I wouldn’t call it a hectic weekend, but compared to the other Saturdays and Sundays, it was pretty busy.
On Saturday, I attended the Heart Mountain Reunion held at the Montebello Country Club.
Didn’t know how many former camp residents would attend, so I took my time in getting to the site.
Well, when we found that the parking space was pretty full, I thought to myself, “Gee, there’s going to be a lot of people on hand.”
A total of 300 people were there.
I don’t think the Heart Mountain Reunion drew that many attendees when it was held in Las Vegas each year.
I’m not sure why the group gave up on Vegas, but Bacon Sakatani and his crew did their usual good job in presenting the reunion.
I met a lot of former camp residents that I hadn’t seen since those days in Wyoming.
Needless to say, I didn’t recognize them. Hey, it’s been 70 years since our internment at the camp.
So, the usual conversation begins with, “Do you remember me?”
When I respond, “No,” they laugh and explain their identity.
Usually, it’s “I met you at a dance at the mess hall.”
That kind of rings the bell and when I think about it, I recognize the ID of the person.
Of course, there were many who stopped by our table to tell me, “We read your column.”
It’s a good feeling to hear that line.
There were a couple of ladies who came a long ways to attend the event.
One told me she was from the State of Washington and was a friend of Sachi Watanabe, who was a neighbor of ours in Gardena until she moved away.
She told me Sachi was now living in a retirement home (much like Keiro, I assume) in Seattle.
The other lady said she lives in Denver, where she moved to from Heart Mountain.
And, unlike a lot of others who moved out of camp and then moved back to California when the war ended, she remained as a permanent resident of Colorado.
As mentioned earlier, Bacon did a great job in putting the reunion together, and as part of the program, showed a film on the former camp.
Included in this segment was a slide show on The Heart Mountain Sentinel, the camp newspaper.
And my ego was inflated again when I saw photos of the columns I wrote for The Sentinel.
One guy chuckled and said, “What, you were writing 70 years ago?”
I’m glad he didn’t add, “Gee, you haven’t improved at all.”
He probably would have been right.
At any rate, at our table were all old friends. They were Bobby Shimizu, Mas Ogimachi, Keiichi Ikeda and Tosh Asano.
Those who follow Nisei sports know that Tosh is the top Nisei athlete of all time.
There were none better than Tosh in softball as a pitcher. He was unbelievable.
And he also added baseball, basketball and track and field to his list of “best.”
Another note on the reunion.
After it was over, they photographed those in attendance by the blocks they lived in.
Block 1 had the most at the event. About 20 posed for the camera.
The block with the fewest attendees was Block 24, the one I lived in. Only four were on hand.
Heart Mountain had 30 blocks.
The most frequently asked question tossed at me was, “Are you going to the reunion in Wyoming being held in July this year?”
I chatted about going, since the reunion is on July 19, which is my birthday. It would be nice to age one year at a Heart Mountain Reunion.
Well, we’ll see.
As I mention on going to the reunion, I’ll probably fly because at my age I sure won’t be able to drive to Wyoming.
On the other hand, maybe there are people driving who might have an open seat in their car and I can hitch a ride with them.
Driving would take a couple of days, so the question is: who would want to sit in the same car with me for two days?
Oh yeah, in the past when I mentioned Bacon Sakatani in my column, I’m often asked, “How did Bacon become Bacon?”
It’s a rather unusual nickname, so I asked a lot of people who know him and they tell me they don’t know how he got his unusual nickname. And what his real name might be.
Oh well, Bacon is a lot better than Horse.
In this day and age, most of us have cell phones and purchase items with our credit cards.
So here is something we should keep in mind.
A friend went to a local gym and placed his belongings in the locker. After the workout and shower, he came out, saw the locker was open and thought to himself, “Funny, I thought I locked the locker.”
He dressed and just flipped the wallet to make sure all was in order. Everything looked okay; all cards were in place.
A few weeks later, his credit card bill came — a whopping bill of $14,000.
He called the credit card company and started yelling at them, saying he didn’t make such a transaction.
Customer care personnel verified that there was no mistake in the system and asked if his card had been stolen. “No,” he said, but then took out his wallet, but pulled out the credit card and — yes, you guessed it — found that a switch had been made.
An expired similar credit card from the same bank was in the wallet.
The thief broke into his locker at the gym and switched cards.
Verdict: the credit card issuer said since he did not report the card missing, he would have to pay the amount owed.
How much did he have to pay? $9,000. Why were no calls made to verify the amount swiped? Small amounts rarely trigger a warning bell with some credit card companies.
It just so happens that all the small amounts added up to a big one.
And here is another incident along the same lines, which credit card holders should be aware of.
Bob went to a pizza restaurant to pick up an order that he had called in.
He paid by using his Visa check card, which of course is linked directly to his checking account.
The man behind the counter took the card, swiped it and laid it on the counter as he waited for the approval, which is pretty standard procedure.
While the man waited, he picked up his cell phone and started dialing.
Bob noticed the phone because it was the same model as his, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Then he heard a click that sounded like his phone sounds when he takes a photo.
The man then gave back Bob’s credit card, but kept the phone in his hand as if he was still pressing buttons.
Meanwhile Bob wondered what the guy was taking a picture of, oblivious to what was going on.
It then dawned on Bob that the only thing there was his credit card. So now he’s paying close attention to what the guy is doing.
The man set his phone on the counter, leaving it open.
About five seconds later, Bob heard the chime that tells you that a picture has been saved.
Now Bob’s standing there struggling with the fact that this man just took a picture of the credit card.
Had Bob not had the same kind of phone, he probably would never know what happened.
Needless to say, he immediately cancelled the card, and as he was walking out of the pizza parlor, he thought everyone should be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Whenever you are using your credit card, don’t be careless.
Be aware of phones because they cameras these days.
Gosh, I am now aware of how careless I am when using my credit cards to make a purchase. I hope this helps to alert others like me to be more cautious.
Whenever I watch the news on TV, I’m just another TV viewer.
However, every now and then, I become more involved in what I am seeing on the tube.
Take the fire in Ventura County near the city of Camarillo.
The reason is that a good friend, George Wakiji, lives in the Camarillo area and I wondered if his place was in the line of fire.
So I called his phone number but didn’t get any response, so I’m still curious if his place is safe or not.
They tell me the fire is pretty much under control, so hopefully, George’s place is safe.
George is a major contributor to my column.
Those who look at the obits in The Rafu know that most of those who are listed are in their 90s.
Which makes Japanese Americans in the U.S. much different than other Americans whose life expectancy is about 75.64 years, ranked 17th in the world. American women average 80.78 in the world and rank 16th.
Who’s at the top?
The Japanese in both men’s and women’s categories. Women averaging 85.98 and men 79.33.
I guess eating natto must have some merit. Heh heh.
George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.