Well, it looks like the Evergreen Cemetery issue is creating some response from readers. The first response is from a reader who signed his e-mail “Nmm888.” It reads:
“I’d like to thank Setsuko Onoda for writing to you about the Evergreen Cemetery maintenance situation. I enjoy reading your column and I also thought you’d be the person who can help. I’m happy to hear that you will be going to the cemetery soon to observe what she has written about.
“I heard it was getting pretty bad and some people were even paying to have their loved ones dug up and taken to other cemeteries or churches.
“The cemetery office is no longer any help. In fact, I noted that the English sign outside of the office has Spanish words under it. Does that mean the cemetery is now managed by Mexican owners?
“I came home and Googled ‘Evergreen Cemetery Los Angeles’ (you have to specify Los Angeles since there is an Evergreen Cemetery in another state) to see if there was someplace a person could complain about the maintenance of cemeteries.
“Looking up information, it says Evergreen is the oldest cemetery in Los Angeles. It’s over 100 years old and has some famous people who are buried there. Interestingly, there were other topics regarding owners who had their licenses revoked; had warnings of gravestones falling over; grave markers missing; grave robbers; people being told they cannot take pictures/photos and being followed around to make sure you don’t; water faucets turned off or taken out so you have to bring your own water from home to put in the containers for the flowers you take to the cemetery.
“The ‘Japanese sections’ where all the gravestones are upright no longer have grass. It’s all dried up with weeds or just dirt.
“I was trying to figure out how we can get someone from the Japanese community with some clout, and I’m glad Ms. Onoda wrote to you. I also came a cross an Internet complaint form from the Dept. of Consumer Affairs in Sacramento, which has several topics listed, which include cemetery, funeral, crematory. I think someone with clout or groups should file this form.
“I also went to the Inglewood Cemetery that day and boy, what a gigantic difference. They must have a rule because all headstones must be flat in the ground. There are no stand-up headstones. They have nice green grass everywhere and trees all over with green leaves. Automatic sprinklers everywhere. Roadways all labeled and readable to find your way.
“I guess this makes you not want to be buried in any cemetery because you never know what’ll happen in 50 to 100 years. I’d just as soon be cremated and ashes thrown out to sea or whatever.
“Thank you for your help.”
Thanks to “Nmm888” for his letter. I’m sure it will bring a lot of responses from other readers of my column.
On the heels of the foregoing letter, I received another one in which the sender wants to remain anonymous.
Her letter included two photos, so I guess if Evergreen doesn’t permit photos, the person who was supposed to ban photographers wasn’t on duty the day the second letter-writer visited the cemetery.
The lady who submitted the photos wrote: “I visited my in-law’s gravesite a couple of days ago and I also was shocked at the lack of up-keep of the whole site. I am enclosing two photos that I took during my visit.
“The first photo was taken in the ‘Japanese section’ of Evergreen.
“The other one, the monument dedicated to the many Nisei who served in the military during World War II, also in the ‘Japanese section.’”
The photos make it a little tough to determine if Evergreen is in as bad a shape as indicated by the letters from the readers.
As I wrote in a previous column, I am planning to drive out to East Los Angeles sometime this week to get a look at Evergreen Cemetery. I will give my observations in my next column. That is, if the cemetery management doesn’t toss me out if they find out I’m a nosy newspaper columnist.
So, stay tuned.
It’s a well-established fact that there is a large number of Japanese players on the roster of Major League teams.
Some of the big-league clubs have as many as three Japanese players wearing their uniforms.
Because the players from Japan don’t speak English, the teams hire interpreters so that the Japanese players can communicate with other members of the team, including the managers and coaches.
The interpreters are mostly Japanese Americans (Nisei??) who not only speak Japanese, but also understand how the players think.
This may not sound like too much, but knowing how the Japanese think is more important than understanding their language.
Why? Well, let’s reverse the situation.
There are American players on the teams in the Japanese pro leagues, and the Japanese teams hire interpreters so that the American players can community with their Japanese teammates.
The only difference in the situation with the Japanese in the U.S. and Americans in Japan is that the teams in Japan hire “Japanese” interpreters. That is, the interpreters can speak English but they don’t understand the way Americans think, so they have had their words misunderstood.
It doesn’t happen all the time, but according to a story in the English-language Japan Times, the results are humorous.
An example? Well, an American playing for the Lotte Orions asked the interpreter assigned to him for his batting tee.
The interpreter asked the American if he wanted sugar and lemon with his tea.
Some Japanese expressions, according to the article, don’t translate well.
As an example, “gambatte” means “do your best.”
Americans are offended by being told “Do your best,” because they answer back, “We are doing our best.”
The Japanese interpreter learned to translate “gambatte” as “good luck,” which the Americans accepted.
Here’s a situation involving the Hanshin Tigers:
Outfielder Matt Murton of the Tigers made a bad throw on a run-scoring play in their loss to the Orix Buffaloes. Murton was later asked by reporters if he had tried his best to stop the runner from scoring.
