By GEORGE YOSHINAGA
Over the many years there was seldom a time when I missed visiting Little Tokyo less than three times a week. Nowadays, I get to J-Town about three times a month.
This past Saturday I attended a program put together by Iku Kiriyama at the Japanese American National Museum, and the thing that amazed me was the number of people visiting the area, especially that the tourists were mostly “hakujin,” Caucasians.
Heck, the number of people made it look like Nisei Week.
I’m not sure what attracts so many visitors, but I guess shopping is high on the list. Most of them were carrying shopping bags filled with their purchases.
Needless to say, with so many visitors, there was no street parking available.
I guess we were lucky because as we rounded the area, we found a car pulling out on Second Street and were able to park just a block from the museum.
People who visit J-Town know that the parking meters now costs $3 an hour. I remember when it cost 25 cents an hour.
If one is parking more than two hours, it’s cheaper to park in one of the lots. The one across the street from the museum is $6 even if the motorist stays over two hours, so it’s cheaper than parking at a meter.
Iku’s event lasted more than two hours, so parking at the meter ran me over 6 bucks. Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t visit J-Town more than three times a week.
One surprise during the visit was when I was walking around the museum area. I was standing by the signal on First and Central when a “hakujin” guy kept staring at me. He finally stepped up next to me and said, “Say, aren’t you the guy who writes for the Rafu Chimpo?”
Needless to say, I laughed out loud and said, “Yes, but that would be the Shimpo, not Chimpo.”
I guess he realized his goof and said, “Oops, I’m sorry.”
He explained that his father is Caucasian and his mother Japanese, so he often makes errors when trying to use the Japanese language.
I told him, “That’s OK, it’s a pretty common mistake.”
Speaking of mistakes, I made a goof in a recent column.
I wrote that at the recent Kumamoto Kenjinkai New Year’s luncheon, one of those sitting at our table was Tok Uchida, who was a member of my Mt. Fuji climbing group a number of years ago.
The mistake? His name is Tok Chida, not Uchida.
Who corrected me? Tok himself.
He dropped by our house Sunday to correct my goof and he brought me a copy of the “Smithsonian” magazine.
The featured story in the magazine was entitled “Land of the Rising Sun.”
The story’s opening paragraph read: “On the top of a steep hill in the distant corner of northern Japan lies the tomb of an itinerant shepherd who two millenia ago settled down in the area to grow garlic. He fell in love with a farmer’s daughter named Miyuki, fathered three kids and died at the ripe old age of 106.
“He is remembered by the name of Daitenku Taro Jurai. The rest of the world knows him as Jesus Christ.
“As the story unfolds, it turns out that Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, did not die on the Cross of Calvary, as widely reported but was interred in Japan.”
About 20 years ago I mentioned this in my column because my Air Force son was stationed in Misawa Air Force located in northern Japan and we visited him a couple of times.
He would drive us to northern Japan on sightseeing trips.
On one trip, I was surprised to see a sign at an intersection that had an arrow painted on it just below the words “Burial Site of Jesus Christ.”
Too bad I didn’t have a camera with me so I could have taken a photo of the sign.
I asked my son what that was all about and he said the Japanese who lived in the area claim that Jesus Christ was buried in a cemetery in the area.
Needless to say, I was kind of surprised because I never heard about Jesus dying in Japan, let alone being buried there.
When I got back to the U.S. I asked a number of people about it and they laughed, “Oh, the Japanese are always making up different kinds of stories.”
According to the article, Jesus arrived in Japan at age 21 to study theology.
This was during his so-called “lost years,” a 12-year gap unaccounted for in the New Testament. He became a disciple of a great master near Mt. Fuji, learning the Japanese language.
When Jesus died, his body was left on a hilltop for four years. In keeping with the Japanese custom of the time, his bones were then buried in the grave that is now identified as the “burial site of Jesus Christ.”
I’m sure a lot of the readers were glued to their TV sets watching the Super Bowl.
