(Published June 10, 2014)

As most of the readers of my column know, the ones that appear in the Tuesday editions are written on Sundays. In this case, that would be today, Sunday, June 8.

Since I’ve been on this schedule for going on 25 years, I’m pretty well adjusted to putting aside a few hours on Sunday to pound out my column. Of course, my wife and sons feel I should change my schedule since they have a number of things they want to involve me with on the Sabbath, which I have to forgo because I have to write.

After so many years on this schedule, I really haven’t given it much thought, but perhaps they are right.

On the other hand, Editor Gwen and the rest of her staff are so used to having me fill a page on Tuesday, they may not agree with my seeking a change in my schedule.

Oh well, at my age, I don’t have too many more columns left in my system, so I think I’ll just continue on at my regular schedule.

Since I got that thought off my mind, let me continue with today’s chatter.


In addition to writing on Sundays, most of my time is taken in front of the TV set. There really isn’t any program I look forward to on Sunday, but it’s a good way to kill time.

Seems to me that the TV on Sunday really doesn’t offer the type of programs I get on weekdays. Of course, during the football season, Sundays offer me the most programs to watch.

When I was younger, I was never at home, so watching TV was something I rarely did.

A few years ago, when I could jump in the car and drive off on a trip, usually to Las Vegas, I wasn’t faced with this problem.

Speaking of Vegas, I got a few calls over the past several weeks by readers who wondered how I am adjusting to not visiting my favorite site because my wife won’t let me drive anymore. Unless I get volunteers who offer to drive us, I’m stuck at home.

Since the calendar jumped from 2013 to 2014, I’ve been to Vegas only once. Normally, I would have been there at least three or four times during the same period.

Actually, since more of the miles between Southern California and Nevada are in the desert, I feel I can still handle the wheel as well as I used to. However, as I stated, my wife is opposed to the idea and since she has to sit next to me when I’m behind the wheel, I kind of listen to her objections.

Of course, I could always ride the tour bus like the ones offered by Nisei Charter, but somehow I feel too restricted going by bus since I like to cruise round Vegas when I’m there.

When I want to get some “Nihon-shoku” around Vegas town, can’t do that without a car, unless I get a cab. But that’s adding a few more bucks to the dinner tab.

Yeah, I always look forward to having a few meals at a Japanese restaurant.

My favorite Nihon-shoku eatery close to The Cal has closed down and most of the others are quite a distance away from Downtown.

Well, maybe my wife can pack a bento before we leave for Vegas. I have a portable refrigerator in my car, so this is possible.

By the way, a lot of restaurants offering foreign dishes are opening in Vegas, but so far as I know, there are no new Japanese-style eateries among the new places.


Is Tamayo a Japanese name? I ask the question because one Major League team signed a new player by that name.

While, if Tamayo isn’t Japanese, the Milwaukee Brewers did sign a JA player when they picked up Jordan Yamamoto from Hawaii in the 12th round of the recent draft.

The report is that Yamamoto has the talent to make the Milwaukee club by the 2015 season. He would join the four others JAs now on the rosters of the big league teams. Too bad the Dodgers didn’t sign Yamamoto.

It would sure sound good at Dodger Stadium to hear the public address announcer say, “Coming to bat for the Dodgers is Jordan Yamamoto,” and the TV announcer telling the audience, “Yamamoto just clubbed a home run to give the Dodgers the win.”

Well, we can dream, can’t we?


Speaking of Japanese American baseball players, there was a time when a lot of high school and college teams had JA players who seemed to have the talent to make it in pro baseball.

Doesn’t seem to be the case these days.

In fact, JA athletes seem to have vanished from the scene.

I thought by 2014, JA athletes would be all over the place and new faces would be nothing new.

It certainly didn’t work out that way.


Just received an invite to a farewell get-together for Consul General Jun Niimi, who is going back to Japan for a new assignment. Since I met Mr. Niimi for the first time at a recent function, I’m kind of saddened to hear that he will be leaving Los Angeles.

But I guess that’s the way it is with those assigned the title of consul general in the Ellay office. They seem to change frequently.

I’m curious if the same is true with other consul general offices in the U.S.

At any rate, I’ll be attending the farewell get-together since Mr. Niimi is such a wonderful person representing the Japanese government here in L.A.

I am wondering what kind of gentleman will be replacing Mr. Niimi.


