In my last column I posed the question: “What do you think is President Obama’s wife’s favorite food?”

Since she has lived in Hawaii, I’m sure some Island dish popped into mind.

Well as it turned out, the Korean pickle kimchi topped her favorite list.

This kind of surprised me.

Well, let me ask another question about favorite food.

What do you think is the favorite food of the Japanese living in Japan?

I’m sure most will say sashimi, tempura, sukiyaki or beef teriyaki.

According to the survey I read, none of the above wins the title.

It was reported that tonkatsu led the list of favorites.

Tonkatsu is a breaded porkchop deep-fried in oil.

This surprised me because when I lived in Japan I frequently dined out, and I don’t think I ever ordered tonkatsu in a restaurant.

So, I guess this another example of “live and learn.”

Speaking of eating out, what percent of Americans eat one to five hamburgers in a month?

Responding to a survey, 73.3% said they eat that many.

Fifteen or more per month? Only 1.3%.

A rather interesting survey, I thought.

After writing about the closing of Hollywood Park race track in December of this year, a number of Nisei who were horse racing fans and used to go the Inglewood site regularly say they were saddened to hear about the end of the once famous and popular track.

As most of them told me, “I don’t go there anymore, but I am still saddened to hear the news.”

Oh well, there will always be Santa Anita.

For me, however, the Arcadia track is a bit too far.

It’s about 17 miles from my home in Gardena to Downtown L.A. and another 20 miles to Santa Anita, making the round trip about 74 miles.

Hey, that’s almost as far as the one-way trip to Pechanga, the Indian casino in Temecula.

Oh well…

Maybe it’s my imagination, but in recent times, there seems to be more and more attention being paid to the era of our internment in relocation camps.

I say this because I am getting more and more letters in which the focus is on our camp days.

An example is this one from reader Sam Mihara of Huntington Beach, who wrote: “I read your article dated May 14 on the topic of overplaying the wartime internment

of JAs. And you ask, what do all these non-teenagers really know?

“In my case, I entered Heart Mountain camp at the age of 9 and left at age 12. Our family suffered greatly during the imprisonment. I was old enough to remember our family being forced out of our home in San Francisco, the minus-28-degree weather in Wyoming, wearing California clothing, my father becoming blind in camp partly due to lack of skilled medical care, and my grandfather dying a very painful death in camp, and our entire family suffering economically upon return to San Francisco.

“Yes, I was old enough to remember these facts and to conclude ‘never again.’ And there are others who have similar or better memories who also speak— Nob Fukuda, Shig Yabu, Bacon Sakatani and Bill Shishima, to name a few.

“I am now 80 years old, but my memory and public speaking is good enough to provide presentations to many schools, colleges, teacher conferences and attorney groups. I have one principle that I always use — to tell the truth and back it up with photographic or documentary evidence where possible. The result is very high rating by all my audiences. I always receive requests to return and repeat the story to the next generation. And I plan to do so.”

Thanks, Sam. I found your letter to be very interesting reading.

I experienced some of the things you mentioned but I guess I have a slightly different viewpoint on some of the issues you touched on.

One thing I agree with you on is the lack of proper medical care for our aging Issei parents.

My mother passed away shortly after leaving Heart Mountain and moving to Colorado.

She had diabetes and in that era, the camps didn’t offer the Issei with her condition proper medical care or even diet. She had to eat the same food in the camp mess halls as everyone else, which certainly didn’t help diabetics.

Needless to day, her life was shortened by having to live in camp.

And to boot, I was overseas serving in the Army, so I didn’t hear of her passing until at least a month later since the Army post office was always late in delivering mail to the GIs.

Here’s a bit of news that might be of great interest to readers.

Another reader, Ray Kawaguchi, sent it to me.

Most of you may find the contents of his missive very interesting. It sure was to me. However, as I always note, I can’t verify the accuracy of his information. Here is his letter:

“Bottled water in your car is very dangerous. On the ‘Ellen’ show, Sheryl Crow said that this is what caused her breast cancer. It has been identified as the most common cause of high levels of dioxin in breast cancer tissue.

“Sheryl Crow’s oncologist told her that women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car. The heat reacts with the chemicals in the plastic of the bottle, which releases dioxin into the water. Dioxin is a toxin increasingly found in breast cancer tissue. So be careful and do not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.

“The information is the kind people need to know that just might save the life of women. Use a stainless steel canteen or glass bottle instead of plastic.

“Dioxin causes cancer, especially breast cancer. Dioxin is highly poisonous to cells in the body. Don’t freeze plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic. Recently the wellness program manager at Castle Hospital was on a TV program to explain this health hazard.

“He talked about dioxins and how bad they are. He said that we should not be heating food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies to foods that contain fat.

“He said that the combination of fat, high heat and plastic containers releases dioxin into the food. Instead he recommends using glass such as Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food.

“He also pointed out that plastic wrap, such as cling film, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave.”

In case any of you are driving to Vegas this week, you might like to know that gasoline prices jumped 11 cents this past week.

And the cost of a gallon of gas is $3.65 or 40 cents cheaper than in the L.A. area.

The Shell station where I gas up went up to $4.11 over the past four days, which is 50 cents higher than the Shell station where I gas up when I’m in Vegas.

So as I note when I write about my Vegas trips, I don’t fill up before leaving. Just enough to get me there, where I can save about $7 filling up.

In case you’re interested, the Shell station in Vegas where I fill up is on Wyoming Street. If you’re staying at The Cal, drive south on Main Street and right on Wyoming, one block past Utah Street.

And after you fill up, it’s only a short drive to the onramp of the 15 Freeway.

No, I don’t know when I’ll visiting Vegas again.

I’ve been gone three months now, which is a record.

I guess I won’t make another trip unless I drive all the way. My wife said she’ll help drive if she has to. She will if I decide to go within the next few weeks.

On the other hand, maybe I’ll drive to one of the Indian casinos.

The closest one is probably San Manuel Casino off Highway 210.

Indian casinos don’t come close to Vegas in my book, but what the heck, it’s better than nothing.

I guess you can say I’m not that addicted to gambling.

I just enjoy hanging around the casino and running into old friends in Vegas.

According to reports, the casino profits are up to the billions.

I guess compulsive gamblers are geared to top speed.

There are frequent stories about compulsive gamblers losing everything they own.

Oh well, since I don’t own too much to begin with, I don’t have to worry about losing my okole. (That’s Hawaiian for you-know-what.)

Oh yeah, before I forget, I have to write a report on my Sansei son’s visit to Makino’s Japanese restaurant in Vegas.

He’s not too big on Japanese fare, so I asked him to dine at Makino’s and give me his opinion on the popular eatery.

He said he was surprised at how much he enjoyed his first experience there.

Especially the sushi bar. He said he never saw so many different varieties of sushi.

And the rest of the menu captured his attention.

Needless to say, he will make it a point to visit Makino’s on all his Vegas trips.

Yeah, he was also surprised by the dessert bar.

However, not knowing about the dessert bar until one of the waitresses asked him if he was going to pick up his dessert, he said he was too full.

That’s nice. Maybe the next time I go to Makino’s, I’ll fill myself up so I don’t have to get dessert.

I would assume one can’t gain the same kind of weight eating sushi versus a plateful of dessert.

At any rate, my son said he will recommend Makino’s to his other Sansei friends who may visit Vegas and desire Japanese food.

I’ll leave you with this laugher:

Instead of the John, I call my bathroom Jim. That way it sounds better when I say I go to the Jim first thing in the morning.

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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