In the postwar era, after JAs returned to the West Coast, Little Tokyo (or J-Town as many know it) had a few landmark businesses located in the area.

One of these was Nisei Trading Co., which was located on the north side of East First Street, which is now occupied by the Los Angeles Police Department building.

The furniture and appliance store was owned and operated by Henry Murayama and his brother, Herb.

I was saddened to learn that Henry passed away this week at the age of 97. Because of his age, it is needless to say that he enjoyed a long and fruitful life. I got to know Henry and Herb because during that era I hung around Little Tokyo every day.

That was before I became a newspaper person and belonged to a group that others in J-Town tagged as the “Taul Building Leaners.”

So, it’s time to say “Sayonara” to another individual who helped establish Little Tokyo towards what it is today.

Goodbye, Henry. It was my pleasure to be able to call you a friend.

The price of gas is the main topic of the day over the past few weeks.

Who could ever imagine that motorists in the Los Angeles area would ever pay more for a gallon of gas than those in Hawaii?

But with our gas reaching nearly 5 bucks a gallon, that’s what has happened.

Of course, we always say that motorists in the Islands don’t put on as many miles in a day as we do here in L.A., but still, to even think that we would be paying more was hard to imagine.

Gas in Vegas is now more than a dollar a gallon cheaper than in L.A. Vegas gas has always been cheaper than what we pay in L.A., so when I drive there on my frequent trips, I don’t fill up my tank here. Just put enough to get me to Vegas. There, I fill up before starting home.

I know many of you may say, “Hey, you’re throwing your money away in the casino and you worry about the price of gas.”

Maybe you’re right in your thinking.

I get about 33 miles per gallon on my Toyota, which means I put in about 8 gallons here and put in about 12 gallons on my return rip.

I don’t have any trips planned for Vegas now, but I guess my next visit will be in November, by which time gas should drop back to about $3.50 per gallon.

Speaking of Vegas, most of you know that when the city is mentioned, the emphasis is on The Strip.

Well, according to all the news reports I have come across, the city is now going to put more emphasis on Downtown. This may mean there will be a lot of changes Downtown. I don’t know if that’s good or bad news for those of us who are fans of the area, because we generally visit The Cal, Fremont and Main Street, all Downtown sites.

As I mention now and then, in the old days, I was strictly a Strip visitor, but about two decades ago I “discovered” Downtown and became a fan.

I feel a lot better there mainly because I bump into so many old friends who opt for Downtown.

Heck, on The Strip, I was “just a face.”

Downtown, the executives I have gotten to know will always say, “How you doing, George?” when I bump into them.

Oh well, let me get on with today’s chatter.

I’ll start with a letter from reader Bob Wada, who wants to correct what I printed a column back. Here is what Bob wrote:

“Read your article in the Saturday 10/06/12 issue of The Rafu. I was a bit surprised to see it printed. But sad that you elected to change the meaning of my comments. This is more offensive than what Romney said. You changed it by leaving out the comments before it. When I said Hillary Clinton has her hand over her heart, the military officer standing next to her is saluting and Obama has his hands over his crotch for the national anthem. That to me is what is more offensive than unproven out-of-context comments from Romney.

“Also, that letter was a copy sent by someone who emailed me and is from an area where not all Japanese Americans were put into the internment camps. It was not a question about you. I know you were in Heart Mountain and I apologize for the misunderstanding.”

Thanks, Bob. I apologize if I messed up in printing your letter.

Just a line or two on the issue of Sheriff Lee Baca letting a lot of his top assistants go because of the mess at the County Jail.

An earlier report stated that the sheriff was considering letting Undersheriff Paul Tanaka go.

Well, it seems that Sheriff Baca hasn’t considered releasing Tanaka from his position. The one who is attempting to fire Tanaka, according to a late news release, is Supervisor Gloria Molina.

I will check out this bit of information, which was sent to me this morning.

Sheriff Baca was quoted as saying he is not considering letting anyone go over the current situation at the jail.

Glad to hear that.

Okay, let’s hop from politics to Manzanar. Quite a jump.

Alisa Lynch from the former camp site sent me the following:

Manzanar will be holding a veterans’ photo exhibit on Sunday, Nov. 11, beginning at 11 a.m. It will display photos of those who served in the U.S. Army, including Nisei vets.

Now I’ll jump from Manzanar to politics.

A reader dropped me an email wondering why I haven’t mentioned anything about Al Muratsuchi, who is running for the Assembly from the district that includes Gardena.

