Monday (Feb. 17) was a holiday, so I got an extra day off when it came time to pound out my column, which means I’ll be appearing in the Wednesday edition of The Rafu rather than on Tuesday.

It also means that I’ll be running side-by-side with friend Wimp Hiroto’s column, which regularly runs on Wednesday. Well, maybe Wimp might resent my referring to him as a “friend.” But what the heck, of all the columnists who appear in The Rafu, Wimp is the only one I know personally. All the others are complete strangers to me.

Of course, when Maggie writes one of her infrequent columns, I guess I can refer to her as a “friend.” On the other hand, she might resent that.

(Maggie’s comment: It is my pleasure that you refer to me as your friend. After all, Mr. Y, I’ve been typing your column for over 14 years now.)

Oh well, let me get on with today’s chatter.

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Aki Tsukahara, who was not only a friend but our neighbor in Gardena for many, many years, along with her husband, the late Dr. Paul Tsukahara.

We kind of lost touch over the past few years when she moved to the Keiro Nursing Home, and now it’s time to bid her a fond goodbye.

I frequently receive email messages that close with the line “Please forward this to ten people you know and it might help them.”

Well, I guess if I ran such emails in my column, more than ten people might read it. Well, let’s hope more than ten people read my ramblings. This is the so-called  “helpful” email from a reader. It is entitled “New Stroke Indicator.”

“Blood clot/Stroke–they now have a four indicator: The tongue.

“During a barbecue, a woman stumbled and took a little fall. She assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics). She said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

“They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, she went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

“Her husband called later, telling everyone that his wife had been rushed to the hospital and at 6 p.m. had passed away. She had suffered a stroke at the barbecue. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps she would still be with us today.

“A neurologist says that if he can get a stroke victim within three hours, he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed and then getting the patient medically cared for within three hours.

“Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster.

“The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms.

“Now doctors say a bystander can recognize the symptoms of a stroke:

“Ask the individual to smile.

”Ask the person to talk.

“Ask him/her to raise both hands.

“If he/she has trouble with any of these tasks, call emergency immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

“Another sign of a stroke is this: Ask him/her to stick out his/her tongue. If the tongue is crooked, it it goes from one side to another, it also indicates a stroke.”

Well, maybe this topic wasn’t too pleasant, but since I hear about our elderly JA generation getting on in years, it might prove helpful to know about it.

On a lighter note.

What else but a chat on Las Vegas?

It seems that almost every week I read about someone in Vegas hitting a megabuck jackpot. The latest is a lady who hit for nearly a million dollars.

How? Like the previous five-jackpot hitter, she did it on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine.

In the latest hit, the lady only put 75 cents in the machine twice.

In other words, she put in $1.50 to hit her near-million dollars.

Gee, maybe I should stop playing the poker machines and switch to the Wheel of Fortune.

Heck, if I ever hit a jackpot on a poker machine, I might collect $400.

If I ever hit for a million dollars, I wouldn’t even know what to do with that kind of money.

Well, maybe I could invite the Rafu staff for a weekend stay in Vegas and I could give each of them a roll of quarters to play the slots. Heh, heh.

Gee, it’s almost March already, which means that the Santa Anita Assembly Center Reunion is only a few weeks away.

It’s being put together by Bacon Sakatani, who said I was going to be honored at the reunion for first organizing it about a decade ago.

Never in my wildest imagination back in 1942 did I believe I would be recognized for being an internee at the race track.

Of course, never could I have imagined that 72 years later, I would be writing a column for a Los Angeles area newspaper.

Remember, I was just a teenager when Japanese Americans were rounded up and tossed into camps.

When I told my sons about the event at the track this coming month, they all said the same thing. They never heard about the “assembly center” for Japanese Americans.

Hopefully, they can attend the event. It will be nice for them to learn about the wartime evacuation of Japanese Americans.

Oh yeah, while continuing to clean out all the junk I have gathered over the years, I came up with a photo I thought might be of interest.

It was taken at Heart Mountain when I returned to the camp after finishing my basic training with Uncle Sam’s Army and being given a furlough from the military before I was shipped  overseas.

horse & friendsIt’s taken with four of my friends at the Wyoming camp who remained as civilians. They didn’t follow me into the Army, so I was the only one wearing a uniform in front of one of the barracks.

Ah, memories….

Will we see a cutback on the famed “Kona Coffee” from Hawaii?

A tiny beetle that has damaged the coffee beans continues its destructive march across the Hawaiian Islands. Agriculture experts said at least one Hilo-area coffee farm is infested with the coffee bean-destroying beetles.

Yeah, one of my favorite foods for breakfast isn’t ham and eggs. It’s more like Spam and eggs.

I wonder how many folks know that the popular U.S.-made canned food is now one of the leading favorites in the country of Korea. That’s right, Korea.

Seoul’s well-heeled residents are scouring store shelves for imported wines, choice cuts of beef and yes, Spam.

In South Korea, the pink bricks of pork shoulder and ham have taken on a bit of glamour.

Yup, good old Spam is considered a classy gift that Korean people give to each other.

South Korea has become the largest consumer of Spam outside of the United States. Spam was first introduced to South Korea by the U.S. military during the Korean War and is becoming a longed-for luxury.

That’s something, isn’t it? Spam as a luxury.

The main dish in a Korean household is now Spam served with the traditional kim chee.

Of course, some Koreans turn up their noses at canned food.

Speaking of Koreans, a reader recently asked me, “Since you live in Gardena, what is the total population of Koreans in the city?”

Well, I don’t have an answer, but from my observation, I would think that Koreans are now the leading ethnic group in the city.

The Japanese, of course, once topped the ethnic list, but I think we’ve given up.

Heck, if you drive around the city, all you can see nowadays are Korean businesses, which include a lot of restaurants. The former Japanese shopping center on Western Avenue is now a Korean center.

The only thing is that Koreans don’t seem to be involved in the government of Gardena in spite of their huge population.

Perhaps one of these days, this will also change.

One thing for sure. There are a lot of folks out there in readerland who keep me learning things. For example, the definition of “aphorism.” It is defined as a short, pointed sentence that expresses a wise or clever observation or a general truth, such as the following:

1. The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.

2. Money will buy a fine dog but only kindness will make him wag his tail.

3. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you probably don’t have any sense at all.

4. Seat belts are not so confining as wheelchairs.

5. A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you’re in deep water.

6. How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?

7. Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without.

8. Why is it that at class reunions you feel younger than everyone else looks?

9. Scratch a cat (or dog) and you will have a permanent job.

10. No one has more driving ambition than the teenage boy who wants to buy a car.

11. There are no new sins; the old ones just get more publicity.

12. There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number at 4 a.m. For instance, it could be the right number.

13. No one ever says, “It’s only a game” when their team is winning.

14. I’ve reached the age where “happy hour” is a nap.

15. The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket.

16. Do you realize that in about 40 years we’ll have thousands of old ladies running around with tattoos?

17. Money can’t buy happiness but somehow it’s more comfortable to cry in a Cadillac than in a Yugo.

18. After 60, if you don’t wake up aching in every joint, you’re probably dead.

19. Always be yourself, because the people who really matter don’t mind, and the people who do mind don’t really matter.

20. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and can be reached via email at horsesmouth2000@hotmail.com. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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