(Published July 29, 2014)

It sure wasn’t how I expected to spend the first five days of my 89th year on this place called Earth.

After celebrating my birthday on Saturday, July 19, I spent the next five days at Torrance Memorial Hospital. Nothing serious. Just attribute it to old age.

However, I missed writing my column for The Rafu for the first time in the 25 years I’ve been pounding out my “Mouth.”

While I was at Torrance Memorial, I kept asking the nurses who came by when I was going to be able to get out. The response from all of them was the same: “When the doctor drops by and says you can go home.”

Well, on the fifth day, or should I say night, the MD did finally say, “Okay, you can leave.”

It was about 8 p.m. when he gave me my release. At that hour I didn’t want to call any of my sons for a ride home, so I had only one other choice, a taxi cab.

The hospital called a Yellow Cab for me and I began my trip home. Only thought that crossed my mind was, “Gee, do I have enough for the cab fare?”

I kept my eye on the meter registering how much I owed as we traveled towards Gardena.

When we reached my house, the meter showed $29.20. I had $30, so I told the driver, “Keep the change.”

He gave me a nasty look. I guess he was expecting more than an 80-cent tip. It kind of stirred my mind on this matter of tipping.

Why should a customer in a cab have to tip the driver? After all, in addition to his set wages, he gets a percentage of the money he collects from his customers.

This matter of tipping cab drivers has been touched on by the media. It was a major issue in Las Vegas, where drivers know that most of their customers are people from out of town who aren’t familiar with the city. If a driver takes the customers on a roundabout route to their destination, he could pocket the extra money.

To avoid this, I told the cab driver what streets to take to get me back to Gardena, which let him know I was aware of the shortest way to my destination.

Getting back to the matter of tipping, I often wonder about this custom.

Go to a restaurant nowadays and the bill handed to the customers include “tip” below the cost of the meal. I guess those who pay with credit cards will fill in the space. I just leave that space blank and leave my tip on the table.

Usually, patrons at restaurants leave anything from 10 to 20 percent of the bill as tips.

This, just to have the waiter or waitress deliver the customer’s order to their table.

Why doesn’t the cook who prepared the order for the customer get a share of the tip?

Oh well.


It’s good to be back at the keyboard of my computer pounding out today’s column and to catch up on what’s been going on in J-Town by reading a few back issues of The Rafu.

One of these news items was the naming of Hiroshi Miyamura as the grand marshal of the Nisei Week Parade.

It’s always been my opinion that the grand marshal of the biggest event of the Japanese community should be Japanese American, and who would be better to fit this bill than Miyamura?

Of course, I guess if President Obama accepted an invitation to be the grand marshal, the JA line could be broken.

As I often say, time passes quickly. Can’t believe that in a couple of more weeks, we’ll be celebrating Nisei Week.

Let’s face it. Nisei Week is the one event that brings focus to the Japanese American community, and I hope it can continue in the years to come.

Sure, I would like to participate. Maybe I can volunteer to be the driver of the car that will drive Miyamura in the parade.

Okay, you can all mutter “heh, heh” at such a thought.


If I can add a few more words about my being in the hospital for a week, the one thing I noticed was that the nursing staff at Torrance Memorial Hospital was about 80 percent Koreans and the balance were Filipino and Chinese.

I came to this conclusion by listening to them chatter with each other.

There was one male Japanese American and I determined this by looking at his name tag.

When I was at the Little Company of Mary Hospital, also in Torrance, a few months ago, I noticed that the nursing staff was heavily Korean.


Sorry to read the obituary of Babe Asano, the younger brother of the more famous Tosh.

Babe trained with me during our early days in the Army when we were stationed at Camp Blanding in Florida.

Gee, how time passes. That was back in 1944, which was 70 years ago.


