Published in The Rafu Shimpo on Dec. 8, 2012

It’s a question I am always asked when bumping into friends whom I haven’t seen for a few years. The question is “How old are you?” I don’t respond with my accurate age. I generally say, “I’m in the mid-80s.”

The reason I am touching on this issue is that when I was cleaning out my pile of junk I came across the photo I am including here. It was taken at Heart Mountain back in 1943. It’s a photo of a girls’ club. I can’t remember the name of the club. It was “Belle” something and I can only recognize four of the young ladies in the front row.

I do remember one thing about them. They were all my age, which means they are now in their mid-80s. When I think about their ages today, all I can say is “Wow!”

Yeah, I took a couple of them to camp dances.

Probably some of the other club members asked them, “You dated the Horse? Gee, you must have desperate.”

I guess one had to be desperate to date someone with a nickname like “Horse.”

Recently I tossed in a tidbit it about sports memorabilia that I’m trying to get rid of.

I was surprised at the number of responses I received from readers. Most asked how much I am asking for the items.

I really haven’t set a price on any of the items, so I feel that if the bidders are willing to set a price, I will consider such bids.

All bids submitted will be considered and I will contact the bidder to accept or not accept.

The bids will be concluded by the end of January 2013.

I was surprised to receive the Holiday Issue of The Rafu so early. The editorial staff did a great job.

A pat on the back for Editor Gwen and staff.

You gotta remember that the staff had to produce the regular daily edition while putting together the holiday publication.

As one who worked on publishing special issues while I was with **The Kashu Mainichi, I know how much work goes into putting out special editions.

Yeah, I’m glad I only write a column for The Rafu, which is a load in itself.

Last week I mentioned that there is a plan under way to install a bus service to Las Vegas with a fare of only $1.

Well, they recently announced that a high-level train service between the L.A. area and Vegas might be added before the bus service.

Yes, the train service will cost a lot more ($99 one way) but will include meals and beverages. The capacity for the train will be 576 passengers.

Service will start in 2013 and operate on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The operator of the train service feels it will attract tourists who are weary of the weekend traffic gridlock.

Those who drive Highway 15 on Sundays know what a mess the link to Vegas is for motorists.

Many motorists said they will consider hopping on a train rather than driving bumper-to-bumper.

I talked to a couple of Nisei Vegas regulars and they feel that $99 one way may be a little pricey, but they might consider the train ride because at their age, it might be a better choice.

Me? I guess I’ll stick to driving my car because once I get to Vegas I drive around a lot going to my favorite Japanese restaurants. Without my car, I would have to hail a taxi cab, which would increase the money I have to dish out.

Oh well, we’ll see how everything turns out.

If the cost of gasoline does skyrocket out of sight, paying for public transportation might be an alternative.

As I mentioned in past columns, I own and drive a Japanese vehicle. It’s a Toyota Avalon.

Would you believe that I have put 220,000 miles on it?

I never imagined that I would even hit 100,000 miles when I purchased it five years ago, and the way it is running, I may reach 250,000 miles. I guess my monthly trips to Vegas ran up the mileage.

My mechanic friend, Isao, has helped me in keeping my Avalon in such great shape.

Of course, since I have cut down on my Vegas trips, my mileage hasn’t been piling up as much as it used to. Besides, I get 38 miles per gallon.

Needless to say, I’ve been a Japanese car owner since Honda first entered the U.S. market.

In the past 20 years, I’ve owned two Hondas, a Nissan and now my Avalon.

As the Japanese might put it, “naru hodo.”

Okay, let’s chat sports on boxing:

As most of you know, I was involved in professional boxing for many years, having promoted the sport in Tokyo.

So after last week’s title fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Marquez, which ended in a draw, many asked me what I thought about the decision.

One judge had it for Pacquiao and the other for Marquez with the third judge calling it a draw, so the pair square off again next week.

Most want to know how three judges watching the same bout could come up with three separate decisions.

Needless to say, it’s a rare happening.

When I was in boxing and something like that happened, the Boxing Commission in the state or country where the outcome occurred would call in the three officials and they would have to review their decision on film and explain why they judged the bout as they did.

If one’s review of the bout didn’t make any sense, one’s career as a judge would come to an end.

I don’t know if the Nevada commission will conduct such a review.

Their decision was ridiculous. One had Pacquiao winning by 5 points while the other had Marquez winning by 5 points. That’s a 10-point difference.

Ten points. Were they watching the same fight?

I’m glad I wasn’t working the same bout.

A little more on sports.

As those of you who are college football fans know, the season is over and it’s time for post-season bowl games — and there are dozens of them.

It’s ridiculous.

Remember when there were only six bowl games and all the teams were undefeated?

Now there are teams with losing records playing in a bowl game.

The Rose Bowl was the premier bowl game, with two teams with unbeaten records facing each other.

Now they have bowl games with two teams with 6-loss, 5-win records meeting in the post-season.

Hey, maybe one of these days a team with nine losses and two wins will play.

Oh well…

Hey, what else is this world coming to?

A day doesn’t go by when the newspaper does not have stories about people shooting other people.

What puzzles me is that four people suspected of killing two men and two women in Northridge ran off to Las Vegas, where they were arrested.

How did the police in the Los Angeles area, where the murders took place, track down the killers?

And what about the husband who went into a room at the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance and shot and killed his wife, then himself? How did he get into her room with a large handgun?

I’ve been a patient in the same hospital three times and I know I was thoroughly searched before I was ever admitted.

Time to giggle:

A Harley biker is riding by the zoo in Washington, D.C. when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion’s cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the collar of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to eat her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.

The biker jumps off his Harley, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.

Whimpering from the pain, the lion jumps back, letting go of the girl, and the biker returns the girl to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.

A reporter who watched the entire event addresses the biker. “Sir, that was the most gallant and brave thing I’ve seen a man do in my whole life.”

The biker replies, “Why, it was nothing, really. The lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger and did what I felt was right.”

The reporter says, “Well, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist, and tomorrow’s paper will have this story on the front page. So what do you do for a living and what political affiliation do you have?”

After the interview, the journalist leaves.

The following morning, the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed carries news of his good deed. He reads on the front page: “U.S. Marine assaults African immigrant and steals his lunch.”

And that pretty much sums up the media’s approach to the news these days.

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

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