Normally it’s Sunday when I begin to pound out my column, but since it was the Memorial Day holiday, it’s Monday today.

One of my favorite activities on Monday is to read the fine type on the sport pages of The L.A. Times and The Daily Breeze.

Which means the reading the results for both men’s and women’s pro golf tournaments, which always wind up on Sunday.

I say “fine type” because the names I always look for are never near the top finishers, but down below the halfway point.

In men’s golf, that would be Ryo Ishikawa, and in the women’s bracket, Mina Harigae.

So what, most would ask.

Well, in pro golf if a player makes it past the “no cut” line, those finishing way down the money list still earn $10,000 to $14,000.

If Ishikawa finishes each month with that payoff, his yearly income comes to $140,000.

Ditto for Harigae. If I recall, Mina is still a teenager and making $140,000 a year ain’t bad.

A lot better than a worn-out newspaper columnist.

Hey, maybe I’d better suggest that my granddaughters take up golf.

Just a thought.

A reader asked me via email, “What’s your opinion on all this chatter about the Dodgers firing manager Don Mattingly?”

My response?

Dump him. It’s not because the Dodgers are playing like a bowl of natto. And it might not be all Mattingly’s fault, but in sports, changing the team’s leadership would at least get it headed in another direction.

So, what’s Mattingly’s major problem?

How about the way he uses his pitchers?

When I watch Dodgers games on TV, I keep saying, “When is he going to change the pitcher?”

Which Mattingly eventually does, but always too late.

Oh well, I guess as long as 34,000 fans keep showing up, the team earns enough money, even if they end up in last place.

An email from a reader who signs his name “Yas” reminds me that I’m not the only Las Vegas fan who drives there. Here’s Yas’ letter:

“Aloha, Horse. Your love for Las Vegas is my love also.

“We go on our monthly three-night vacation and our next one is on June 21.

“I drive all the way with a stop in Barstow to 5-4-4 (go shi shi). We take sushi we buy at Nijiya for our lunch and coffee in a thermos.

“Going is no problem, but coming home is something else since my wife forgot how to drive. So I make two or three stops at rest areas with the last one in Barstow again for an ice cream cone.

“The route I take is exactly like yours. I try not to rush at about 75 mph and it takes about four and a half hours each way.

“We leave on Friday and return on Monday to avoid the Sunday traffic.

“I like craps and blackjack.

“As I wrote to you before, I could drive all the way myself.”

Thanks for your letter. Yas.

I showed it to my wife and she said, “I’ll drive. Let’s go to Vegas. We haven’t been there in three months.”

Okay, I told her. I’ll set up our next trip. Probably in June.

How many of you remember when something “made in Japan” was considered junk?

Well, just look around today and what do you see?

Products with names like Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Bridgestone.

Today, Japanese brands top the product list. However, the difference is that the Japanese brand products aren’t made in Japan, but here in the U.S.

In fact, Toyota employs the most workers in the U.S. for car manufacturing.

Ditto for Bridgestone tires.

Ah, memories of “junk” made-in-Japan labels.

Those of you who follow my chatter know that I’m not a taiko fan.

Well not only is taiko popular at Japanese American events, but it is now spreading throughout all communities.

At a recent event in the community of Camarillo, the Togen Daiko drummers drew a full house. Led by Yasuko Kujiraoka of Camarillo, their performance got raves from the audience.

Maybe I’d better change my opinion on taiko performers.

One thing I’d better do is interview people in the audience, be they JAs or not JAs, about why they enjoy taiko so much.

Will they respond, “Because its so Japanese”?

Well since we have reached the year 2013, I found it interesting what the most popular names are for children born last year.

For boys, the top five were Jacob, Mason, Ethan, Noah and William.

For girls, Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia and Ava.

I don’t think I ever met a Nisei guy with the name Jacob or a Nisei gal named Sophia.

That could hold true for most Sansei.

I have two Yonsei granddaughters named Julie and Erika.

My sons are named Paul, Mark and Tim. None on the present-day most popular list.

So far this year the most popular boy’s name is Gael and for girls, Perla.

I’m kind of curious why my Issei parents picked George for my name.

They didn’t give my sisters and brother an Anglo name. They all have Japanese names — Shizuko, Mariko, Mieko, Matsue and brother Sueki.

Oh well, maybe they ran out of Japanese names and they knew the first U.S. president was George Washington.

Maybe they thought George Yoshinaga might be president one day.

Heh. The only president’s seat I filled was the sophomore class in high school.

By the way, a survey taken on the topic above indicated that 87% of American adults said they liked their first name.

I guess I’m satisfied being George. I’m glad my parents didn’t name me “Uma.” Having a nickname like Horse isn’t too bad, I guess.

When one reaches the age 88 (in two months), I guess 80 is considered “young.”

However, when someone climbs Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, accomplishing such a feat at 80 certainly is an achievement.

Yuichiro Miura of Japan did just that and set a new record for being the oldest to climb the famed mountain.

He said he would not attempt such a climb again, even if someone broke his record as the oldest to do so.

He successfully climbed Everest at age 76 back in 2008 and said he had thoughts of climbing to the new world record at age 80.

Despite calling it a career with Mt. Everest, Miura has one unfulfilled dream he hopes to achieve.

That dream is to ski down the 8,201-meter Cho-Oyu, a mountain straddling Nepal and Tibet.

And what do you think Miura’s first dinner was when he returned to Japan?

What else but sushi?

He thanked the Nepali people who supported his climb and was especially full of praise for the Nepali sherpas.

Miura told people his age and older, like us Nisei, that one must not give up on one’s dreams.

Heh, my dream is to win the California lottery, so I guess I’ll keep buying my weekly tickets.

And if I win, meet me at McDonald’s and I’ll buy all of you a Big Mac.

Thought I would toss this in because the reader who sent me the email is right.

I mentioned that a Japanese chef recently opened a new eatery on the Las Vegas strip but didn’t mention his name.

He’s Nobu Matsuhisa. The restaurant is named Nobu.

Needless to say, his menu is strictly Japanese and highlighted with sushi.

How many of you have heard the name Hayley Kiyoko?

Yeah, the name is new to me. too.

The 22-year-old Valley Village resident who attended Agoura High School and now attends Moorpark College is a rising singer-actress. She recently released her first recording, “A Belle to Remember,” and is developing a large fan gathering.

She’s been writing music since she was a youngster and predicts a great future in music.

So keep Kiyoko in mind.

The news recently in the U.S. is that law enforcement will really crack down on drivers who are caught texting on their cell phones or simply using the cell while moving in traffic.

It seems things are just the opposite in Japan.

Drivers in Japan are now watching portable TV sets while driving.

Can you believe that? Driving and watching TV.

They even have a name for it. It’s called “DWW” or “driving while watching.”

In the U.S., television is popular in the back seat, but out of the question in the front seat.

As a headline in one of Japan’s newspapers said, “Television Viewing Doesn’t Have to Take a Back Seat.”

Wow. I sure wouldn’t want to drive in Tokyo traffic and see drivers looking at a TV screen instead of other cars.

Oh well, I guess that’s the Japanese for you.

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

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