I wanted to but on Sunday it’s my column-writing time, so I missed it.
Kind of glad because the team I would be rooting for was the San Francisco 49ers.
That’s because my son, who watched the game on TV, kept sticking his head in my “office” where my computer is located to give me the running score on the game, and the 49ers were getting their butts kicked.
I guess I can’t wear my 49ers team jacket, which I was planning to do next week.
Well, as the old saying goes, you can’t win ’em all.
Just received an email from the daughter of former Carson city treasurer that her group will be holding another demonstration this week to push the naming of the City Council Chambers for Helen Kawagoe.
As everyone is aware, Helen had to resign from the post she held for 37 years because she suffered a stroke.
While the mayor of the city and one city councilman are behind the move to honor Helen right away, three other City Council members are against doing it until she passes away. I’m wonder if race has anything to do with their opposition to a city property being named for a Japanese American.
At any rate, those of you who want to express your support of Helen can join other supporters Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the corner of Avalon and Carson. The demonstration will last just one hour.
Hope a lot of you will join the demonstration.
Oh, by the way, before I move away from the subject of the Super Bowl, how many of you who watched the game on TV know how much the network carrying the telecast charged advertisers for airing their commercials?
It was $4 million for a 30-second spot.
We all know how many commercials are aired during the telecast, so simple arithmetic tells us how much money the telecast was raking in.
I would estimate that at least 20 minutes of every hour of the telecast are commercials so figure it out and you’ll know how much the network made.
No wonder they call it the Super Bowl.
Well, maybe I should try to get the readers to chuckle. Try this one:
A father walks into a restaurant with his young son. He gives the boy three nickels to keep him occupied.
Suddenly the boy starts choking, going blue in the face. The father realizes that the boy swallowed the nickels and starts slapping him on the back. The boy coughs up two nickels, but keeps choking. The father panics and starts shouting for help.
A well-dressed, attractive and serious-looking woman in a blue business suit is sitting at the counter reading a newspaper and sipping a cup of coffee. At the sound of the commotion, she looks up, puts her coffee down, neatly folds the newspaper and places it on the counter, gets up from her seat and makes her way, unhurried, across the restaurant.
Reaching the boy, the woman takes hold of his testicles and starts to squeeze and twist, gently at first and then ever so firmly. After a few seconds, the boy convulses violently and coughs up the last nickel, which the woman deftly catches in her hand.
The woman hands the nickel to the father and walks back to her seat without saying a word.
As soon as he is sure that his son has suffered no ill effects, the father rushes over to the woman and starts thanking her, saying, “I’ve never seen anybody do anything like that before. It was fantastic. Are you a doctor?”
“No,” the woman replies. “I’m with the Internal Revenue Service.”
Nobody giggling with the foregoing?
Reader Kuni Okinaka sent me an email with the heading “Things My Parents Taught Me” for Rafu Shimpo readers.
1. My parents taught me to appreciate a job well done. “If you’re going to kill yourself, do it outside. I just finished cleaning the house.”
2. My parents taught me religion. “You’d better pray that stain will come out of the carpet.”
3. My parents taught me about time travel. “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week.”
4. My parents taught me logic. “Because I said so, that’s why.”
5. My parents taught me more logic. “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”
6. My parents taught me irony. “Make sure you wear clean underwear just in case you’re in an accident.”
7. My parents taught me about stamina. “You’ll sit there until all the spinach is gone.”
8. My parents taught me about weather. “That room of yours look as if a tornado went through it.”
9. My parents taught me about hypocrisy. “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times, don’t exaggerate.”
10. My parents taught me about behavior modification. “Stop acting like your father.”
11. My parents taught me about receiving. “You are going to get it when you get home.”
12. My parents taught me about how to become an adult. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”
13. My parents taught me wisdom. “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.
14. My parents taught me justice. “One day you’ll have kids and I hope they turn just like you.”
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.