(Published May 20, 2014)
LAS VEGAS — It’s a good thing my wife keeps closer watch on our calendar. As I was loading our car for the trip here she said, “We’re going to be in Vegas on Sunday. Don’t you have to write your column?”
She made the comment because I wasn’t putting any equipment in our car for the trip. You know, equipment to type a column.
“Gee,” I told her, “I’m glad you reminded me.”
So I went back into the house, brought out my portable typewriter and typing paper and a box filled with potential column material, and here I am, writing for Tuesday’s edition of **Rafu.**
Now, if my wife hadn’t reminded me, I would have missed writing for the first time since I began hammering away and producing the “Horse’s Mouth” 25 years ago.
I guess I can open with a short letter that Editor Gwen wrote to me. She wrote: “Hope you’re surviving the heat. Have a great time in Vegas. I hope that the slots are kind to you.
“Was wondering if you’ll be faxing our column from the Cal on Monday? Let me know.
“Got a couple of messages for you. Clarence Hiura called. He said he’s a friend of yours who goes way back. Wanted to tell you about his grandson Keston Hiura. Here’s a link to a story. He’s a shortstop at Valencia High School and on a hitting streak for his team.
“Also we received a message that George Wakiji is not well. He told me once that he used to work on my grandfather’s farm in Montebello. I’m not sure who relayed the message.
“Thanks again and say hello to your wife Susie.”
Thank you, Gwen. It’s always nice to hear from the editor of The Rafu.
At least I know that she knows I’m still “hanging around.”
And, oh yeah, thanks for the info on George Wakiji. He always used to send me items that I could use in my column but in recent times, I haven’t heard from him and I was wondering why.
Sorry to hear that he is not well. Will try to contact him.
As I frequently note, it’s nice to get letters from readers. They help me fill my column, which is very helpful especially when I’m on a trip. This one is from Ted Oka, who wrote:
“I am a long time follower of your Horse’s Mouth and also a member of Konko Church of Los Angeles. I am writing regarding Mr. Ikuta’s article you published in the May 13 ‘Horse’s Mouth.’ It says Rev. Alfred’s son, but George, he doesn’t have a son. The criminal act mentioned was by his brother and Rev. Alfred had absolutely no control over his acts. I’m sorry that publishing it gave a bad name to Rev. Alfred as well as the church.”
Thanks, Ted. I’m sorry I didn’t do a double-check on the contents of the letter regarding Rev. Ikuta. I apologize if the information was not correct.
(Editor’s note: Mr. Yoshinaga is not at fault — due to an editing error, the brother was mistakenly identified as the reverend’s son.)
Since I’m writing from Vegas, I guess I’d better toss in some tidbits from here.
One might be that I was not aware of the large number of Japanese restaurants that are here.
Yes, I know I frequently used to write about dining at Makino’s near Downtown Vegas, but not about the three places that were pointed out to me. They are listed as Tokyo Boys, Mozen and Egg Plant Pizza.
I’ll try to give one of them a try and give my report.
I don’t know if The Rafu carried the story but since it was sent to me via email, I thought I would toss it in here. It’s from Cultural News on the presentation of artist Mary Higuchi at El Camino College this coming week (May 21). It reads:
“The month of May is designated as Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month. As part of the festivities, an exhibit of Hatsuko Mary Higuchi’s award-winning paintings is at the El Camino College Schauerman Library during the month of May 2014.
“Hatsuko Mary Higuchi was born in Los Angeles in 1939. On Feb. 19, 1942, shortly after the beginning of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the mass removal and imprisonment of all Japanese Americans on the West Coast.
“She paints a variety of themes such as landscape, figures and abstracts. She uses watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, collage and calligraphy. Her ‘EO 9066’ series depicts face with anonymous features or none at all, symbolizing the mass anonymity to which 120,000 Nikkei, most of them U.S. citizens, were reduced, denied basic constitutional rights such as due process and judged guilty solely by their race.
“El Camino College’s Schauerman Library is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and closed on Monday and Tuesday, May 19-20. El Camino College is located at 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance.
“Phone (310) 660-3519 for campus parking. Tickets are available at kiosks located in all campus parking lots. Suggested parking lots are H and L. Campus escort service is available at sites with flashing blue lights.
“There will be a reception, with light refreshments, in the Schauerman Library on Wednesday, May 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. Admission is free, and the exhibit and reception are open to the public.”
Since I know that my column is in a Japanese community newspaper, I usually touch on things related to our community, even here in Vegas.
For example, I frequently touch on restaurants serving Japanese dishes.
Well in Vegas, there are a lot of other eateries that cater to other ethnic groups. Among them, Korean restaurants.
A number of readers of The Las Vegas Review Journal ask why there aren’t more reviews of Korean eateries. The response by the newpaper’s restaurant writer used one word on why. The word is kimchi.
She wrote: “I tasted kimchi a few times and never wanted to taste it again. No, it wasn’t consciously avoiding Korean restaurants, but I’m pretty sure I was unconsciously avoiding kimchi.”
She continued, “I have a Korean American friend who has more than her share of good sense and she likes kimchi. Yes, she was raised on it, but assured me it’s not an acquired taste, that there are countless versions of kimchi, some better than others, and that I’d obviously encountered the few bad ones.
“I could see it. Too many experiences with bad preparation of escargot and calamari have put me off both of those dishes forever, so maybe it was time to slay the kimchi dragon.
“If you’re familiar with Korean barbecue, you know that restaurants serving it have grills in the center of the table, in which the meat is placed. Usually you’re expected to handle the cooking chores yourself, but maybe because we were gabbing too much or maybe because she was just the extremely helpful type, our server handled it for us.”
And that’s a brief summary of Korean restaurants and their food.
All of which, according to the article, are available here in Vegas.
I’ve never dined at a Korean-style eatery in all the trips I’ve made here, but I do enjoy their food (as dined on in the L.A. area). I will give it a try on this trip and will give my report on what I think about the dishes I ordered.
Well, I guess when trying to write a column when the casino is calling out my name, I have to find a way to fill the pace allotted to me by Editor Gwen, and if one is in Vegas, that’s not an easy task.
Yeah, I guess I could fill a lot of space with “laughers” that I always carry in my supply of column ideas.
So, here is just one such laugher. Hopefully, it will provide a few inches in my column. Try this:
Three women, two younger and one senior citizen, were sitting naked in a sauna.
The young woman lifted her palm to ear and started talking softly.
When she finished, she explained: “That was my mobile cell phone. I have a microchip in my hand.”
The older woman felt very low-tech. Not to be outdone, she decided she had to do something just as impressive. She stepped out of the sauna and went to the bathroom.
She returned with a piece of toilet paper hanging from her rear end.
The others raised their eyebrows and stared at her.
The older woman finally said, “Well, will you look at that. I’m getting a fax.”
I hope this bit of space filler was good for a laugh today.
I’m sure most of you readers will understand how difficult it is to sit in the hotel’s bedroom and write a column for a newspaper when the jingling of the slot machine hits one’s ear, especially when my wife calls me on her cell phone to tell me she hit a nice jackpot on the slot machine.
No, she didn’t become suddenly rich. She’s on the nickel slot machine, and nickel slot machines don’t make anyone rich, but it’s enough good news for me to shut down the computer and wind up my column for today.
Will return to my usual long-winded chatter when I get back to Gardena to write next Saturday’s column.
I know all of you will understand and thanks to Editor Gwen for also understanding.
See ya all next week.
George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessary those of The Rafu Shimpo.