Nakanishi, for mentioning my name during her father’s personal history address to the congregation during the service.

Sayonara, Yas.

The size alone is astounding.

A deck 66 feet long, 16 feet wide and 7 feet tall was washed ashore in Oregon the other day. It had Japanese words on it, which means it was probably washed to sea by the tsunami after the earthquake last year in northern Japan.

Those who located the deck are pretty certain it was from the tsunami and because of its size, many feel that more and more debris from Japan will probably land on the West Coast of the U.S.

Since the first debris landed in the State of Washington and now in Oregon, some experts feel that the next finding might be in California.

I’m kind of curious about who can claim ownership to debris that washes ashore in the U.S. Are those who find debris required to turn it in or can they claim ownership?

Over the balance of the year 2012, I am sure more and more debris will be found on the shores of the western states of Washington, Oregon and California.

Needless to say, with the report of these new findings, I’m sure a lot of people will begin looking for stuff washed in from Japan.

According to the latest report, it was a tough year for U.S. airlines at least for the first quarter of this year, with most posting losses.

There’s one exception. That would be da kine Hawaiian Airlines. They show a profit of $7.3 million, a jump of $855,000 from 2011.

This week, Hawaiian is adding New York City on its route. NYC is the USA’s biggest market.

Robert Mann, founder of airline consulting firm R.W. Mann, says this is a major investment for Hawaiian and it’s a riskier proposition for the Island company.

Other experts say that if Hawaiian can make New York work, other East Coast destinations such as Boston can become a possibility.

Hawaiian’s president, Mark Dunkerley, says his airline is taking the approach one at a time and the priority is to make New York a success first. Hawaiian faces competition to the New York area, notably from United Airlines.

Analysts say Hawaiian has benefited from a reputation of providing better in-flight service than other airlines, such as complimentary hot meals to all economy-class passengers.

When I read the foregoing news release, the thought that came to my mind was, “Do the people of Hawaii ever think about flying to New York?”

I know they are crazy about Las Vegas, but New York?

Well, I guess Hawaiian Air will soon find out.

I was chatting with one of my relatives in Honolulu who flies to Vegas about four or five times a year.

I asked him about New York. His question: “Do they have casinos in New York?”

As usual, my response was heh, heh.

Speaking of Las Vegas and Hawaii, in a recent survey of states with the highest percentage of interracial married couples, the Islands have the biggest number with 37.2 percent. Vegas is fourth with 13.3 percent.

The state with the third most? Would you believe Alaska?

In second place is Oklahoma, with California in third place with 12.6 percent.

I would have guessed California as No. 1 if the question were tossed to me.

Oh well.

A while back The Nichi Bei Weekly of San Francisco announced it was cutting back on the number of papers they would print in a month, so I concluded that they would virtually disappear since its publication dates were cut in half.

They seem to be hanging on.

I was sent an article that appeared in their most recent edition, dated May 31/June 13. It had an interesting headline: “Baking a New Recipe for Journalism.”

The opening paragraph was eye-catching and amusing: “You’ve heard of biofuels, but how about a newspaper that runs on tofu?”

The story reads: “That’s the groundbreaking experiment being conducted by The Nichi Bei Weekly, a modest yet historically significant newspaper that serves the Japanese American communities in Northern California.”

The tofu statement is explained in this way: “On June 2, in San Francisco’s Japantown, the newspaper’s staff and a host of volunteers will stage a Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival, an old-fashioned community fundraiser with an Iron Chef twist.”

Good luck, Nichi Bei Weekly. I hope it helps in the production of your newspaper.

As a fellow news person I am always distressed when other ethnic publications shut down and like to see all of them continue on.

As the article also read: “The Nichi Bei Weekly is a great example of how an ethnic newspaper can be so important that it becomes an institution.”

It was written by Jon Funabiki. I wonder if he is a relative of the Funabiki family who lived in Mountain View, my old hometown, before evacuation.

The last time I put gas in my car was a day before Memorial Day. The cost: $4.39 a gallon.

Yesterday, at the same Shell station in Gardena, the price was $4.19, a drop of 20 cents.

I know the public complains about a lot of things, but nobody really moans about gasoline’s ups and downs.

It seems that when people are scheduled to drive on holidays, the prices suddenly jump up and when the holiday travel days are over, the prices suddenly drop back to “normal.”

Where do our elected politicians stand on issues like this?

Oh well, we taxpayers provide their expenses, so I guess they don’t give a hoot even if gas goes up to 5 bucks a gallon.


Speaking of politicians, the latest news on Russell Takasugi, the son of the late Assemblyman and Oxnard Mayor Nao Takasugi, pleaded no contest to seven counts of felony, including grand theft and forgery, in the stealing of tens of thousands of dollars from an elderly client.

The former Simi Valley attorney didn’t withdraw his plea agreement. He said he understands that he could be in prison up to eight years if he pays $51,957 restitution on or before his sentencing.

If he fails to pay the restitution, he faces a sentence up to 10 years.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Colleen White, set the sentencing for June 28.

Outside the courtroom, Takasugi’s lawyer said his client has more than 100 letters of support from friends and family that were submitted to the court.

His lawyer said he will argue for less prison time at the time of sentencing. “He’s  done a lot of good and he’s more than the crimes  that he has been charged with.”

In October, Takasugi pleaded no contest to embezzling more than $500,000 from the estate of a former client who died in August 2007.

Oh yeah, before I forget, I want to congratulate Mike Antonovich for winning his re-election as supervisor for the 5th Supervisorial District. His victory didn’t get too much publicity in the media.

Mike has been serving the 5th District for over 38 years and his district has benefited from his presence.

According to a news report on Mike’s career, it may be his last victory since it was reported they are going to place a limit on the number of years a supervisor may serve.

That would be a loss for the 5th District.

I’ve been trying to check this out. Oh well, maybe Mike can run for president in four years.

On July 8, there is going to be an interesting match-up in Major League Baseball and they are making a lot out of it.

They are running ads that read, “Suzuki vs. Suzuki.”

It’s when the Seattle Mariners faces the Oakland A’s in the Northern California city. That would be Ichiro Suzuki vs. Kurt Suzuki.

Most baseball fans know of Ichiro.

Well, Kurt doesn’t get too much publicity, but he’s a valuable player for the A’s.

Kurt is a Sansei from Maui, where he attended Baldwin High School, the prep school that most of Maui’s Nikkei have attended and also graduated.

In fact, I have relatives who are personal friends of Kurt. (Relatives being from my wife’s side.)

Oh well, “Go get ’em, Suzuki.”

Laugh time…

Bob walked into a sports bar around 9:58 p.m. He sat down next to a blonde at the bar and stared up at the TV.

The 10 p.m. news was coming on. The news crew was covering a story of a man on the ledge of a large building preparing to jump.

The blonde looked at Bob and said, “Do you think he’ll jump?”

Bob said, “You know, I’ll bet he will jump.”

The blonde replied, “Well, I don’t think he will.”

Bob placed a $20 bill on the bar and said, “You’re on.”

Just as the blonde placed her money on the bar, the guy on the ledge did a swan dive off the building, falling to his death.

The blonde was very upset, but willingly handed her $20 to Bob. “Fair’s fair, here’s your money.”

Bob replied, “I can’t take your money. I saw this earlier on the 5 p.m. news, so I knew he would jump.”

The blonde replied, “I did, too. But I didn’t think he’d do it again.”

Bob took the money back.

(Maggie’s comment: Sorry to say this, Mr. Y., but you are repeating and repeating your laughers.)

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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