Well, although I don’t claim to be anything more than a newspaper columnist, most of those who seek an elective office put me on their mailing list.

I guess Muratsuchi never heard of me. Of course, I’m sure he’s heard of The Rafu Shimpo, but that doesn’t mean he reads it.

However, since he is probably expecting support from the Japanese American community, he probably should contact the editorial staff of The Rafu for publicity on his campaign.

Heck, every time I run into Terry Hara, who is running for the City Council of L.A., he makes it a point to chat with me, as he did at the JACL dinner last Saturday.

Terry sent me his bio, from his education to his present position as deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.

So, when his election draws close next March, I will have a lot of material to write about concerning his efforts to win the City Council seat.

He will have a battle on his hands because there are five others seeking the seat, which means  he’ll need all the support he can get.

Okay, let me jump back to Vegas.

Don’t all of you groan, “Oh, no.”

This is a little different look at my favorite city.

I know from conversing with a lot of friends that a lot of Nisei have moved or are contemplating  moving to Sin City.

Some are thinking of buying a home while others may just rent a place.

So the question is which is smarter —  buying or renting a home in Las Vegas Valley?

Consider this: There are two houses in Vegas that look exactly the same. They are similar in color, layout and landscaping. The only difference is one is for rent while the other is for sale, which sheds light on the important question: Is it cheaper to buy or rent a house?

The answer? Buy.

Consider the prices of the two houses mentioned earlier.

One was bought in August for $165,000. The buyer pays $961 a month for his mortgage.

A few doors down, a nearly identical house was rented for $1,595 a month, 66 percent higher than what’s owed by the neighbor who bought his house.

The two-story homes both are 2,352 square feet with a three-car garage. The rental has four bedrooms. The owned house, five.

Of course, not everyone who wants to buy a home can do so. Having a recent foreclosure on your record, a common problem in Vegas, can make it impossible to get a mortgage. It can also make it more expensive to rent.

Robyn Yates, the owner of a brokerage firm, says it’s financially better to buy.

Any JA who might be planning to buy can contact a JA real estate agent at Tsunami Properties.

I didn’t even know there were JA real estate agents in Las Vegas.

Gee, maybe if I were younger, I might have considered moving there instead of being a once-a-month visitor.

Oh well, a hotel room at The Cal is good enough for me … I guess.

I didn’t get my Rafu via the U.S. mail, so I don’t know if Photo Editor Mario took a picture of the water gusher sprayed by a Coast Guard vessel during the recent Terminal Island Reunion, so I thought I would toss in the one I took.

Not being a talented photographer like Mario, it isn’t the greatest picture, but I thought it was great for a government agency to participate in the JA gathering.

I’m sure the Terminal Islanders will enjoy seeing the photo.

I’m not sure how I was introduced to beef jerky. Maybe it was in Hawaii because the folks there sure know all about the dried meat treat.

At any rate, because of its growing popularity, they are now producing a new line of jerky, which, by the way, is supposed to be healthy.

The reason is beef jerky contains protein, and protein is great for one’s health. Perhaps the reason why the sale of jerky rose 13 percent in the year ending in August.

It could be because makers of jerky have added four new flavors.

I’m still chewing the old flavor, but maybe I’ll give the new taste a try.

Any of you going to Japan in the near future and want to add a side trip to Seoul, Korea?

Well, AsiaAir, one of the new Japanese airline companies, is offering tickets from Narita to Seoul for about 12 bucks. You read that right, 12 bucks. Of course, that’s only one way. Round trip will cost you 24 bucks.

In case you’re wondering, the regular one-way fare is between $89 and $165.

So go enjoy your kim chee lunch in Seoul. The dinner might cost more than the airline ticket.

As always noted, heh, heh.

Today’s laugher is entitled “Scotch.” It might not make everyone laugh:

On the last day of school before Christmas vacation, the students brought gifts for the teacher.

The supermarket manager’s daughter brought a basket of assorted fruits.

The florist’s son brought a bouquet of flowers.

The candy store owner’s daughter brought a pretty box of chocolates.

Then the liquor store owner’s son brought a big, heavy box. The teacher lifted it up and noticed that it was leaking a little bit. She touched the drop of the liquid with her two fingers and tasted it.

“Is it wine?” she asked.

“No,” the boy replied.

She tasted it again and asked, “Champagne?”

“No,” the boy replied. “It’s a puppy.”

Heh, heh.

Well, just to add a few lines more, I’ll ask the following: “If father is Pop, how come mother is not Mop?”

Until next time…

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

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