Here is a news item, sent to me by a reader, that we may have missed:

The headline: “Taylor Maruya Committed to the Black Knights.” The story read:

“The Salmon Army Silverbacks are proud to announce that forward Taylor Maruya was committed to the Army Black Knights for the 2015-2016 season. The 5-10 forward center has amassed eight goals and 16 assists in 51 games this past season, his first in the BCHL.

“Maruya, a first-year player with the Silverbacks from Westchester, California, signed with the Salmon last summer and went on to become a fan favorite at the Shaw Center.

“His hard-hitting style of play and his smooth skating abilities helped him win the Silverbacks’ Rookie of the Year Award this past season.

“‘We are extremely happy for Taylor and his family,’ said Backs president, governor and general manager Troy Mick. ‘Taylor was one of the hardest-working, most dedicated players for the Backs this past season and we are looking forward to another great season from him before he moves on to the Army. We are proud of his accomplishments.’

“The Army Black Knights men’s ice hockey team is an NCAA Division I college program that represents the United States Military Academy. The Black Knights are a member of Atlantic Hockey and play at the Tate Rink in West Point, New York.

“‘I’m extremely thankful to be given the opportunity to play at West Point,’ said Maruya. ‘It’s going to be an exciting new chapter in my life but I’m also looking forward to playing another season with the Silverbacks. I definitely didn’t do it by myself, so I’d like to thank my family, teammates and everyone else who has supported me along the way.’”

Taylor is the grandnephew of the late Junko Maruya, with whom I worked for many years at The Kashu Mainichi.

It’s a small world, isn’t it?


If I have to chat about the weather it’s an indication of how the news world is holding up, but with the weather being hot and hotter during the first few weeks of July, it has been on my mind.

I guess I should be glad I’m not planning on a drive to Vegas. If we think it’s hot in Ellay, check out the temperature in Vegas. Yesterday it was 104.

Not only that, if one is driving to Vegas, the temperature in Baker was also 104.

Speaking of Vegas, old friend Al Morita, who is getting set to hold his annual basketball tournament there, wondered why he hasn’t bumped into me there.

Well, as I frequently mention, I need someone to drive my car since my wife won’t let me drive, so unless I find someone, I guess I’ll miss Al’s cage tournament.

Heck, even Rose Kakuuchi, who is a resident of Vegas, asked me on the phone the other day, “Aren’t you ever going to visit us anymore?”

I’ll try to find a driver, Rose. Then we can have our breakfast get-together.


Just glanced at the clock on my computer and was amazed to see it’s 6:30 p.m. Wow, that means I’ve been tinkering with the keyboard for about three hours.

If it were any other day than Sunday, this would stun me, but I’m going to have to speed up my typing if I’m to have my column ready for Editor Gwen to pick up tomorrow morning.

I guess being in the hospital for most of the week has kind of thrown my system out of whack.

I’m sure some of you who are reading this will agree.

Well, I just have a page to go to fill the space allotted me in The Rafu, so I’m not that far behind.


I guess I can close with a few comments about Paul Tanaka, the mayor of Gardena, who is seeking the Los Angeles County sheriff’s post in the coming November election.

He had a major story in one of the local newspapers the other day, complete with his photo, so there’s no hiding that he is a Japanese American, if the name Tanaka doesn’t strike voters.

Most of Tanaka’s articles seem to be sort of “anti” in his bid to win the post.

The L.A. Times seems to be favoring Tanaka’s rival in the election.

How much this will help or hurt him remains to be seen.

I favor Tanaka not because of his Japanese ethnicity.

His background seems to be his strong factor. However, we know that media coverage in any election can have an effect on the outcome.

Hopefully, as the election draws nearer, some of the media will change their stance and be more favorable to Tanaka.

What could sound better than “Sheriff Paul Tanaka”


Well, I made it to Page 7.

Didn’t think it was going to be too tough when I was on my back at Torrance Memorial Hospital, but I think I got my brains back on track.

Yeah, I know. Some of you will be thinking, “Glad you think so.”

See you on Saturday.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.



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