(Published March 29, 2014)

I was told that Editor Gwen received jury duty summons. Because of her position as editor of The Rafu, I’m pretty sure she can get dismissed from serving on a jury.

I know over the years, I’ve been summoned a few times. What troubled me was that they don’t tell you to contact them about serving. The summons says to report on such and such a date at wherever one is expected to serve.

In recent times, I found that my age is the best excuse for not serving on jury duty. The next is a medical excuse. If one’s doctor will submit a report on why his patient cannot serve on jury duty, the person will be excused.

It’s always been my opinion that there must be a better way to get people to serve on jury duty than the way they go about it today.

Oh well, the thought just popped into mind when I heard about Gwen being summoned.


Hope to see all of you at Santa Anita this Saturday.

I’m not in the greatest condition, but with my son volunteering to drive me to Arcadia, I’m sure I’ll make it.

Who would have imagined when I first started playing the horses that one day I’d need a son to drive me?

But, as the old saying goes, “That’s aging.”

This will be my first trek to Santa Anita since it opened back in December. Man, that’s something! During the Santa Anita or Hollywood Park race meetings, I would get out to the track at least once a week.

Now, just once in four months? These days if I get out to the track once a month, it’s something.

Yeah, call it aging or my aging pants pocket with no folding money in it. You can’t go to the races without you-know-what.

Well, Corey Nakatani has a few mounts on March 29, so maybe he can win at least one race. The question is, will I pick the right one?

I’ll let the readers know in my Tuesday column.


I’m writing this on Wednesday, so I don’t know how the weather is going to be on Saturday. According to one TV newscast, it might rain. Ugh, won’t that be all we need for our reunion event at the Santa Anita?

Well, if does, we will have a roof over our heads, so it won’t be too bad, which takes me back in time. That is, when we were tossed into the so-called “assembly center” at the race track, did we ever have rain falling during our stay? I can’t recall as I think back.

It’s been 70 years, so needless to say, I have to do a lot of head-scratching to recall such things.

All I remember about that era is that when we got to Heart Mountain, we saw snow falling and that was that.


For those of you who drive into Little Tokyo and park on the street, if you can find an opening, you probably think the meters are kind of expensive.

Actually, compared to a lot of other cities, the J-Town meters aren’t too bad.

Those of you who travel to Honolulu, rent a car and then park at a meter know it’s a heck of a lot higher than J-Town. In fact, Honolulu’s parking rates are the sixth-highest in the entire U.S.

If you park for a day in Honolulu, you can run up a $43 bill, and that ain’t hay.

Oh well, I guess when people are traveling, they don’t worry about such things as how much parking costs on the streets of the cities they are visiting.


It was nice to see the news article in which the Associated Press Sports Editors named Tim Kawakami, the sports writer for The San Jose Mercury News, as one of the top ten sports columnists in the nation.

tim kawakamiOver the years, I have been reading Tim’s writing for The Mercury, where he has been on the staff for 13 years.

Kawakami, 48, was originally from Burlingame in the San Francisco Peninsula. Before joining the Mercury staff, he wrote for The Los Angeles Times and The Philadelphia Daily News.

The sports editors honored Kawakami for an entry of five of his columns.

In the Mercury News article on Kawakami’s achievement, Bay Area News Group Executive Sports Editor Bud Geracie was quoted as saying, “Tim’s entry was wholly representative of what he gives our readers every day — unflinching commentary based on strong reporting.”

Final judging of the ten finalists will be announced in mid-April, when the Associated Press Sports Editors will name the top five and five honorable mentions.

The other finalists are Chris Gasper (Boston Globe), Matt Hayes (Sporting News), David Lennon (Newsday), Jill Painter (Los Angeles Daily News), Bill Plaschke (Los Angeles Times), Steve Rosenbloom (Chicago Tribune), Dan Shaughnessy (Boston Globe), Dan Wetzel (Yahoo! Sports), and Mike Wise (Washington Post).

That’s a pretty impressive list to be included in.

Kawakami’s writing can be read online at http://blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami/.

Quite an accomplishment for a JA, wouldn’t you say?


It’s something that rarely happens. That is, a Rafu reader clipping out one of my columns and mailing it to me. It’s never happened before, so I was kind of stunned by it. I’m not sure what the reader had in mind in sending me one of my own columns.

This one was about my brother-in-law, who coached Maui sumo wrestler Takamiyama, who went on to become one of the top sumotori in Japan.

Maybe I’ll put the clipping in an envelope and send it to my brother-in-law in Maui. He might be taken by surprise because I don’t think he knows I’m a columnist for The Rafu Shimpo.

He probably thinks I’m an old Nisei who survives on getting my Social Security checks each month, and he’s right. Heh, heh.


Hey, maybe I’ll join the group. The Japanese Cultural Institute of Gardena is putting together a bus trip to Manzanar on April 25.

I know I’ve always been meaning to get back to Heart Mountain, but for one reason or another, I’ve never made it to Wyoming.

So, maybe joining the bus group to Manzanar might provide me with my first look at a relocation center site since being incarcerated at Heart Mountain.

I’ll check out the Manzanar trip over the next few days.


Checking through the stack of stuff piling on my desk, one thing that popped up was the Jan. 17-Feb. 6 edition of The Pacific Citizen, the JACL’s official news publication.

As I looked through the pages of the PC, my eye caught an article with the title “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” That’s the title of a popular song of several decades ago.

This one was to announce the National JACL Convention, slated for July 9-12 in San Jose.

Now to Los Angelenos, San Jose may not mean much, but for one who grew up in the area, mentioning San Jose rekindles a lot of memories. I would guess that San Jose’s Japantown was what Little Tokyo was to Angelenos.

I know that on Sundays, my father and brother would always drive to San Jose’s J-Town. If it was baseball season, we would go see the San Jose Asahi team play other teams from areas like Fresno, Stockton and Sacramento.

The Asahi club had their own baseball stadium at the edge of Japantown and the stands were always full when they played their games there. It was like the Big Leagues on the Japanese American community level.

Ah, memories….


From time to time, I do touch on the annual Nisei Week Queen contest held in J-Town.

Most of time I do comment that the contest isn’t what it used to be, say, 30 or 40 years ago.

I always think about this when I see the queen contests being held in other Japanese American communities. Designed after our Nisei Week, most of the contests in other cities have bypassed our annual event.

An example is the Cherry Blossom Festival held in Honolulu. This year, there are 15 candidates vying for the queen’s tiara, and to keep the public involved, they hold their annual “Win a Trip to Las Vegas” contest.

Those entering the contest have to name the winner of the queen’s crown. The one who picks the winner will win a free trip to Vegas, with complimentary accommodations at The Cal Hotel and Casino.

This will be the 31st annual contest sponsored by the Hawaii Hochi newspaper.

The publication runs an entry form in which those participating must pick the queen, first princess and princesses. No cost to enter.

Maybe Nisei Week might throw together a similar contest. Of course, our queen contest only has a half-dozen candidates, so it might be a lot easier to pick the winner and the second- and third-place spots.

Just a thought.

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

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