A friend told me he had a near-collision with another vehicle at a busy intersection in Los Angeles. The opposing driver was a female and he said it seems like there are more female drivers on L.A. streets than male drivers.

Since he made he comment, I decided to count the cars passing by in front of my house in Gardena and he appears to be right.

On Saturday, I counted the drivers passing by, about ten every minute, and I counted four female drivers for every male driver.

Is this something that is happening these days?

This is not to suggest that women drivers are not good drivers, but their numbers have increased.

I guess when my wife reads this she will tell me, “So what if there are more female drivers?” Yes, she drives.

I’m not bringing this up because I think women drivers are not good behind the wheel.

It’s just that I didn’t even think about it until my friend brought up the issue of female drivers.

So, you women drivers, don’t run over me if you see me walking along the side of the road. Heh, heh.

(MAGGIE’S COMMENT: I just had to write this, Mr. Y. It stands to reason there are more female drivers, since they drive the children to and from school, parties, swimming lessons, baseball games, and doctor’s appointments plus grocery shopping and running errands. Ordinarily, when a man goes to work, he does not leave the site nor drive until quitting time. Also, many women drive their husbands to and from work. More female drivers than male drivers has been the case for decades and is not just a current happening.)


There was an interesting article in The Seattle Times written by Jack Broom, which I thought readers in the Los Angeles area would find interesting, so I thought I would run part of it in today’s column:

“Fifty years ago is a long time to keep a secret, but that’s what Roy Matsumoto was instructed to do, so that’s what he did.

“For decades, he seldom said anything about World War II at all, said his daughter Karen Matsumoto of Bainbridge Island.

“He didn’t talk about his time in Merrill’s Marauders, a U.S. Army unit that worked behind enemy lines in Burma in a high-risk campaign that suffered heavy casualties.

“He didn’t talk about how he was credited with saving hundreds of his fellow American soldiers with actions as bold and resourceful as barking out orders in Japanese to mislead Japanese soldiers.

“Nor did he talk abut the hand grenade he had carried, which he intended to use on himself if captured, to make sure enemy forces couldn’t torture him into giving out information that could jeopardize not just his American comrades but his relatives living in Japan.

“And he certainly didn’t talk about the information he was instructed to keep secret, his work with the U.S. Military Intelligence Service, which included assisting with the interrogation of Japanese prisoners of war.

“‘Sometimes I would think, could I really be his daughter? I can’t keep a secret for more than a couple of days,’ said Karen Matsumoto, 60, who teaches at Suquamish Tribal School.

“On April 21, less than two weeks shy of his 101st birthday, Roy Matsumoto, a much decorated master sergeant and linguistic specialist, dies in his sleep at his San Juan Island home.

“Although his voice has been stilled, it also has been preserved, thanks to a collaboration between Karen Matsumoto and Bainbridge Island documentary producers Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers.

“Their 60 minute video ‘Honor & Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story’ airs at 7 p.m.   Sunday (May 25) on KCTS Channel 8, an expanded version of a 17-minute video first related several years ago.

“‘Roy’s story was too fantastic to believe,’ Sellers said. ‘You couldn’t make it up and yet it was all true.’

“He and Ostrander have worked with Karen Matsumoto to record a number of oral histories from Bainbridge Island’s Japanese American residents.

“Roy Matsumoto’s story is unique, but it sheds light on the difficulties faced by 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry who were forced out of their West Coast homes and held in relocation camps during World War Ii under an order from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“At the start of the war, Matsumoto was living in Southern California, delivering groceries, and many of his customers were Japanese immigrant families. After Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, Matsumoto was among some 16,000 men, women and children taken to a camp in Jerome, Arkansas.

“Some in the camps were told they could get out if they went into the U.S. military and many fought valiantly to protect the country that had imprisoned them.”

“Matsumoto was among a dozen men of Japanese background to join a 3,000-man volunteer unit under Brig. Gen. Frank D. Merrill to work behind enemy lines to disrupt Japanese supply and communication lines. The unit would be cut off from other Allied forces and a high casualty rate was expected.”


I’m kind of surprised I’ve been able to put enough words on paper to fill up today’s “Mouth” page.

Sundays, as I always say, is the tougher of the two days that I contribute to The Rafu because I guess I’m too relaxed and have to gear myself up to pound out enough words to fill my space.

That’s how writing is.

Sometimes I’m loaded with material while other times, I have to do a lot of research to complete my chatter.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may 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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