(Published April 12, 2014)
As I frequently do, I’ll open with a letter from a reader.
Only thing is, the letter wasn’t addressed to me but because my name is mentioned, the writer sent me a copy. It was addressed to Bacon Sakatani, who put together the Santa Anita reunion at which I was honored.
At any rate, the letter was signed by Bob Nagamoto and read:
“Congratulations on performing the impossible feat in a matter of such short notice. That is by far the best reunion I have ever attended in relationship to our ‘camp days.’ And to honor my ‘hero’ Horse Yoshinaga was the ‘icing on the cake.’ You could not have planned a nicer event, given a year’s notice.
“Thanks again, again and again. It’s just like the barrack you carted from Heart Mountain to the Japanese American National Museum. You have the gift for doing the impossible. (I’m 82 years old and a survivor of Santa Anita and Amache for four years.)”
That was a great letter you wrote to Bacon and I thank you for sending me a copy. I will certainly file it in my collection of letters.
Needless to say, it’s letters such as yours that inspire me to keep writing my column.
In another short note, reader (and neighbor) Colleen Miyano wrote:
“Hello, George. Heard you might ride the JCI bus to the Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 26. If so, would you like to use a walker we have from my uncle? It’s big and folds up slightly. The best thing is that you can sit on it whenever you need to. My husband Sei calls it a Cadillac of Walkers.
“There will be a giant tent to shelter us from the sun, but it’s still a little walk from the bus. Let me know what you think.”
Thanks, Colleen. I wasn’t aware that I had made public that I was now using a cane to help me walk around. But I’d like to take you up on your offer to lend me your uncle’s walker. It may be just the thing I need to make moving around a little easier.
Yeah, it’s just old age.
As one who likes to read articles in all the newspapers I can get my hands on, I look for certain things that capture my attention.
That way, I don’t have to waste time looking through articles to see if what is printed is of interest to me.
There was an article in a recent USA Today headlined “There’s a Bug in My Food … on Purpose.”
That headline didn’t stir up interest in my mind. However, the subtitle did. It read, “Insects may be the next sushi, but Americans aren’t biting yet.”
The article is about the introduction of a new line of sushi, which is made with mushroom, egg, moth larvae; spider rolls made of tempura fried tarantula with cucumber and avocado.
Yes, it’s made in Japan.
In Japan, the list of restaurants serving insect sushi is going up and has been for the last two years.
Forty years ago you would look at someone as if they were crazy if they suggested opening a restaurant in the U.S. serving raw fish. Well, we know that today you can’t walk a city block without coming across a sushi place.
Could insects be next?
So now, dishes like chocolate-covered salted crickets and toffee mealworms over vanilla ice cream are hot-selling dishes.
Oh my gosh.
I guess if I have to talk about the price of gas for my car, I’m pretty short ideas.
Well, it’s really not the case.
I wonder how many of you who drive around the Southland look at the price of gas at stations scattered throughout the area, especially since the prices are not the same at almost all stations.
This morning I saw one station in Gardena on Western Avenue with the price of $4.20. About three blocks away, another station carrying the same brand was selling for $4.02 a gallon, a difference of 18 cents for the same gas.
How do they come to something like this?
Oh yeah, the station where I buy my gas is charging $4.04.
I don’t think there is any other product where prices jump up and down so much and the cost varies so much as gasoline.
Maybe it’s a good thing I can’t drive to Vegas anymore.
By the way, any of you who have driven to Vegas within the last couple of weeks can drop me an email to tell me how much you paid for your gas when you filled up at a Vegas station before you headed back to L.A.
From my experience, I’d say gas in Vegas is always anywhere from 25 to 50 cents cheaper than in the Ellay area.
Oh well, I guess when we dump so much money in the casino, we don’t pay any attention to how much gas costs in Vegas.
Having lived in the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, I am always conscious of any articles written on the Wyoming camp.
When today’s spokesmen or spokeswomen chat about Heart Mountain, most of them overlook some of the features at the camp that helped keep the morale of its residents high.
One of the activities was sports, and prep activities captured the residents’ interest.
When they formed a high school football team and games with “outside” schools were scheduled, the games drew the entire population of the camp, including women and children in addition to the “regular” fans.
During the first competition against “outside” high schools from Wyoming and Montana, the camp team won all of its games. Not only won the games but also kept the foes from scoring.
This is a photo of the Heart Mountain High School varsity football team.
Nearly 30 turned out for the team. Most of them played B and C football at their “outside” high schools.
Six played on varsity teams on the “outside.”
Oh yeah, that’s me in the front row, fourth from the right.
I played varsity football on the “outside,” on a team that won three straight league titles. I was a second string tackle on the undefeated team, which was ranked in the top ten of California prep football.
Because we won all our games, I did get in a lot of playing time, even for a second stringer.
There was one other JA on our team and we were the only team in the league with more than one JA player. In those days, in our area, most of the JAs played baseball and basketball but almost none donned football gear.
I weighed 170 pounds, so I wasn’t the smallest player on our championship team.
Oh, before I forget and run out of space.
I have to congratulate the English section editorial staff, headed by Editor Gwen, for putting out the “special edition” last week.
Having edited The Kashu Mainichi before the paper was sold and I retired, I used to put out a “special” at least twice a year, so I know how much work is involved, since we still had to put together the daily edition of the publication.
Had to mention this because I’m sure not many not familiar with newspaper publishing realize the work that goes into putting together a “special edition” of the newspaper.
Go get ’em, gang.
Speaking about my days at The Kashu Mainichi, while I was employed there I used to take frequent trips to Japan and one of my desires was to climb Mt. Fuji.
Well, about 25 years ago, I finally made my wish come true when I did climb the famed mountain.
I thought about this when I read an article that said Fuji-san is being hurt by too many climbing it.
Last year, 320,000 people made the climb, with many dumping garbage, among other illegal practices.
Japan is now trying to correct all this because it is feared something has to be done to save the country’s most famous landmark.
Today’s laugher was sent to me by a reader who doesn’t want her name revealed. It’s entitled “Never Laugh at a Chinese.” (Or maybe a Japanese?) It goes like this:
A Chinese man walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. He tells the loan officer that he is going to China on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000.
The bank officer tells him that the bank will need some form of security for the loan, so the Chinese man hands over the keys to a new Ferrari parked on the street in front of the bank. He produces the title and everything checks out.
The loan officer agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan. The bank’s president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the Chinese for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral against a $5,000 loan.
An employee of the bank then drives the Ferrari into the bank’s underground garage and parks it there.
Two weeks later, the Chinese returns, repays the $5,000 plus interest, which comes to $15.41.
The loan officer says, “Sir, we are very happy to have had your business and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is why you would bother to borrow $5,000.”
The Chinese replies, “Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there safely when I return?
Well, the laugher didn’t fill as much space I thought it might, but I guess if it brings a smile to the faces of the readers, that’s all that counts. All I can say is, it sure made me smile.
Well, until next week, adios, or as they might say in Hawaii, aloha, or as they might say in Japan, sayonara.
George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.