Probably annoyed by the insinuation he wasn’t giving his all, Murton replied, “I don’t like Nomi” (pitcher Atsushi Nomi), an innocently sarcastic statement, implying that he was giving his all and the question was ridiculous. But, because of the way the interpreter translated Murton’s response, he had to explain himself to his teammates the next day when his remarks were published in the media.
The situation had a happy ending, but the article put it this way: “One lesson learned from the incident is that the Japanese don’t use sarcasm the way Americans do.”
Jeremy Powell, a pitcher who played for four teams during his eight seasons in Japan, said, “In my opinion … either the interpreter misunderstands us, our character, our sense of humor perhaps, or he simply can’t translate word-for-word and the media is left to guess what the translator is trying to say.”
He said, “My advice to Americans playing in Japan is to be careful about sarcasm and telling jokes because there is usually something lost in translation.”
Well, as I said, the Japanese players in our Major League don’t seem to experience this kind of problem while in the U.S. because the interpreters assigned to them understand not only the language but the way the players think.
While still in a baseball mode, everyone who follows my chatter knows that I am a diehard Dodgers fan.
During the Major League season, my television set is always tuned into the channel carrying the Dodgers games.
Well, every once in a while, I may find myself rooting for a player on the opposing team.
Like the other night, for example, when the Dodgers were playing the Oakland A’s. That’s because the catcher for the A’s is a player named Suzuki.
No, not because his name is Suzuki. It’s because his name is Kurt Suzuki and he’s a Sansei from Maui.
Needless to say, I always cheer for people from Maui, especially since my wife is from Maui and in Suzuki’s case, my wife’s brother knows the Oakland catcher.
So, every time he came to bat against the Dodgers, I would yell, “Hit it out of the park, Kurt.”
Well, the A’s beat the Dodgers in Game 1 of their three-game series, but the defeat wasn’t too painful.
Needless to say, I’m sure all my relatives on Maui are rooting for Oakland.
I’m sure they aren’t rooting for the Dodgers by saying, “We’re rooting for the Dodgers because our sister is married to a kotonk from Los Angeles.”
Time to toss in a letter from a reader who comments on my recent comments on taxes on gasoline here in Los Angeles.
Ken Clark writes: “I love your stuff but gotta set you straight on gasoline taxes. When it comes to taxes, you have to consider federal, state and sales taxes.
“Trust me when I tell you the State of New York has higher gasoline taxes than California. Connecticut and Hawaii are right behind California. Washington is in ninth place and Las Vegas is after Washington.”
Thanks, Ken, for the info.
Touching on gas prices, I’m sure all of you out there in readerland know that a gallon now costs $3.89. That’s 50 cents cheaper than it was about 10 days ago.
To put that in terms of dollars and cents, we can now put 10 gallons in our tanks and save $5.40.
All I can say is WOW.
I’d better jump in my car and head for Las Vegas.
San Jose has a Japanese American museum with the city’s name tagged on the title: “Japanese American Museum of San Jose.”
Yes, we also have the Japanese American National Museum, but the title doesn’t have a “Los Angeles” tag on it.
I guess I know more about the San Jose museum than the local one because although the Los Angeles one is located in Little Tokyo, they don’t know I exist.
On the other hand, a board member of the San Jose museum, Kristin Okimoto, has me on the mailing list for their newsletter, which keeps me informed on what’s going on, and she always extends an invitation to me to visit her museum if I’m ever in the San Jose area.
Yes, I am considering such a visit in the near future.
Whenever I drop in at the local museum, the person at the desk near the entrance asks me, “Who are you?”
I show him/her my press pass and they say, “Okay, you can come in.”
Well, that’s life.
Today’s laugher will probably bring more chuckles from the older readers in the audience. I’ll title it “Getting Older.”
• An older gentleman was on the operating table awaiting surgery and he insisted that his son, a renowned surgeon, perform the operation. As he was about to get the anesthesia, he asked to speak to his son.
“Yes, Dad, what is it?”
“Don’t be nervous, son, do your best and just remember, if something happens to me, your mother is going to come and live with you and your wife.”
• Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it. This is so true. I love to hear them say, “You don’t look that old.”
• When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of algebra.
• You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.
• First you forget names, then you forget faces. Then you forget to pull up your zipper. It’s worse when you forget to pull it down.
• Two guys, one old, one young, are pushing their carts around Wal-Mart when they collide. The old guy says to the young guy, “Sorry about that, I’m looking for my wife and I guess I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going.”
The young guy says, “That’s okay. What a coincidence — I’m looking for my wife, too. I can’t find her and I’m getting a little desperate.”
The old guy says, “Well, maybe I can help you find her. What does she look like?”
The young guy says, “Well, she is 27 years old, tall with red hair, blue eyes, buxom, wearing no bra, long legs and wearing short shorts. What does your wife look like?”
To which the old man says, “Doesn’t matter, let’s look for yours.”
(Maggie’s comment: Forgive me for saying this, Mr. Y., but today’s laughers are yesterday’s jokes. I am sure you know what I mean).
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.