(Published April 26, 2014)

It caught my eye, but I guess it really isn’t that newsworthy.

Reference is to the media carrying a story on the meeting between the Japanese prime minister and our President Obama.

Emphasis on the story was on the sushi dinner the pair had when they met this past week.

Since President Obama was born and raised in Hawaii, I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising that he dined on sushi with the Japanese PM.

Our president probably eats natto and sashimi.

Oh well, maybe the Japanese media ought to ask the president about his dining on Japanese dishes.


Yeah, time to toss in an email from a reader. This one wrote:

“I just saw the Tuesday edition of The Rafu and saw the photo of the Gakusei Kai in your column. Too bad you didn’t identify the others in the photo. I recognized a couple of them but just couldn’t think of their names.”

Thanks for your note.

The photo was taken in 1948, which is a lot of years ago, so I’d have to struggle to name each one posed in the photo. If anyone in the reading audience can name everyone in the photo, I’d appreciate it if the names can be sent to me and I can ID them.

The one face I recognize is Mas Kinoshita, standing to the right of me. He was one of Nisei baseball’s top pitchers and played for the Trojan varsity.

Ah, memories….


Just what is “old age?”

In reading the columns by other writers in The Rafu, I noticed that two of them chatted about “getting old.”

One of them noted she recently turned 65. Gosh, she still has 23 years to go to catch up to me.

Gee, I never ever thought I would reach the age of 88 but here I am, still pounding away on the keyboard of my computer.

When my Issei father turned 65, I thought he was really ancient. Ditto for my Issei mother, and here I am over 23 years older than both of them. Heh, heh.


How many of you readers look through the box scores of Major League Baseball as published in papers like The L.A. Times? Usually there are about 15 games with box scores. That means 30 teams.

So if each team uses nine regular starters and four or five subs, it adds up to 14 x 30 or 420 players, if my math is correct. To look through the line-up takes a while.

The reason I bring this up? Well, we know there are a number of players from Japan on the Major League rosters. So I glanced through the line-up to see how many are playing for their clubs. Surprisingly, very few.

This past Tuesday, for example, only two names appeared, both with the New York Yankees. One was pitcher Tanaka and the other, outfielder Suzuki.

We know there are at least a half dozen more Japanese players on the Major League roster, but none of them seem to see any action.

As the Japanese might say, “naruhodo.”


The UCLA Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies will be presenting a free screening of a film entitled “Issei: The First Generation.”

The film is a documentary about the Japanese who at the turn of the century immigrated to the West Coast of the U.S. These pioneering men and women tell their own stories of struggle and triumphs in a new land.

Filmed in 1983 in the Walnut Grove area of California, “Issei” was shown only twice in 1984 on television.

Buried in a vault for 30 years, the unique film was produced by poet and filmmaker Toshi Washizu.

With the help of UCLA’s Aratani Endowed Chair professor, Lane Hirabayashi, Washizu has generated a newly restored, wide-screen, digital version of the film, with English narration by Amy Hill.

The screening is set for May 8 at the Terasaki Center at 4 p.m. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.issei (for horse)


Yeah, time for another letter. This one from Suzanne Shinji, who wrote:

“This is Lomo‘s daughter. How are you doing today? I saw the Heart Mountain football picture in your column. Is that my father in the front row? Fifth from the left in the original photo, or the third one from the left in what I am sending you?

“This is the first time I have seen the photo of the team. The other photo you posted I have a physical copy of at home.

“I think it was two weeks ago when you posted something about nicknames and mentioned Lomo. I got a few calls from some Nisei readers telling me about it. Thank you for remembering my father. This coming October will be 20 years since his passing.”

Thank you, Suzanne. I got to know Lomo as a friend during our days at Heart Mountain when we played together on the same football team.

He was one of the few Japanese Americans who played varsity football for an “outside” high school team. He was a member of the Banning High School varsity in the Los Angeles area.


Okay, I’ll toss in another letter (helps fill space). This one from Patti Hirahara, who wrote:

“Congratulations on your being honored at Santa Anita. That was a wonderful tribute that Bacon arranged for you. It was a long time coming but very much deserved.

“I have some news for you that you may find of interest.

“David Ono and Jeff MacIntyre have expanded the original 30-minute documentary of ‘Witness: The Legacy of Heart Mountain’ to an hour-long special and it will air on KABC-TV Channel 7 on Saturday, May 10, from 9 to 10 p.m. in prime time.

“This is great since more people will be able to see your interview and very appropriate to be shown as part of Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

“Also, the show received a Radio Television Digital News Association Edward R. Murrow Award for Region 2 today and will now vie for the national award in the documentary category.

“I have also attached a photo I took at the Oregon Nisei Legacy Center in Portland, where your interview in the documentary is being shown six days a week through June 15. It is part of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment’s 25th anniversary opening exhibit, entitled ‘Capturing a Generation Through the Eye of a Lens: The Photographs of Frank C. Hirahara, 1948-54.’

“The exhibit is a sanctioned event of the Portland Rose Festival and the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center and this exhibit was honored by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales on March 5. I am glad that you will be shown through the electronic media and that you may have a new following from this exposure. Congratulations again.”

Thank you for the wonderful letter, Patti. I guess you can say I’m left a little speechless by the information contained in the letter.


Oh yeah, in mentioning that President Obama dined on sushi in Japan, I forgot to add that the question asked was: “Which sushi restaurant is considered the best in the world?”

Needless to say, the site must be in Japan and it is.

The name of the world’s best sushi eatery is Sukiyabashi Jiro, located in the Ginza in Tokyo. I can imagine that eating sushi in the world’s best can cost a lot of money.

Heck, even an ordinary sushi parlor in Japan can run into hundreds of dollars.


I guess it’s getting to be the same all over.

I was just reading in the area newspaper that vehicle burglaries are going up in the Gardena and South Bay areas.

Well, reader Ted Maesaki sent me an mail that opened, “I don’t know about your area, but in San Gabriel Valley, where I live, residential and vehicle burglaries have gone up tremendously. Just in our block only, two homes were broken into and we live on the same cul-de-sac. Last week, they had a neighborhood watch meeting.

“I went to the meeting, they served dinner (that’s the reason I attended, just kidding).

‘The sheriff told us that they sent 800 flyers about the meeting but only 60 people showed up. Only a handful of Asians were there in spite of 50 percent of the residents in Temple City being Asians.

“It was a very informative meeting with videos, slides and speeches by the deputies. They mentioned it’s very important to have neighbors watch each other and if we see unusual activities, call the sheriff immediately.

“One of the things mentioned is to never leave the outgoing mail on your mailbox for the mail carrier to pick them up, especially if you have a check inside. Always go to the post office and drop it off in the mail slot inside the post office.

“Also they mentioned lately there have been increases of breaking into homes getting fumigated with the tent.

“Recently, they posted a new sign, ‘No parking during street cleaning.’ Temple City never had a ‘no parking’ sign for street cleaning, so many times the sweeper truck had to drive around cars.

“The problem is they posted the new sign toward the end of the block where we live and it’s located on just one side of the street; like I mentioned, we live on a cul-de-sac.

“The sign should be posted at the entrance of the street. How would people who live near the entrance of the street know there is a new sign posted?

“I mentioned this at the meeting but they told me that relocating the sign is one of the lowest priorities on their list.”


I don’t know how accurate the question might be, but I ran into a friend who said he just returned from Vegas.

He said, “Hey, Horse, a number of people I ran into at The Cal wonder what happened to you. They always used to bump onto you but these days you’re nowhere around.”

I just conclude he’s kidding me.

Yeah, at the end of this month, it will be five months since I’ve been in Vegas, probably the longest I’ve been away for a decade or so.

I have set a date for my next visit, however. It will be the second week of May.

See ya there. Heh, heh.


In winding up today’s chatter, I was kind of surprised to read my name in Wimp Hiroto’s column this past Wednesday. I was mentioned in a letter that Wimp received about his column.

Don’t know if it inflated my ego or not.

I haven’t given too much thought to the reaction my words might create. Oh well, since I’ve been pounding away on the Horse’s Mouth for going on 60 years, I guess anything can happen.

At any rate, I’m glad Wimp didn’t make his own comments about my being mentioned by one of his readers.

Hey, we all have our ego and when one reaches my age, well, you know.


Well, I guess that winds it up for today.

I was going to toss in what I call my “laugher,” but I counted the lines I have already written and there’s no space left.

So, until next time, ha, ha, ha…

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *